Other Emotional Issues

Grief

Using EFT for Bereavement

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Hi Everyone,

Unfortunately, grief (bereavement) shows up in just about everyone's life. A thank you to EFT Master Tania Prince (from the UK) for sharing her ways of handling it.

Hugs, Gary


By Tania Prince, EFT Master 

Introduction 

The loss of a loved one can result in extreme emotional distress. In some cases this distress can go on for years. EFT is a fantastic tool that can help people deal with these difficult emotions and reach a place where they can be at peace within themselves.

The following article deals with the basic strategy that I use with bereavement cases.

To help to highlight the process, I have used a case I worked on where the client developed panic attacks shortly after her father died.

Throughout this article I mention the use of reframes. In order to keep this particular article simple to read I did not include detailed information on the reframes. I will however be featuring them in a future article expanding on my earlier articles on EFT and reframing.

Dealing with Bereavement 

In my practice I have dealt with bereavement issues many times. I use a simple three step strategy

  1. Deal with potential blocks and explain the process
  2. Deal with the trauma and emotions around the bereavement
  3. Tap on the positive

1.  Deal with Potential Blocks and Explain the Process

Rapport is crucial to successful therapy. Understanding the client’s belief systems and working within them helps maintain rapport. Therefore the first thing I always do when dealing with a bereavement issue is check the client’s belief structure. When I know what their beliefs are, I work with them, even if they are different from mine.

People’s beliefs around dying can differ immensely. Although many clients have some form of spiritual beliefs I have also worked with clients whose beliefs are: “death is it”, we no longer exist in any form. Knowing this at the onset of the session means that I am less likely to inadvertently say things that conflict with their belief system and thus possibly damage the rapport. It also provides me with useful information if I use reframes with EFT. (Reframes are commonly used in therapy. They are a linguistic method of helping people shift their perception around issues. Combined with EFT they are very powerful.)

A common block I have come across is that people can be uncomfortable at the thought of letting go of their emotions around the loss. Some fear that losing their negative emotions means that they will no longer think about the person etc as if they will completely lose the person. However my experience of using EFT with this issue is that all they lose are the negative feelings. What naturally occurs as a consequence of this is that they naturally and automatically begin to remember the good times and the good memories of that person and experience good feelings as well. Sharing this information with clients prior to tapping allows the sessions to go much more smoothly.

In order to do this I ask the client to tap on the karate point. Then whilst they are tapping we just talk in a conversational manner and discuss what happens during this process. After I have talked this through with the client I always ask permission to proceed by saying, “Is that OK with you?”

The reason why I started to incorporate the above step into my bereavement sessions is that I noticed clients from time to time would begin to look uncomfortable when they began to tap on the trauma around the bereavement. They were shocked and frightened that it was working. I no longer have this reaction.

2.   Dealing With The Trauma Of The Bereavement  

When I work with bereavement issues I always take the negative emotions down to zero intensity. Using EFT it is possible to do this even with the most horrific memories. I clear all the negative emotions and traumas related to the death. The volume of work required can differ dramatically from client to client.

One of the traumas in the case I am using in this article was the hospital visits. Commonly the father would wake up, highly medicated and would say:

 “You’re not still here, are you”?

This was highly traumatic for both the client and her mother. So, each time he began to rouse the mother would say:

 “Drop down”.

Both mother and daughter would duck to avoid being seen. We used the EFT Movie technique combined with reframing to deal with this event. It cleared within seconds of beginning to tap. Clearing the one specific event resulted in all the other related events where they had ducked down, clearing as well.

I also cleared the moment of realisation that the person had died. In this case the client called it the “yellow movie problem”.

Other traumas included feeling that her father did not love her because she had found out that he had attempted suicide several times during his life. Again I used reframing and EFT to clear this.

3.  Tapping on the Positive

Although I do not use this stage with all clients, for many I have found this part of the therapy to be very beneficial.

The client in this case had strong spiritual beliefs. Her beliefs were that we went on in some form after death. So I asked her whilst we were tapping on the karate point:

“In that case, where would your father be now?”

She looked over at the chair in the office and said:

 “He’d be in that chair listening to us”.

In her mind’s eye she saw him wearing his green jacket with his hand cupped to his ear. (She still remembers fondly and vividly how she visualised her father on this day even months later)

“And is he happy?”

She said he was “highly amused” and interested by what we were doing.

Although I didn’t use the following question in this case I have in others where it has seemed appropriate;

“And would you meet up again with him at some point?”

“Oh yes”, is generally the answer I receive. Many clients seem to gain a lot of benefit from this discussion.

Testing

After we completed these steps, I asked the client:

 “When you think of your father what happens?”

 By phrasing the question in this way I am giving the client permission to say whatever occurs and not directing them to give me a positive answer.

Automatically (without any effort) the client’s face lit up as a positive memory popped into her mind. The client should not have to try to think positively, if they do have to use effort there is still more work to do. 

The client reported that after we did this in the therapy session she never again felt the sad feelings that she had experienced after her father’s death. In fact she was able to remember her father fondly with a smile on her face.

After EFT Therapy

This interview took place several months after completion of the therapy.

When asked about her father, the client said:

 “I can look at my father’s photo and feel good”. She went on to say, “when I think of him, I remember him coming up the stairs, looking happy”.

“I can go to the grave and not feel sad at all. In fact I clean down the headstone and take flowers and say, “here you go Dad”, and “I even clean the next headstone because Dad was always making comments when he was alive about the next door neighbours not looking after the place”.

When asked whether she felt her father loved her, she automatically said, “of course he does”.

Written by Tania A Prince, EFT Master 

I would like to thank the client who helped me write this article. She wanted to share her story and is very passionate about EFT. She has since gone on to become an EFT Therapist.

 

 

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