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Six successful sessions with a war veteran

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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,

Here's a quality example of what our war veterans can experience with EFT. Ingrid Dinter gives us the highlights of 6 quality sessions with a Vietnam Veteran with severe trauma issues. She says, "Don’s voice has a very different sound now. It is clearer, lighter, and faster. There is less roughness and he laughs more. It is truly nice to hear the hope and confidence in his voice. His sleep has improved from getting 4-5 hours per night in a ten hour time period, interrupted by an average of two nightmares, to getting an average of 7-8 hours with no nightmares, waking up refreshed."

Hugs, Gary

By Ingrid Dinter

I have been helping many Veterans with EFT, mostly by phone. The results for their overall wellbeing, their release of insomnia and other symptoms of PTSD have been quite wonderful.

To be able to communicate the progress that Veterans can make with EFT, I have decided to monitor their shifts and progress with two standardized forms, the SA-45 and the PCL-M. These research tools are described briefly at the end of this article. In addition to signing an informed consent form, the Veterans that I work with are also required to keep a daily sleep journal, which documents sleep duration, quality of sleep, overall wellbeing and other factors. It is my hope that the results of this single case study will encourage and inspire others to move forward with the clinical, larger scale research studies that need to be done in this field, so that the Veterans and their families get access to this important and powerful healing tool.

“Don” is a 61 year old Vietnam Veteran who and has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. We worked together for a total of six EFT session hours.

Since returning from Vietnam, Don did not have one night of uninterrupted sleep. He usually went to bed between 9:30 pm and 10:30 pm, and got up between 8:15 am and 10:00 am, feeling fatigued. In this 10-12 hour time period that he spent in bed, he was woken up by horrific nightmares at least twice per night. He never slept more than 1-2 hours at a stretch, and never more than 4-5 hours total – for forty years…

Our first session took only 20 minutes, as this was all that Don could handle that day. Before we started with EFT, he said his thoughts were like bumper cars, bouncing all over, but the tapping helped him relax and release the tension in his mind. It also stopped the tremors and shaking that are symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. We tapped on finding peace with the war and peace with Vietnam. After this brief session, his sleep already greatly improved: He now slept 6-7 hours, woke up twice briefly, and felt rested instead of fatigued.

In our second session we worked through the traumatic memory of having shot someone’s arm off two weeks before he returned home from Vietnam. His sadness and guilt for the Vietnam soldier was overwhelming and had followed him for forty years. The Vietnamese man had raised his weapon in front of him, and Don wasn’t sure if he wanted to give up or shoot at him, so he shot first. This happened two weeks before he was supposed to return home. We released the sadness and guilt using the gentle EFT techniques, namely, the tearless trauma technique, sneaking up on the problem and the movie technique, and we tapped on deserving forgiveness.

In his email the morning after the session, Don reported, “Sleep is improving, no nightmares last night. My overall energy has been on an upswing. My hands still shake, but not as much, I’ve been tapping on the shakes and it seems to help. I think what we’ve worked on is quite amazing.

Thanks, "Don".

The third session dealt with a very traumatic event – his best friend, who usually walked to the left of Don, this time took his right side while scanning the jungle. When he got shot, Don felt that his friend had caught the bullet for him and never forgave himself for this. It didn’t matter that he received a bronze star for the dangerous rescue efforts that he made to save his friend’s life. Don felt that this was undeserved as he couldn’t save him, and after all these years still cried about the loss and guilt.

The images of turning his friend, whom he loved like a brother, and seeing his exploded head, haunted him daily.

After using EFT on this memory, he realized that if he had caught the bullet, and his friend survived, he would have forgotten and released him a long time ago. He would never expect or want him to feel the way he felt himself. This realization allowed him to finally find peace, love, and forgiveness.

In his email he wrote: “Thank you for today’s session, I feel much more at ease. I slept for two full hours after the session, a fairly sound sleep, I couldn’t believe that it was for two hours, it seemed like only minutes. Thank you again for all your help … Don

Two days later, Don had an intense dream relating to the death of his father, who had killed himself while driving drunk when Don was eighteen. So we worked through his trauma, releasing pain and guilt he had carried for more than four decades.


By now, he was going to bed between 9:45 and 10:15, sleeping 7-8 hours, waking up briefly once or twice in between, but no more nightmares. He just rolled over, and went back to sleep. He woke up fairly refreshed between 7:30 and 8:15 am. What an improvement for someone who had usually two serious nightmares each night and never got more than 4-5 hours of sleep!

In our fifth tapping session three days later, Don talked a lot about the improvements in his sleep and overall wellbeing. Then we tapped for the stress and feelings of lack of control resulting from the construction of his new home and people not doing what they were supposed to do. No more war memories came up for him! Reviewing his progress two weeks later, Don said, "I still think about Vietnam but it doesn't seem to bother me.”

After 60 days, we did another session, and one more war memory came up: He had to identify comrades that had been killed and found in the jungle several days earlier. After tapping on all the aspects of what he saw and smelled and the disgust and nausea that he felt, he took a deep breath and stated: “Now the bad spirits are gone.” He had felt as if these dead men had always been with him, somehow, weighing him down and taking his breath away. Now he reported that he felt as if a huge weight was lifted off of him, and he can now breathe and think clearly.

Don’s voice has a very different sound now. It is clearer, lighter, and faster. There is less roughness and he laughs more. It is truly nice to hear the hope and confidence in his voice. His sleep has improved from getting 4-5 hours per night in a ten hour time period, interrupted by an average of two nightmares, to getting an average of 7-8 hours with no nightmares, waking up refreshed.

Between the first session and his 30- and 60- day follow ups, his total SA-45 score dropped gradually from 122 to 77 and his PCL-M score  dropped from 65 to 34 after session 5, and remained there through the 30- and 60-day followups.

He continues to tap on his Parkinson’s symptoms to keep the shaking under control. His wife has noticed that he seems happier and relaxed. He feels comfortable socializing now, and is a true believer in EFT.

With Love and Gratitude



The SA-45 is a brief psychological symptom checklist, yielding measures of overall and symptom domain-specific levels of distress. Clients are asked to rate each of the 45 items on a five-point severity scale, ranging from (1) “Not at all”, to (5) “Extremely”. The nine SA-45 measures are:

Anxiety, Depression, Hostility, Interpersonal Sensitivity, Obsessive Compulsivity, Paranoid Ideation, Phobic Anxiety, Psychoticism, Somatization

The PTSD Checklist – Military Version (PCL-M) This form is used by the military to diagnose PTSD. Veterans are asked to rate each of the 17 items on a five-point severity scale, ranging from (1) “Not at all”, to (5) “Extremely”. An added score of 50 or above is considered PTSD.

This tool is available for free online.


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