How Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) can help your clients overcome fear
Do your clients have a fear that prevents them from doing fun things with their family? Have they ever only been able to watch at a distance as nieces and nephews partake in activities fearlessly, while their stomach flips and folds just as an observer? Maybe they’re unable to take their kids swimming because they fear water, or refrain from going on a family holiday abroad because they wouldn’t dare go on a plane.
Fear can hold us back from so many experiences. It limits us, it can control us, and not only do we feel fear itself (which is bad enough) but we have lots of feelings about that fear being part of us: shame, frustration, self-doubt, guilt, embarrassment, incapability, uselessness. Fortunately, EFT can help your clients overcome fear so they don’t have to be held back from the fun!
The Fishing Net
I see fear as being like a child’s fishing net. It takes the fish from its safe environment and leads it to a place where it is trapped and where breathing becomes impossible. There is nothing the fish can do about its situation. It must relinquish power and control to the net. But what the fish doesn’t know is that the child holding the net will soon return it to safety. It will rejoin the gentle flow of water, swim free again with its mates and regain power and control.
We humans can dodge the fishing net if we know where it is. However, sometimes it just comes out of nowhere. EFT has tools for that. And just like the fish, when your clients overcome fear, they can get back to the fun.
How can EFT help your clients overcome fear?
With the gentle guidance of a certified practitioner, people can use EFT to release fear from the body. A deep-rooted cause of the fear may or may not be revealed. When fear is triggered, the emotional part of the brain (the amygdala) is in overdrive and sensations are of high intensity. Things as simple as a memory, an image, a sight, or a sound can all be triggers. Tapping on acupressure points around the face and upper body will send signals to that emotional part of the brain to calm down those arousal levels. The rational brain can then take more control of the situation and the person can decide whether they are in fact in any danger.
How Adele used EFT to overcome fear
Adele had a lifetime of being frightened of heights. She was fed up with how much this limited the fun experiences she wanted to share with her family. I gave Adele three sessions of EFT. We tapped on previous intensive memories where she had become stuck when up high (including being trapped on a fair ground ride). Many physical sensations arose during the process, and we gently released them throughout the rounds of tapping. We tapped on the feelings she had about having this fear and the pressure she felt about not being particularly adventurous in her life.
Adele now felt ready to put things to the test. So off she went with a sense of buzz and excitement (rather than fear) on a ‘Go Ape’ adventure trail in the trees with her family. Platforms, ropes, bridges, zip wires, all looming high.
Equipped with the tools of Tapping
It didn’t go totally smoothly for Adele. Six meters up high and looking at the bridge in front of her, her body started to react. Panic set in and she couldn’t breathe. She felt stuck, paralyzed with fear. The fishing net had caught her and if she started the course, she knew she couldn’t turn back. She heard a man’s voice, “Are you okay?”. She started to repeat to herself “I’m okay, I’m okay”. This reminded her of one of the phrases we used in Tapping. “Even though I’m feeling this sensation, it’s okay to have that feeling.”
Adele tapped. Her breathing changed back to normal. She could take control of her body again and her brain seemed to recalibrate. Adele was no longer caught in the fishing net. Instead, she was adjusting to the environment around her and became rational yet understandably still cautious of her safety. With lowered arousal levels and with kind, encouraging support from nearby family and a staff member Adele put one foot in front of the other and started the tree-top trail. With harness and cables safely attached she went higher and higher. Bridges become more difficult to cross, but she did it! She felt exhilarated.
Now, I am not saying that your clients will be able to eradicate all sense of fear after a few sessions of EFT. They won’t suddenly be fearless of extreme sports, partaking in free solo climbing down Mount Everest or white water rafting down the Zambezi River. They won’t be free from fear, and that is a good thing. After all, fear is necessary. It keeps us from danger. But what EFT can do is help heal past wounds associated with a fear. It can help your clients feel better about the fear and the beliefs they have about it. EFT can also provide them with tools to use when they are faced with fear or have just had a frightening experience. They can then also help others in their moments of fear.