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A traumatized female reclaims trust in her instincts

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Suzanne Lerner's client experienced a surprise trauma at age 10 that badly impacted her self confidence. Note how Suzanne persistently digs up important pieces of this specific event. Suzanne says, "I wish I had photos of her face, as we went through this session, her face becoming in succession: startled, bewildered, amazed, and then very relieved. She couldn't believe all the different feelings she had been carrying, and also how easily she was able to release them."

Hugs, Gary

By Suzanne ib Lerner, PhD

Hi Gary,

I recently ran into a woman whom I know from doing some volunteer work together. I had just come from giving a presentation on EFT and "Monica" was eager to hear about it. As I described the work, she got more and more excited. She asked if I would be willing to do a session with her, and I happily agreed.

I asked her to pick an issue that would be a 5 or 6 rating of distress, to begin with. She looked at me and said, "How about an 11?" Since I know her to be a relatively emotionally mature and stable person, who would be able to take care of herself after the session, I agreed. I let her know that different emotions might arise, and she just needed to tap on them. If she felt she needed more support, she could contact me or another counselor.

Well, it turned out that she had had a very disturbing experience when she was younger, and had been carrying around all these emotions ever since. We used Tell the Story Technique to work with the issue.

When Monica was 10 years old, her parents were living at the State University while going to graduate school. They had a casual friend, but they told Monica to stay away from him. This of course, piqued her curiosity. She felt old enough to make her own decisions, and she felt her parents weren't respecting her judgment. Very 10 years old! Well, this man invited her and her friend to go feed the ducks on campus. Her friend wasn't allowed to go, but Monica decided to go anyway, without asking her parents' permission.

She became teary eyed. She felt that her parents had become angry and disappointed with her, because she had always been such a good and trustworthy daughter before. So we tapped on this aspect:

Even though my parents were disappointed in me, because I didn't obey them...
Even though I felt like I was intelligent and could make my own decisions, and I made a mistake...
Even though my parents were mad, they've forgiven me, but I still haven't forgiven myself. Maybe I can be open to the possibility of forgiving myself. I was doing the best I could, given my age and experience.

(Reminder Phrase: "I disappointed them" and "I made a mistake.")

These rounds really seemed to open up some new understandings for her. She spoke about how she had been a pretty intelligent and perceptive child, way beyond her years. But after this experience, she had somehow stopped trusting her own instincts. We tapped on these issues and then moved on. I really didn't know what she was going to reveal at this point, but given my 30 years in trauma work, I felt comfortable to deal with it. Still, I was a bit surprised, so I can only imagine little Monica's surprise, as the events unfolded for her.

It turned out that this casual acquaintance of her parents was a heroin addict! As they walked in the park she was happily looking forward to feeding the ducks But then everything came to a halt. A policeman stopped them to talk. And suddenly, out of nowhere, the "family friend" pulled out a gun and shot the policeman! This was totally out of young Monica's frame of experience.

There were many aspects to address. She was only a foot away from the gun when it went off. So we addressed the noise, the smell, the fear that she would be held responsible, the confusion, as well as the fear for her own safety. We brought each of these issues down, and I kept asking after we addressed another aspect: "What else distressed you? What else are you aware of as you experience yourself there?"

One of the most surprising aspects, was that she blamed herself for not stopping him. Apparently this man ran off and some people tackled him, and held him until more police came. The first policeman was wounded, but not killed. But Monica felt she should have stopped him, or at least kept him from running away. (I am continually amazed at how children will blame themselves, as a way of coping with seemingly "uncontrollable events.")

I see this often with children of divorced parents, where these sweet young children will say something like: "Daddy left us because I didn't clean my room." And then some irrational belief becomes more writing on their walls. "I have to be perfect, else something really bad will happen." Thank heavens for the eraser of EFT!)

We addressed this issue, and then something else came up, and it was like some lights finally went on in her head. As she expressed it, "You know, even at that young age, I sensed that something was "wrong" with this man, and some part of me wanted to help him, to heal him some way. Of course I didn't know what heroin was, or what his problem was, but something in me knew he needed help." And so we tapped on her sadness at not being able to help him, and also acknowledged the beauty of her compassion at such a young age. We also addressed forgiving herself, for not being able to help a heroin addict, at the tender age of 10 years old.

Even though I knew he needed help, and I wasn't able to help him, even trained professionals have a hard time helping addicts. I was out of my league, and maybe my parents were right, just this once. (said with humor and a twinkle in my eyes.)

I wish I had photos of her face, as we went through this session, her face becoming in succession: startled, bewildered, amazed, and then very relieved. She couldn't believe all the different feelings she had been carrying, and also how easily she was able to release them. We ended with a few more rounds for integration.

Even though I DID make a mistake, no one could have predicted what happened, and I still deeply and completely love, accept and forgive myself.

Even though I did disobey my parents, I thought I was just being a little disobedient, I had no idea I was about to become a 10 year old accessory to attempted murder! (again said with humor and a twinkle, with her ruefully chuckling along.) I didn't have a CLUE how bad it was going to get. My parents have long forgiven me, it's time to forgive myself.

Even though my instincts betrayed me, there have been many situations since then, where my feelings WERE accurate. It's okay to begin to trust my feelings again.

(Reminder Phrases: I made a mistake, I forgive myself, I can begin to trust my feelings again)

Monica was extremely grateful and relieved. She had never made the connections before, but since this incident, she often had a very difficult time trusting her own feelings and judgments. A bright woman, she now easily made the connections. I asked her to rate the following statement, with 10 being totally true:

"Even though I made an understandable mistake with this guy, I generally have pretty good instincts."

She smiled at me and said: "8! I generally have really good instincts. In fact, people often come to me because they rely on my perceptions."

What a beautiful session! I look forward to watching how her life changes, now that she can trust herself again.

Love & Blessings,
Suzanne i.b. Lerner, PhD


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