A Painful Loss: Clearing the Emotional Anchor of a Physical Problem with EFT
by Nancy Privett, MA, EFTCert-I, BBSH
This article assumes you have a basic understanding of the EFT protocol. For more information on EFT, go to www.emofree.com. This article was originally published in the EFT Newsletter and subsequently appeared in Gary Craig’s book, EFT for Back Pain.
Here is a pretty clear case of the emotional underpinnings of a physical problem, which were all resolved with EFT.
Marie came to see me to use EFT for her sore left shoulder and upper arm. This area had been hurting for a few days. The muscles all around the shoulder were sore, as well as the ones going up into her neck and down into her upper arm. She had limited mobility and could not reach behind her to fasten her bra.
I asked Marie what had been going on around the time when she noticed the sore muscles and the only thing that came to her mind was that a few days previously she had been to NYC to see a show with friends and had been holding her purse tightly against her left side with her arm. The next day she woke up with the soreness.
I noticed that when Marie mentioned her problem she said: “I feel like my mother, all crippled up and can’t move.” When I asked about that, she said that her mother, who had died eight years previously and who had lived with Marie and her family for the last several years of her life, had had a lot of physical problems, including arthritis in her shoulders. Marie repeated the phrase about feeling like her mother several times when talking about her shoulder, which was a clue that the physical symptoms might be connected emotionally with something to do with her relationship with her mother.
We began tapping on the physical limitations and pain, and right away Marie felt a difference. She went from a discomfort level of 8 to about a 5. Some phrases we used were:
Even though I have this soreness in my shoulder…
Even though I can’t move my arm the way I want to…
Even though I have this pain in my upper arm…
Even though it hurts to raise my arm…
Even though I can’t reach behind my back…
Even though this pain goes up into my neck…
Even though it hurts more now in my neck than in my shoulder…
The discomfort was staying at a 5, so I decided to use something I learned from a previous EFT newsletter article called “What Color Is Your Pain?” I have had good results with this technique before.
I asked Marie to focus on the discomfort and answer the following as quickly as possible.
What color is the discomfort?
Is it bigger or smaller than your hand?
Is it transparent or solid?
Is it moving or still?
And, most importantly: If it were associated with a feeling, what would that be?
To Marie’s surprise, the answer to the last question was “sadness.”
So we tapped on that:
Even though I have this sadness in my shoulder….
Before we had completed the round of tapping, she said, “Oh! Of course!” She then told me that the eighth anniversary of her mother’s death was in three days, and she was going to be away on a business trip on that day. She began crying, saying that she didn’t realize how important it was to be home on that day. (Her mother had died suddenly and unexpectedly at home, in Marie’s arms.)
We then tapped on:
Even though I am very sad that I won’t be home on the anniversary of mom’s death…
When that round ended, Marie said that she had always felt bad about the event of her mother’s death because, even though her mother had died in her arms, Marie felt like she hadn’t said the right things to her as she was passing in order to comfort her.
We tapped on:
Even though I feel guilty and bad that I didn’t give mom the comfort she needed as she was dying in my arms…
Even though I didn’t say the right thing to her as she died in my arms…
Even though I should have known the right thing to say to comfort mom as she was dying in my arms…
(Notice the reference to the fact that Marie’s mother had died in Marie’s arms, and it was Marie’s shoulder and upper arm that was now hurting.)
I then suggested to Marie that it really was a lovely and comforting thing in itself that her mother died in her daughter’s arms. I said, “Just think, when you die, wouldn’t it be nice to be in held in the arms of one of your children when it happened?” She said she hadn’t thought of that, but it was true.
The session was ending and Marie’s shoulder discomfort was still a 5, but she said that “everything feels different.” I had an intuitive feeling that after sleeping, her balance would be restored in the morning and told her this.
The next morning she called to say that she felt great and that all her shoulder and arm and neck pain was completely gone. She also felt lighter about her mother’s death and didn’t feel the sadness that she wouldn’t be home for the anniversary. EFT resolved both the physical symptoms and the underlying emotional cause.