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Expert handling of a hidden traumatic memory -- all within 30 minutes

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Please study this detailed case report by Horst Benesch from Germany. It involves creative uses of (1) The Tearless Trauma Technique, (2) The Movie Technique, (3) Borrowing Benefits (4) various questions to uncover a hidden memory and (5) important testing of the results.

by Horst Benesch EFT-ADV, psychotherapist

This case happened when I recently conducted a Level 2 EFT workshop. A woman, 35, burst suddenly into tears and felt strong emotional distress while I was tapping with another group participant on a more general child issue (this is a classic form of Borrowing Benefits). A strong aspect of a hidden incident seemingly had popped up.

I took this chance to demonstrate to the group how soft EFT can work even in cases with strong emotional background. The woman had no idea of the reason for those strong emotions, just something tuned into the childhood topic.

I mainly followed the route of the Tearless Trauma Technique. As she was not able to tap and to speak, I did the both the tapping on and the wording for her. I started with

Even though my system feels so upset ...and then

Even though I have this heavy and painful issue, ...and

Even though I have all these tears and this emotional pain within myself because of something in my childhood, ...

With the above, I was attempting to "take the edge off". Then, after some calming down, I used the other statements to check whether a general associative phrasing made her feel worse again, which it did not. After some rounds of tapping she got visibly calm and the rating went down to a 1. She still did not know why this turmoil came up, however.

Q: If there would be a general headline for all of this, maybe just a word, what could it be.

A: "Animal" ... and she felt again a raise of uneasiness (rating at 6), without knowing anything consciously about the incident. She was tapping by herself with: "Even though this animal issue in my childhood gives me uneasiness, ..." After two rounds she got to a 2.

Q: Do you now have closer contact to what happened?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you have a new headline.

A: Axe.

Again she felt uneasy, still not knowing what really had happened (rated at 7). We tapped some rounds on "Even though there is something with an axe in my childhood, ..." She came down to a zero and reported the incident was starting to appear, but was still not clear.

Q: If you think you should remember what happened, is there any change in uneasiness?

A: No.

I asked for a headline again.

A: Father with an axe (the picture becomes more complete! But she was still unable to have precise recall about the incident).

Again a raise to a 4.

We tapped "Even though I have this memory on father with an axe, which makes me feeling upset, ...". She calmed down to a rating of 1.

I challenged this result asking again, what would happen if you should remember this event. She stayed calm and reported, that she knows now what had happened.

Q: Is there any change in the rating when I ask you to think on telling me the story?

No change.

I now used The Movie Technique (she was already introduced to it).

Q: Do you have a title of the movie?

A: Father is hitting my cat with an axe (all the pieces she put together in one headline).

In telling the title she went up to a 6.

This we tapped until the rating went down to zero.

Now she was ready to tell the story: Aged 7 and living on a farm she was looking out of the window to the field, when she saw that her father was killing her cat with an axe. (In mowing the field all legs of the cat were cut off, thus her father had to kill the cat.)

One "crescendo" (rating at 8) at the moment when she described how the axe struck the cat. By tapping it went down to a zero. She also reported hearing the screams of the cat. This aspect caused just a slight uneasiness which was tapped down to zero by one round of tapping.

I asked her to tell the whole story again, no uneasiness left.

I tested this result by using statements like this: I guess the blood was tripping from the axe. There must be a lot of blood around. It must look strange to see a beheaded body. None of these statements caused any distress.

Q: Did you say good-bye to your beloved cat?

Calmly she reported that she did not say good bye, because she did not want to see the dead cat so closely.

Q. Is there any need to say good-bye now?

A: No, it is fine now.

She felt much relief and said that somehow a burden in her was gone. The whole process took about half an hour.

Horst Benesch EFT-ADV, psychotherapist


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