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Resolving the intense after effects of child birth trauma

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

In her message below, Silvia Hartmann-Kent from the UK gives us a professional look at the long term effects (lasting 24 years) of a brief series of birth related traumas and how they turned an otherwise happy, normally adjusted young lady into someone beset with an imposing list of problems.

We don't expect a "one-session wonder" in this case because there are so many aspects and experiences to deal with. But Silvia expertly uses EFT on many of the key parts and, to help us with our study, she separates out the various aspects for us by putting the relevant language in quotes throughout her message. This language, of course, finds its way into The Setup. This is a first class look at an expertly handled initial session with a severely traumatized patient.

Study it well.

Hugs, Gary

by Sylvia Hartmann-Kent

I saw a client this week who had a number of physical problems as well as a whole host of personal problems such as lack of self belief, general unhappiness, panic attacks, agoraphobia and so forth.

She told me right away that it had all started with the birth of her son, who is now 24, and that the experience had been so traumatic that her life simply never was the same again afterwards.

I decided to use the Story Approach, i.e. having her tell me the story of the traumatic event from the beginning to the finish, stopping her to tap when I heard a suitable opening statement.

GC COMMENT: A version of this technique is displayed in detail in the EFT Course. See the sessions with Rich and Robert on the "6 Days at the VA" tape.

I would suggest that the following is not to be read by the faint hearted, and to keep in mind that this was not a torture victim in a third world country, but a fairly well adjusted healthy twenty year old woman coming into a hospital quite happily to have a baby, which is after all, the most normal of human experiences for a mature female. The opening statements [i.e. Setup statements] we tapped on are from her experiences as she re-told them and are contained within quotation marks within this message.

GC COMMENT: EFT students will want to study these statements in detail. They each represent important aspects in this case.

She had even back then done everything that was suggested at the time for a healthy pregnancy, practised breathing, eating a good diet and was confident, although of course, somewhat anxious, that all would turn out for the best.

The first thing that happened was that a drip was put in her arm and when she protested, she was told, "It's the baby that's important now, not you."

She was then "examined" for the next three hours by a procession of total strangers, none of which introduced themselves, making comments in her hearing that there was something wrong with her, that this was going to be "a messy one", to "put her on the high risk chart" and other such statements (each one of which was an opening statement in the EFT treatment). During this time, both her anxiety levels and the pain from the gathering contractions began to rise all along, so that by the time the birth process went into the delivery period, she was extremely scared and thinking, "Oh my god this is all going horribly wrong." "I cannot stand this pain" and, significantly, "These people don't care at all."

Finally, she could "no longer contain the panic", it "closed over me like a black bag" and "I panicked completely and thrashed around like a lunatic".

She was told repeatedly to "Stop making a spectacle of yourself", to "Pull yourself together" and "Not to be such a baby." Helpless as she was at the time, panic struck and in absolute agony, this added to her understanding that "she was doing everything all wrong".

At this point, her legs were tied into metal stirrups that were attached to the bed. "I could not believe what they were doing to me" and "I had no control over my body left".

The forceps delivery was excruciating, the baby's head was dented deeply and it was rushed away from the room. She thought "I will never see my baby alive." and "If I hadn't done it all wrong my baby wouldn't die". No-one took any time to inform her of what was happening and "she was ignored as though she didn't even exist".

The forceps delivery had caused the afterbirth to become detached and retained. So, in walks a big indian woman, "carrying a large metal spoon-like object to scrape out the placenta." This was performed without any kind of anaesthetic and with repeated admonitions to stop screaming on the grounds that "there were other people trying to have babies next door, you know." The memory of this had an emotional intensity that went off the Richter scale and we had to add extra eye movements to the 9 gamut routine because her eyes were not tracking at all and her pupils were fixed and dilated as soon as she accessed that particular set of memories. As an aside, the injuries sustained during this "placenta scraping" operation caused bleeding afterwards and it "took 4 years to heal".

She was left for an hour or so with her legs still strapped into the metal stirrups, apart from a nurse coming in and "mopping her up like you would clean out a public toilet and with as much feeling". And "just when you thought it couldn't get any worse", a doctor arrives and proceeds to stitch her up with a large round needle, without any kind of pain relief, and dealing with tissue that is more sensitive than ordinary skin at the best of time, never mind bruised and torn tissue. "I thought I was going to die", "I prayed to god to let me faint please", "my voice was gone from the screaming" and again, "They don't care what they do to me".

When she was finally put in a bed in the ward, ("They expected me to walk", "I just wanted to die", "They grabbed me roughly and shoved me in a wheelchair" "The pain was more than I could bear"), she lay in the bed and "realised that I was nothing".

At this point, I stopped the session because we had covered the main memories surrounding the events, and although not all aspects had been entirely resolved completely, I felt that serious progress into this event had been achieved. The client was exhausted and had had enough in my estimation; she said she felt a tremendous sense of peace and relief.

Notes & Observations:

1. I also have had a child under very similar circumstances. I was tapping along to the statements with the client, both for moral support as well as to add my intentions to the process; I am sure that this is actually an excellent way to completely eliminate projection problems whilst working with clients and keeping the therapist's own issues from interfering with the client at the same time. It leads to a deep rapport that gives you important feedback as to when "enough is enough", for example, and the client actually told me that she appreciated it very much to be able to see me doing it rather than to have to think as to where the points were.

2. During the worst memories, I held her hand and tapped her myself with the other hand. Tapping the client yourself rather than watching them is a very powerful thing that can shift issues and support the client very much; sometimes it's actually the only thing that will make the difference you're looking for.

3. This event has too many aspects and repercussions to be dealt with in a single session. Strictly speaking, this was not one event but a series of traumatic events, one after the other, each one having a tremendous impact on the client's self esteem and long lasting repercussions into all sorts of areas, from abundance to happiness, from sexual fulfillment to trust in relationships, to her attitude towards authority and many others besides.

I would estimate that we completely cleared about 20% of the problem memories and reduced the rest significantly. Although I generally like to work much faster than that and tend to go for 100% on a single session for a single symptom or clearly defined group of symptoms, in this case it seemed disrespectful to the client and her experiences to do so.

4. Even if I had felt that I had cleared everything that needed to be cleared successfully, I would have still had the client back for another session. In this case, there was no question as to that, because something we didn't even touch on were her intense feelings of rage towards the staff in the hospital, her husband for failing to protect her, and herself for having failed to cope with the situation any better than she had and which probably were the drivers behind her many symptoms, hidden behind the top level traumas and events.

I offer this case history to fellow females on this list as a reminder in a way to perhaps take a look at events which might be well beneath your conscious awareness, and have been for an unknowable number of years. It has brought home to me what a prime candidate child birth trauma is as a place to look for changes in health, self esteem and behaviour.

I would offer it to males, husbands and therapists, as a reminder and to show that what is supposedly "a simple natural function, after all, everyone gets born! You'll soon get over it!" is a situation that has the potential for life long damage and is a most powerful thing indeed.

My client is about "to get over it." After 24 awful years. After an entire adulthood of missed opportunities, missed joy, missed experiences. She will have to look at the grief of this, too, but thanks to EFT she will be able to go on from there to a future without that awful burden to bear.

Silvia Hartmann-Kent


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