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  • Writer's picturecotswoldmeridianth

Are events from my past still holding me back from living my best life now?

I use EFT tapping with adults whose lives improve once they revisit certain memories from their past. EFT assists in the completion of necessary psychological and physical processes that somehow got ’interrupted’ The body and mind is then able to move back towards health.

Rachel’s story

‘Rachel’ (not her real name) is a forty something healthcare professional referred to me by a friend. Rachel was increasingly worried about leaving the house, her driving ability was declining, her social life was suffering. Feeling trapped in her job, and with 2 young children, she couldn’t leave because her anxiety meant she needed to be able to drive longer distances. She needed someone in the car with her, support driving to work, friends would have to meet her in lay- bys en route so she could feel safe enough to complete her journey. Something had to be done. Sceptical about tapping, as she had tried everything for her anxiety, Rachel was surprised that many of her symptoms of anxiety which were shrinking her life lay in her early adulthood. Once revisited and addressed, the memory was completed, and the issue was dealt with.

In session, I asked Rachel to describe her symptoms, at the heights of her anxiety when she was about to leave for work and walking out of the door to the car. Rachel shared images, thoughts, feelings, physical symptoms that came up. I noted down everything linked to how Rachel was feeling about her issue. By tapping together in a sequence on a series of acupressure points on the face and upper body, more thoughts and feelings began to float into her mind, until she alighted on some recent events which we dealt with, by tapping the acupressure sequence together.

Continuing to tap the sequence, we moved back through a series of memories to an event in her early 20s which proved significant. Rachel had been on holiday with her family. They were on a cable car high up in a mountain range. Having arrived at the top of a mountain from one cable car and needing to complete the journey on a second, her sister and mother and lastly Rachel’s father to whom she was incredibly close hopped onto a cable car just ahead of her. The doors closed and Rachel was left to get the next one. Alone. She had a panic attack. She also had to wait for over 15 minutes for the next cable car. Knowing that her only way off the mountain was to endure a terrifying journey back to the bottom of the mountain those 15 minutes plus the inevitable journey at a height of over a thousand metres.

There and then, Rachel absorbed a traumatic experience which she did not have the resources to process, so it lay there in her body or her mind contributing, as we later saw, to Rachel’s life in very unhelpful ways. Until Rachel found a way to complete the process to release the stuck energy from this event. Using very, very gentle and slow methods to keep Rachel comfortable, we tapped the acupressure sequence together, each moment of Rachels memory as she slowly replayed it in the video of her mind, she became calmer and calmer until she was able to replay the memory without getting ‘activated’ By revisiting this and other memories, and using the EFT method to neutralise the remaining ‘negative charge’ we were able to support Rachel to drive to work without panic, without needing extra support at roundabouts. She was able to change her job. Rachel’s world is now bigger again. She also now had learnt a self help method to help her relax after a tough day. In fact EFT is now proven to reduce by almost half the stress chemicals in under an hour. A great way to feel relaxed that is quite literally at your fingertips.

What is traumatic memory?

A trauma can be defined as containing these elements (using the mnemonic UDIN)

  • Unexpected: The event came out of the blue. Rachel was happily on holiday with her family then suddenly found herself marooned on top of a mountain range with no visible means of escape.

  • Dramatic: The fact that she was all alone and the cable cars had all gone.

  • Isolating: Few people were around and no help was immediately available.

  • No resources / No strategy: The only way off the mountain was to take another cable car, but what if one didn’t turn up? During her panic attack Rachel was not able to calm down and tell herself another would be along soon, nor could she imagine that her chances of survival were 100%. Rachel was too flooded with stress hormones.

How do traumatic memories affect health?

So why was this event over 20 years previously still affecting Rachel all those years later? Well, the latest research into biology and psychology is that when an unexpected dramatic isolating event that we have no perceived resources to cope with happens, the body and the mind reacts by flooding the body with stress hormones such as cortisol adrenaline and so on. This is a natural survival response. If we then calm down and get on with our lives, without properly completing the traumatic process, the body still stores that unprocessed information somewhere – perhaps in the mind, in the imagination and even in the body’s tissues themselves. The body will still be producing the baseline stress chemicals because of the unprocessed trauma will still be interfering with normal immunological functions. Research shows that once the original event has been revisited using the tapping process and the person’s stress responses to that event have been thoroughly unwound during the acupressure tapping process with a qualified professional, the body begins to recover.

Rachel for example, after a couple of sessions found her resting heart rate begin to sink. Everyone is different of course but in the highly influential ACES study, the parallels between adverse childhood events and chronic illness in later life drew the dramatic discovery that the more adverse childhood events the sicker the people and the shorter their lives later on. Of course the tempting thing for many people is to just forget about events like this, but they are still somewhere living in our body or our mind, affecting our health and our happiness. By dealing with adverse events, unwinding the negative emotional charges start to find their perspectives change for the better, their overall wellbeing improves and their world opens out again. Like Rachel’s.

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