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Articles & Ideas


EFT gives relief to a self-cutter by first finding emotional causes

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Quila Rider, PhD gives us a step-by-step analysis of how she successfully applied EFT to a 15 year old self-cutter. Rather than just go for the self-cutting behavior, Quila correctly took aim at traumatic events that would likely underlie this problem. After two such traumatic events were successfully collapsed with EFT, the self-cutting behavior least for the past 18 days. In cases like these, seasoned EFT'ers should always be on the lookout for other underlying traumatic events. The more events you collapse the greater the odds of permanent success.

Note: A follow-up is appended to the end of this article.

By Quila Rider, PhD

Recently a woman referred her 15 year old to me, as the mother was very worried about her daughter because she cuts herself every 2-3 days. She had been to Mental Health practitioners for many visits since she was about 7 years old but still was cutting and threatening suicide.

I started the visit by explaining the EFT procedure to the parents and the teen, whom we shall call Lilith, and teaching the technique to them by demonstrating EFT on some of their physical discomforts. They all got their complaints down to very low numbers and thus had an experience of the effectiveness of EFT. I then asked the parents to leave and proceeded to ask Lilith what did she think made her want to cut herself. I knew that the cutting is in response to a deep pain, usually from a trauma. The cutting makes them feel better than the inner pain and relieves anxiety and a feeling of being out of control.

Lilith couldn't really think of anything except for an early childhood event when she was in first grade. She had her pants pulled down by a boy while on the playground and while she was struggling to pull them up and he continued to pull them down. The other kids just stood by and watched and laughed. The fact that no one helped her bothered her the most. She felt humiliated, embarrassed and angry with all of them, but mostly at the other kids.

As she thought about this event, she started to tear up, so I guessed her 0-10 intensity level was a 10 and didn't question her on the number.

She started to tap with the following set ups;

"Even though that boy pulled my pants down, and all the kids laughed, I choose now to be over this and heal."

"Even though they laughed and didn't help me, I totally forgive them for their cruelty."

"Even though he pulled my pants down and no one would help me, I totally and completely forgive them and myself for carrying this hurt for so long.

We then went through the sequence twice, not using the hands at all, just the face, collar bone, and under arm points.

When we finished she had stopped crying and I asked her where in her body that hurt and anger might be. She answered by putting her hands to the back of her neck and saying "Oh, that's the "Green Thing" on the back of my neck...oh my gosh, it's gone ! It hasn't been gone for as long as I can remember!!" I asked her to describe it for me and she answered "It was bumpy, knobby and round, and heavy. It is gone !!" She was very much surprised and pleased. When she thought of the event, she had no problem talking about it and didn't seem to be bothered by it al all.

I asked her if there was any other trauma she could think of other than the foregoing. I asked because I was not sure that this trauma was severe enough to account for the searing pain she must be feeling when she wants to cut and when she feels like doing herself in, so I wanted to get to a more severe trauma if there was one.

She said "Well, all I can think of, my sister was living with us and she was on drugs and had a newborn baby. I was walking down the hall one night late after my parents were in bed and heard the baby vomiting. I went into my sister's bedroom and there was the baby lying on the bed vomiting, and my sister, who was high on drugs, said, 'You handle this' and walked out of the room." I asked her how she felt and she said, Overwhelmed with responsibility and Anger at my sister for leaving me with this burden."

I was impressed with her ability to know where in her body she had stored trauma so I then asked her if she knew where in her body was this feeling of being overwhelmed and angry? She put her hand right over her heart area and said, "It's right here and it's black"

I wanted her to learn the Movie Technique, so I suggested we turn this vision she had into a video and name it. She called it the "Vomit Video". The vision she had was in color, with movement and sound, especially of the baby vomiting. We then tapped one round for the video saying...

Even though I have this "Vomit Video" in my head, I totally and completely accept myself.

Even though I have this "Vomit Video" in my head, I totally and completely forgive my sister for putting me in this spot.

Even though I have this "Vomit Video" in my head, I choose now to let go of it.

Again we only used the upper points.

When I asked her to look at the video again, it was now very fuzzy, no sound, the baby was just laying on the bed with a smile on her face and the black thing was gone from her chest.

Our time was up, and she was shaking all over. so I would have stopped anyway at that point even if we had more time. (I find when clients move a lot of energy, they sometimes shake. By the way, tapping for the shaking can calm it down). She was, in her words, "blown away" by the experience, so we conversed for a couple of minutes before her mother came in.

Her mother noticed a difference in her face right away and remarked on it. Later that night I called to check on her and her parents reported that she had been very animated and talkative all day. Even at dinner she stayed at the table and talked with them, when usually she went to her room with her food.

I have checked on her during the holidays to make sure she was still feeling good and after 18 days she has not had the urge to cut herself and doesn't feel depressed. Her parents are also reporting a big change in her mood. I did not make another appointment with her at that time because we were just going to see how she was doing and make an appointment as needed. I was pretty sure she would need more as she had mentioned another trauma of a situation when she was so small she could hardly remember it, but it concerned her "Uncle Bob", (not a real uncle) and the police were involved. I thought this might be a situation of abuse or something more traumatic and would have to be tapped down. But, maybe the table legs are all collapsed as Gary describes in his "Table Top" example of multiple traumas.

Lilith had mentioned also that her pain was worse when she thinks of her friends, some of whom are "cutters" and she wants to help them. We are planning on setting up a teen group to teach them EFT and see if they can find the help that Lilith found with EFT.

Quila Rider, Ph.D


Hi Gary, I saw Lilith yesterday (Feb 13), the first time since Mid-December. When I saw her for that original EFT appointment in December, she was in "Gothic" wear; black clothes, lots of chains, piercing's, silver jewelry, black makeup on the eyes, etc. Her mood was reserved, sullen and quiet.

Yesterday, I saw an outgoing, vibrant, excited about life 15 year old. She has changed her hair color to a dark brown with red-ish highlights, makeup that accentuates her natural beauty, a bright red rose in her hair, bright colored clothes and accessories. What a difference !

She has not had even an urge to cut and has not had any depressed feelings like she had had before. She is getting ready for a 2 week trip to England with her school on Easter break and is very excited about a dinner play the drama group she is in is performing next week here in our area.

We are planning one more session just to make sure everything is ok before she takes off on the trip and to make sure she is adept at self-tapping so she will be able to use it if anything happens on the trip.

She also related to me that she now has a boyfriend. When I questioned her as to whether this was her first, she said "Yes, I didn't love myself enough before to let anyone else love me". Wow, this is from a 15 year old !



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