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Helping a lost boy and his family out in the woods - spontaneous EFT

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

My admiration to Suzanne Lerner for lending an "EFT helping hand" to strangers during their stressful situation. She says, "His father was of course very relieved, but also very, very angry. "You're going to be PUNISHED FOR THIS!" and it was like there were daggers in the air. It seemed pretty clear this kid was going to be smacked as soon as I left. I felt like my work wasn't done. In a flash, I could see how child abuse occurs."

Hugs, Gary

By Suzanne i.b. Lerner, PhD

Hi Gary,

I just had a wonderful experience of using EFT "on the road" so to speak, that I'd love to share. I was actually in an isolated area of the woods, on beautiful Mount Shasta, when I suddenly heard a young voice calling out.

"Hello? Hello Dad? Is anyone there? Help! Help!" I was quite startled. Moments later a young boy came into the clearing where I sat, very determinedly marching up the mountain, in the exact opposite direction of the campgrounds. He was indeed lost.

I very gently called out to him, asked him his name, told him mine, and reassured him that he was safe and that I wouldn't leave him until he was back safe with his family again. "Johnny" told me he was 10 years old, and that he'd been lost for about 30 minutes.

I immediately joined him and we walked until we were back on the trail. We were just a 15 minute hike away from the Campgrounds. I was very concerned about how worried his parents must be! Suddenly though, I empathetically experienced what that must be like, to be 10 years old and lost for that long. It was the definition of trauma, where someone experiences a potentially life-threatening situation and feels potentially helpless to resolve it. I could imagine all the "writing on his walls" going on, irrational ideas about the "dangers of nature" and blaming himself for getting in such a situation, etc. While my highest priority was to get him back as quickly as possible, I felt that a round or two of EFT could still be done.

My instincts were good. I said as we walked: "I'm so glad you're safe now; that must have been really scary, to be lost like that in the woods." He nodded in agreement. "Would you like to do something, to help you let go of all that fear and feel better again?" He nodded again, looking at me with his big, sweet eyes We stopped for a moment:

Even though I was lost and I know that I'm safe now, that was really scary!
Reminder Phrase: "that was scary."

He repeated the phrase as I used the shortcut sequence. He didn't sob or gasp, he was silent except for repeating my prompts of "that was scary, really scary!" But suddenly a great big tear, like a little diamond, formed on his lid and tumbled down his face, and then another and another. And then he sighed and smiled. It was so touching! We had taken all of 2 minutes and 2 rounds, and probably helped to prevent many negative, irrational beliefs from being "written on his walls." That was enough for now, and we needed to hurry back to his camp.

His father was of course very relieved, but also very, very angry. "You're going to be PUNISHED FOR THIS!" and it was like there were daggers in the air. It seemed pretty clear this kid was going to be smacked as soon as I left.

I felt like my work wasn't done. In a flash, I could see how child abuse occurs. 1) Parents feel so vulnerable around their children. 2) Something potentially bad happens 3) The parents are so overwhelmed with "Fight or Flight" sympathetic over-arousal, that they can't "think straight" 4) They then take out their frustration on their child, who has already suffered enough.

I took a chance. I said to the father, "That must have been so scary for you! " He nodded. "To be out in National Forest and have your child lost like that, I can't imagine! You must have been SO STRESSED." "Yeah, and I'm already too stressed." (I noticed that there was no mother there with them, and that he probably was raising his 2 kids alone.)

"Well, it just so happens that my specialty is working with stress, especially after trauma, like having your kid lost in the woods. So if you'd like, I'd be happy to take a few minutes, and help you let go of some of that stress." (I had no idea if he would go for this, but it was worth a try.) To my surprise, he agreed!

I led him over to the picnic table, and in front of his kids and his sister and her husband, who had all gone through this as well, I did the tapping. I used an "Extended Setup Phrase" followed by a "Setup/ Reminder Combination." We addressed his fear, his anger, his feeling stupid that he let it happen, how was he going to explain this when he went home, and even the visions he might have had of having to wrestle his child from the claws of a wild animal!

Finally I addressed his relationship to little "Johnny"
Even though he got lost, he's a good kid.
Even though he got lost, he did all the right things to get found.
Even though I felt really scared and angry, he certainly didn't get lost on purpose! No one does! Maybe he just needs to learn more skills on how to follow a trail.
Even though he was lost, I'm so glad that he's found. I can finally, finally RELAX again.

At that point, I felt the need to give them back their space, and allow them to integrate all that had happened. They clearly weren't people who were used to therapeutic interventions, and I felt very grateful that they had allowed me to help at this juncture in their lives.

EFT... Don't leave home without it!

Love & Blessings,

Suzanne i.b. Lerner, PhD


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