Due to the sensitive nature of this issue, I have withheld specific details.
A gentleman in his late 30’s, from US, called me in January this year. He wanted phone counseling and EFT therapy for CSA (Childhood Sexual Abuse).
When we began the sessions he revealed that he had been sexually abused at the age of 10 by strangers. He had very low confidence in high school and got into alcohol and drug abuse in his college. For the past 20 years he had been caught in this addiction cycle. Due to the addictions he was laid off from his job recently. He had been to a rehabilitation centre and also for psychotherapy but that didn’t help much with addiction and CSA. The clean phase lasted only for a few weeks. It was leading to enormous tension and stress within his family and impacting his relationship with his girl friend as well. He had difficulty in concentration, anger management issues and difficulty in remaining faithful.
He had been clean for the past 2 weeks when he contacted me and was fighting the temptation to go back to alcohol and drugs. We worked on the anxiety that led to the craving and simultaneously took up CSA. The following are details from the CSA sessions.
When he was 10 years old he was asked by his friend to visit another man’s house where the abuse took place. I did the movie technique with him. While he was narrating the story, the anxiety started building up. I immediately asked him to stop and tap on it. He could remember going up the stairs to the room. After tapping on the anxiety about telling the story, I made him tap on all the details that he could remember. Some of the aspects taken up were -
- Feeling of being trapped
- Feeling of tightness in my stomach as I think about it
- Anger for taking advantage of a 10 year old
- Anger as the perpetrator didn’t stop the abuse
- I understand that it was not my fault
Later the anger changed to sadness. He said he had seen his perpetrator a few years back and had felt like beating him to pulp but now after tapping he felt differently. He said maybe that person would have changed now. This was a cognitive shift.
In the next session I ran the entire incident by him and asked him to stop me whenever he felt any anxiety. He said he felt anxiety but that was for another incident. His anxiety for the first one was negligible.
In this incident, he was asked by another stranger, an elder man, to get into a car. he was taken to an unknown place. This became a routine that lasted for awhile. He said that it had felt more like an adventure for him at that time and he had enjoyed it but it was always laced with fear. Tapping was done on-
- Anger for being manipulated
- Fear while it was taken to that place
- Guilt for enjoying the adventure
- Guilt for continuing to experiment
- Even though the experiences may have impacted my life, I choose to start afresh.
Surprisingly his intensity went down pretty fast after tapping on the guilt. Somehow the guilt was holding that abuse in place and after the guilt was gone, the abuse too lost its significance. It was, as if a heavy load had been lifted off his shoulders.
In the next session, I asked him how he felt during the week post session and he said that he was fine and was concentrating on his career. I asked him how he felt about the abuse and he said that it didn’t bother him and he didn’t know why. I asked him to guess why. He said - ‘It was in the past which is over and I want to move on’. After that we never tapped on CSA again as it didn’t bother him.
With the tapping on addiction, low confidence, fear of upcoming job related tests etc along with counseling for remaining faithful, stress and anger management, he was able to remain clean and there was an increase in his confidence. The last I heard from him was 2 months back and there had been no relapse and he had passed the exam with flying colors and was trying to work on his future goals.
I strongly feel that one has to be very careful in approaching CSA with EFT because if not handled properly, it can unleash overwhelming emotions that are difficult to control. The survivor is afraid to re-visit the ‘forbidden’ part of his/her life as it causes trauma and therefore it is important to handle each incident in totality but also not run the incidents again and again unnecessarily. Re-testing is an important part of EFT but in abuse cases I feel that it should be done less. Also, I never ask my clients to forgive their perpetrators unless they are ready to do so. In my opinion, it is possible to let go of the incident, be unaffected by it without forgiving the perpetrator. It’s more important that the person forgives oneself for the experience, forgives oneself for being seduced, or enjoying it (in some cases) , releases the anger, hurt , vulnerability, does not feel responsible for the abuse and does not feel emotionally scarred or damaged for the rest of one's life. A person who has been abused may take time to get over the scars of abuse and rebuild his confidence and feel better overall, but the time that is taken in reducing intensity for each specific incident is actually very less.
The feeling of peace that comes after releasing these incidents is very liberating.
From the EFTfree Archives, which are now a part of AAMET International.
Originally published on November 27, 2010.