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- PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Using EFT after a terrorist attack
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.
This article is about an in-depth treatment of the trauma resulting from a terrorist attack. It is critical reading for those wishing to apply EFT in the event of future attacks.
Dr. David Lake's daughter, Tanya, was caught in a past terrorist attack on the island of Bali. While she suffered no physical damage there was, of course, emotional trauma that needed to be addressed. David, as you will see, applied EFT in expert fashion.
David lives and practices in Sydney, Australia and Tanya is a photographer who was visiting the island of Bali on assignment. Shortly after this event, Tanya was interviewed for a local publication. The complete interview is given at the end of David's message.
Also, I make two comments within the message that might help some with applying EFT to these circumstances.
My daughter Tanya was at the epicenter of the Bali bombing. With her permission I am posting details of her treatment for the trauma of that night. She is a professional photographer and has given an interview to her paper, the full text of which is given at the end of this article.
My hope is that many others affected by this kind of disaster will come to use EFT--personally or professionally--as a straightforward and effective antidote to the implicit horror of these events.
The technique is relatively simple. The key to the good result, in my opinion, is focus and persistence.
Focus means using Gary Craig's technique of "Telling The Story". Persistence means making sure that many EFT sequences are delivered during the treatment session--at times the tapping was constant.
First there is the 4 a.m. call. "Only slight injuries". But she is in shock, and far away. I start tapping from that point on through the next day of unfolding details of organizing a flight home, reading the details on the Internet news and contacting family. The confirmed death toll rises from 3 to 183 in 36 hours. The anxiety and worry at a deep level is far more intense than anything I have experienced before, even though we know she is alive. We wait at the airport with hundreds of highly worried people the next morning.
Tanya appears and looks very well for someone who has slept little in days. She is upbeat about being alive but she has seen terrible things. We share our tears. Then on the way home we hear the awful story of the blast. But for two trivial circumstances she would have been killed.
At this point I wish that we could stop and use EFT for everybody immediately but it isn't the right time. At home I find that she is soon going to be interviewed twice, and friends are coming over. I don't want her to repeat her story without EFT first. My colleague Steve Wells is in the house and offers to do EFT for her if I don't feel up to it--but I do. It is reassuring to have him around.
She and her boyfriend James agree to a treatment session together. He has been so concerned about her. He too had a telephone call. I ask him to tap along with everything Tanya says and feels and get the benefits that way, and I will check in with him at the end of the session. [Because he is very inclined to help Tanya I don't explain EFT fully to him--we just start, and he is a very quick learner.] Tanya already knows EFT basics.
She is OK about going into the story of the event--there is no fear of that, or any block to doing it.
GC COMMENT: Unlike Tanya, many people get very intense at the mere thought of telling the story. In such cases I use EFT to "take the edge off" the intensity with Set up phrases like...
"Even though I don't want to tell this story...." "Even though this story still scares me..." "Even though I feel uncomfortable right now...."
I keep tapping until they are down to 0-2 on a 0-10 intensity scale. This serves to avoid unnecessary emotional pain and often collapses most of the issue before we even start.
DAVID CONTINUES: The first thing that happens when we start with the tale is that she connects with the feeling of an extraordinary evil "touching my heart like a spider". We divert to treating this feeling in her chest, and then the stomach (as it "shifts") until it lessens. We go through the moments of the incident using EFT for any intensity during the recollection. While all of the memories have very intense thoughts, the feeling reactions become more neutral as we go on.
GC COMMENT: Tapping on the physical symptoms is often a great way to neutralize the issue without emotional pain. The physical symptoms tend to shift around the body as EFT is applied. I call this "chasing the pain" and find that, after the physical symptoms have been relieved, the corresponding emotional intensities have subsided as well.
DAVID CONTINUES: I ask Tanya to tap on her cheek point whenever she pauses to give me feedback, or diverts into an association. Then to use her collarbone point, or her little finger point (and others that I like such as the yin/yang combination points on the inner or outer wrist) so that she is tapping continually. We don't analyse what she says--we tap on it instead for the whole session, either doing set-up sequences, or this "going with the flow" tapping.
When she is distressed, and engaged by that, I use the extended EFT sequence (on two occasions); otherwise I use the shortcut seven point sequence exclusively. Sometimes I use one set-up statement for several rounds of tapping. I concentrate as usual on the negative (reported) aspects of what has happened, but here I am sensitive to the fact that the worst is represented fully in the body at one level anyway--EFT in trauma work is a multilevel treatment and often works best in the body without clever words. Hence excessive tapping.
I don't take any ratings for intensity but gauge the effect of EFT by the degree of relaxation, hesitations, voice tone and sighing. We are all completely attuned. I am tapping as actively as anyone during the whole session to help and protect myself.
In the process it becomes clear that she kept it together on the night and didn't panic. There was carnage and chaos. Despite being blown over she was able to join with others to give and receive help. There was more danger in her mind during the phase of getting away when she was nearly run over by many speeding motorbikes. Having escaped to the beach from the destruction she had to deal with people looking at her black face and body, and the owner of her hotel refusing to let her settle her bill and wash herself. There were the surreal aspects of life continuing uninterrupted half a mile away from the carnage, especially the next day.
In Tanya's words: "I was tapping the whole time I walked away from the club. As the motorbikes came at me, I was tapping. I don't know if it was a short or long while (I'm thinking about 30-45 minutes to get to the beach) but all that stuff was in my head. Later at the beach talking with people, I was imagining I was tapping. I kept thinking 'I'm doing the best I can'..."
I help her finish all of the tapping for the "story" and double check the result by having her go through it again. The event has a more neutral feeling about it now. The story has a second component where she returned to the site the following day and took pictures of the debris and bodies for her newspaper. The full impact of the horror was clear.
Then we see if she has residual body tensions--and we tap on those too. This is enough for one session.
Following the session she does her interviews, tells her story to friends and watches the TV news with appropriate sadness and feeling. Of course EFT will not eliminate the legitimate upset and grief associated with such an event--only the dysfunctional and excessive part. She is coping. James is relaxed.
She and James sleep deeply that night. The next day they both feel "fine", and go swimming. They talk together the whole day. Tanya has no "flashbacks" or intrusive thoughts, or nightmares, and is not upset at a deep level. She is celebrating being alive--and I love to see it!
In the evening we have another session (lasting 2 hours) to check on the treatment and see what else might be worth treating. Some of the chest emotion has returned. It turns out that now there are more philosophical concerns about what the whole evil effort of terrorism might mean. We discuss this while doing a lot of "continual" tapping, and we also talk about life and death and war and injury but in a neutral to positive way. James recalls an incident where his life was in danger and we tap on the memory of that.
Tanya says it is the love and affection of family and friends that has helped most.
I think she has had good treatment for all the aspects of the event that we could discover. I will keep an eye on her.
In the media Australia begins mourning the loss of life of its young people. We have lost proportionately more lives than the USA on September 11.
A PERSONAL NOTE
Tanya was in Paddy's Irish Bar when the first bomb went off inside--40 people were killed instantly. She had moved to a corner away from the explosion to get away from the loud music of Britney Spears. [I find myself warming to that singer in a brand new way.] And a friend refilled her drink then so that, out of politeness, she didn't leave, but lingered behind the concrete wall that saved her life from the huge car bomb outside a minute later.
These are the random unpredictabilities of survival I find hard to credit and thus, so disturbing.
I was more upset about what happened than I realized initially. EFT calmed me significantly. When I saw the photograph of the charred remnants of Paddy's Irish Bar I had to do a lot of tapping. Likewise when I watched on TV reports of the great efforts of ordinary people to provide care to the injured in impossible circumstances.
I still can't think of Tanya nearly dying as a real event.
EFT does work to help heal severe trauma. Not all this trauma fits the strict criteria for "Post-traumatic Stress" but it still hurts very much.
Tanya used EFT as "first aid" on the night--this is ideal timing for self-help. The earlier you can treat, the better.
I also think that the more EFT you do in a treatment session the better the result.
Simple techniques can treat thoroughly.
Take your time using EFT and be optimistic that every sequence of EFT promotes the real healing.
Media reports are traumatizing too for onlookers--use EFT when watching or reading.
James says it best: "She is an extraordinary girl".
David Lake, MD
Below is the full text of Tanya's interview
An evil 'I can't understand'
Bernard O'Riordan [Australian Financial Review]
"I could see people on the ground with no legs; there was this incredible noise and people screaming out for their friends."
Tanya Lake, a photographer at The Australian Financial Review, flew into Sydney yesterday still in shock but relieved to be home after surviving the Bali bomb blasts.
The 26-year-old had been at Paddy's Irish bar in the Kuta Beach nightclub district less than half an hour when the first car bomb exploded on Saturday night. She had gone to Paddy's because the nearby Sari Club, where the first bomb exploded, was packed and she thought the music was terrible.
"Suddenly there was this explosion, it was like a supersonic sound, and I turned to see this giant orange ball and a barman being thrown through the air," she said.
"As I turned this chemical vapour and all this dust was forced down my throat. Then the second blast hit and it blew me across onto a wall - that's when I knew something was really wrong."
Ms Lake believes a wall she was standing against insulated her and her companions from the full impact of the blast, and possibly saved their lives.
"They think the wall is what saved us - not many other people were okay like we were. I've cuts on my legs and pretty big bruises, but it's nothing really."
She said the blast ignited a huge blaze and at first people thought it was caused by an exploding gas cylinder. The blasts caused a major blackout, plunging the area into darkness illuminated only by flames from the blazing nightclubs.
"I grabbed this guy's hand and I didn't let go for two hours," Ms Lake said. "We barely even spoke, we just walked in a daze until we got to the beach."
But it wasn't until around dawn that the full extent of the tragedy became apparent. Ms Lake went back to her hotel room, picked up her camera and ventured back towards the blast site to try and retrieve her purse and belongings.
Security was lax. After showing her media pass, Ms Lake was free to wander the area. She was surprised by the number of Indonesian civilians wandering around the site, picking over the wreckage.
There was nothing left of Paddy's or Sari Club. Burnt-out cars littered the street and bodies were piled up outside the nightclubs.
"When I got back on to the scene next morning, I turned and there was this street filled with body bags for as far as I could see," she said.
"There were just piles of bodies being hauled into the ambulance."
Ms Lake, who was in Bali on the last leg of an overseas holiday, said the terrorist attack would not stop her from returning to Bali.
"The big picture hasn't really sunk in, but I won't spend my life hiding under a rock," she said.
"Sometimes there's this huge evil in the world and I'm not even going to try to understand it."
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