I have a really big emotional issue I need to deal with, but I’m afraid. In the past when I tried to work on the issue it was too painful, and I’m afraid to even think about the issue now. Is there some way I can get over my fear of the emotions that might come up?
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933)
I’ve noticed an interesting trend in my practice. Recently, a number of clients have come in for a session and have spent the first twenty minutes talking about the newly painted office, the weather, and just about anything else to stall for time.
A perfect example would be “Jane,” a client whom I had worked with for a number of months. She contacted me after her mother had been raped. She postponed the appointment two times before she finally made it in.
Once she was in my office she was anything but focused on the task at hand. Finally after 15 minutes I asked her, “Do you want to do this or not?”
She said she didn’t know. She explained, “I know this is going to be very emotional, and the feelings are so raw. I don’t want to go into
I thanked her for her honesty. Then I asked her to show me with her hands how big all the emotions are.
[Note: With my hypnosis background I am a huge fan of using imagery and visualization to find information about issues. The subconscious is a very powerful creative tool that is willing to give us information in lot of ways. I personally love watching clients come up with imagery that even surprises themselves.]
I specifically asked her to show me how big all of the emotions were (the emotions she felt about the situation and the emotions she felt about dealing with the situation). I know from experience that the more specific we get, the better Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is going to work, but in this case I didn’t think there was going to be any way that Jane was going to be able to separate the various emotions out.
She responded to my question by outlining something about the size of a egg-shaped beach ball. And so we started tapping:
This is such a scary time…My heart is broken…I know this has hurt me…I am afraid to dive into to these emotions because it’s going to hurt…It’s easier to just not think about this and bury it…But I know I need to heal…I need to move on…I have used EFT in the past and it has worked for other things…I know it will work for this…I have worked with Gene in the past, and he won’t allow me to be harmed…I trust the process. [How to use these tapping phrases]
I then asked her how much of the total emotion was left. She held her hands to the size of a softball. We then proceeded to work on the
emotions surrounding the reason she had come in.
There are a few thoughts I took away from this experience (and a number of similar experiences):
1) Often times the biggest hurdle to healing is our willingness to take the step towards healing. Something in ourselves prevents us from seeking the help we need because we expect it to be painful.
Now, when I am working with someone who is dealing with a particularly emotional issue, I will first check to see if we need to clean up any emotional aspects about facing the problem, we can do that before we starting the work on the core issues they are seeking help for.
2) In the case documented it appears that more than 70% of the issue was just the fear of dealing with the issues. I don’t know if this is the case. It is very possible that we were also cleaning up aspects of the main issue while we were dealing with the fear of dealing with the issue. But it is very clear that the way that we interpret the event can be as powerful, if not more powerful, than the event itself.
I have seen instances where clients can’t seem to remember traumatic events from the past after they have cleaned up the emotional response. It is as if 70% of the memory is their emotional response to the memory.