Clinical Hypnotherapy EFT and NLP in Northwich Cheshire
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Can EFT be used for back pain? Case Study

EFT can be incredibly useful for resolving chronic and severe pain issues. One of my most interesting and dramatic cases so far was with a client called Kay, a lady who had suffered with chronic back pain for the previous seven years. This had been described as a muscular issue by medics and for which the client was currently receiving physiotherapy, with no marked improvements at all.

Kay was familiar with energy work, being a Reiki practitioner and had also tried many other forms of complementary therapy (Reflexology, Bowen technique etc), without success.

She moved very slowly and stiffly, had to take the time to push herself up from the chair using her arms and found it painful to bend over to pick anything up from the floor. She also had shoulder and neck pain a lot of the time, and was struggling to cope with everyday tasks that involved lifting or physical activity. She rated the level of intensity at about a seven (on a scale of one to ten, ten being the worst) at a specific point when trying to get out of the chair, and said that she was only without pain whilst sat still and upright and that any movement started the pain off. Her body language was tense; she rarely smiled and explained that she felt constantly tired and very depressed about her condition.

After explaining to Kay the nature of eft, we began tapping just on the physical sensations to begin with;

“Even though I have this sharp stabbing pain in my lower back when I try to get up from the chair…”
“Even though it hurts my lower back so much when I stand up…”
“Even though I get these pains shooting down my legs…”

I then asked her to test by standing up from the chair, at which point the pain had dropped to around a five. She then stated that she was feeling a tingling sensation and warmth spreading from her lower back down her legs.

We continued to tap then on the feelings surrounding the pain;

“Even though I’m so fed up of being in constant pain…”
“Even though I’m scared that I will just have to learn to live with it…” (A lovely phrase from a doctor incidentally that one…)
“Even though I’m so tired of hurting all the time…”

At this point she declared that the warm sensation was moving down her legs and that her feet were beginning to tingle. She described a feeling in her back that was like the muscles beginning to relax.
We tested by getting up from the chair, and the pain had dropped to around a three. She then stated that the pain in her shoulder and arm was getting worse.

We then tapped on this, before which I asked her to be aware of thoughts and feelings that may surface during the tapping round. After this she said the pain had moved to her heart. At which point she announced “Oh! It’s my Dad!” and burst into tears. (Kay had lost her Dad to cancer about fifteen years before)

As she was very upset, I began tapping for her on the Karate point, while she told me how she felt about her Dad’s death, and was ok with me continuing to tap whilst I repeated what she had said;

“Even though I still miss him so much…”
“Even though it’s not fair and he should still be here…”
“Even though I’m angry because he was too good a person to go so soon…”

It was of course very emotional, and we managed to get it round to;

“Even though it still hurts so much… maybe I can keep all the love and happy emotions and let go of this pain…”
“Maybe Dad would want me to feel the love and move on now… maybe I’m ready to let go of the hurt, maybe I can still keep the happy memories…”

Kay calmed down during this, stopped crying and visibly relaxed as I continued to tap for her. When I finished she gave me a big smile and said she felt light and completely free from pain. I asked her to stand again, which she did gingerly – but completely pain free! We both looked at each other in shock, and then had her walk around, bend over to pick something up from the floor and sit back down again. All of which she did without a hint of pain! I then commented on the fact that she still seemed fearful of standing up, so we then tapped on any remaining fear of the pain, after which she stood up normally with smooth movements and dramatically altered body language. She stood up straight, her head was held high and she was relaxed and fluid in her movement. Even her eyes and skin were brighter and seemed to have improved in appearance.

She then tested again and could get up and down out of the chair easily, bend over to pick something up and even touch her toes! She literally danced around the room in excitement, stating that she hadn’t been able to do any of this for such a long time, she had forgotten what it felt like to be completely pain free. She couldn’t stop laughing and hugging me and I felt truly humbled to be able to experience seeing this healing take place in front of my very eyes.

Since that session, she reported slight discomfort in the lower back area the following day, which she promptly tapped on and got rid of, and has had no reoccurrence of the pain whatsoever since then. Not only has she experienced the physical benefits, her emotional health has benefited enormously and she is much more light-hearted and prone to laughter than I have ever seen her. This one session took place just over two months ago and to date she continues to improve daily.

EFT Article in the Daily Telegraph

EFT is to be found everywhere and has seen a huge surge in popularity over the last few years, even finding it’s way into celebrity circles, as discovered in this article published in the Daily Telegraph by Beverley Turner…

Singer Michael Ball was seen doing it on a daytime TV chat show. He learnt it from the late singer, Stephen Gately, who used it to calm his own performance nerves. Lily Allen’s weight loss was attributed to its efficacy. American PGA players have been spotted doing it around the golf course. And Norwegian pole-vaulter Rens Blom credited his unexpected 2005 World Championship Gold to its powers. The internet reveals millions of anecdotal accounts of its success on phobias, addictions and anxiety. So nearing the end of my own two-year psychotherapy training, I wanted to discover what this mysterious “tapping” business is all about.

So I signed up for a day course at the EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Academy in London’s Regent’s College, with Richard Mark, an advanced EFT practitioner and certified trainer, who has worked as a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist for 12 years. My fellow students are a mixed bunch of mental health professionals, lawyers, physiotherapists, trainee counsellors and full-time parents. Unafraid to challenge, the students are surprisingly curious and sceptical rather than gullibile. There isn’t a sandal or kaftan among them.

Although it doesn’t rigidly follow his teachings, Mark’s course is based on the EFT therapy developed by American, Gary Craig in 1997. Craig had studied Dr. Callaghan’s Thought Field Therapy in the 1980s, an evolution of John Diamond’s Kinesiology, both of which were rooted in ancient Eastern “meridian energy” theories of acupuncture and Shiatsu, codified since at least 1000BC.

These therapies claimed that our bodies contain invisible energy pathways – meridians – and identified hundreds of acupoints at junctions along these interconnecting highways. They can be disrupted by life’s vicissitudes; in extreme cases, resulting in not only mental but also physical problems.

EFT works by a person tapping on just nine of these acupoints, while speaking aloud. And this is where it becomes a little weird. Working in pairs we identify a minor physical ailment and repeat the phrase, “Even though I have this sore knee / headache / lack of energy, I deeply and completely accept myself,” while tapping on the meridian points: the soft part of the hand beneath the little finger, crown of the head, around the eyes, beneath the nose, the chin, near the clavicle and beneath the armpit. I just about resist the urge to “ooh ooh” like a monkey.

A key part of the therapy is calibrating the intensity of either physical or emotional pain, which allows both therapist and patient a tangible scale by which to measure success. Mark explains that EFT is “especially effective in clearing traumatic memories: accidents, abuse, violence, childhood memories; or even clearing persistent negative messages from family or key people in our lives.”

We move onto emotional problems, selecting a memory that is difficult, but manageable in the limited time available, and within a classroom environment. Using the “Movie Technique,” we must make a mental movie of a specific event, giving it a title and running it in our mind’s eye, marking its intensity between 1 – 10, before tapping with the mantra, “Even though I have this playground bullying / car accident / illness diagnosis movie, I deeply and completely accept myself.” In extreme cases of trauma, the patient can merely imagine the units of distress without running the movie in their head, gradually moving towards the scene at a safe pace.

In spite of – or perhaps because of – the adrenaline from feeling like a bit of a wally, when using the “Movie Technique” myself my own memory of witnessing a violent assault twenty years ago, does indeed fade in its intensity. But I’m not a prime candidate. EFT has impressive results on a whole spectrum of emotional issues but is arguably making its biggest impact on those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Treating such patients, Marta Krol, a Polish clinical psychologist who trained under Mark and has returned to Poland, has found EFT’s effects “amazing”. She recounts a 12-year-old Chechnyan girl suffering speech and anxiety problems as a result of witnessing, aged six, her uncle’s dismembered body brought into the family home and laid on the kitchen table by hysterical relatives. The child did not speak at all for the following 12 months.

“We had worked together for six months with little progress,” says Krol, “Then I tried EFT. She pictured herself watching the terrible scene on TV but through another TV and so on until she was five levels removed and even then she saw herself watching from behind the curtains. But after six weeks she was talking fluently and could recount the event with no anxiety. I honestly believe I could not have helped her do that without EFT.”

Emma-Leigh Johnson, a London-based drugs counsellor is unequivocal about its benefits, “By the time clients come to me they have had lots of therapy. They know what to say, the games to play and boxes to tick. EFT is so unusual, they don’t know what you want to hear.”

Few therapies allow a patient to say aloud that they accept themselves despite their rape / abuse / addiction, while dealing with the emotions that arise simultaneously. Johnson explains, “lots of therapy separates the issue and the human being. With this you can change how you feel about something, but accept that you can’t change what happened – that’s the emotional freedom. I see bigger shifts using EFT than any other therapy.”

Some clients prefer to be ‘tapped upon’ by the therapist; others will mirror their actions; but perhaps more than any other therapy, EFT equips the individual to take away the skill to use at any time.

EFT is still ripe for ridicule. Having explained it in broad terms to my husband, he can now be heard muttering, “I may not have unstacked the dishwasher but I deeply and completely accept myself.” But I have no doubt that the sound of tapping is here to stay. And it’s only going to get louder.

EFT as first aid for children

Recently my daughter had some little friends over to play. Everything was going fine until James (age four) unwisely decided to rest his hand on the door just as it was being closed. Result – trapped purple fingers and a yell that had me running from the other end of the house like a bat out of hell.

Poor James was inconsolable so instinctively I led him quickly to the tap to rinse his fingers under the water, and while he did that I just began to tap the eft points from the top of his head to collarbone, repeatedly for a moment or two.

The results were quite remarkable. Within about 30 seconds James had stopped crying. Within a minute his breathing had returned to normal, and within two minutes he was completely calm. I asked him if he had any soreness left in his finger, and he paused for a second, then happy as Larry replied “Nope! It’s all better now.”

Upon examination, the fingers that a few minutes earlier were livid purple and undoubtedly bruised were a normal colour with no hint of even slight bruising. James of course took all this in his stride and scampered off, leaving me staring into space in wonder, marvelling once again at the amazing healing power of EFT.

When I next saw James, it was a couple of days later, and when I asked how his fingers were, he had forgotten he had hurt them, and there wasn’t a mark on them. Magic indeed!