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Did Brenda really abuse her brother?

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Dr. Alexander Lees from Canada steps us through a session with "Brenda" that highlights EFT's ability to bring about healthier (and more accurate) perceptions. Cognitive shifts such as these are common with EFT and the more skill you develop the more you will notice them.

As usual, Alex's mastery of "session language" is liberally displayed throughout this article. Please study it. I make a few comments within the article to emphasize some of the useful phraseology.

Hugs, Gary

by Dr. Alexander Lees

"Brenda" appeared at the appointed time. She filled out the intake form with her name and phone number and nothing else. No symptomology was written down, nor reasons for the visit. Brenda was overweight, hesitant and gave the impression she would be out the door at the slightest excuse. I entered the reception area, and decided to intervene.

"You seem like you are not sure you should be here," I began, "And I think part of you would like to leave, if you could."

"I think maybe I should go," Brenda responded in a small voice. "No problem here," I said. "Before you go, would you mind speaking with me for a minute, privately?" I gestured towards my office. Brenda followed me into my office and perched on the edge of the couch. She fumbled in her purse, from which she retrieved a small tape recorder. "Can I use this, just to be sure?" asked Brenda. "Of course," I said. The following dialogue was later transcribed from that tape, with Brenda's permission.

Alex: "How can I help you?"

Brenda: "I don't know."

Alex: "What would you like to explore?"

Brenda: "I'm not sure. I don't know what's wrong."

Alex: "Well, there are many things that affect us in life, marriage, money, love of self or others, children -- do any of these cause you concern?"

Brenda: "They are all involved."

Alex: "And they are all involved with .......?"

Brenda: "I don't deserve to fix it."

Alex: "If I were to say to you 'You don't deserve to fix it,' you would probably agree, would you not?"

Brenda: "Yes."

Alex: "And if I asked you to replace the word it... with another word, which word would you think reasonably, or adequately could replace, .... it?"

Brenda: "Depressed, I suppose."

Alex: "Do you take medication for depression?"

Brenda: "Used to. It didn't help. So a friend told me about St. John's Wort. I take that now."

Alex: "And when were you diagnosed?"

Brenda: "Oh, three years ago."

Alex: "And you have taken St. John's Wort for how long?"

Brenda: "About two months."

Alex: "Excellent! Oh, that's great! I'm so pleased."

Brenda: "Why?"

Alex: "Because that means you are ready for an excellent complimentary approach, a technique, that will help even more." (At this point, Brenda's eyes went to the floor, and she appeared ready to cry.)

Alex: (Softer voice) "But, you feel you don't deserve it, do you?"

Brenda: Sniffles, no verbal response, or clear indication of yes or no.

Alex: "You know, I don't normally share this with people, but I feel I can with you, for some reason, so I will, if that's okay?"

Brenda: Nods yes.

GC COMMENT: Please note the artistry in Alex's next wording. He brings up what could be a sensitive question but does it as though it is coming from a neutral third party ("a colleague of mine in California". It "softens" this important question and increases the chances that Brenda (who is already hesitant) will answer it.

Alex: "I get down myself sometimes, we all do, and I phoned a colleague of mine in California. After a few minutes on the phone, he said the darndest you know what he said?"

Brenda: "What?"

Alex: "He said, 'Alex, if you could live your life over, and skip just one thing, what would that be?' Now, I think that's a strange, yet, at the same time, a very interesting question, don't you think?"

Brenda: "What would I skip?"

Alex: "Okay."

Brenda: "Abusing my brother." (bursts into tears)

Alex: (Getting up) "This may not help, completely, but let me show you something," and began to tap the P.R. point on the hand. "Say this after me -- Even though I abused my brother, and don't deserve to feel better; and even though I was only 12, I should have had more control; I deeply and completely accept myself."

Brenda: "No, I can't accept myself."

Alex: "Excellent. I see you want to do this in the proper order. Good for you.

GC: Superb language!! Alex reframes her resistance as a contribution and assumes consent.

Please say (still tapping P.R. point) Even though I can't accept myself, I accept that I cannot accept myself, and at least I can accept I can't accept myself."

Brenda: (Now smiling) "You're crazier than I am."

Alex: "Only because I've been at it longer."

Brenda: Laughing now.

Alex: "It takes years to get this nutty."

Brenda: More laughter.

Alex: "Okay, let's do another part (P.R. point again) Even though I've been punished for years, and don't deserve to stop, now (stop, now was said slightly more forcefully) I completely and deeply accept myself." Brenda repeated this three times.

GC COMMENT: Alex's stop, now language is known as an embedded command. By emphasizing it the way he did, it increases the chances that Brenda's system will comply.

Alex: "Okay, please, focus on the abuse you used to do." We then tapped each point using the reminder phrase, This abuse. "Well?"

Brenda: "It's better, but I still feel guilty." We then used the phrase, This guilt, and completed another round.

Alex: "What comes up for you now?"

Brenda: "How awful it must have been for him."

Alex: "And as you think of how awful it must have been for him, you feel...?"

Brenda: "Ashamed." We then did a round using the reminder phrase, This ashamed feeling.

Alex: "Do you still feel any shame, or guilt about your brother?"

Brenda: "This is the weirdest therapy."

Alex: "Yep. Do you want to do something even more weird?" (Smiling)

Brenda: "Oh sure. Why not." (Smiling)

Alex: "I want you to make a movie, over there, on that wall. I want you to see the strongest memory, the one that stands out for you, over there, on that wall, from beginning to end. And tell me the parts you can tell me, in sequence."

Brenda: "Well, he comes into my room and..." (breaking down into tears again). A quick round using This feeling was performed.

Brenda: Starts again... "He came into my room and he's saying something, but I can't remember, then he gets into bed." We did a round of: Even though I can't remember what he said, I deeply and completely accept myself (P.R. point). Then a full round using: This forgetting, this forgetting.

Brenda: "Oh my God!" (looking shocked)

Alex: "What?"

Brenda: "He kept saying it was all my fault."

Alex: "And how many times did you invite him to your room, or threaten him that he'd better show up?"

Brenda: "I didn't."

Alex: "You phoned him?"

Brenda: (Smiling) "No, he came on his own."

Alex: "Uninvited?"

Brenda: "Yes."

Alex: "So, how exactly, did you abuse him?"

Brenda: (Colour returning to face, relaxed and introspective) "I didn't, did I?"

Alex: "Apparently not."

Brenda: (Agitated) "And all these years..." We tapped the P.R. point, saying, Even though I blamed myself, all these years, I completely and deeply accept myself. And followed with a full round using the phrase: This blaming self.

Alex: "I want you to say this for me: My brother abused me."

Brenda: "My damned brother abused me!"

Alex: "And because he abused me, and blamed me for it, I feel ...."

Brenda: "Sad." We tapped on: This sadness.

Brenda made two more appointments, and we will clear up any remaining aspects then. The point in sharing this part of our time together (two hours) is this: Brenda had apparently been in group counselling sessions for five months, dealing with her abuse of her brother. In two hours using EFT she gained an important realization of the truth. Now, I feel, counselling will begin to benefit her, as what really happened has been brought to light.

Footnote: Brenda's brother is serving time for sexual abuse. Brenda always believed, and felt further guilt, because of alleged actions as a child. She is coming to terms with the fact her brother owns the behaviour, and it seems, that behaviour has existed for a long time.

Dr. Alexander R. Lees


For the many that wrote regarding that case, here is the follow-up.

Brenda's" mother, who has been deeply committed to getting to the truth in this case, visited her son in prison, and confronted him with Brenda's "revelation." He admitted to the duplicity, and also mentioned the names of two other girls that he had become "involved" with around the same time. Apparently, he had also convinced them that they were at fault, and thus assured their silence. The social worker now handling the case believes, after this latest interview with him, that he will soon agree to joining a group therapy session she runs within the prison. As she stated so well, change can only begin after admitting there is a problem.


Explore our newest advancement, Optimal EFT™, by reading my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™. More efficient. More powerful.