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Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) in Haiti

Published on Sep 12, 2012 by Jean-Michel Gurret

At 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday, January 12, 2010, an earthquake of great intensity destroyed the city of Port au Prince, Haiti's capital, killing more than 250,000 people. A year after this trauma, the country is still in a state of shock. Entire families have been wiped out, and hundreds of orphans live from hand to mouth.

The Haitian people's deep wounds from endless suffering are both physical and emotional. But to cope with the pain, many of them cut themselves off from their emotions. It's as if they were not entirely in their bodies but rather next to them, where it hurts less.

In March 2011, the non-profit organization Energies Psy Sans Frontières asked if Jean-Michel Gurret would go to Haiti at his own expense to train local volunteers in Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). EFT is a particularly effective therapeutic method for treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, from which victims of violent physical or psychological shocks suffer.

For an entire week Jean-Michel Gurret taught EFT to about 300 people and with Claudie Caufour, the chairperson of the organization, he received numerous individuals for personal consultations. The seminar took place in a large tent because many participants, traumatized by the earthquake, couldn't stand being inside a building. They also carried out a psychological evaluation using the PCL-S, a validated method which showed the appropriateness of using EFT on the Haitian population. On average, the group's post-traumatic stress disorder syndrome had declined by nearly 60% after only three collective sessions.

EFT is an emotional version of acupuncture but uses no needles, only one's fingertips. The technique is effective in rapidly and permanently reducing emotional problems such as post-traumatic stress, along with the unresolved mourning, shame and guilt that survivors sometimes experience. It is equally effective in treating certain chronic pain (for example, in ghost limbs). Jean-Michel Gurret worked with a young man on the pain he felt in his right leg, which he'd lost in the earthquake, and he experienced immediate relief.

The extent of the work that remains to be done in Haiti is huge. Many people still need to be helped and trained locally: psychologists, healthcare workers and private individual, to develop energy therapies such as EFT. Join us in the organization Energies Psy Sans Frontières.

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