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PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Stubborn client, PTSD, hidden aspects and psychological reversal

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

by Gary Craig

Hi Everyone,

This letter originally went to an EFT practitioner and was also referred to me. I thought you might find the discussion helpful. Names are withheld for privacy reasons.

THE LETTER: "I have been working with a Vietnam Vet for years and just started using Gary's universal algorithm for his PTSD and sense of hopelessness regarding his recent surgery, and after running the algorithm through four times, he only dropped to a 9 and then wouldn't move. I did everything but collarbone breathing. Is that the next step and if so, why?

Also, at the end of the session, he exclaimed in his know-it-all voice that the truth was just reinforced that "things always just get worse." He is the most defeated individual I have ever worked with, still continually referring back to Nixon, the war and his awful past, which preceded Vietnam (he used to get beat up by his gangster dad regularly while growing up).

It occurred to me that there is an underlying self-sabotaging belief that nothing will ever get better and he will never heal from all the trauma in his life. Clearly he is psychologically reversed and suffering all the time from loss of all kinds of things (his good health, good luck or good breaks, etc.) He is my toughest client, who regularly resists treatment after we try something once and it doesn't succeed. What might you suggest in terms of the next step with Gary's algorithm? I do want to pursue this with him. Thanks for any of your input."

GC COMMENT: Since I don't know your client, I can only respond in a general way. However, I think your assessment of his psychological reversal seems correct. Ever present negative attitudes are big clues to this. If so, it is a major hurdle to healing and you may need to do emphatic corrections for it (rub sore spot vigorously and say, "even though I have this ______, I deeply and completely, accept myself"). Also, you may be dealing with energy toxins here such as coffee, tobacco and alcohol (this is typical among vets beset with PTSD). Please know that just because someone uses these somewhat standard toxins (as listed in the EFT manual) doesn't necessarily mean EFT is being thwarted by them. Use collarbone breathing as the next try.

Something else that may be present here is hidden aspects. He apparently has such an abusive past with so many traumas, rejections, etc. that he shifts, subconsciously, from aspect to aspect and thus doesn't report the kind of progress you are looking for. Accordingly, you may be making headway without not knowing it. The EFT tapes are filled with examples of aspects and how to handle them.

Along these same lines, I rarely have someone tap for "this PTSD". To me, that is too broad, too general, and I'm never sure what is really being addressed. While it may appear to do some good, it often leaves unrecognized trees still standing in the emotional forest. They come up later and the frustrated client reports "it didn't work" when, in fact, EFT worked fine. These aspects just weren't worked on. Better, I think, to start with specific events contributing to the PTSD such as "this helicopter crash", "my buddy jack's death", "father beating me in the kitchen", etc. This also has the advantage of the client experiencing success on a specific issue. They get more belief in the process and then you can proceed to other specific trees. Even though there may be hundreds of trees in the PTSD forest, after you have cut down 10 or so the "generalization effect" takes over and tends to topple the rest of the related trees without specifically addressing them. A good example of this is the session with Rich, the first Vietnam Vet on the "6 Days at the VA" tape. You might show this entire tape to the client so he can get a sense of the power of EFT. You may find him more willing after that. Also, let him listen to "Buz" (a Vietnam Vet with similar issues) on side 1B of the audiotapes. He is the first session on that side.

Finally, when the client continually refers back to Nixon, the war and his abusive past, he is giving you major clues as to specific trees in his forest which need addressing with EFT. Further, when you are using EFT on a specific tree and the client then talks about some other issue he is usually telling you that you have reduced that original tree to a shrub and he is now switching to a different tree (aspect). Be aware, be flexible. Mastering this sort of thing (which takes experience) is what separates the so-so from the superb practitioner of EFT.

Hope this helps, Gary


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