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A problem staying focused and present had its roots in childhood trauma -- EFT resolved it.
Note: This is one of 3,000 articles written prior to the updated Gold Standard (Official) EFT Tapping Tutorial™. It provides practical uses for EFT Tapping and most EFT'ers should find it very helpful. However, if your benefits are temporary or a more in-depth approach is needed, you are urged to (1) consult The Gold Standard EFT Tapping Tutorial, (2) Explore our newest advancement, Optimal EFT, by reading our free e-book, The Unseen Therapist, and/or (3) get help from a Certified EFT Practitioner.
Note: This article assumes you have a working knowledge of EFT. Newcomers can still learn from it but are advised to peruse our Free Gold Standard (Official) EFT Tutorial™ for a more complete understanding.
Sometimes clients subconsciously tune into past traumatic events and "check out" during conversations. Such was the case with Leonard Thornton's client until a core issue was discovered.
I would like to share the following interesting session with a man named Carl, not his true name. I believe the problem of staying present or actively listening affects many people in their communication. Carl had been to me for several EFT sessions about six months prior to coming for this one and had experienced major positive changes in his self-esteem, confidence and ability to relate to people around him.
This time Carl said he was having difficulty listening to and staying with his partner when she was talking. I suggested that it might be one of several things: having a "monkey" mind and not being able to focus; finding what his partner had to say uninteresting (I mentioned this was a frequent issue between couples); or that it might be related to some core issue from childhood. With that we proceeded with our initial set-up:
Even though I have this problem staying focused and being present with my partner...
As we started tapping on top of the head point, I asked Carl to tap with the phrase, this difficulty listening and being present with my partner. I suggested he then hold the point and breathe deeply, paying attention to any memories, pictures, feelings or body sensations that came up. Within a minute or so Carl reported that he saw a picture of his father yelling at his mother. I asked him how he felt and he said, scared. He also indicated he was about five years old.
GC COMMENT: Note how Leonard's above question tuned the client into an important SPECIFIC EVENT ... very useful.
As we continued to tap, hold and breathe down through the eye points, I had him add the following phrases to the reminder phrase: father yelling at my mother, feeling scared, want to get out of here, it's not safe. I asked him about body sensations and Carl reported that he felt a lot of heat moving up his back and shoulders into his neck. When pressed for more Carl said his legs felt cold and weak and he had a gripping in his stomach area.
We now added these to the reminder phrase. Carl said he now started to relax more and that the energy continued to move up his back. When tapping on the collarbone, we added, all this fear of my father, afraid my father is going to hurt my mother, afraid my father is going to hurt me, it's not safe to be here, I want to run away, but I can't-- my legs are too weak, I have to go someplace where it is safe, I can check-out, I can go somewhere in my mind where it is safe, I don't have to stay here.
On the under the arm points we added; all this anger I feel from my father, all this anger I feel inside me, I feel really angry with my father for making me so scared and hurting my mother, I feel angry with myself for feeling so scared of my father.
I asked Carl how he felt and he said his legs still felt cold and weak but the gripping in his stomach was receding. We then went down to the leg points above the ankles and used phrases like: gotta get outta here, it's not safe, my legs feel so weak when my father yells at my mother, I am ready to release this fear, I am ready to let my legs run, I don't have to stay where it isn't safe, my legs are strong, they can take me where I need to go to be safe. The sensations in Carl's legs now disappeared.
We then started tapping the wrists together and Carl suddenly reported he felt anxious. The following conversation ensued while we continued tapping the wrists together.
What color is it?
Where are you?
"In my bedroom."
How old are you?
Who is in the room with you?
Are you afraid of your cat?
"No, my cat is my friend."
What else is in the room?
What's behind the dresser?
"There's a window facing out on the yard."
What do you smell?
Where is that coming from?
What are you feeling?
"Afraid I am going to be punished."
Why are you going to be punished?
"I was playing in the ditch when I wasn't supposed to."
What are you doing now?
"I am waiting for my father to come home."
Are you afraid he is going to punish you?
So you are feeling very anxious?
Did you father punish you often?
"Yes, when he was drunk."
We now did the setup while still tapping the wrists:
Even though I feel very anxious and afraid because I know I am going to be punished by my father, I still deeply and completely love and accept myself, and I am ready to let go of this fear and be present with myself and this anxiety.
Even though I have all this anxiety, I still love and accept myself and I am willing to forgive the anxiety and my father, who helped to create it.
Even though I fell like running away, I am going to say present with myself, so I can also stay present with my partner.
Carl reported that he was feeling much more calm and relaxed and the anxiety was gone. We then tapped the karate chop points together,
Even though I developed this creative solution to being afraid...
Even though being able to 'check-out' and go to my safe-place was very helpful when I was a child...
Even though going someplace else made me feel safe, I deeply and completely love and accept myself and I now realize I can let this old pattern go. It has served its purpose. It's safe to stay present now. It's safe to be with my partner now!
We then went to the crown point and tapped: It's good that I learned to find a safe-place when I needed it; it's OK to stay present with myself now - I don't need to go away; it's OK to stay with my partner now, when I know it's safe. We then tapped down through the remaining points modifying the reminder phrase intuitively with statements like:
I forgive this old pattern of checking-out, it served me well, I choose to stay with my partner.
I choose to listen to interesting things she has to report.
All my fears are gone, I stay present with myself and my partner now. I am not afraid of my father anymore - he had his problems and did the best he could; it's safe to stay present now.
All my worries are gone now; it's safe to be present with myself and my partner; the past cannot hurt me now; I ask my body and my system to let go of all these old worries now.
I am now ready to forgive and release all my father's anger; it wasn't about me; he wasn't really angry with me; I also forgive any repressed fear and anger I held toward my father for making me feel unsafe; I forgive any repressed anger for being afraid in myself … for not being able to run away, for having to check-out.
We then went back to the top of the head and tapped: It feels safe to be present now; I enjoy listening to my partner; there is no other place I'd rather be; it feels good and safe here.
Carl reported that his body felt warm and tingly and he felt very relaxed. We continued tapping in the above and similar positive affirmations down through the rest of the points. I suggested to Carl that he monitor his consciousness now, especially with his partner and pay attention to any feelings that might come up that would make him feel unsafe and activate the old pattern.
In a follow-up phone call two weeks later Carl said he was continuing to tap and that, "judging by my partner's reactions, I must be staying more present."
So, for all those who have difficulty staying present with spouse, friend or partner, this approach may offer some creative solutions. May we all have more interesting "presents"!
Leonard Thornton, Ph.D.
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