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Anna Garcia's serious, negative results using EFT "scripts"
This is serious.
Many people are enticed to use EFT shortcuts and thus employ EFT "scripts" (ready made language that purports to fit your circumstances) to substitute for quality EFT. While this can provide benefits for some, those benefits tend to be partial or temporary. For others, like Anna in her letter below, the results can be devastating. They can lead to emotional tailspins, suicidal thoughts and disabilities.
EFT has evolved over the years into a top of the line healing method that, when properly used by well trained people, can go well beyond the reaches of conventional techniques. EFT scripts can also provide impressive benefits from time to time but, if you limit yourself to this amateur approach, you will be confined to the shallow end of the EFT swimming pool... and may drown.
Here is Anna's letter:
It is a detailed story so I have added red headline language for navigating and ease of reading. The specific comments about scripts are near the end.
The idea of writing something like what I am about to share here came to me quite a while ago, but somehow I left it aside as I felt that maybe it wouldn´t be that relevant to many people since you have already talked so much about “the perils of other EFT spinoffs and tapping scripts”, and it´s so clearly mentioned on the emofree.com website as well as on your newsletter sometimes.
However, after reading your latest newsletter this week, and seeing that once again your clarification on the perils of those scripts had been required, I felt that maybe offering my personal experience with them might give people an interesting insight into why they REALLY are something to be cautious about. Below is a summary of my own story, what EFT helped me heal, and my experience with some tapping scripts:
My EFT background:
I am an Advanced EFT Practitioner and I first found EFT when I was 27 (13 years ago now). I first used the technique with Dr. Cadarso in Madrid, Spain – a Dr. in Psychiatry and Psychology who also has other diplomas in several other therapies such as Gestalt Therapy, Rebirthing, Hypnotherapy, etc. She trained with you in the States and so obviously everything I learned from her in relation to EFT was the original methodology that you taught. I proceeded to study the 6th edition of your EFT manual after finishing my sessions with her (I had to finish them because I ran out of money at the time); a few years later, I came across all the training DVDs that you had out back then and, over time, I diligently studied everything that you shared on your website (fast-forward to this day, and I am still going back to www.emofree.com for all EFT-related topics).
What happened to me from the time I stopped doing sessions with Dr. Cadarso until you and Tina finished the incredible Gold Standard Official EFT tutorials is something that I have seen happening to many other people, and it is the reason why I am so adamant to always refer people back to emofree.com and the original training as you teach it any time I am asked about EFT. Without being dramatic, I can whole-heartedly say that the main reason I am alive and healthy nowadays is EFT – but EFT with the methodology that you use, the way you teach it.
I contacted Dr. Cadarso when I was 27, after finding the Institute of Energy Therapies´ website (of which she was the Director) and the section where they mentioned Energy Psychology and EFT (back then it was such an unheard-of therapy in Spain). I had tried so many other therapies (including counselling, hypnosis, different types of psychotherapy, etc. since the age of 9, and nothing had truly helped). I clearly remember the despair I was feeling the day I finally found out about EFT; I was really at my wits´ end. The PTSD I had been suffering from for such a long time had gotten to the point where I couldn´t stand the pain any more and I felt I couldn´t really function – basic daily life things felt like such an insurmountable struggle.
The PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) I was suffering from was the consequence of a number of traumas I had endured from a very young age. Without going into too much detail (as there is no need to do so here), I wanted to include a short list of those traumatic experiences here (so that people can get a better idea about how truly incredible EFT can be when used the right way - when you know how to use the technique properly):
Sexual abuse & terror:
I started being sexually abused by my maternal grandfather when I was just 9 months old. It got worse when my mother moved back in with her parents after separating from my dad when I was about 2 years old. The sexual abuse continued until he got too sick to do anything any more. I was 11 years old when he finally passed away. I was also the recipient of his emotional outbursts, so my terror of him was indescribable because I never knew what he would say or do to me when he was around.
At the age of 6, my dad disappeared. It was only when I was 32 that I finally got confirmation that he had disappeared because he had been killed. The trauma of his disappearance was worsened when I was raped by a friend of my mother´s when I was 7. I was then sexually abused again when I was 13 (by a random teenage boy when we were away on a beach holiday), and I was molested again by another family member when I was 16. (My mother knew about this last one because I told her but she didn´t do anything about it). When I finally confronted her about all the sexual abuse I had gone through (I was 21 when I did so), she just said to me: “oh well, move on, it´s not a big deal” (I should have expected that her reaction would be of that sort, since we´d always had a very strained relationship due my standing up to her any time she abused me, trying to defend and protect myself, but it was still a bit of a shock, to be honest).
My mother was diagnosed with depression (and something else that she wouldn´t tell us about) when I was 13, and then with paranoia in my early twenties, but she wouldn´t take any medication for it and in the following years I became her scapegoat – I can´t honestly remember one single day until I was finally able to move out at age 20, when there was no shouting or abuse coming from her at home.
Worse than her beatings was the daily mental and emotional abuse. It got so bad for me, that when I left home to go to College in a different city at age 20, she was not allowed to contact me in any way (the psychiatrist/psychologist that was treating me at the time put this restriction in place).
I had bulimia and then anorexia from the age of 16, until I eventually grew out of it in my mid-20s. My relationship with food and with myself, however, only healed through EFT. The self-hatred and the shame I always felt was so deeply-rooted that I never even dreamed that I could exist without it. I became an over-achiever both in school, sports, and music, as I took refuge in all those things to escape my reality. However, despite the avoidance helping temporarily as a coping mechanism, my health always showed the signs of the traumas I had experienced (and was experiencing).
Results with EFT:
Here is a brief list of the issues and ailments that I was able to heal through EFT: a chronic neck pain that I had had from the age of 8 until I was 28 (it gradually disappeared when I started doing EFT, until one day it was just gone) – we are talking about the type of pain that would have me paralysed in bed for days at times of high stress, and for which I needed high doses of medication until the crisis passed; chronic tonsillitis, chronic digestive issues (recurrent gastro-enteritis), and recurrent UTIs. The fact that I completely healed my relationship with food through EFT is still beyond me – I never thought I´d be able to love food and feel that food was good for me. I never knew that one day I´d be free of the vicious cycle I had been in for so long. I went from being a huge people-pleaser and doormat with no ability to set healthy boundaries, getting into panic attacks if I felt someone had gotten mad at me, to having the highest level of self-respect and making healthy boundaries an automatic thing for me.
Another health issue that I dealt with was that I suffered from extremely painful, incapacitating periods every month, needing to be fully medicated for three days in order to be able to bear the pain and symptoms. I had to go into the ER a few times to be treated for those, and at age 17 I was told that the period cramps I was getting were labour-like contractions; so you can imagine how it´s not just that I dreaded that “time of the month” coming– I was terrified of it and what it would entail for me. Nowadays, my improvement in that area has been about 80 per cent (thanks to EFT) and I expect for the remaining issues to be completely gone when I finish tapping away the last core events that have to do with the abuse that I went through and that are still on my list – I have needed some “extra time” with those, especially since my brain unblocked the memories gradually, as other things were tapped away).
In addition to all that, I used to need glasses, as I had short-sightedness and astigmatism in both eyes (2.75 in one, and 2.5 in the other). I tapped away what was at the core of my eyesight problems 10 years ago, and my eyesight has been perfect ever since (well, almost: there is a hint of short-sightedness - 0.2- in one eye, but that´s it). In contrast to the period pains, which took much longer to heal (as there were SO many contributing factors causing them – “table-legs”), guess how long it took for my eyesight to be healed (after having worn glasses for five years): 40 minutes. Literally. So, like you always say, Gary, some issues take longer than others, but you can also get “one-minute wonders” too.
EFT has also worked for me in relation to healing colds, infections, and other ailments. I have seen clients of mine healing themselves completely, through our work with EFT, of diseases like MS (Multiple-Sclerosis), Arthritis, PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), Fibromyalgia, OCD, and Depression (among others).
The incredible life-saving healing that I have experienced, and that I have witnessed others experience through EFT, is the reason why I am SO vocal about the perils of EFT spinoffs and EFT scripts.
In the time between my work with Dr. Cadarso in Madrid and the time I got access to your EFT training DVDs, I kept using EFT. However, I experienced what you have talked about many times: if you don´t know how to use EFT properly, you may get some results, but it´ll probably be about 5% or 10% of the results you could really get if you used it properly. The danger in that is that, like me, you could grow SO frustrated and SO disappointed that you´re not getting real results, that you´d just think “it doesn´t work”. And you´d never give it a go again. I was so close to that point that I can´t believe I stayed with it. And the tipping point for me to abandon EFT for a while was a tapping script.
I have to say, I initially got so excited about having found tapping scripts because I couldn´t afford to do sessions with a practitioner any more (money was also a very highly charged matter for me – in a negative way, because of how money was used to abuse and control when I was growing up- and so of course I experienced a lot of issues in that area at times as well), and I was aware of the fact that I wasn´t proficient enough with the technique yet. I found a whole bunch of tapping scripts for different issues: weight issues, self-esteem, abuse and trauma, financial problems... you name it. And diligent as I was, I went for it and started using them straight away.
Problems with scripts:
What NOBODY had mentioned in the instructions on how to use those scripts (and I got different ones from different so-called “EFT experts”) was that:
1) the use of positive affirmations in tapping scripts could easily bring up a whole lot of hidden issues that you were not aware of, and
2) that using a tapping script could also easily cause HUGE ABREACTIONS if the phrases used in the script triggered an original, unresolved trauma.
I learned this the hard way.
One day, as I was using a script for trauma, a previously repressed/forgotten flashback of one of the times where I´d been more brutally abused came up in my mind, and I went into a severe abreaction. I went into shock. I started crying, shaking, and screaming. I don´t know how I had the instinct in that moment to stop following the script and just tap through the points non-stop. It took me 45 minutes of continuous tapping, curled up in my bed, shaking, but it finally stopped. It was like the tap had been turned off. I had to tap on the remaining aftermath of the shock though, and that took a few more hours of tapping.
Looking back, I understand now that the reason why I automatically kept tapping was because I had already been doing EFT for over a year, and somehow my subconscious took over in that moment (as I couldn´t think clearly then).
Had that happened to me on day one of using EFT, I don´t know what could have happened to me. I don´t even want to think about it, but it is a reality that shock can send you into cardiac arrest. “Taking the edge off” and using the “tearless trauma technique” take care of that issue completely though – I wish I had known everything I know now back then.
Actual dangers in using scripts:
So, I hope that when you talk about “the perils of using EFT scripts”, people will understand that you use those words because there can be actual danger in using them. Of course not everyone has the level of trauma and PTSD that I had, and so they might not be at risk of suffering the type of abreaction that I experienced, but then again, some people may. And even if someone hasn´t experienced the abuse that I went through, the definition of trauma varies from person to person. The same experience that had minimum impact on one person could be extremely traumatic for another one. So many factors come into play when it comes to trauma, that it really is best to operate on the safe side (by following the official methodology when doing EFT).
I have helped, through my practise, thousands of people with different issues. Some of them had very severe traumas as well. If people only knew how amazingly gentle, non-invasive, and effective EFT is, when the “Gold Standard Official EFT” basics are followed properly! (Note here: no, I am not getting paid for saying this).
My heart breaks every time I meet someone who finds me after having done some EFT training, or after spending thousands of Euros in EFT sessions with no results at all. Yes, it´s true that EFT may not be for everybody, but as you say, Gary: it quite often gets astonishing results where nothings else worked.
Problems with "recycling" EFT:
It also affects me every time I see people “recycling” EFT and using the term in order to lure people in, when they have no idea about even the basic recipe, and when they actually do OTHER things with their clients. For instance, a few years ago I met a journalist who suffered from fibromyalgia telling me that EFT didn´t work at all, and when I asked her about what the practitioner had done with her in the sessions, she said that she had been instructed to lie on a plinth, and then the “therapist” had done some “energy work” with crystals placed on different parts of her body. And that´s what she thought EFT was! She hadn´t asked her any questions about her past to see when her problem had started, or what had happened to her / in her life the 6 months or the year prior to the disease showing up in her system; she didn´t even do the basic recipe once with her. She just “tapped a few points here and there”.
I hope that everyone going through their own healing process realises that they themselves are the best healer and guide; they have that power within themselves. I hope that they do their research when looking for someone to do EFT with, and that they go on to www.emofree.com first, watch the tutorials that you have so generously shared for free there (even if they just watch the ones about the basics of EFT!), and then see if what they have read and seen in the tutorials matches what they are doing with their EFT practitioner. Also, if there are any EFT practitioners reading this who trained with someone else, please do go ahead and watch all the tutorials on the website anyway. Believe me, you keep learning every time you watch them!
Gary, I wouldn´t be who I am today, and I wouldn´t be here at all, if it hadn´t been for EFT and the fact that you so generously offered it to everyone, expecting nothing in return. I don´t think words can convey how grateful I will always be to you, but I hope that knowing that through the work that I have done with EFT so far many people have healed themselves (from very extreme pain sometimes) will help you see how much you have contributed to saving many lives and making this world a better place. Thanks again for everything.
Lots of love,
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