Getting to the core of “Mark’s” anxiety

By Carol Look, EFT Master

Last week I taught two EFT classes to therapists, many of whom were overwrought and distressed from their own feelings about the September 11th trauma. Their distress of course was amplified by their clients’ feelings about September 11th and the future. This case shows how using exact language is needed to “hit the spot.”

During the second class a seasoned EFT practitioner, “Mark,” reported an uncomfortable level of anxiety since September 11th. He had been persistent with his tapping, but hadn’t been able to reduce the anxiety enough yet for his comfort. I asked him to describe what he was going through, and we began tapping for the simple anxiety that he rated at about a “6.”

“Even though I feel quite anxious since September 11th, I deeply….”

“Even though I still feel anxious, I choose to feel calm and peaceful…”

These two rounds reduced his anxiety dramatically (he reported feeling considerably calmer even though he did not scale the difference). The class participants noticed that the muscle tone and expression on his face had softened.

We continued to pursue the source of Mark’s anxiety beyond the obvious feelings he had of “waiting for the other shoe to drop.” We kept tapping…

“Even though I don’t feel safe anymore, I deeply and completely accept myself.” This round was off the mark. We moved to…

“Even though I’m afraid for my family, I deeply and completely accept myself and my feelings…”

Finally, we hit the bullseye when I had him say…

“Even though I feel powerless because I can’t protect my family anymore…I accept myself and my feelings.”

This was a critical piece of Mark’s anxiety. Being a father and now a grandfather, Mark had always felt a sense of responsibility to protect his immediate family. The “rules” had essentially changed with the magnitude of the September attacks. Mark described this anxiety as part of his “need to be in control.” He felt enormously relieved when these words resonated deeply with his feelings. He said he had been unable to clearly identify the exact words to alleviate his anxiety.

Again, this was a 5-10 minute demonstration. At the end Mark reported feeling much better, and looked more relaxed and peaceful, *even though* he had no more control over his family’s safety than he had when we began. He looked greatly relieved and told me he had planned to walk down to Ground Zero after the class to help with “emotional closure” for the incident. In a follow-up email one week later, Mark said he continues to feel free of the pre-workshop anxiety.

September 11, 2005

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