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Pain Management

No more sciatica for Betty--Getting to a core issue through a metaphor

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Hi Everyone,

With the right questions, clients often come up with clever metaphors regarding their issues. These can be VERY helpful as Dale Teplitz shows us in this sciatica case with her client, Betty. In the article, Dale says, "All of us, including Betty, were astonished at the unfolding metaphor.  By the look on her face she had no doubt about the connection between the shooting pain to her toe and her father’s death." 

Hugs, Gary

By  Dale Teplitz, MA

Metaphors often crop up while doing EFT.  I find them of great value in providing clues to the cause of physical and emotional pain.  Sorting through the metaphors and all the possible meanings is often well worth the work.  Metaphors often illustrate how we store trauma and experiences in our bodies in a literal way.  The EFT practitioner can be of value by noticing the metaphor and taking the client in that direction.  Here is a stunning example in which the ‘client’ identified her own metaphor.

Betty attended a Level 2 EFT workshop I taught in Los Angeles recently.  When I asked if anyone had a difficult physical symptom they would like to work on in front of the group, Betty volunteered.  She had been trying to rid herself of this low back pain for years.  She suggested that it was a really tough one!  Nothing she tried had worked.  She was stumped about the relationship between this pain and any particular emotions.

As she bravely ascended the podium to work with me, Betty reported having a sharp pain, which would run from her lower back to her right foot.  Her doctor called it sciatica.

Betty is a very bright, articulate and introspective woman in her 60’s, who has been a marriage and family therapist for over 20 years.  She spent much of her adult life as a tireless seeker of healing for her own childhood wounds, as well as those of her clients.

Her life was filled with struggles, which began from the moment of her own birth, a traumatic c-section.  This was followed by many serious challenges, especially family relationship issues.  When Betty was a vulnerable 14 years old, her father took his own life.  That moment, her childhood ended.  She was forced to become the ‘parent’ to her mother.  Her young life was filled with burden.

In the workshop, we began tapping about the pain with the EFT basic recipe.  While tapping, I encouraged her to describe the pain in increasingly specific ways.  When I asked how the pain moved, she reported that it ‘shot’ from her lower back to the large toe of her right foot.

As she traced the pain with her hand to demonstrate to us where it was, her jaw dropped.  In this ‘light bulb’ moment, Betty remembered that when her father ended his life, he tied a shoelace from the big toe of his right foot to the trigger of a shotgun, and used it to pull the trigger to shoot himself in the head.  He was ‘shooting from the toe!’

All of us, including Betty, were astonished at the unfolding metaphor.  By the look on her face she had no doubt about the connection between the shooting pain to her toe and her father’s death.  Betty and I began to unravel the metaphor as we tapped each point.  This shooting pain … This shooting toe pain … Dad shooting himself in the head pain…

For every thought and memory she expressed, we tapped.  Layers of deep trauma, shame and grief welled up, and were collapsed within minutes with EFT.  They were gradually replaced with compassion for what she and her father had been through.  The shooting pain disappeared.  Betty looked lighter!

Eighteen months later, Betty reports the shooting pain has not returned since the workshop.  Although now retired from counseling, Betty continues to use EFT as an important piece to the healing puzzle for herself, her family and friends.

Dale Teplitz


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