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EFT after Hurricane Ike - Trauma Triage

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated. Please use my newest advancement, Optimal EFT. It is more efficient, more powerful and clearly explained in my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™.  Best wishes, Gary

Note: This article assumes you have a working knowledge of EFT. Newcomers can still learn from it but are advised to peruse our Free Gold Standard (Official) EFT Tutorial™ for a more complete understanding.

Hi Everyone,

Pamela Bruner had little time to help her client with a hurricane trauma so she asked the question, " What’s the most intense memory that you have from the storm?" and proceeded from there. Notice how she goes back to an important underlying specific event.

Hugs, Gary

By Pamela Bruner

EFT is a great technique for clearing the emotional effects of trauma.  Sometimes we may not have time to use one of the standard EFT techniques, such as Tearless Trauma or Tell the Story, so I’d like to present the concept of ‘Trauma Triage’.  Trauma Triage can be used when someone has little time to handle an issue, and needs to be functional quickly.

Rhonda (not her real name) called me a few days after Hurricane Ike came through.  Her business had been in the path of the storm, and had sustained considerable damage.  Rhonda is an intelligent, capable woman who has worked with me before.  She was teary, and complained of feeling overwhelmed by what she had been through, and had very little time to talk, since she had to return to clean-up activities, and feared that our call might be interrupted at any time.

I felt that trying to clear the trauma of the storm by regular EFT methods might leave us in the middle of the story when she had to go, so I decided to try ‘Trauma Triage’.  I asked ‘What’s bothering you most?’ She said ‘The storm – it was so terrifying!’

I asked Rhonda ‘What’s the most intense memory that you have from the storm?’  She replied that it was that the wind seemed to just ‘click on’ going from a light breeze to 80 mph, and that there had been no warning, as the weather service had not predicted those severe winds for her location. Her level of intensity was at an 9 on a 0 – 10 scale.

The setup:

Even though the wind just ‘clicked on’, I choose to love and accept myself now.

Even though the wind just ‘clicked on’ with no warning, I choose to remember that I’m safe now.

We tapped on all points with the reminder phrases: Clicked on … No warning

The intensity dropped to a 6 out of 10 and I asked her if she had ever felt this way before, and she related that she has lived through at least 5 other natural disasters, including two earthquakes and a forest fire.  I asked which one of these, including the recent hurricane, was the most severe emotionally.

She said that it was an earthquake when she was a child.  So I asked ‘What’s the most emotionally charged memory from that event?’  She said ‘When my father stepped out of the house after it was over, and looked at the devastation on our street.  When he spoke, the sound of his voice terrified me – I thought that there should never be something that my parents couldn’t handle. It was the sound of his voice!’  Intensity was a 10 out of 10.

The setup:

Even though I was terrified by the sound of his voice, I choose to love and accept myself completely.  Reminder phrase: the sound of his voice.

The intensity dropped to 5 out of 10, so we tapped again

Even though I still have some of this terror at the sound of his voice, I choose to remember that we all are safe. 

Even though there shouldn’t be something that my parents can’t handle, I choose to know that we did all handle it well – even me, as a child.

Reminder phrases:

This remaining terror … Something my parents couldn’t handle … The sound of his voice … But we did handle it … We all survived … I was a kid, doing the best I could … I was safe then, and I’m safe now

Intensity on ‘The sound of his voice’ was now at 0, and her whole recollection of the childhood earthquake was different.   She said ‘we DID survive, and all of us are still alive today, and it really wasn’t that bad for us.’  This seemed a big cognitive shift to me, so I brought her back to the recent hurricane, and asked what the intensity now was for ‘the wind just clicked on’.  It was a 4.  So we tapped:

Even though I still have some fear at ‘the wind clicked on’, I choose to know that I’m safe now.

Reminder phrase:

Remaining wind clicked on … I’m safe now, we’re all safe now.

Intensity was now at a 0.  I asked if she had any other distracting negative thoughts about this incident, and she said ‘I feel that I might have been better prepared’.  Her level of intensity was at a 7 on a scale of 0 to 10.

Even though I might have been better prepared, I choose to deeply and completely accept myself now. Reminder phrase: Better prepared.

Her intensity dropped to a 3 or 4, and she said ‘Well, I do have flashlights, water, and food all set aside for storms, so I do prepare.  I just think that I could have prepared better.’  This seemed a good opportunity for humor.  The setup was something like:

Even though I could have been better prepared, I could have had roofing repair supplies in my basement, I should have consulted a psychic about exactly what I needed, I choose to consider that I did a good job, and that I still am doing a great job in getting through this…

Reminder phrases:

I still could have been better prepared … I should have perfect foreknowledge … I really am the best-prepared person in town (her words!) … I choose to acknowledge what a good job I did in preparing … I choose to acknowledge my ability to handle this situation.

Rhonda reported she was now feeling calm, capable, and was no longer thinking about the storm, but was ready to tackle repairs.  I suggested that it might be a good idea to have a more lengthy session at some point to clear out other aspects from the other natural disasters, and anything left from Ike, and she heartily agreed.  We both knew that she didn’t clear all the trauma and upset around this incident, but she cleared enough to manage the tasks at hand.

More about Trauma Triage: Usually in doing EFT, we focus on getting a client from a high intensity of distress (8, 9, or 10 on a 0 to 10 scale) down to a 0 intensity. If there are many different aspects, reducing the most severe ones to zero may still leave other aspects untouched.  Overall, the client will feel much better – it’s a huge relief to go from a 10 to a 3!  Although it may be considered incomplete work to leave a client at a 2, 3, or 4 intensity, in some situations it may be appropriate to just help the client become functional, with the understanding that the remaining cleanup will be done later.  A final note: there are many trauma situations in which asking ‘what’s the most emotionally upsetting part of that event?’ would not be a good question, so proceed with caution.

This session took about 25 minutes – I’m so grateful to have EFT!

Follow-up after a week:

Rhonda called and reported that she had felt much calmer ever since our appointment, and that the process had definitely helped. She had been handling clean-up efficiently, focusing on one thing at a time, and had not become overwhelmed at any point. She reported that she still wanted to take care of other aspects from the storm soon, but that they were all quite manageable.

Pamela Bruner, CLC


Explore our newest advancement, Optimal EFT™, by reading my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™. More efficient. More powerful.