Category: EFT

EFT research recommendation by NICE (UK Government Body)

NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) issued a set of guidelines for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). The guidelines are for, “recognising, assessing and treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in children, young people and adults.” (NICE, 2018)

NICE PTSD guidelines include a research recommendation for EFT. For the first time a government agency has deemed EFT worthy of research, which is a huge success for EFT.

The following excerpt is from NICE’s website:

The committee decided to make a research recommendation for emotional freedom technique (EFT), which is one of the two combined somatic and cognitive therapies considered in the guideline (the other one being thought field therapy TFT). EFT was selected for a research recommendation as it showed a considerably larger effect size than TFT in comparisons with nonactive controls in pairwise meta-analysis.

To find out why the committee made the research recommendation on EFT,  see appendix L of evidence review D: psychological, psychosocial and other non-pharmacological interventions for the treatment of PTSD in adults.

References:

AAMET Newsletter, Dec 5, 2018

NICE website: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng116/evidence

Youtube Live Series

I have started a Youtube Live series on EFT for Physical Issues.

The first part was aired today and the replay will be available for the next 4 days.


The second part will be aired next week, and the third in Dec.

Every month I will be making Live presentations on Youtube on topics related to emotional and physical health.

Sign up to be notified every month.

Collapsing Global issues in EFT: The tabletop metaphor

This is a really good metaphor used by Gary Craig to explain how we need to work on specific events to collapse globally stated issues.

The tabletop is the global issue and the legs are the specific events that support the global issue.

Examples of Global Issues

Everyone rejects me.

I am unworthy of love and happiness.

This world is a dangerous place.

My co-workers always belittle me.

My work life sucks.

My partner is emotionally unavailable.

I’m unhappy

These are global beliefs or feelings that you need to work on. Since these issues are global in nature, just tapping on these will only bring partial or no relief. On the other hand, if you find the legs that support the table top, the specific events, then the table top will crumble.

 

Specific events

Start with events from your childhood and then work your way up to the events in adulthood. It’s good to start with the lesser intensity ones, if you are working by yourself or even with a practitioner, to avoid getting too overwhelmed. Once you’ve successfully worked on 2-3 of these smaller ones, go to the big ones. Once you’ve worked on the bigger intensity events, then the remaining smaller ones will also collapse.

Examples

My teacher slapped me in the 2nd std/grade.

I was bullied in the school when I was in the 5th std/grade.

I was compared to my sister and told that I weighed more than her.

My nanny abused me when my parents had gone to my Aunt’s house.

I hurt my knees when I fell down riding my bicycle.

To understand the EFT concepts, you can purchase the EFT concepts illustrated Ebook where all the concepts are depicted in pictures.

 

Breaking the habit of not taking breaks!

How many times have you continued an activity without a break?

For example, you are very passionate about a project or a new hobby that you’ve started. Do you try to finish the project without taking breaks, without paying any attention to sleep and other important daily self-care routines?

When you literally dive into something like this without a proper self-care routine, you run the risk of burnout. This can also lead to procrastination. You may collapse after this intense period of activity and not want to start the activity again. Once in a while all of us do this. We will work non-stop to meet a deadline or get too engrossed in an activity and it is okay. But if this becomes a habit, it has to change.

Non-stop and intense activity periods may be fuelled by one or more of these reasons:

  • Not wanting to take a break till you get a satisfactory result.
  • Thinking that taking breaks will decrease your concentration.
  • You don’t feel good enough about yourself and your work/activity is a way of proving to yourself that you are good enough.
  • You believe that work is superior to rest.
  • You believe in all or nothing thinking. Either do it all or not do at all.
  • You believe if you don’t do ALL, you will fail in it
  • You belief in ‘perfect’ results and won’t rest till the end result is ‘Perfect’.

How does this impact you? It will:

  • Drain you of energy.
  • Cause burnout
  • Impact your physical health
  • Disrupt your sleep
  • Reduce motivation to do other things

What can help?

  • Not letting the activity affect your sleep, exercise and eating routine.
  • Taking regular breaks, even if they are short.
  • Having control over any new activity that you undertake.
  • Listening to your body and taking breaks when it’s screaming for rest.
  • EFT

EFT SCRIPT

Even though when I dive into something, I don’t take breaks, I have a pattern of engaging in an activity non-stop, I accept and forgive myself.

Even though I cannot stop once I start something, I neglect my emotional and physical health, I would like to forgive myself.

EB- I don’t get up till I finish something

EC-I tend to push myself

UE- I feel I need to do it properly

UN- If I don’t do ALL, I’m going to fail, or not do well.

CH- – The more time I spend at something, the better the outcome will be.

CB -If I don’t spend that time I feel it’s not good enough.

UA- I procrastinate anything that takes a lot of energy for me.

TOP OF HEAD- I avoid it because I know if get absorbed into it, I won’t take breaks.

(Add whatever comes up for you)

EB-  What if there is a better way of doing things? What if I do a little daily?

EC- What if I can get work done without collapsing, procrastinating or losing motivation?

UE- What if I take breaks and engage in micro self-care practices to get better results, without getting burnt out?

UN-I choose to take breaks and give myself the rest that my mind and body deserve.

CH- If I take breaks, then I will be able to feel better even after the work is done. I won’t collapse. I won’t procrastinate.

CB- I choose to take frequent breaks.

UA- I choose to do a little daily.

TOP OF HEAD – I choose to make self-care a priority. This way I can get more work done.

Tap on ABC of anxiety to feel calm

Those who’ve experienced anxiety know that it entails worry, tension, catastrophic thoughts, physical sensations in the body etc. So in a way, there are specific components that make up anxiety. In Cognitive behaviour therapy sessions, I give a form to my clients, called the ABC form [A – activating event, B – beliefs and thoughts, C – consequences – emotions and behaviour] There is also a section in the form for rating the sensations in the body. Now, if you add ‘movement’ and ‘5 sense perception’ to this, it makes it more complete. I’m calling these the components of anxiety.

5 sense perception, thoughts, emotions, sensations in body, activating event and movement – all these are significant components of anxiety that we need to address when we experience anxiety.

If you work on these components of anxiety, you will experience profound relief. Let me explain how this can be done with the help of a case example.

My client, B, got very anxious whenever she stepped out of the house. She experienced immense anxiety in the stomach with catastrophic thoughts and images of falling down the stairs, falling on the road, etc. While she was very calm and relaxed at home, going out made her anxious. We worked on some core events from her childhood that had paved the way for this anxiety. We also worked on the beliefs and secondary gain related to anxiety. We tapped on her catastrophic thoughts, wanting to escape from situations, made behavioural experiments (combining cognitive behaviour therapy and EFT) to release her anxiety. Over a span of 2 months, her anxiety reduced drastically. What brought about a significant change in her anxiety was when she started addressing anxiety as soon as she experienced it, on a daily basis, with the suggested guidelines.

I asked her to approach anxiety in the following way whenever she felt anxious:

Activating event/trigger –  Stepping  out of the house.

Even though I get very anxious when as I plan to step out of the house, I accept how I feel.

Sensations in the body – Tightness in chest and heaviness in stomach.

She tapped on her fingertips, or simply pressed her fingertip points when she had sensations in her body. (We tapped on these scenarios in the sessions also)

Even though I have this tightness in my chest and heaviness in my stomach when I lock the door and leave the house, I choose to release this anxiety from my chest and stomach. I choose to calm my stomach.

Whenever she travelled by bus and was caught in a traffic jam, she would panic. So she started tapping on this:

Even though I have this sensation in my stomach and I feel this panic due to the traffic jam, I choose to release this anxiety from my stomach. I choose to calm and relax my stomach.

Thoughts: “What if I fall when I step on a bus!”

Even though I am having this thought right now, I am releasing it. I trust my body to keep me safe.

When she started focusing on her worries and doubts, they increased. So I asked her to tap before the doubts increased in their intensity.

Even though when my doubts cross a certain threshold, I am not able to control my thoughts, I feel helpless, I feel as if I cannot control the situation, I start feeling afraid, I choose to release that fear automatically in that moment.

Emotions: She was angry that she was getting anxious.

Even though I’m angry with myself, I choose to release this anger and replace it with compassion. I choose to be compassionate with myself.  I choose to be gentle with myself.

5 sense perception:  She got an image of falling off the bus.

Even though I see this image, I choose to change it and see myself safe and secure on the bus.

We didn’t tap on movement, but it helps to include that as explained below.

 

EXERCISE

Here is a simple exercise for you.

  • Measure the intensity of Anxiety.
  • Write down the specific components of anxiety, as given below.
  • Tap on these components
  • Measure intensity again.

COMPONENTS OF ANXIETY (Ideal for Daily tapping)

Activating Event– What triggered the anxiety?  Was it a thought? Did something happen? Did someone say something? Are you going out?

Thoughts – What are the thoughts running in your head? Example- “What if I fall?”, “I cannot control my anxiety”.

Emotions: What are you feeling? Example-  Fear of something terrible happening, anger for feeling anxious etc

Sensations in the body –  What do you feel in your body when you’re anxious? What change in your body tells you that you have anxiety?  Example – rapid breathing, sweating, tightness in chest, constriction in throat.

(5 sense perception and movement – Pat Ogden and Janina Fisher talk about this in sensoritmotor psychotherapy)

5 sense perception – Image/smell/taste/touch/sound. Do you see images when you get anxious?  Do you get a funny smell? Do you have a peculiar taste in your mouth? Do you feel warm or cold? Do you hear something?

Movement – This is about noticing the changes in the movement of your body, like the posture of your body and gestures etc.  Do you look down when you are anxious? Do you slump? Do your shoulders sag?

Change your posture and tap on it.

Even though I slump when I get anxious, I choose to sit straight.

Continue to tap this way at least once every day and see how you feel. Remember, this works best when you tap as soon as you feel anxious.

 

Crossing the Shame Swampland

I really like Brene Brown’s work. In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown says

“In Jungian circles, shame is often referred to as the swampland of the soul. I’m not suggesting that we wade out into the swamp and set up camp. I’ve done that and I can tell you that the swampland of the soul is an important place to visit, but you would not want to live there. What I’m proposing is that we learn how to wade through it. We need to see that standing on the shore and catastrophisizing about what could happen if we talked honestly about our fears is actually more painful than grabbing the hand of a trusted companion and crossing the swamp. And, most important, we need to learn why constantly trying to maintain our footing on the shifting shore as we gaze across to the other side of the swamp—where our worthiness waits for us—is much harder work than trudging across.”

 

 

Here’s how we can work on shame with EFT.

Understanding Shame

First and foremost understanding shame is a good place to start.

What is shame?
“Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.”( Brown, 2013)
“Shame is a form of anger that arises when your boundaries have been broken from the inside – by something you’ve done wrong, or have been convinced is wrong.” (McLaren, 2010)

So putting it simply, the difference between guilt and shame is:

Guilt is when we feel we ‘did’ something wrong. It’s about an action. Shame is when we feel ‘we’ are wrong as a person.

Make EFT your companion and talk honestly about your fears while tapping.

With EFT you can cross the shame swampland

a) Accept what you feel truly feel

Even though I feel ashamed, I accept myself and this feeling of shame.

b)Tap on all the Catastrophic thoughts – What will happen if you allow the feeling of shame to come up? Tap on all the worst case scenarios in your head about allowing this feeling.  Example – You might feel that if you allowed yourself to feel the shame, you would feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with it.

Even though I might be overwhelmed if I allow this feeling to come up, I deeply and completely accept myself and how I feel.

c) Make a Shame List – Make a list stating all the incidents in the past that make you feel ‘shame’ and tap on them.

d) Perfectionism

“Brene Brown talks about practising ‘critical awareness by reality-checking the messages and expectations that tell us that being imperfect means being inadequate.’

Since perfectionism is tied to shame, check all the triggers related to this. For example – Do you feel inadequate when you haven’t done things ‘perfectly’? Tap on all the unrealistic expectations that you have and release the feeling of inadequacy and shame.

e) Developing Shame Resilience

“Shame resilience is the ability to recognize shame, to move through it constructively while maintaining worthiness and authenticity, and to ultimately develop more courage, compassion, and connection as a result of our experience. “ ( Brown, 2013)

Some tapping statements that can help you develop shame resilience.

Even though I feel ashamed, I would like to develop courage to move through it and let it flow easily through me.

Even though I feel shame, I choose to have compassion for myself in this process of letting it move through me.

Even though I feel shame and it makes me want to distance myself from myself and others, I want to develop authentic connection with myself and others as I let it flow through me.

References:

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

Language of Emotions by Karla McLaren

How I healed my thyroid

I would like to share my personal healing story.  EFT along with lifestyle changes helped me shrink a complex cyst in my thyroid, and heal other related symptoms of sub-clinical hyperthyroidism, without any medication.

Diagnosis (April, 2015)

In April 2015, I noticed a big lump in the left side of my throat. I also started feeling a throbbing pain in the lump. I did some tapping on my own and with a friend; this brought about a significant reduction in the pain.
During the next one week, I kept hoping that it would go away and it was due to some muscle pull or injury in the krav maga classes I was taking. It would have been much easier to deal with that!  But no such thing happened. I spoke to my dad over phone, who is a doctor, and saw a general physician. They suggested that I go for a scan and blood test.
The day I went for a scan I had read and tapped enough. So the scan results didn’t come as a big surprise. The scan showed a complex cystic lesion, measuring 3.0*2.1*1.7 cm. It also showed enlarged lymph nodes in my throat. The radiologist suggested immediate biopsy (FNAC) due to the size and the nature of the cyst.

The FNAC was painful but tapping on my fingertips helped me get through it. When I went home, naturally my mind started throwing all the worst case scenarios at me. I tapped on allowing , accepting and releasing these feelings. I also tapped on staying hopeful in the face of uncertainty, believing that everything would be alright, but at the same time I was prepared to deal with whatever came up.

One thing that kept bothering me was the thought that – “How could I get something like this when I have mostly taken care of my emotional and physical health?” I spoke to my dad and his words consoled me. He said, “You have a body hence there will be ailments. Don’t dwell too much on it. Focus on getting better”.  And I did.

I also got the blood test done and discovered that my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) was abnormally low, just a mere 0.1. The normal range is 0.35 -5.50. I also had high serum cholesterol (250) and LDL (177) which came as a big surprise since I don’t have weight issues. I became certain that it was due to stress.

The FNAC results came. The report showed that it was a colloid nodule with cystic degeneration, category 2 benign adenomatoid nodules.

 

Doctor’s Prediction

The next step was to see a thyroid surgeon to discuss this. Even though the doctor was very well-informed and he patiently explained everything, he painted a very grim picture. He said that I was at a sub-clinical stage of hyperthyroidism and all the thyroid hormones would soon become abnormal. My cyst could eventually act like a rogue entity (reminded me of a Hollywood movie!) controlling the hormonal secretions on its own. According to him, I would eventually develop hyperthyroidism if I didn’t go for surgery: He suggested that the entire left lobe of my thyroid had to be removed. Partial removal of the nodule/cyst wouldn’t help due to its size and complex nature. He also said that FNAC is not 100% accurate. No medication would shrink the nodule. All this information was  overwhelming, I left the clinic quite shaken.

 

Understanding the symptoms and their deeper causes

After coming home and while discussing it with my husband, two things became clear. One that I could now explain why I had  palpitations, tremors and fatigue for the past couple of months; second that this was a wake up call for me and I needed to make some changes in my lifestyle. Although, my ECG, blood sugar and blood pressure were normal, I had palpitations every time I went to bed. It was pretty debilitating and interfered with my sleep, and it wasn’t due to anxiety. I had some tremors in my hands and muscle fatigue and weakness. I realized that all these were symptoms of my body approaching a state of hyperthyroidism which in turn was a result of accumulated hidden stress.

My body was giving me messages, I just wasn’t paying attention. So in a way the nodule/cyst was a metaphorical way of alerting me to the changes I needed to make before my body went into the hyperthyroidism state. I still had a chance to reverse this condition.

I spoke to my dad and told him that I needed to carefully weigh all options before going for surgery. There were many questions to consider. I decided to give myself two months time to see if I could tap to reduce the nodule.

 

Healing Journey

 

I did intensive tapping for two months – from April to June. I tapped daily sometimes up to 2 hours by myself and also swapped some sessions with my EFT practitioner friends.

I used Regular/Classic EFT along with Choices Method and tapped on the following:

  • All the stressful events from the time my last blood work was done in 2013, when all hormones were in the normal range. During the past 2 years there had been a few crisis events in my family and I started clearing the unresolved aspects of these events.
  • Tapped daily on shrinking the cyst and normalizing my TSH.
  • Tapped on blocked creativity and finished the eBook on ‘EFT concepts Illustrated’ during that time.
  • Thyroid is the center of communication and creativity. I worked on the themes of truth, creativity, self-expression, being heard, listening etc.  I took up incidents where these themes showed up and tapped on them. Many incidents didn’t have charge until I saw them in this light.
  • I tapped on regaining the healthy function of hypothalamus, pituitary and thyroid glands involved in the secretion of the thyroid hormones.
  • I worked on inflammation and having the lymphatic nervous system function in a healthy way. I also tapped on healing any autoimmune conditions that might be there.
  • I revisited some traumatic memories from my childhood and released the trapped feelings. Prior to starting my private practice in 2003, I had done extensive tapping on this and it was very empowering. Despite that, I still had some unresolved aspects that came up.

I also did OM chanting, moderate exercise and some breathing exercises. I was doing far too many client sessions daily, so I reduced them as well.

 

Results (June, 2015)

2 months later, I went for blood test and scan (June, 2015).

Cyst had shrunk. It was  1.9*1.3*1.2 cm

TSH was 1.85. (Normal)

All the other thyroid hormones remained normal as before.

The lymph nodes had also shrunk.

I had better sleep, reduced palpitations, and less fatigue.

Serum cholesterol was 201 and LDL was 135 – the best part is I didn’t tap on cholesterol at all. By tapping on all the stress causing factors my cholesterol became normal on its own. My doctor was surprised, said that it wasn’t possible for cholesterol level to go down in just 2 months!

I continued tapping for the next few months – nearly 3 times a week. I thanked my thyroid and tapped on further shrinking the nodule. I recently got the blood work and scan done (November, 2015)

 

Results (Nov, 2015)

The nodule has further shrunk and is now at 0.7 *0.5*0.4 cm. TSH is normal. Serum cholesterol is 191 and LDL is 129, all normal. My sleep quality has drastically improved as I rarely get palpitations. I have no hand tremors and less fatigue and body pain.

I will continue to tap and see how it goes. Since the cyst has shrunk from 3 cm to less than a centimeter, I am hoping to further shrink the cyst and probably dissolve it permanently. I want to reiterate that I didn’t take any medication. However, I made some lifestyle changes and started eating thyroid and gut friendly food.

We know that mind and body are intricately connected and influence each other, hence both emotional and physical health matter – we cannot leave the mind or body out of this healing equation.

 

Update (Aug, 2016)

On 19th August, 2016, I went for my thyroid scan again and guess what!

My cyst has further shrunk. It is now 6*4*3 mm. (0.6*0.4*0.3 cm) Also, all the thyroid hormones are normal.

 

A word of caution: Please consult your doctor and get all your tests and scans done if you have a thyroid problem.  If surgery or medication is needed; you can still tap on the post-operative care or the side effects of medication. In my opinion, you can start using EFT at any point in your healing journey and it will surely make a huge impact.

Shattering the illusion of an unbiased mind: Uncovering and transforming your biases

According to Laura S brown, “By the time that our first client, not to speak of trauma survivor, enters the office, the average psychotherapist will have had multiple experiences of classically conditioned associations with the visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and other sensory cues presented by that individual. The psychotherapist will have bias simply by virtue of being human”

Therefore as EFT practitioners and psychotherapists, we need to understand the nature of biases and how to work on them. Even if you are not a therapist you will benefit by understanding and working on your biases.

In this 20 minutes presentation, the following topics are covered:

1)We are all biased in one way or the other;  we only have an illusion of an unbiased state.

2) How we are coded to notice difference

3) The neurological underpinnings of Bias

  •  Role of the mirror neurons: Mirror neurons in the target person(the one you are biased against) can literally read your discomfort.
  • Implicit bias is supported by Amygdala.

4) Types of biases: Explicit (overt), Implicit (non-conscious) and Aversive racism

5) How do we acquire biases?

6) EFT protocol for transforming implicit biases:

  • Self Reflection Exercise
  • Uncovering, acknowledging with compassion and transforming implicit biases.

We need to become aware of these biases especially the implicit (non-conscious) biases. Only when we are aware, can we transform these biases with compassion.

the key … Is to be aware of the patterns we fall into when summing people up, and to learn to hold our views lightly and be more open to finding out about the people in front of us – Phillipa Perry.

Here’s the presentation: