In classical psychotherapy like talking therapy or psychoanalysis emotional traumas are very difficult to treat. The therapy is long lasting and painful and often with quite limited success. A major problem is that traumatized people are overwhelmed by their emotions when thinking of their trauma so that rational and logical thoughts cannot be processed effectively any more. Also, the trauma is less located on a logical level then on an emotional level which reacts quite little to logical arguments.
For that reason I want to introduce to you a method of trauma therapy that seems strange and fascinating at the same time. But most of all it is very effective. In that method the idea is not to talk about a trauma or to try to understand it. The aim is rather to release the trauma related emotions and stress in the body! In most cases, it can be observed that with decreasing emotional intensity patients automatically change their believes and rational convictions at the same time. Consequently, it is not the change in their rational thoughts that releases their emotional stress, but it is exactly the other way round: A reduction of their emotional intensity enables them to think clearly and rationally again.
In the next chapter I will tell you more about that promising method of trauma therapy!
Trauma therapy with EFT
An excellent method to treat traumas are the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). As I already mentioned briefly above, in EFT we release the body stress symtoms of a traumatic memory. That happens by tapping on acupuncture points with the finger tips while focussing on the traumatic event. When doing this, energy starts to flow freely in the body again and the patient relaxes. Another part of EFT are exercises where the patient moves the eyes, hums, counts and taps on his body at the same time in order to activate huge areas of his brain instead of only isolated trauma networks and thus drags him out of his trauma trance.
The effectiveness of EFT in trauma therapy is absolutely remarkable! Of course, nobody can ever promise success in psychotherapy since every human individual is different, but a huge amount of patients is able to let go of a specific trauma within very few sessions. Often even within one session. At the same time, the kind of trauma is no very important since the tapping just works with any kind of emotions. Even very heavy traumas usually react quite well to EFT. You might ask yourself now what I mean by “letting go of a trauma”. I want to explain it in different words: You have let go of it if
- before doing the therapy, you had intensive emotional symptoms even when only thinking of your trauma and
- after a successful tapping therapy you can think of your (former) trauma without any negative reaction.
The ultimate test to check if our therapy was successful is the question: “Can you reactivate your trauma? Can you make it come back? Are you able to feel bad when thinking of it?”. If a patient denies these questions (usually in a very irritated and surprised manner!), then he surely has let go of it!
Seeing me writing in such an euphoric way about EFT, some people might have doubts. And that is totally normal and understandable, I felt the same way when my hypnosis teacher introduced me to this method. EFT seems just too odd and the case reports sound too good to be true. Or maybe you don’t believe in acupuncture. For that reason, let me tell you:
- The effectiveness of EFT has already been shown in many scientific studies. A very promising study about the effects of EFT on war veterans can be found deeper on this site. For more scientific studies about EFT please check the site of EFTUniverse.com.
- If you don’t believe in acupuncture or at least doubt it, it might be interesting for you to hear that there are quite a few alternative theories about why EFT might work.
- You can find tons of videos about demo treatments with EFT on youtube. Especially in the channels of Gary Craig and Robert G. Smith. But please keep in mind, these therapists work, especially Robert G. Smith, is not exactly how I work. We are all individuals who adopt our own style of therapy. Additionally, Robert G. Smith modified EFT quite a bit.
Two interesting videos about EFT can also be found in the next chapter, where I want to shortly introduce to you a method to relief emotional traumas in a very soft way.
EFT and Tearless Trauma Technique
The so-called Tearless Trauma Technique is a very soft method from EFT that often allows us to work on emotionally extremly intensive memories without suffering from the whole amount of distress once again. In many cases it is even possible to avoid the majority of the traumatic distress while releasing it.
The basic idea is to keep the emotional intensity low while the patient approaches the traumatic memory step by step. After each step he releases emotional distress by tapping with EFT. In the beginning, of course, the patient is far away from the memory. It might be the first approach to only mention the name of the event. The ultimate test for success will be for him to try to make himself feel bad about the memory. If that is not possible any more, the memory is healed.
If you want to see live demos of Tearless Trauma Technique I refer you to two videos: First, there is a video of Gary Craig, the founder of EFT, where he uses Tearless Trauma Technique on a whole seminar group. The second video shows his daughter Tina Craig demoing Tearless Trauma Technique in an individual session.
Studies and research: EFT on war veterans
The effectiveness of EFT on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was examined in several scientifiy studies, some of them even on heavily traumatized war veterans. These people often suffer of extreme symptoms like nightmares, depression, anxiety, flashbacks, drug abuse and much more. In many studies the results of a treatment with EFT was tremendous and long-lasting. In the following I want to present you such a study:
In 2013, a team of American researchers published a controlled randomized study (gold standard) in “Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease”, in which they examined the effectiveness of EFT for the treatment of PTSD on war veterans. For this study, 59 veterans, all suffering from PTSD, were assigned randomly to one of two groups: A treatment group (EFT) and a waiting list. The 30 participants of the treatment group received each of them 6 sessions of EFT lasting one hour each of them, while the 29 participants in the waiting list received standard care. The amount of symptoms of PTSD were assessed before and after the intervention as well as 3 and 6 months after the treatment.
The results can be found in the following tables:
|Participants without PTSD
(before the treatment)
|Participants without PTSD
(directly after the treatment period)
|Before treatment||After treatment||3 months after treatment||6 months after treatment|
|Participants without PTSD||0%||86%||86%||80%|
Quelle der Studie: PubMed, US National Library of Medicine