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Some tips for easing trauma survivors into using EFT

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Clients with heavy trauma often need to be eased into the therapeutic process. The incidents are very painful and thus trust must be well established. Paul Zelizer offers a 5 step EFT oriented process to accomplish this.

Hugs, Gary

By Paul Zelizer, EFT-CC


I've had the opportunity to work with a growing number of trauma survivors in my practice.  To help my clients in as fast, safe and painless way as possible, I've been experimenting with a trauma protocol that works for the largest number of clients.  The protocol that I've been using has worked extremely well and I wanted to share it.

STEP 1: When it becomes obvious that I'm dealing with a trauma case, I start by explaining the effects of trauma on the breath.  Research into trauma suggests that during time of trauma our breath gets shallow and this often becomes a lasting breathing pattern for trauma survivors.  I explain the concept of the 3 Dimensional Breath: in other words in a fully relaxed body, the breath expands up/down, front/back and side to side simultaneously.  I then use the Constricted Breathing technique where people rate the depth of their ability to breathe fully and then use EFT to remove the constrictions.  This gives clients a safe way to experience EFT.  Since most people don't have resistance to breathing more deeply, it has worked every time for me in this context.

STEP 2: Having built some trust in EFT, we move on to introducing the Movie Technique.  I have people pick an incident with an intensity level of 3-4 on a scale of 0 to 10 to start.  Since people already know the technique and have had a good experience with it in step 1, this has gone well 100% of the time.

STEP 3: By now, the client is familiar with EFT, has seen positive results twice, trusts me and is ready to begin clearing some of the real trauma.  In order to continue to build trust, I suggest they pick something in the range of a 7-8 out of 10 level of intensity.  In doing this, I'm leaving them the opportunity to not have to go to the most painful memories right away.  However, often the trust is there that client will go immediately to a 10.  It's like the part of the client that has been caring this negative emotion recognizes the safety created and can't wait to clear the trauma. Whatever the client picks, we run the Movie Technique until we get the intensity to a zero or one out of 10.

STEP 4: Now I have the client pick any trauma they want to clear, whatever the intensity, and run the Movie Technique.  By now, trust levels and familiarity with the Movie Technique are high.  Results are quite remarkable.

STEP 5: Repeat Step 4 as often as needed (usually over the course of several sessions) to restore a sense of well-being and free attention in the client.

This is a simple protocol using proven EFT techniques.  By putting together this protocol, I've found that both myself and my clients have a better sense of where we are going and how to get there.  It's increased my ability to use this amazing technique to help people heal in timeframes that are unheard of in traditional counseling.

Blessings to you Gary for your gift to the world.

Paul Zelizer, MA, LPC, EFT-CC


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