Aspects of Trauma from Accidents


A therapist who is a newcomer to EFT poses the following question:

Question:   What are your thoughts about the interval between a traumatic event and the appropriate use of EFT?  My initial thoughts on this are that there has to be an appropriate interval to allow the mind to do its normal processing, and that the appropriate interval will vary, depending on the intensity of the trauma, circumstances etc.  One of my clients was involved in a car accident earlier this year.  It was sudden and shocking but not her fault, so there are no financial or legal repercussions.  She was taken to the hospital but not detained

There are some remaining but diminishing problems due to whiplash injury, but she has now lost much of her former confidence in driving, and at work. Before the accident she used to ride her horse, but is now too nervous to do so, and one of her main fears is being alone at home, she fears there might be an accident and no-one to help her.  Could I treat each of her fears, which are well defined by her, as an Aspect, and seek to clear each one using EFT?  I would appreciate your views on this.


EFT for Multiple Traumas


Interestingly, I have received questions from several different readers which address the same basic issue— the occurrence in these people's lives of one disaster after another, a pile-up of mishaps that have ranged from sudden death of someone near to that person, followed by crippling illness in another family member and subsequent loss of their own job and career, to another reader's experience of an assault against them with attempt to murder, followed by continuous stalking by the now released assailant and the occurrence of a subsequent life threatening illness to themselves which has rendered them unable to work and support themselves — and other overwhelmingly difficult situations that have occurred in people's lives, one after another.  The basic question these people posed (not in identical words of course) was, "How can EFT help with this?  Any ideas would be appreciated."


Using EFT with Family Members

Question: Is it useful to ese EFT with a family member?

This mother's asked question was too lengthy to reprint so I will summarize it here.  She asks how she can use EFT to help her 19 year old son who has a serious history of drug abuse and was recently released from a short prison sentence.  He is now on parole and feels deeply hopeless about his life.  She tells us that she herself has used EFT to deal with her own concern about him, and that her son has "agreed to try EFT".  We can not tell from the letter, however, just how genuine his agreement to try EFT is, or whether he just said "yes" to please his mother.  The reader emphasizes that she cannot afford any kind of therapy for her son, and that EFT is her only hope. I answer as follows:


Can EFT Be Used with Animals?

Question: I know that acupuncture can be used with animals. Do animals have comfort spots as well and can we use EFT with them?

Answer: Yes and some people are doing this with great success.  To do so involves a certain degree of understanding and rapport with your animals but obviously many pet owners have this already.  You use words and phrases said in a comforting voice to the animal.  It doesn’t seem logical to most people to suggest to the animal that they deeply and completely accept themselves, but rather just to tell them that you love them. The animals seem to readily sense the meaning of what you say even if they don’t comprehend the exact words. 


The tapping points used with animals are usually the inner eyebrow spot, the under eye spot and the under arm spot (the “under arm” for an animal being the back of the top of their foreleg).  Some people who have used EFT with animals have found it more calming to the animal to simply hold the comfort spot or rub or stroke it gently rather than to tap (which may alarm a frightened or nervous animal).  I have seen EFT calm animals remarkably quickly, and I think that this is a use of the method which we are going to see a great deal more of in the future.

Can EFT Be Used with Children?

Question: What about using EFT for children? It seems as though it would be very useful for them – but I can’t see how that could be done.

Answer: You can use EFT for children with wonderful effects; in fact, you can even use it with infants.  In general, one introduces the tapping points as a kind of game with children and they thoroughly enjoy and respond to it.  It is sometimes introduced to them as a “magic helper”.  With children, however, the EFT phrases need to be altered somewhat. 


Ann Adams, Director of a rehabilitation center for emotionally disturbed children in Atlanta, Georgia, has been using EFT with great success for children who have such severe behavior problems that the school system could not deal with, and they have been sent for residential care.  These are usually children from severely disturbed homes, yet they typically respond with remarkable appreciation to the help that EFT can give them.  It enables them to calm down, become more focused and better able to cope with the problems and challenges they face every day. 


Ann uses variations of the Set-Up phrase such as, “I’m a wonderful kid (or boy or girl)” instead of “I deeply and completely accept myself.” This often works wonders for these children.  If you are interested in using EFT with children, I suggest you read some of Ann’s accounts as well as some of the ways that others have used EFT with children—see the articles on using EFT with children.

Dr. Patricia Carrington, EFT Master

Will Illness Respond to EFT?

Now, I will address the most frequent question that is asked of me by the many people. They want to know whether EFT can be used for one or another specific medical condition that they themselves suffer from or that someone close to them does.

Very often people write to ask me whether EFT can be helpful for a specific physical condition, often it is a serious one.  Many of the conditions they mention are so rare that, not being a medical doctor, I may not have even heard of them, however, their questions are legitimate ones.  The only trouble is that they are futile.


Should I attempt EFT to solve my problem on my own, or seek an EFT professional?

Question: At what point should one consider working with a professional trained in EFT, rather than attempting to solve a problem on one's own.  I'm beginning to thing that working with a professional might be less frustrating than trying to deal with all the aspects on my own and might enable me to progress more quickly.

Answer: If a series of aspects seems so overwhelming to you that you don't know how to proceed (as is happening with you), this may well be a signal that you need someone else's perspective –– outside help from a very experienced person.


We all have things that we feel sufficiently uncomfortable about so they simply do not come to our minds when we're working alone.  No matter how conscientious we are about applying the method, we bury them from our own sight.  However, a professional working with us can help us to gently and safely confront some of the areas in our lives which we may presently be avoiding (without having any awareness of doing so). 


If you are looking for a therapist trained in EFT to work with you on this issue, you may want to opt to do EFT by telephone, although of course this depends upon where you live.  Telephone EFT sessions are probably more often conducted now than in-person sessions because of the far-flung locations of many EFT practitioners.  You can download our free e-book on Guidelines for Finding an EFT Practitioner and browse our list of EFT Practitioners.


Dr. Patricia Carrington, EFT Master


Is it possible to do too much EFT in a day?

This question is an unusually challenging one and I will try to summarize the quite lengthy e-mail inquiry so you can know all that is involved.

This reader's inquiry addresses not only the question you see in the title above ––  whether one can actually overdo EFT –– but is an example of how easily more fundamental considerations can be covered up by more surface ones.  As you will see, the woman who wrote this presents us with a more serious and deep seated question which emerges as she tells her story.

She describes herself as suffering from DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder), a condition formerly known as "split personality" in which various sub-personalities or "alters" are split off or "dissociated" from the main personality.  It is a seriously disabling condition in which often one sub-personality does not know what the others are doing.

Our reader describes herself as being fragmented in many directions, having many alters or sub- personalities.  She has been working diligently with a therapist to help bring together these many fragmented parts of herself, although at times this has seemed to her to be an almost hopeless endeavor.

Like so many people who suffer from DID, she was severely abused in childhood.  She is a ritual abuse survivor who is hoping that EFT, which she has been using on her own for some time now, will help her deal with her painful memories.  Fortunately it has been doing that to some extent, but she finds that even the use of EFT (although it seems to help clear certain feelings) AFTERWARDS results in painful emotions, disturbing memories of the ritual abuse and often uncontrollable crying.  She relates that she has tried the Tearless Trauma Technique but that it hasn't worked for her. However, she describes her crying reaction as "just part of the grieving, it just has to be done is how I see it."

It appears that agonizing tears and grieving is, in fact, a continuing part of her life.  She reports being re-traumatized by "poor therapy" in the past, where she was told to get all her painful memories out and that the more she remembered them the faster she would heal, but in fact the opposite happened.  Over the course of the 13 years in which she was in this form of therapy and constantly recalled the agony of her childhood, the main result was that she developed severe phobias and panic attacks because of the terrifying memories that were NOW shared with the whole system and no longer locked away in little compartments of her personality.

She writes that since she started doing trauma work she has been told that "it is a painful journey and that you have to get through the pain to get the healing, and you have to do this over and over again".  She also says that everyone she knows who suffers from DID (she belongs to a DID support group) has had this "really drummed into their heads" and are suffering through a lot of pain now, whether in or out of therapy.

Obviously this woman's question has many aspects to it.  Here is my response:


Should every aspect of a complex issue be tapped down?

Question: You mentioned on your videotape that when there are multiple Aspects to a problem, each Aspect will need to be tapped down individually.  While that sounds fine in theory, if this is a complicated problem that could take a lifetime!

Answer: You’re right but fortunately though it doesn’t work that way.  What happens is more like the effect of knocking a single domino down in a row of dominos.  You knock one of them down, it knocks the next one down, and it the next, until the whole row has toppled and a ripple effect has started. 


When we use EFT on an issue that has many aspects– let’s say prolonged childhood abuse — the first few experiences that are recalled will certainly have to be individually tapped down using the EFT protocol.  However, after that, the person may suddenly find that many, many other traumatic situations which have a similarity to the ones that have already been tapped down, have lost their “charge” and are now much easier to handle.  They seem to have become neutralized by association with the other traumatic memories. 


Gary Craig calls this phenomenon the “forest-trees” effect and speaks about it in his work with Vietnam veterans suffering from multiple traumas incurred during wartime.  He discovered that reducing ten or more such traumas by having the person work individually with EFT on each one of them often resulted in this having a beneficial effect on many other instances of wartime trauma encountered by that person.  This is extremely encouraging because it means we don’t have to ferret out and treat every instance in most cases.

Dr. Patricia Carrington, EFT Master

Can there be too many aspects?

Question: I have suffered from a fear of speaking and reading aloud in public for many years. One of the problems I've had with using EFT to treat these fears is that I can think of so many aspects to each problem that I become overwhelmed and don't know where to start. For example, some of the aspects for the public speaking include: fear of people staring at me, fear of being trapped, fear of embarrassing myself, fear of voice shaking, fear of being unable to express my thoughts clearly, fear of mind going blank, anger at father for not listening to me, etc.

Answer:  Whenever there are multiple aspects and you are uncertain where to start, a good rule of thumb is to start with the earliest memory about the issue and deal with that first.  It may be back of much of the problem and clearing it can, at times, dispense with the entire difficulty.  You indicate that you have anger at your father for not listening to you, so I suggest that you target this memory first.

If you do so, however, don't expect that this will necessarily be a simple matter.  It is likely that the difficulty that you experienced when your father didn't listen to you (perhaps this happened many times in your childhood?) will have a number of aspects of its own, each of which will have to be addressed in turn.



Does every single aspect of a complex issue have to be tapped down for that issue to clear?

Question: You mentioned on your videotape that when there are multiple Aspects to a problem, each Aspect will need to be tapped down individually. While that sounds fine in theory, if this is a complicated problem that could take a lifetime!


Will EFT take away healthy normal grief?

QUESTIONMy husband's father is on the verge of dying from cancer. My husband and I are both new to EFT (we're in our early 30's) and he is concerned that he won't like not feeling the pain of his father's death. He wants to feel it, not in an incapacitating way but in a human way. Would EFT make him feel hollow or emotionless at his father's death? Would he 'not feel' the sadness? Could he undo the treatment if he didn't like it?


Is EFT just a form of distraction?

Is EFT just a form of distraction?

QUESTIONWhat about the possibility that it’s just distraction that makes EFT work?  It is distracting to tap and say those phrases?


Can EFT take away too much fear and leave me without proper caution?

QUESTIONIf I get over my fear of heights by using EFT, will I tend to go near the edge of a dangerous precipice or an open window and lean out too far?  Isn’t fear self-protective?

ANSWER:  Fear is self-protective and a necessary part of life, but that useful part of fear is never lost through EFT.  What EFT takes away is unreasoning fear and panic, and this leaves you much better able to cope with any difficult or even dangerous situation.  Panic disorganizes us and clouds our thinking.  Calmly focusing on the danger, as occurs after we rid ourselves of the irrational fear, allows us to be at our very best and cope with the danger most effectively.

EFT Master, Dr. Patricia Carrington

Does a fear sometimes recur when a person confronts the actual situation?

QUESTIONI am wondering about the difference between thinking about something and having your fears reduced to 0, and actually going out and confronting the object of your fear. I noticed that on your First Steps in EFT video, you told about peoples’ anxiety sometimes coming back again when they had to fact the real life situation.

ANSWER:  Anxiety can often rise slightly when the person confronts the actual situation again because there are often other Aspects that are evident in the actual situation, which were not there in the imagining of it.  Gary Craig gives an excellent example of this in his manual.  He describes a woman whose fear of spiders was reduced to 0 while she was just thinking about them. 

Often, of course, this is enough and the fear stays at 0 even when the person is confronted with a real spider.  But to make sure, the person working with her, took this woman to a pet store to see a Tarantula.  The woman became very fearful when she saw the real spider and ran crying out of the store.  This was not the fault of the first round of EFT.  Rather it was an indication that the real spider brought up new aspects of the fear that weren’t present when just the thought of spiders was going on. 

After a few more minutes with EFT, this woman went back into the pet store and calmly viewed the Tarantula.  Her fear was gone.  Such aspects as a moving spider (rather than a stationery one) or the hairiness of the spider, or its darting motions, might not have been anticipated when imagining it, but when she actually saw the spider, these Aspects caused enough trouble they needed to be tapped down in their own right.  It is not necessary always to know what the Aspects are that are being tapped down, but further tapping can be required when you get into the actual situation. It may not be needed after that, however.

Interestingly, in the above example, a few days later this woman called the therapist who had worked with her to report that she was at a friend’s house who owned a pet Tarantula (it had been surgically rendered harmless). She said they took the spider out of the cage, and this woman let it crawl on her.

This is a most interesting example of the power of a technique such as EFT.  Even people without a noticeable fear of spiders are unlikely to easily let a Tarantula crawl on them, even if it is no longer dangerous, but this woman was perfectly relaxed about it.  She now had even less fear than the normal everyday citizen.  It should be noted however that EFT does not make people careless or allow them to lose their own self-protective impulses.  This woman would not have let the spider crawl on her if it was indeed dangerous.  EFT removes the irrational portion of phobic fears, but does not reduce normal caution.

EFT Master, Dr.


Does EFT sometimes fail?

QUESTIONIn those cases where EFT seems not to be working, what reason, other than hidden Aspects, can be an explanation for this?

ANSWER:  EFT will not work if a person is affected by an allergy like reactions, which is referred to as the effect of “energy toxins”.  This is a new branch of health science which no doubt will become much better known in the future.  In effect, for some people, things they eat, drink, breathe or come in contact with become “irritants” to their energy systems.  They are thrown off balance because of these.  These irritants or “energy toxins” serve to interfere with the balancing effects of EFT.  As long as they are present, EFT (or most any other type of healing) will be handicapped.

Different energy toxins affect different people in different ways, and there is no standard list that everyone must avoid.  Some people are affected by tobacco, while peaches or hand lotion affects others.  An excellent handbook for handling these allergy-like reactions and their surprising consequences in everyday life has been written by an expert in this field, Sandi Radomski, who employs EFT among other techniques, to deal with these energy toxins.  Her work is extremely useful for anyone wishing to apply EFT to allergy like reactions, and often an eye opener.

Learn more about Sandi Radomski’s method of handling these allergy like reactions, or "Allergy Antidotes."


EFT Master, Dr. Patricia Carrington

Can EFT be used to achieve positive goals as well as solve problems?


QUESTIONYou speak about the kinds of problems that EFT can deal with.  What about positive goals that a person might, for instance improvement in some kind of performance?

ANSWER:  Gary Craig points out that as any accomplished athlete will tell you, mental set is critical to performance.  He says this about EFT’s use for athletics, for example:

“The difference between good days and bad days for the athlete is almost always due to emotional causes.  Of course, sickness or injury can take their toll, but to a remarkable extent the athlete always brings the same highly skilled, highly trained body into the field of battle.  The only thing that changes regularly, and it does do so, is the effect that emotions have on the body.

Since in athletics timing is everything, and even the slightest tension in the muscles affects timing, and hitting a baseball or tennis ball or golf ball requires perfect timing, if one is off by just an eighth of an inch it

can be the difference between hitting a home run and flying out, or hitting a killer serve or one that hits the net, or making or missing a put in golf. 

This is the reason why sports psychologists are in such great demand.  It is well known that any negative emotion, even the mildest one, and even one that the person is not totally conscious of, or not conscious of at all, can be absolutely critical to a person’s performance.

EFT provides a remarkably effective solution to this problem.  Since its purpose is to neutralize negative emotions and their effects, one of the most common responses to it is that people feel a relaxation of tension in their muscles, in fact, in their whole bodies.  For the athlete this neutralizes the tensing of the muscle groups that are not necessary for the activity at hand, and leaves the rest of their athletic ability and their musculature intact and able to perform at peak levels.  It allows their potential for excellence to flow through their body without being hindered by any resistance in the muscles. The results can often be dramatic.”

EFT Master, Dr.


Will EFT prevent me from having insights into my problems?

QUESTIONI’m the kind of person who likes to understand why my problems arose in the first place.  I just can’t tap on problems and have them leave without first having this kind of understanding.  How does EFT address this important need?

ANSWER:  Actually, during EFT a shift in your understanding of your problem will often occur simultaneously with the relief you feel from tapping on that problem.  I have seen people experience remarkable insights after only one or two rounds of tapping.  This doesn’t happen to everybody of course, but not everyone is either prone to having insights or even interested in having them.  But the fact is that many people experience a remarkable shift in perspective during EFT, and talking about that shift, when it happens, can then be extremely valuable. 

There is no contradiction, as I see it, between EFT and conventional therapy which uses talking about problems and understanding them as its basis.  EFT actually augments psychotherapy when it is used with it.  Not only does it speed it up, but it can greatly deepen it, allowing a person to become so at ease with their problems that they can face portions of them which were previously too painful to look at.  As a psychologist who was trained in conventional forms of therapy using talk and understanding, I find that the EFT process assists the kind of understanding that we all seek.   

You will often notice that what happens when you use EFT is that your response to your problem soon changes remarkably.  If you have gone down to a 0 or near 0 on the Intensity Scale, your understanding of your problem will often be shifting right along with the relief you feel, and you will get an “ah-hah” experience that is extremely valuable. 

EFT Master, Dr. Patricia Carrington

Does EFT have lasting effects?

Does EFT have lasting effects?

QUESTIONDo the effects of EFT last or are they just around for a while and then wear off as most suggestion techniques do?

ANSWER:  Again let me quote Gary Craig on this question.  He writes as follows. 

“EFT’s results are usually permanent.

The case histories (seen in Gary Craig’s course and those reported by many others) are filled with reports of people who have had lasting results…even though the problem was relieved in moments.  This is still more evidence that EFT is addressing the true cause of the problem.  Otherwise, the remedy would not be so long lasting.

Please remember, however, that EFT doesn’t do everything for everyone.  Some problems seem to reappear and that is usually caused by different ASPECTS of the original problem showing up at a later time.  The experienced student of EFT will recognize this and simply reapply the method to this new aspect.  In time, after all aspects have been addressed, the problem usually goes away completely and does not return.  Sometimes the cause of reappearing problems is due to ‘various physical causes’ such a ‘energy toxins’, a phenomena discussed elsewhere.”

EFT Master, Dr. Patricia Carrington


EFT works so rapidly, how can it be effective?

QUESTIONEFT works so rapidly that it sometimes makes me feel almost uneasy.  How can you get really good results that quickly for something that has been around for most of a person’s life?

ANSWER:  One of the best responses I have heard to this question is given by Gary Craig in the manual for his extensive basic training series in EFT.  He writes as follows: 


How can I know if it’s really EFT that’s helping me?

QUESTIONI’m wondering if the good results I’m seeing in my life, since I’ve commenced using EFT, really come from using EFT.  I can think of other explanations for them — maybe the method just distracted me from my problems, or maybe all the years of therapy I had for those problems finally paid off, all at once.  How can I know?

ANSWER:  There’s no way you can know for certain that EFT has brought about any particular change, but this same thing can be said of any effective form of therapy and even of certain medicines.  It’s often hard to trace what really causes a given result.  That’s why controlled research is so important — that is research in which one group of people are exposed to a condition such as EFT and another group to a completely different treatment or to none at all, and the results compared.  By carefully varying the types of treatment that are given in this way, we can begin to see what works and what doesn’t work for specific problems. Some important research has been done and more is now underway demonstrating that EFT does, in fact, have the effect of greatly reducing many fears. These results are statistically significant so there is almost no possibility they could be due to chance alone.

EFT Master, Dr. Patricia Carrington

Is it possible to do too much EFT in a day?

This question is an unusually challenging one and I will try to summarize the quite lengthy e-mail inquiry so you can know all that is involved.


Can EFT be used to relieve physical pain and discomfort?

Question: I can understand how EFT can result in a lot of relief from emotional problems and, in fact, have seen it do so.  But I cannot see why it should give such surprisingly good relief from physical problems, and yet I’ve seen it do that too.  Can you explain this?

Answer: A possible explanation for the effect of EFT on physical pain and distress, or on illness, is its interesting relationship to acupuncture.  It is known and accepted by many hospitals in the West, as well as in China where acupuncture originated, that certain acupuncture points can have an extraordinary effect in reducing the amount of pain that people experience.  Therefore, it is not surprising that since there is a strong parallel between the points used in EFT and some traditional acupuncture points, that EFT should have an alleviating effect on bodily pain. 

However, EFT seems to do much more than reduce pain when it is effective for a physical

EFT Choices Method Manual, by Dr. Patricia Carrington

condition.  In a surprising number of instances it is far more helpful than one might logically expect it to be.  Probably the most likely explanation for this is the existence of the mind-body connection which is now being widely recognized in medicine as well as psychology.

In actual fact, the evidence is striking for the effects of EFT on the body, and interestingly, applying EFT for emotional issues often brings on the cessation of physical problems as a by-product.  As the person taps away distress about an emotional issue, a breathing problem may go away, a headache may vanish, joint pain may subside, or even serious medical symptoms improve.

The list of physical improvements brought about by EFT grows daily.  Many examples of this can be accessed here; EFT for Pain Management .

An explanation for this emphasized by Gary Craig is that EFT effectively addresses any emotional contributors to one’s physical symptoms.  Once the emotional contributors are out of the way, the symptoms can often subside.  As he points out, “We don’t need to attribute all physical ailments to emotional causes to see the logic of this.  Emotions, at the very least, substantially contribute to one’s physical health.  In other words, if not a cause, they are certainly a contributor, and EFT is a highly efficient tool for relief of emotional pressures.” 

He also points outs, and repeatedly demonstrates on his videotapes, another intriguing fact.  When one applies EFT directly to a physical symptom, such as say a headache, even though one may not be zeroing in on a specific emotion, if the physical symptom happens to be caused by some emotional issue, the emotion will often change, often dramatically, along with the improvement in the physical symptom.

Also sometimes people will apply EFT for a disturbing emotion and quite surprisingly experience dramatic relief in a physical symptom they were suffering from!  And tapping for a physical symptom may be one of the best ways to relieve an emotional problem that one is simultaneously feeling.  This reciprocal effect can be used to make EFT applicable to a large number of problems.

By , Ph.D.

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