Transformative Healing: How to Deal With Trauma With EFT
In this article, you will learn about trauma, its causes, how to deal with trauma, how a mental health professional uses EFT to help you resolve post-traumatic stress, and the different methods of working with it.
While doing my EFT Practitioner Certification, I came across the case of a 50-year-old lady who had been in a car accident a couple of years ago.
She and her husband suffered severe injuries. After a month of hospitalisation, they got physically well, but that accident left a psychological trauma in her memory.
Not only did the memory of that accident trouble her, but also made her panic and get anxious whenever she sat in the car with her husband.
Trauma is the result of a catastrophic event, like grief, accident, abuse, or neglect. While these are the major causes of trauma, there are many other things that can be traumatic for someone.
Every human being is naturally equipped with the capacity to bear physical and emotional pain in the normal course of life.
When a person goes through any physical, mental, or emotional suffering that is huge and difficult to cope with, it results in trauma.
This negative event is stored in the body and mind as a traumatic memory and can have long-lasting after-effects if left untreated.
UNDERSTANDING TRAUMA AND POST TRAUMATIC STRESS
Trauma is a response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event that overwhelms an individual's ability to cope, causing feelings of helplessness and diminishing their sense of self and ability to experience a full range of emotions and experiences.
It does not discriminate and is pervasive throughout the world.
In simple words, it can occur as a response to an event that an individual perceives as physically or emotionally threatening or harmful.
Trauma can also cause physical symptoms and have a long-term impact on a person's mental health. If the symptoms persist and do not decrease in severity, it may indicate the development of a mental health disorder called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
According to the trauma specialist of the American Psychological Association (APA), trauma is "an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape, sexual violence, sexual assault, or natural disaster."
Trauma can be caused by the following events, which include:
Physical pain or injury (e.g., severe car accident)
Witnessing a death
Physical or sexual assault
Bullying or Harassment
Being kidnapped or attacked
Incarceration within the criminal justice system
A traumatic event can be a one-time occurrence or a recurring and ongoing event. This results in Post traumatic stress disorder not only in adults but also children.
In fact, an individual can experience trauma as a result of witnessing someone else's traumatic experiences. They can develop PTSD in various forms including complex PTSD, chronic PTSD, and acute PTSD.
TYPES OF TRAUMA
Everyone experiences trauma differently. Some types of traumas are:
SYMPTOMS OF POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER
The post traumatic stress symptoms can vary in intensity, ranging from mild to severe, depending on the individual's coping mechanisms and the severity of the trauma.
Psychological post traumatic stress symptoms may include:
It can also cause physical symptoms like headaches, digestive issues, fatigue, a racing heart, severe impact on mental health, sweating, sleep disturbances, disturbance of emotional health, and changes in appetite.
RISK FACTORS AND EFFECTS OF TRAUMATIC EVENTS
Traumatic experiences and risk factors have a profound impact on a person's life, mental health, and emotional health often dividing it into a 'before' and 'after' the event. Even if memories of these life-threatening events don't frequently surface, they can cause damage behind the scenes (1).
Living in constant survival mode and being overly alert to potential threats can lead to ongoing issues with sleep, physical pain, and turbulence in personal and professional relationships.
"Trauma is perhaps the most avoided, ignored, belittled, denied, misunderstood, and untreated cause of human suffering."
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HEAL FROM TRAUMA?
A traumatised individual is constantly depleted and fatigued, and unable to control his actions.
When trauma is left unresolved and your sense of self is one of not being whole—of being shattered in some way—you're more likely to carry the imprints of that trauma into your life and relationships.
You must first have a good sense of yourself and your place in the world in order to have a peaceful living.
Knowing how terrible trauma is for both the trauma sufferer and his or her family, friends, and coworkers, it is critical to recover from it.
People who have experienced trauma may develop coping methods to assist them in coping with the mental and/or physical anguish they are experiencing.
Dysfunctional habits, such as poor eating, tobacco usage, or drug and alcohol use, are sometimes used as part of these techniques.
Although these coping techniques may bring some relief, they can also contribute to anxiety, social isolation, and chronic diseases.
HOW DOES EFT HELP TO OVERCOME STRESS CAUSED BY A TRAUMATIC EVENT?
EFT functions on the assumption that all negative emotions and behaviors (including those caused by trauma), and many of the physical discomforts that they cause, are the result of disruptions in our body’s energy system, and people can improve most areas of their lives by removing or releasing these unresolved emotional barriers.
EFT involves tapping on specific meridian points while the client simultaneously thinks about a past event, incident, or memory that evokes a negative emotion.
The combination of tapping and focused thinking is believed to release or lessen the intensity of the negative emotion, allowing the individual to think about the event with reduced emotional charge or even without experiencing negative emotions altogether.
EFT is a gentle tool for systematically and effectively working through the many layers of volatile emotions and aspects connected to trauma until their emotional charge subsides.
EFT includes self-care and healthy coping strategies combined with professional help in order to kickstart the healing process.
A 2012 study published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease found that EFT Tapping lowered the stress hormone cortisol by 43% (1).
Research also shows that Tapping calms the amygdala in the brain, by sending it a signal that it is safe to relax.
There are different methods of working with trauma that help you relieve and reduce stress from traumatic incidents. Their use depends on the severity of the trauma. The methods are:
“Trauma creates change, you don't choose.
Healing is about creating the change you do choose."
HOW TO OVERCOME TRAUMATIC STRESS WITH EFT TAPPING
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT): EFT Tapping For Overcoming Trauma
EVIDENCE PROVING THE EFFICACY OF EFT FOR OVERCOMING TRAUMATIC STRESS
A research study was conducted on US military service personnel who had come back from Iraq and Afghanistan with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and co-morbid psychological conditions (3).
In this study, 11 veterans and their family members were assessed for PTSD and other conditions. Evaluations were made using suitable tools for measurement.
A baseline measurement was performed thirty days prior to treatment, and immediately before treatment.
They were then treated with EFT for five days. Significant improvements in traumatic stress were found and maintained at both the 30- and 90-day follow-ups.
One-year follow-up data of brain scans was obtained for 7 of the participants and the same improvements were found. After EFT therapy, the veterans and their family members no longer scored positive for PTSD, the severity and breadth of their psychological distress decreased significantly, and most of their improvements held over time.
Hence, this suggests that EFT can be an effective post-deployment intervention (3).
Dr Rangana Rupavi Choudhuri (PhD)
- Book- The Promise of Energy Psychology by David Feinstein, Donna Eden & Gary Craig
- https://www.eftuniverse.com/index.php option=com_content&view=article&id=2444
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