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Approximately 1 of 9 people in the U.S. will suffer during their lifetime from a phobia or self-limiting irrational fear. The first published, peer-reviewed, randomized clinical trial demonstrating the efficacy of acupoint tapping with an established DSM diagnosis investigated the treatment of specific phobias, focusing on insects and small animals (Wells, Polglase, Andrews, Carrington, & Baker, 2003). After a single 30-minute session, the acupoint group was statistically superior on four of five measures compared with an active ingredient control condition. Two partial replications and a series of subsequent studies have lent support for these findings.

CLAUSTROPHOBIA CASE EXAMPLE [from report posted by Emma Roberts on www.EFTUniverse.com].

I have often witnessed a link between claustrophobia and birth trauma, and this link was beautifully demonstrated to me by a client recently. Cara presented with a classic tube (subway) phobia. In London, our underground system can run very deep below ground, and is a network of dark narrow tunnels.

Following the recent London bombings I have become sadly used to working in this area, often clearing phobias relatively simply by working with the specific memories available, usually images from the media of the carnage, which have become internalised in people. Sometimes it can be more complex, working with issues like the reality of terrorism and the randomness by which it seemingly claims lives. At worst, this can become generalised into a mistrust of the world, and possibly agoraphobia.

However, whilst Cara did report some increased discomfort after the July bombings her tube phobia had been with her all her life. She had got around it up until now via travelling by car and bus, but a recent promotion and change of office location meant that unless she could get on a tube she would add over an hour to her work journey each way. She already worked long hours and this would make her life unmanageable. However, to turn down the promotion would be a disaster for her career.

So she was stuck, and very anxious. She had also tried many other therapies, both mainstream and alternative, and EFT was her last hope. We started there!

Even though this is my last hope"

Even though nothing works for me"

Even though this has to work"

Even though I don't believe it will work"

Some of the psychotherapy Cara had done meant that she already had a clear knowledge of the construct of her phobia. In EFT terms she was aware of the aspects, and what thoughts and feelings were connected, making the initial work easy ... Seemingly!

We tapped through all her earliest memories of being on a tube. She had only been on it a handful of times in her life, so this was relatively quick and the memories reduced to zero. We worked through all the different aspects, the noise, smell, darkness, the crowds, and the associated emotional responses, fear, panic, anxiety, breathlessness, raised heart beat.

She could access all these components easily and they seemed to reduce to zero quickly. All the way through this we were testing, testing, testing. We never had to use the Tearless Trauma technique and Cara was OK to watch the movies, tell the stories and ultimately to vividly imagine the situation " apparently!

But there was something which intuitively did not seem quite right and despite Cara claiming to feel comfortable with tubes now I was not convinced. I had noticed that when I asked her to imagine herself on a tube she would keep her eyes open. So I asked her what would happen were she to vividly imagine with her eyes closed. When she did that something strange happened.

Suddenly Cara began to curl up into a tight ball on the chair. She drew her knees up to her chin and said she felt like she was being "squeezed to death and had no way out'. Her breathing was becoming shallower and she felt very very hot.

At this point I was unable to reach the face points as her face was totally hidden from me, but I knew I had to keep tapping to maximise meridian stimulation as she was experiencing whatever was happening for her. I tapped on the top of her head, her wrist and her ankle points (these three points cover all the meridians and are a quick and effective way of reducing intensity), all the time talking to her, staying with her, and matching my voice speed to her breathing. After about a minute her breathing calmed down and she began to unfurl. I asked her to open her eyes and look at me, as I kept tapping and matching the rhythm of her breath, moving to continually tapping on her finger points as soon as I could reach them.

I checked how she was feeling, both physically and emotionally, and she was fine. In fact she felt both excited and positive about what had happened. She felt she had accessed something which might be the missing piece in releasing this phobia completely. So I asked her a favourite question, what did that experience just then remind her of, when might she have felt that way before? Her immediate answer was that it felt like being born. I asked her how much she knew about her birth and she said she had been born with the cord around her neck, and had been delivered by forceps as she had been stuck in the birth canal. This brought up a wave of grief, both for her and her mother sharing this trauma, and we tapped to release this for both of them.

I didn't want Cara to re-experience her birth again yet, if at all, so we began by tapping for the baby Cara, for how she must have felt, for how scared she must have been, bringing in some reframes and Choices:

Even though baby Cara nearly died"

Even though she was trapped"

Even though she was suffocating"

Even though it was so dark...

Even though she was frightened"

Even though she didn't understand"

Gradually progressing to:

Even though I nearly died"

Even though I was trapped"

Even though I was suffocating"

Even though it was so dark"

Even though I was frightened"

Even though I didn't understand"

To reframes:

I was so brave

I did survive

I was amazing

I was strong

I am alive

To Choices:

I choose to remember I was a beautiful baby

I choose to remember Mum loved me

I choose to remember I did survive

I choose to know I am OK

I choose peace instead of this

This is a similar dissociation method to the Movie Technique, but using language to distance the memory, gently sneaking up until it is safe to identify with the baby Cara fully.

When I felt confident that she was feeling no intensity at the thought of the birth trauma, and we had thoroughly tested it as far as we could from a distance, I asked Cara if she wanted to close her eyes and revisit that experience, knowing what she now knew about it. I instructed her that if she felt any intensity at any point she was to open her eyes immediately and we would tap on that piece.

We did a couple of rounds on feeling safe enough to go there and then Cara closed her eyes and vividly imagined being in the birth canal. What was fascinating to watch were the body movements as she was both pushing and being pushed, very slow stretching movements, but there was NO panic, her heart rate remained calm and the enormous heat that was there before had totally diffused.

Again, I was tapping on the three points, top of the head, wrist and ankle, whilst she experienced this, to keep some form of contact with her, to keep her safe.

But she really was 100% fine, she opened her eyes and said she had felt a little uncomfortable but that she had a sense that she was going to be OK, that she knew her way out, and she had no need to panic, she just had to relax and wait. I imagine this was very different to her actual birth.

Next I asked her to go back to where we began in the session and vividly imagine herself on a tube. This time I kept contact with her by continually tapping on her fingers, wrist and gamut point whilst she did the work. We started with an empty tube, which was fine, then progressed onto a busier one, also no problem, culminating in a rush hour tube where you are crammed like sardines in a tin, with no room to move in any direction. She didn't like the thought of that, but didn't feel the panic when she really allowed herself to go there. She said that she would rather not travel during those peak times and thought she would arrange her schedule accordingly. This seemed totally reasonable to me, and not a phobia driven response. No one would choose to travel during the London rush hour if they had a choice!

The final test was for Cara to go on a tube by herself, which she decided to do the following day. I instructed her to just travel one stop (approximately 3 minutes) and see how she felt. She was familiar with the tapping points, including the continual finger tapping, so could manage her own state if she needed to. She rang me later that day to say that she had been so fascinated by people watching that she had missed her first stop! None of the old phobic symptoms had returned, and whilst she didn't plan on travelling at rush hour this was a matter of choice rather than necessity now.

I find it so interesting that the body can remember even when an experience is outside conscious memory. Birth can be a traumatic event for a baby even without the obvious trauma Cara experienced. The sudden shock of an extreme change of environment, and the possible loss of perceived safety of the womb may, in some babies, create energetic blocks which emerge later in life. Thankfully we now have EFT with which to easily release them!

AGORAPHOBIA CASE EXAMPLE [from report posted by Patti Spencer on www.EFTUniverse.com].

I want to share with you the story of my friend Bob. When Bob was 17 years old, he had an emergency appendectomy. When he awoke from the surgery, he was in a severe panic and only his mother could comfort him. From this experience, he developed agoraphobia lasting for years.

His chosen profession was real estate, and years before cell phones were available, he would always need to know the location of every phone booth so that he could call for help and find a "safe" person. He had an unhealthy dependence on his mother, and a fear of dying. He saw scores of psychiatrists, and took psychotropic drugs for years. These medications caused a myriad of health problems and altered his wittiness, his great sense of humor, his level of confidence and his basic personality.

He became a self-centered and needy person, and most of his family shunned him. Eventually, he was unable to work. Leaving his home took a great deal of effort. His marriage fell apart. He moved across the country, and I didn't see him for some years.

When I learned about EFT, I was eager to do a session with Bob, who is now 65 years old. He had made some progress in the last several years as a result of a promise to God following successful cancer and heart surgery. When he visited me several months ago, however, he was still crippled by his phobia. He was on his way to travel to New Zealand and Australia, fulfilling a lifelong dream, and brought his ex-wife, Ella, with him because being without a "safe" person was terrifying to him. He couldn't drive anywhere by himself, and basically was extremely uncomfortable being anywhere by himself, especially an open place, such as a park.

I asked Bob what would raise his intensity level the most, and he indicated that going to a park or a large open space by himself, away from his car and his cell phone would send him through the roof. He might be able to force himself to do this, but he would be extremely uncomfortable.

We tapped for no longer than 15 minutes on this issue (this fear of being alone–this anxiety), and his intensity level went down to about a 1. I asked him if he wanted to put it to the test, and he eagerly agreed to do so. He left in the car by himself, drove to an unfamiliar park by himself, and took a walk. Ella and I were beginning to be concerned because he was gone for a full hour (we were giving him about 20 minutes to return). He was perfectly fine when he did return, and had enjoyed the walk and the time to himself.

A couple of days later, Bob and I visited again. He was experiencing a high level of anxiety because he had to drop a relative off at a doctors' office, and then drive back to where he was staying by himself and be alone all afternoon. Another 15 minutes of tapping and I sent him off on his errand. When we met later that evening for dinner, I learned that not only was he relaxed driving by himself, but he decided to drive a significant distance further and go to the beach for a walk. He then drove to another area to visit a friend he hadn't seen in a long time. As it turned out, he was nearly late for dinner because he was enjoying himself so much. Ella was concerned because normally, he would have been calling her all afternoon if he was alone somewhere.

Bob was able to enjoy his vacation without any elevated anxiety, and when I followed up with him several months later, I found that he had been able to nearly completely leave off his medication. He was down to only one prescription, which was a low dosage and he was only taking it every third day. Before he came to visit me, he had to force himself to leave the house to go to his substitute teaching job, even though he enjoyed it immensely. Last week he informed me that he is starting his own company, a real estate brokerage firm.

I have been amazed and grateful at the transformation that can sometimes occur with just a short session of EFT, and it makes me sad to think of all the years Bob spent trying unsuccessfully to solve his problem through conventional methods. Here's the letter Bob sent me recently:

Dear Patti,

The progress I have made both mentally and physically since the beginning of this year 2005 has been phenomenal.

Honestly, I feel gratitude to God for my abundance of blessings. You see, I attribute much of this progress to forces beyond human comprehension. Now, to get more down to earth. When I saw you in December of 2004 in Mission Viejo, you practiced a "tapping" method with me that gave me immediate results. Forgive me for forgetting the initials of this treatment. Anyway I felt immediate relief after that one session. Combine this with my good fortune to inherit some passive income from commercial real estate and the result is relief from pressure.

I guess I am truly puzzled and overwhelmed that I no longer need all that psychiatric medicine I have been taking for years. I even went to my Internist for my annual physical and said to him, "Dr Kendall, I just don't get it. I don't have friends, most of my family doesn't want anything to do with me, I'm really alone, but I have never felt better physically and mentally." He replied by saying, "you have made a 180 degree turn since I meet you in 1999. You know who you are and are finally comfortable with yourself." Of course the results of my physical confirmed that everything is normal. My final thought is that it is impossible for a person to be depressed and/or anxious when one's prevailing attitude is one of gratitude. Talk to you soon.



Clinical Trial:

Wells, S., Polglase, K., Andrews, H. B., Carrington, P. & Baker, A. H. (2003). Evaluation of a meridian-based intervention, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), for reducing specific phobias of small animals. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 59, 943-966. doi: 10.1002/jclp.10189