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Other Emotional Issues


A non-therapist does superb work on depression--including her own.

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

by Gary Craig

Hi Everyone,

Even though "Sarah" is not a professionally trained therapist she is, in my opinion, among the top 10% of the most effective healing practitioners in the world. I wish I could disclose her true name and email address because I am sure many readers would love to learn from this completely self taught, compassionate, caring master of these procedures. Unfortunately, her personal and professional environment do not allow such disclosure. As you will see, she blends her intuition and diligent study with EFT and obtains success in difficult areas. I have spoken with her by phone on many occasions and recently had lunch with her. She is a delight to know.

She tells the story below of how she used EFT to overcome her own depression (and countless related issues) completely on her own. She then describes how she has applied it to others. You may want to read this more than once. It is filled with insight and offers several opportunities for me to make a few augmenting comments.

Hugs, Gary

Dear Gary,

My case of depression seemed to be caused by numerous unresolved issues.

GC COMMENT: This is often the case. Sometimes what is labeled depression appears to be nothing more than the "down state" caused by being overburdened by a long list of unresolved emotional issues. Take care of the burdensome list and you remove the foundation from beneath the depression.

SARAH CONTINUES: Looking back at it now, I believe I had been suffering from depression from age 17. But for 15 years, I did nothing about it, not understanding why I felt so miserable and irritable all the time. Around the age of 32, I started going to therapy, and eventually was put on an antidepressant. The medication made me feel better and enabled me to function at a higher level, but I did not want to remain dependent upon drugs, and although therapy helped to a degree, I had reached a point where I was just not progressing. It was my desire to free myself of this dependence that led me to EFT.

I received the EFT Course at the end of May or beginning of June [over a year ago] and found the method very effective from the start. I can't say that it brought me instant relief [from depression], however. I had to work at it long and hard. I must have treated hundreds of issues -- or rather, aspects of issues. Lots and lots of anger, rejection, grief, fear, self- blame, and so forth, in many different forms. (I did not come from an abusive childhood situation, although my family certainly had problems.)

GC COMMENT: This is a classic case of a "surface problem" being caused by underlying issues. In a way, it is something like a "self image" problem where one round of tapping isn't going to collapse the whole negative forest. To be effective, one must effectively remove the individual trees that make up the forest. These individual trees, in most instances, are easily addressed with EFT.

SARAH CONTINUES: At times the treatments were downright unpleasant. On a few occasions, when treating a particularly "big" issue, tapping a certain point felt like I was tapping an "emotional funny bone," sending a strange kind of vibrating pain through my whole body. I felt like a broken robot with big broken springs popping out of me all over and bouncing with every tap... I knew I was onto something big, and just kept tapping until the sensation cleared.

GC COMMENT: EFT is typically quite gentle. When it becomes unpleasant, it is usually because one is uncovering core issues that have been seething under the surface. I don't think the tapping causes the unpleasantness, by the way, although it seems that way to the client. Rather, I think the unpleasantness was already there and the tapping removed the cover, thereby allowing it to surface and thus become available for treatment.

If the unpleasantness is difficult to bear one might use the Tearless Trauma Technique or seek professional help. The choice is up to the user. Sarah chose to simply be persistent and stayed with it until success appeared. Remember, the responsibility for the use of these procedures rests with the user.

SARAH CONTINUES: From the beginning, I could see that intuition played a major part in my EFT treatments. I just seemed to be guided along so that I never had to spend much time trying to figure things out. Issues that needed to be treated popped into my head very quickly, even weird things that seemed very unlikely. I wish I could remember some of them now!

GC COMMENT: EFT'ers often experience this phenomenon. Issues they didn't even know they had somehow show up after a few rounds of tapping. I think this is partly intuition and partly the removal of covering issues by EFT.

SARAH CONTINUES: I used muscle testing as a guide, mostly because it was hard for me to rate the intensity of my feelings regarding the issues I was working on. I had numbed a lot of that out since I was about 16. Besides that, because of the antidepressant, I was not feeling depressed.

Anyway, my notes indicate that the depression was gone by the middle of June -- just a few weeks after I started to use EFT. It might have been gone before then, I'm not sure. But by mid-June, for sure, the depression was gone and the worst of the "yukky stuff" was cleaned up, although there were stubborn roots left here and there.

It took me a lot of hard work before I found a number of these unresolved issues: an unwillingness to forgive myself for not standing up for what I believed in; anger and rage at myself (identifying with my mom's rage), a deep sense of rejection by my mother; and an inability to let go of family trials that I suffered as a teenager. I blamed myself for the problems in my family when I was growing up. I believe that was why I was reacting strongly to problems around me up until recently -- I was reliving those years, desperately trying to make up for what "I should have done" back then. Anyway, each of these issues only took 2-3 minutes to clear. The harder part was finding them.

I should mention that, from the time I started using EFT, my doctor could see the improvement. (I told him what I was doing.) He was satisfied enough that he allowed me to reduce the dosage of my antidepressant and finally discontinue taking it altogether.

When I started my self-treatments, I was taking the highest possible dosage of this particular antidepressant. Under his supervision, over several weeks, I had reduced it to the lowest possible dosage. After about 10 days on that dosage, I asked him if I could stop. He started to resist, saying something to the effect that "research seems to indicate that most people who have an episode of major depression should just stay on the drug that works for them for the rest of their lives." I answered, "Yes, but Doctor, that research does not take into account the kind of treatments that have been working so well for me." He had to agree, and gave me permission to stop taking the medication.

I must mention, however, that I have had 4 or 5 brief relapses over the past year. But on each of those occasions, I just treated myself again and eliminated the depression within minutes. (I may have used TAT or BSFF on a few of those.) It's an amazing thing to go from feeling almost suicidal to feeling perfectly fine within a few minutes!

One of these occasions, however, was much worse, and it took a couple of hours to eliminate the depression. It came up a few days before my birthday, and what was strange was that suddenly none of my treatments seemed to work, and even my muscle testing shut down. The only way I could make any headway was to hit my Karate Chop points together while saying over and over and over, "Even though I have this problem, I deeply and profoundly accept myself." (I had no idea what issue was behind all this.)

It finally occurred to me to treat myself for "I don't deserve that these treatments should work for me." If I remember correctly, it took a while to clear, but once it did, I was again able to use EFT effectively. It turned out that this all had to do with a trauma that I had suffered that had to do with my 5th birthday. (For years, I had gotten sick and extremely depressed every year around that day...)

I have also used EFT effectively in treating depression in others. A friend of mine has suffered from depression for many years. She is on a low dosage of Prozac, but it isn't always enough. (It makes her extremely drowsy, even at low dosages.) When I first learned EFT, I offered to show her the technique and tap with her for just a few minutes every few days, assuring her that she did not have to even tell me about the problems she wanted to tap for. She had been seeing psychiatrists for several years, but spent most of her time in therapy evading questions and looking at her watch to see if it was time to go yet.

After a few weeks of working together, she wanted to spend even an hour or so with me -- and telling me about the specific problems she wanted to address: phobias, anxieties, even a childhood trauma. (I never thought I would see the day when she would actively seek me or anyone else out for help!)

When, on a couple of occasions, her depression worsened so that the Prozac no longer seemed effective, we used EFT to eliminate the depressed feelings. One time she came to me and said, "I'm suicidal," and asked me to tap with her. It took close to an hour, but she left feeling fine. But other than these episodes, I had not worked with her on depression per se, because of other problems that demanded immediate attention. Yet after several weeks, she was able to go off the Prozac.

Unfortunately, after about 3 months something came up that brought the depression back full force. She sat there drooping, her chin was practically resting on her chest, and hardly having energy to talk. I worked with her with a combination of EFT and BSFF until the feelings of depression were gone -- I believe it took an hour or so.

What brought it on was something very simple and ordinary -- someone volunteered her for something. We kept tracing the feeling back, tapping on the things that came up until she said, "I think the reason it bothered me so much is because it made me feel so vulnerable -- I was put in a position where I couldn't get out of it... like when I was a little girl, and my parents would leave me with my uncle, and I couldn't tell them why I didn't want to go with him..." (He had sexually abused her.) No wonder! We did a lot of tapping on different aspects of "vulnerability," and she ended up feeling much better.

Someone who saw her afterwards commented, "I haven't seen you smile and joke like that for days! It's good to have you back!" Later she said to me, "The difference was like black and white! I couldn't do anything; I just wanted to die -- and you helped me feel normal again, like life isn't so bad..." But she still is definitely not in a stable state, I am afraid. She slipped back into the depression within a day or two, and we worked at it again and pulled her out again. The cycle happened again the next day. And again. Until the Prozac she started taking again kicked in. So there's still a lot of work to do there. But there has been definite improvement in other areas, and I think the fact that the symptoms could be eliminated even temporarily is a good sign.

GC COMMENT: Many people would give up here, assuming that EFT was "only temporary." In my experience, however, Sarah is right in that there is "still a lot of work to do." This is NOT one of our "one minute wonders." It is a case where love, conviction and persistence are as necessary as the tool one is using.

SARAH CONTINUES: Since talking to you [on the phone recently], I've been working diligently at exploring the question of energy toxins, and have great hope that this is the key to unlocking the "stuck" problems I've encountered.

GC COMMENT: sometimes depression seems to be literally caused by something someone is eating, wearing, drinking, etc.

Thanks for all the wonderful support you provide through the list -- I'm always looking forward to reading your messages.

God bless you!



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