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Tearless Trauma Technique

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Note: Since first introducing this technique to the public, it has been used with great success by many. However, the term "Tearless" does not mean that no one ever has tears or discomfort. Indeed, some people respond with tears or other forms of distress at the mere mention of their issue. Thus, please interpret The Tearless Trauma Technique as a method where distress can usually be minimized or eliminated.

Hi Everyone,

In a previous workshop I used the same group trauma method that I previously used (and outlined in a previous post) at the Portland, Oregon Power Therapies Conference. It worked superbly (again) and thus merits more elaboration. This time there were 25 attendees that identified a traumatic incident from which they wanted relief. About 80% of them estimated their initial intensity to be 8-10 and, in less than 20 minutes...

Twenty of them went to zero. Three went to a 1. One went to a 2. One went to a 3.

And remember, I'm doing this in a public setting with 25 people at a time (it could be done for over 100 just as easily) and I don't know any of the details about the incidents being worked on (except for the lady who went to a 3). During the break I worked with the lady who went to a 3 (from an original 10, incidentally) for about 5 minutes and brought her down still further.

There was little or no emotional pain evident in the session. That's why I refer to it as The Tearless Trauma Technique. I know that minimizing emotional pain is criticized by some members of the healing community. In my experience, however, I don't see why pain is at all necessary (but would welcome a debate on this). I say this because I have taken care of a mountain of traumatic incidents (some of them VERY severe) and, after the healing, the clients just have no interest in spending time on insights or the "why" of their past incidents.

To the contrary, there is a visible and obvious cognition change that shows up in the way they talk about the once troublesome incident. The client seems done with the issue because the resolution that is so highly valued by the more intense techniques seems to take place within the EFT session with minimal pain. To me, this is profound and tempts me to rename the process as "Peace without Pain." As long as I get the resolution without the pain, then I don't see the need for the pain. Again, I value anyone's input to the contrary. We are into truth here, not territory.

I know I outlined this method after my Portland, Oregon workshop but I thought I would do it again from a somewhat different angle. I am a great believer in repetition and, in that spirit, I present the steps below. Please note, though, that this method is NOT limited to addressing trauma in a group. The exact same technique could be (perhaps should be) used quite effectively in one-to-one individual sessions. Here are the steps:

1. Ask the participants to identify a specific traumatic incident from their past. Ask that it be at least 3 years ago to minimize any complications from the dynamics of a current event. An example might be, "the time my father punched me when I was 12." By contrast, the phrase "my father abused me" would be too broad because, chances are, the abuse took place over many, many incidents. Please note that you may need to instruct the clients to stay on their original issue because many of them will shift to other issues as they resolve the original one.

2. Ask the participants to GUESS at what their emotional intensity would be (on a 0-10 scale) IF they were to vividly imagine the incident. Instruct them NOT to actually imagine it (although some will close their eyes and do this anyway). This GUESS is a surprisingly useful serves to minimize emotional pain. Have them write their GUESSES down and then go around the room having them state their number. This gives you a good feel for various participants' intensity.

3. Have the participants develop a phrase to use for the EFT process such as "this father-punch emotion" and then proceed with a round of tapping.

4. After this round of tapping, ask them to GUESS again and go around the room asking them to state their new number. Typically, they report noticeably smaller numbers.

5. Perform more rounds of EFT (or your favorite tapping procedure) and go around the room each time asking for their new numbers. In my experience, a total of 3 or 4 rounds will bring just about everyone down to GUESSES of 0 to 3.

6. Once everyone is down to acceptably low GUESSES, then perform another round of tapping and, after this round, ask them to vividly imagine the incident. Notice that this is the first time you are asking them to do this. All previous times have been relatively painless GUESSES. In my experience, just about everyone goes to zero and the rest are at very low numbers. If there is an exception or two, then work with them individually to complete the process.

I urge everyone who works with trauma to try this. Try it on groups (including dovetailing it in with the CISD process). Try it on individuals. Try it on war veterans, rape victims and torture victims. Try it wherever trauma is involved, especially with those who are afraid of the intensity they usually feel when discussing or "getting into" their incident.

The energy based therapies have been very impressive in their ability to handle negative emotions. That is indelibly clear to practitioners using these procedures. I think the above technique, properly mastered, adds a useful component to the "art of delivery."

Peace, Gary

Steve Wells reports on the Tearless Trauma Technique

Hi Gary,

I just spent the weekend presenting a personal development seminar incorporating EFT and other Energy Therapy techniques. I tried out the Tearless Trauma Technique and it worked just as you have described.

16 people, all of whom were 8, 9, or 10 when guessing the intensity of the trauma initially. 11 went to zero or near zero after 4 rounds of tapping when asked to vividly re-imagine the traumatic incident. The others were all at 4-5, and 2 more rounds took care of most of this. I offered to help one woman whose SUDS level remained at a 4 during the break but she came up and told me she really saw how she could get beyond this herself and wanted to do so as she felt empowered by the technique.

Most of the participants were absolutely astounded when they tried to re-access the feelings and weren't able to. The most outstanding result however was by one gentleman who reported that an incredible feeling of sadness he'd been experiencing almost his whole life regarding his father was absolutely gone and he was now experiencing a feeling of complete peace. You should have seen the way his face shone. This guy had previously had a taste of EFT in another seminar I was running. He came to this one because after he used EFT to deal with his constant anger and anxiety, his wife said it was like getting a new husband. Needless to say, she was VERY happy for him to come and do more. I think now his own mother wouldn't recognise him.

To echo your words from last years "Ultimate Therapist" Seminar Gary: "God I love this job!"

Love and best wishes,

Steve Wells


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