Most, if not all of us, have experienced grief and loss at some time in our lives.
Maybe we have lost a loved one to death or a relationship has ended; which is a different form of “death.” Some of us have felt the pain and others push it away; those of us that felt the pain likely wished there was a better way to deal with it and shorten the grieving process because grief has a life of its own. Some move through grief quicker and easier than others and some remain stuck in it.
Emotional Freedom Technique, (EFT) or “Tapping” can shorten the duration of grief.
Before I explain how, let me define EFT for those of you who are not familiar with what it is. The purpose of this article is not to teach you EFT, but it’s to familiarize you with and give you a basic understanding of it.
EFT is an evidence-based technique that has its origin in acupuncture, though no needles are used. Instead, there are 13 acupressure points or “acupoints” that one taps on with their fingertips while repeating a phrase that represents the issue. This frequently produces a rapid reduction in the intensity of the emotions felt and a shift in thinking.
This process can be applied to any emotional issue one can face.
Now, more about grief and how to apply EFT to the situation regardless of elapsed time.
My experience has shown that grief has many aspects or parts. I will identify some of them here and give examples of how to apply EFT.
- The actual pain of the loss.
- Different forms of guilt.
- Other stories, lies, and illusions we tell ourselves about the situation and beliefs such as:
- It’s my fault.
- I’m not good enough or loveable.
- I’m a bad person.
- I did something wrong.
- I’m supposed to suffer.
- Intrusive memories of activities; pleasant or unpleasant, that bring event to mind.
- Anger at another person or yourself.
- Fear of letting go of the pain and the belief that if the pain is let go, the person will be forgotten; which is not possible.
Let us say for example, that you have just broken up with your sweetheart of several years and are devastated by the breakup. You might find yourself saying that the breakup is “all my fault” and the intensity of the statement is a 10. The set-up phrase would sound something like this: “Even though I’m telling myself that the breakup is all my fault, I deeply and completely accept myself.” You would then be asked to repeat this phrase three times while tapping on the side of your hand. Then you would tap on other points in succession; beginning at the eyebrow-point and moving down the face, torso, and hand, using the reminder phrase “It’s all my fault.” This sequence would be repeated twice. Once you have done that, you would be asked to stop and rate the intensity. If there is still an intensity greater than zero or one, the process would be repeated with the set-up phrase until the intensity is zero.
Other examples of a set-up phrase might sound like “Even though I miss this person,” “Even though I’m afraid to let go of the pain because I won’t remember this person,” or “Even though I’m telling myself or believe I’m supposed to suffer.”
Here are some examples of using Emotional Freedom Techniques in action, on actual situations:
A friend of mine lost his father due to a sudden heart attack several years ago. We spent a lot of time tapping on various aspects of his father’s death and over the course of two weeks, much of the aspects of his grief were released. One aspect we worked on was guilt about not being there when his father died. While it was impossible for my friend to be there due to living two hours away, coupled with the fact that it cannot be predicted when a heart attack will happen, he still felt guilty about not being able to be there. There remains some residue about the loss of his Father that surfaces, so he applies EFT to the memory and within a few minutes, he has relief.
This same friend of mine lost his paternal grandfather to cancer in 1951, when he was 2.5 years old. While he did not have any specific conscious memories of his grandfather, he began experiencing intrusive memories and images of his “papa.” He was experiencing the pain of missing that connection. He had images of sitting on his grandfather’s lap playing a counting game, painful images of seeing his grandfather in a hospital bed, and seeing him lying in his burial coffin. Traditional therapy was unable to alleviate much of that pain and suffering; especially around the anniversary date of his death each year on December 7. In 1998 after I had learned EFT, we applied the technique to all of those painful memories so he could remember his “papa” from a place of peace instead of suffering.
My friend had also lost his maternal grandmother in 1979 and was unable to attend the funeral because he had the flu. His grief was incomplete and involved the loss of the connection they once had. He was feeling guilty for not being there as well; for not grieving fully, missing her hugs and her beautiful voice singing Silent Night in German. We applied EFT to all of these and other aspects of his loss so that the suffering around his grandmother’s death ended.
Grief can be a complex situation to work with.
It is my suggestion that grieving individuals seek the help of a trained EFT practitioner to help them through the process as practitioners can often spot aspects in need of releasing that are not obvious to the individual.
Do you have any experience using Emotional Freedom Techniques for healing grief and loss? If so, please share your experiences with us in the comments section below!