Table of Contents

Table of Contents Help

The tabs on the right are shortcuts to where you have been:

  • Previous Screen
  • Previous Articles
  • Previous Categories
  • Start Page
  • Hide Entire Menu

Swiping to the left will take you to the previous screen.

The folder icon indicates that more content is available. Click on the icon or the associated text, or swipe to the right to see the additional content.



Using EFT to unravel the many pieces of a child molestation

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

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.

Hi Everyone,

Suzanne Lerner takes us behind the scenes of her detailed session for a client's molestation. Notice how the session involved taking apart a single specific event. She says, "...this all occurred in one 90 minute session.  By the end of the session his level of intensity  had been brought to 1 or 0 for all the emotions addressed.  To test our work I asked him to say out loud:  “I was sexually abused by my male babysitter.” There was no charge, a zero.  He stated that he just felt a big relief, like a great big exhalation.  He went on to express his gratitude."

Hugs, Gary

By Suzanne ib Lerner, PhD

Hi Gary,

I just attended the World premiere of a beautiful new documentary, “Boyhood Shadows: I Swore I’d Never Tell.”  In this film, members of a support group for Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse, spoke out publicly about having been sexually abused as boys.  I honor their strength and courage.

It is estimated that one in six boys is molested sexually before the age of 16.  While this is a painful subject, there is much hope for healing, once these issues are acknowledged.  Due to a variety of factors, including shame, feelings of worthlessness, threats, as well as outright suppression of the memories, it is believed that at least 60% of these cases are never reported.  It is time for this issue to be addressed more openly and supportively, so that boys and men can heal from sexual trauma and this abuse can be stopped.  EFT is a tremendous resource in providing a space for such healing.  It has been a wonderful gift to be able to offer new freedom to the men who work with me on these issues, utilizing the power of EFT.

In our western culture, boys learn that they are supposed to be strong and tough.  They are supposed to be able to protect themselves.  But boys, no matter how strong they are in their own right, are just children, more weak and vulnerable than their abusers, and therefore generally unable to stop the abuse.  Therefore tremendous shame and self-blame can occur.  The fact that the majority (though not all) abusers of boys are of the same sex, adds a layer of fear and confusion around the child’s sexual and gender identity that also needs to be sensitively addressed.

Males may be damaged by society’s refusal or reluctance to accept their victimization, and by the consequence that they must “tough it out” in silence.  Hopefully, through education, more people will feel comfortable in acknowledging this problem, so that survivors can come out of their isolation and get the help they deserve.

I’d like to share the story of one male survivor’s transformation of shame and pain into self-esteem and validation, through the skillful use of EFT.


George, as I will call him, contacted me, because he was drinking a few more beers than he would like in the evenings.  However, when our session arrived, he wasn’t sure if that was the main issue.  Using Gary Craig’s classic question: “If there was one thing that you could just erase from your life, what would that be?”  I was moved that he trusted me enough to respond with an issue that had haunted him, and he had never been able to really address, even though now in his 50’s.  The sad fact is that he was sexually abused by his male babysitter when he was only 8 or 9.

I asked George what feelings were strongest when he thought about the experience.  We did EFT rounds on each of the feelings as they arose: embarrassment, confusion, betrayal, self-blame, hurt, anger, and sadness.  Some of the set-up phrases included:

Even though I felt so helpless, I deeply love & accept all of me, even the helpless feeling part.

(Reminder Phrase: so helpless)

Even though my baby sitter did things to me that he never should have done…

(Reminder phrases: never should have happened, I didn’t deserve it)

Even though I was really confused, and I didn’t really understand what was going on, I forgive myself, I was just a kid, it wasn’t my fault, he was the one who was being bad … I’m a good kid.

(Reminder phrases: really confusing, he was wrong, not me, I’m a good kid, “little George” is a good kid.)

[NOTE: Out of respect, I always ask the client what name would be best, to refer to their “inner kid.”  In this case he chose “little George.”]

Even though he said that no one would believe me, that everyone knew I was a liar, and I did lie a lot, this was true, it happened, and he should never have hurt me that way.

(Reminder phrases: he threatened me, I wasn’t lying, it happened, I know it, Suzanne (me, the therapist) knows it too)

George poignantly shared how, after the babysitter left the room, he couldn’t comprehend what to do.  He described how he actually got out a little suitcase, packed some things, and ran away from his home while the babysitter wasn’t looking.  The babysitter frantically called his own parents, and they drove around the neighborhood until they found him.  But no one addressed him or asked what was going on.

Even though I packed up a little suitcase, and ran away, so that he had to call his parents and go looking for me, no one said anything, or asked what was going on, and that makes me really mad and sad.

(Reminder phrases: really mad, really sad, why didn’t they ask? little kids don’t run away for no good reason!)

Even though no one asked me what was going on, I choose to listen to myself, and comfort “little George” cause he never deserved to be treated that way.

(Reminder phrases: so sorry that happened to you “little George”, I’m here for you now, he was bad and wrong, it wasn’t your fault, I’m so sorry)

We then went on to address the actual events with the Movie Technique.  We addressed each of the issues, including shame at being told to pull his pants down, confusion about why this was happening, the actual physical pain, and guilt.

It turned out one of the biggest issues for George was that no one had responded or asked what had gone on.  He spoke about how he had finally told his mother 10 years ago, and she said she was sorry, but with words no emotion, like she just didn’t get it.  So we did some rounds on:

Even though my mom doesn’t get what happened, she just can’t deal with it for some reason, I choose to comfort little George, and let him know that I care and I’m willing to listen.

We then did some Voice Dialogue work with the adult George talking to “little George” asking what he needed, comforting him, and reassuring him, at a variety of levels.  We then did some more rounds of EFT reinforcing the themes that came up when the adult George spoke with “little George.”

Even though no one listened to you then, I’m here for you now, and I will never leave you.

(Reminder phrase: I’m here for you)

Even though he did that to you, you’re okay, you survived, and I am dedicated to never letting that happen to you again.

(Reminder phrase:  I’m okay, I survived)

Even though he did something bad to you, you’re a good kid, and I love and cherish all of you!

(Reminder phrase: I love you, I cherish you)

Although we covered a lot of ground, as can be seen from above, this all occurred in one 90 minute session.  By the end of the session his level of intensity  had been brought to 1 or 0 for all the emotions addressed.  To test our work I asked him to say out loud:  “I was sexually abused by my male babysitter.” There was no charge, a zero.  He stated that he just felt a big relief, like a great big exhalation.  He went on to express his gratitude.

It’s important to note that this incident was a one-time occurrence. Some variables that will affect how much therapeutic work is needed include:

1. Whether the abuse was one time or repeated
2. Whether the abuser was a stranger, family member, or authority figure (example: teacher, camp counselor, coach, priest)
3. The level of violence involved
4. How the child made sense of what happened (“I was bad” versus “They were bad”)
5. Whether the child told anyone, and how they responded
6. The level of general health or dysfunction in the child’s family
7. And the child and adult’s coping skills in general.

However EFT can help with whatever issues arise around the different layers of the abuse, by the appropriately trained practitioner.

I followed up a few weeks later, and George reported that he was happy and grateful with a new sense of peace and ease he felt in general and especially in terms of the abuse that had occurred.  He reported how in the past, he had never been able to get close to men, hang out with them, or develop friendships.  Now, he had just signed up on a social website to get in touch with some of his old friends.  He expressed deep relief that it hadn’t been “too late” to help “little George.”

May there be blessings and healing for us all!

Suzanne ib Lerner, PhD


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