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Comparing traumatic abreactions--with and without EFT

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Severely abused clients carry many traumatic memories into adulthood that often launch into full blown panic attacks and abreactions. Gratitude to Collette Streicher's client (her name withheld for privacy reasons) for sharing her personal experiences in this regard. She compares two such instances, with and without EFT, and displays for us the dramatic differences in the outcomes. This important story should be studied by professionals and clients alike. It can provide huge benefits.

By Collette Streicher's client (name withheld for privacy reasons)

Dear Colette,

I am writing to share a recent EFT experience concerning my own personal abreaction to overhearing a loud confrontation between two people in my neighbor's yard. My husband and I awoke to screams and cursing at 3:00 a.m., between a man who was staying with my neighbor, and a woman who was expressing her extreme displeasure at being betrayed by him.

We peeped out the bedroom window and listened to the ranting, until finally someone convinced her to leave. Both my husband and I were relieved that shots were not fired. We returned to bed, discussed it a bit and my husband rolled over to go to sleep. Up until this moment, my reaction had been a slight physical quivering of fear inside, (About a 4), larger than butterflies in the pit of my stomach, but manageable. To calm myself, so I could return to sleep, I started a round of EFT.

Even though I have this fear...

I did not even finish the full statement when, as if, now that the danger was over, I had given myself permission to have the fear that was bottled up inside, it came fully to the surface. I began crying and my husband turned back to me and tried to calm and reassure me. My body was physically shaking and jerking. (A 10 plus) I felt out of control and overwhelmed, and fearful that I was about to die. I was smack in the middle of an abreactic panic attack unlike anything I have experienced. (I am not prone to panic attacks.) From the very beginning, I continued to tap the short cut, over and over again. I did not stop for what seemed like a long time. My husband says it was about fifteen minutes.

I have had body memories before, (I am a sexual abuse survivor.), so I am familiar with the process of releasing. I kept waiting to get some visual memories, but none came. Finally, the tapping worked and the fear was released. I never made any statements as I tapped; but trust me, I was focused and motivated. I was so grateful for the tapping, because somewhere amid all the fear, I knew that the EFT would work. And it did beautifully. I was able to sit up on the side of the bed and calmly discuss what just happened with my husband. The following day, I had no "emotional hangover" whatsoever. I also had no desire to delve into the possible reasons in my past that prompted this body memory. I know there is world of abuse in my past and my attitude was that I was just happy to let go and heal a large clump of it.

I would briefly like to describe another abreaction I experienced, and tell you the outcome without EFT. Several years into sexual abuse recovery, I was doing some journal writing and wrote down the memory of a rape. I wrote this without feeling, numbness, really. It was early in the morning, and I was cold, so I went back to bed. My (long-suffering) husband was asleep until I started getting the body memory from that rape. I began to physically experience the event by a rhythmic slamming movement and I "lost time." I didn't know where I was, or really what was happening for about twenty minutes. I do remember making guttural howling sounds that I had never heard before. My husband was terrified and did what he could to support me.

I was glad to release that event from my body; however, I was left with a frozen shoulder, which required months of expensive physical therapy and the purchase of a tens unit, a device used to shoot electrical charges into my shoulder. I felt exhausted and fragile for weeks afterward, and had to process the memory for weeks in therapy; going over every detail again and again, reliving the event, attempting to resolve it, slowly and painfully.

The outcomes of these two events are profoundly different considering the similar intensity of each memory. The gift of EFT for survivors of trauma cannot be measured. It is a tool that I give thanks for and am compelled to share with others.

Name withheld for privacy reasons


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