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Step by step through a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder case

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Hi Everyone,

Professionals and dedicated EFT students should find much to study in this detailed excursion through a complicated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) case by Dr. Alexander Lees (from Canada).

First, Alex develops the traumatic incident in detail as well as the flashbacks that were still occurring almost 40 years later. Then he breaks the case down into the many aspects and specific events underlying the PTSD. You will find both the language patterns and the set-up phrases useful in your own cases.

Great headway is made with "Kay" (the client) in only two sessions. As Alex reports at the end of his article....

A few more questions revealed that according to Kay, less than 10% of her 'shakiness' remains. "The flashbacks are becoming vague," she said, "like I can see right through them."

Hugs, Gary

By Dr. Alexander Lees

The following is a synopsis of the first two sessions I recently spent with a remarkable human being. I will call her "Kay."

Kay is 64 years old and spent much of her life in the great Canadian frozen North. Alone in a log cabin, she birthed two daughters. Her husband's job necessitated that he be away months at a time, leaving Kay to "fend for herself." This included cutting her own firewood (the only source of heat) and maintaining a hole in the ice of a nearby creek for her water source.

A friend was there to assist with the birth of her first child. When Kay was about to deliver her second child, weather conditions delayed the friend's arrival. Kay gave birth to the second child a few hours before her friend could reach the cabin. The friend found Kay in such a bad state that an emergency trip to the distant hospital was arranged by radio telephone.

A young bush pilot volunteered to assist, and using a small plane equipped with skis, managed to drop between the trees into a field of snow nearby. After tobogganing her to the plane, the pilot needed to calculate how much fuel to jettison to ensure takeoff from such a confined space.

Kay remembers vividly the radio conversation between the pilot and "the help out there."

After much discussion over the radio, Kay, now slipping further into medical distress, realized that if they made the takeoff, the plane would only reach the highway. The police were dispatched to close a section of it, and an ambulance would meet them there to complete the trip to civilization and medical help at the hospital. Thanks to a "courageous young man with nerves of steel," Kay made it.

Days later, the nightmares began. Up until our first EFT sessions together, they had lasted nearly 40 years.

She told me, "The doctors have tried all kinds of medication, they are really compassionate and concerned. I've been referred to several counsellors over the years, and I take my medicines every day, but I still can't get past it all, even after all these years. I shake uncontrollably sometimes, and relive that time over and over."

"So the diagnosis you wrote on the Intake Form says you are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress," I offered, just to break the silence. "Oh, one of them said that, and another said it was Compulsive Obsessive," Kay responded in a small voice. "I just feel that if I could stop thinking about it, just for a while, I could get some relief." "What happens when you think about it?" I queried.

"It's like reliving it all over again," lamented Kay. "I wake up, and I pray for relief. I take my pills, I tell myself what a wonderful job everyone did, and I feel guilty about not rejoicing in my good luck, and I repeat, over and over, what heroes they were." Then I said, "Kay, I know about this technique designed to help people relax, among other things. First, I'd like you to experience it, then we can talk some more, okay?"

"What shall we call what you're feeling right now?" I asked. "Er, I'm really shaky, just being here and thinking about what we are going to talk about," Kay offered, with a tremor in her voice. I gently took her right hand and began tapping. As I did so, I asked Kay to repeat, "Even though I feel nervous and shaky right now, I completely and deeply accept myself." "Why would I say that?" Kay wanted to know. "I can't accept this at all. I've tried to over and over. My pastor said that I need to accept it in order to heal, but so far it hasn't worked."

I resumed tapping the P.R. point and said, "Of course not, not yet. What your pastor said and what I'm saying are a little bit different. What I would like you to know is that you are okay, the shakiness isn't. These words are designed to separate you from it." As I continued the tapping, Kay repeated "Even though I'm okay, the nervousness and shakiness isn't, and I completely and deeply accept myself." We did three repeats then tapped the rest of the points using the reminder phrase, "This shakiness."

"Well, that certainly is relaxing," was Kay's next comment. "How long will it last?" "Long enough to do some other interesting things," I smiled. "Now, Kay, if I could give you the day off from this, I would have to be able to do the shakiness for you. To do that, I need to know how to be you. Once I wake up, what would I do first?" After a little prompting, Kay shared the following.

"I wake up about 5:30am because of my pounding heart and a dry mouth. I sip water from the bedside table, and begin praying for relief. I pray 'Please, Lord, I don't want to feel this way. I don't want to think about what happened so long ago. I don't want to have these flashbacks any more.' After approximately one half hour or so of these negative stream of prayers, I get out of bed, take a tranquilizer in the bathroom, return to bed, and pray until the alarm rings at 7:30am." Kay then talked about her morning routine, making breakfast, coffee, making lists and interspersed with it all, the flashbacks. "And after the tranquilizer begins to take hold, is there any change?" I asked.

"They dull the sensations," she said. "The memories don't affect me as much for a while, and then I know the medication is wearing off because I get more nervous, more anxious and my heart seems to race a bit. Then I take another pill."

I said, "If we made a movie from beginning to end, of that time so long ago, and we wanted to get people's emotions involved, with what scene would we start?" She replied, "The fact that 'Rose' hadn't shown up yet, and the baby was so close. I was really frightened. I kept playing scenes of what could happen." Kay was now quite distressed. She was a natural. Just as if she'd gone to EFT Client School, she responded beautifully.

"Even though I was frightened, delivering a baby under such frightening conditions," was the set-up, followed with a round of: "This fright." "What scene would be next?" I asked gently. "This plane landed, I thought it was crashing it was so low -- and then this young man was talking to Rose (Rose had made it, using a snowmobile). The next thing I knew, I was on a toboggan. It was so cold. I thought I would fall off, and then I saw the plane, and knew the field was too small. No one could get over the trees." Kay suddenly broke down in tears. The next round, starting with the P.R. point, was "Even though the toboggan trip, the radio conversation by the pilot, and the fear of hitting the trees was real, I deeply and completely accept myself."

"Are you okay with this?" I asked. "Would you like to stop talking about this, or..." Kay interrupted with, "No, no, please, this is the first time I've been able to get this far without collapsing. You must be a good listener."

The third intervention was (again, starting with the P.R. point) "Even though the smell of the dumped fuel made me nauseous, and I still see the trees coming up fast, I..." This is where Kay changed the words to "I trust in God and this pilot."

By now, Kay was obviously tired, and wanted to continue the next day. "Make it happen," I requested of the Boss that deals with those things, namely my wife. She did. Kay arrived the next day and said, "I slept a little better than usual. But I can't get the (scene of) wires and the highway out of my mind, and all the flashing lights (police, ambulance)." Gently tapping the P.R. point, I had Kay repeat: "Even though from this height, the highway seems so narrow, and all the poles far too close, and the lights signify I and the babies are going to die (her interpretation) I trust in God and this brave young pilot."

We then did a round using the phrase "This conviction of certain death," (again, Kay's interpretation, or assigned meaning of the scene before her). Following that we did the 9 Gamut, and floor to ceiling eye roll. After a few minutes, Kay said, "You know, I'm finally admitting to myself how much I resented my husband not being there for me, and I feel guilty about feeling that way. It isn't right."

We did a round using the phrase "This resentment," and followed with a round for "this guilt." "How do you feel now?" I asked gently. "Well, I'm much more relaxed," she said. "I can appreciate now that because of our sacrifices (my husband's and mine) we have a pleasant home here in civilization, and sufficient money to be okay. We managed to put both girls through college, and now I have grandchildren to spoil."

I waited two more weeks before writing about this case. I wanted to be sure that two visits was actually enough to clear all those years of suffering. During Kay's last phone call she mentioned a planned visit to her medical doctor for a "check-up" and begin the process of reducing or eliminating her various medications.

She also said that although she continues her prayers each morning, she usually doesn't wake up until the alarm rings....around 7am instead of 5:30am. Her prayers now, instead of being about the negative events of her past, take the form of useful items in the here and now. "I pray about other things now," Kay said. "I pray that God will keep me healthy, I pray for my daughter, who is going through a divorce. I thank Him for finding you and your wonderful healing method, and I pray to give thanks that so much of it is gone." A few more questions revealed that according to Kay, less than 10% of her 'shakiness' remains. "The flashbacks are becoming vague," she said, "like I can see right through them."

I look forward to some more time with this lovely lady.

Dr. Alexander R. Lees


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