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Hi Everyone,

Steve Wells from Australia shares important uses of EFT for the "little things" that accumulate in our lives to eventually become "big things." This idea is useful for just about everyone. Well done.

Hugs, Gary


By Steve Wells

Hi Gary,

Here is an article that focuses on treating what I am calling “everyday trauma” or “little t” trauma. Everyone I know suffers from this to some degree and this article points to some of the ways that EFT can help us to gain freedom from the negative effects of it.

Best wishes,

Steve

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If you have had a significant traumatic incident like a car accident, or other life-altering or life-threatening event, it is easy to see that you might be affected long-term.  These are the kinds of incidents that may affect us deeply, and the sort that can sometimes lead to the diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder if not managed effectively.  However, there is another type of incident or event which I call Everyday Trauma.  This is the “stuff that happens” to us as we go through life.  It may not meet the criteria for what I call big “T” trauma, the kind that is presumed to lead to PTSD.  However, it can and often does have lifelong effects.

A parent says something hurtful, without even realizing its effect on us.  The teacher asks us to read something to the class and, when we nervously stumble over the words, laughs along with the other children.  An elder sibling insists that we keep up with them then lashes out in anger when we don’t.  We move to a new school and find it hard to make new friends.  All of these incidents have the potential to develop into what I call little “t” trauma, or Everyday Trauma (ET).  

What defines them as an ET is that they cause negative emotions and thoughts, and those emotions and thoughts (beliefs) are still associated with the event years later.  The decisions that we make and the emotions we feel at these times can be crucial in determining just how far-reaching the effects of the incident become.

When a traumatic incident occurs, one part of us is assessing, “What does this mean?”  For instance, in the example of reading the book at school, stumbling over the words and having everyone else laugh, the child may decide, “I’m no good at reading”, or “I’m no good at talking in front of groups.”, or worse.  The feelings of humiliation and rejection can then become anchored or conditioned to being in front of groups, such that even years later as an adult the person has trouble talking in front of groups.  Even worse, the child may decide “I am not good enough”, and may go on to suffer from self-image problems throughout their life.  The effects of a single event can extend into many others by setting up a global category system (or belief) within which all associated negative events become anchored to the global perception “I’m not good enough”.

Everyday Trauma as I define it doesn’t just happen when you are young.  Everyday adult experiences, the “stuff” that is happening in your life right now, can be similarly life altering, depending on your response.  And the key is it all depends on your response.  Now the challenge is that the two go together, because to some extent your response can come pre-wired from the factory (so to speak), particularly if you have had incidents from your past that predispose you to react in certain ways.

If you had a negative experience speaking in front of the class when you were at school, it should be no surprise that you feel nervous when your friend asks you to present a speech at his or her wedding.  When we encounter a situation like this, our “mind-body” asks the questions, ‘Have I been here before?’ ‘Have I experienced something like this before?’ in order to know how to react and prepare.  When the experiences in the “box” it draws from are all bad, then our “mind-body” prepares us for a negative future experience.  

Thus, we attract to ourselves experiences that resonate with the experiences we have had in the past, compounding the trauma. Our past can end up determining our future unless we treat the effects of those past traumas.  The good news is that EFT is ideal for intervening in the “traumatic attraction loop” that gets set up here.  By changing the emotional intensity (and “resonance”) of the key traumatic incidents, the negative beliefs that rely on these can be changed as well. In short: Your whole life can change.

There are many ways that Everyday Traumas (and the non-everyday more serious type) can be handled with EFT.

The simplest way to deal with the everyday “stuff that happens” is to start tapping when stuff does happen.  Tap on your reactions and responses as they happen and as you experience them, as much as is possible, and continue to tap until you make your way through.  This is tapping for first aid.  If you are unable to tap while the ET is happening, try to do so as soon as possible afterwards.  For example, your spouse does something hurtful, and you are unable to manage your reactions, so you withdraw to your bedroom to tap on your hurt feelings.  While there, tap on whatever reactions arise, both in the mind (thoughts) and in the body (feeling reactions and bodily sensations), until you are feeling better.

Now it doesn’t always occur to people that the reason why they have such a strong hurtful reaction to the thing their partner did is most likely due to hurtful experiences and traumas from their past which have set up a “resonance loop” or a “hurt feelings box”.  Their “mind-body” asks the question “Have I been here before?” and the response is “Yes, and here are the places where I’ve felt this before” and up come the feelings from all those past unprocessed incidents to amplify the emotional reaction to the current event.  It’s a post-traumatic reaction.  And even though we are often no longer conscious of those previous events, the feelings we had then do flood into our consciousness.  This is why it makes good sense to go back through your history identifying any traumatic experiences that may be related to the current trauma and treating them with EFT.  Good questions to ask here are: “What does this remind me of?” and “Where have I felt this feeling before?” for the negative feelings, and “Where did I learn this?” and “Who – or what – taught me this?” for the thoughts and negative beliefs.

When you can identify incidents from your past where you felt these feelings, they can often be treated very effectively using the Movie Technique or Tell the Story Technique.  You can find more details on these techniques at the following web pages:

The Movie Technique and Tell the Story Technique are very simple yet very effective techniques for treating past (and present) trauma.  Actually, it should all be considered present trauma because a past incident that still affects you is affecting you NOW.  Your mind and body remain stuck in the feelings and perspective of the original event until you treat this.

As you tell the story (or replay it in your mind-body) and tap on the associated emotions, the entire experience processes through your body-mind, and as it does so, the feelings typically shift (you feel better) and your perceptions of what happened shift too (you think differently).

Even significant life beliefs that are predicated upon particular traumatic and stressful incidents can shift when EFT is applied to them.  It’s a wonderful thing when this happens. For example, you realize you are not really a “loser” just because you couldn’t keep up with your more athletic friend in sports.  You see that this was all “her stuff”.  And that part of your negative self-image, which you have carried with you into adulthood, starts to shift, such that you are now willing to try out many things that before you would have shied away from for fear of suffering the ignominy of “losing” again.  You start to see yourself as a “winner”, or, even better, someone who doesn’t have to measure their results in terms of win/lose definitions.  A part of your life that the traumatic reactions had closed down opens up, and ultimately, you become a little more free.  Your whole life starts to feel lighter because you are no longer carrying the “emotional baggage” associated with the trauma.

As the emotional intensity of the trauma disappears via tapping, you may even discover a life-affirming meaning behind the trauma, a silver lining that you couldn’t see when you focused only on the cloud.  Some people find new directions in their life - to paraphrase Helen Keller, doors open to us that we wouldn’t otherwise see if we focused only on the “locked door” of the trauma itself.

The defining events of our lives are often what were originally considered traumatic events.  Finding the life-affirming consequence behind a traumatic event is very difficult ordinarily, but EFT can facilitate such an awareness.  When used in this way, it becomes a powerful tool for conscious transformation.

Steve Wells

 

 

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