The EFT Manual by Dawson Church

The EFT Manual by Dawson Church

Author:Dawson Church [Church, Dawson]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Energy Psychology Press
Published: 2017-05-31T23:00:00+00:00

Dissociation

At one EFT workshop, we tested participant levels of emotional trauma before and after tapping. We used a questionnaire called the PCL, short for PTSD Checklist (Blanchard, Jones-Alexander, Buckley, & Forneris, 1996). Everyone’s scores on the PCL went down after the workshop, except for two people, whose scores went up. One was a male therapist in his 50s, the other a female director of a psychiatric clinic also in her 50s. They felt that they had made big emotional breakthroughs in the workshop, and they were both very pleased with their results after EFT. Why did their traumatic stress scores go up?

The reason is that both of them had a history of dissociation. They had both experienced severe psychological trauma as children, and to cope with the abuse, they’d distanced themselves from their feelings.

Like forming a trauma capsule, the dissociative response makes perfect sense for a child. The child has to survive and live on in the abusive situation. He or she cannot escape, and the caregiver is often the abuser. The child resolves this paradox by pushing the bad experiences out of consciousness and into the subconscious mind. Carl Jung described the “shadow,” that part of the self into which these “unacceptable” or unhealed traumas are stuffed. Poet Robert Bly calls it “the bag,” and he says that we fill our bags with these unhealed experiences during childhood and drag the bag through our adult life like a huge burden that weighs us down and robs us of our joy.

Dissociation is described in the DSM-IV as “a disruption in the usually integrated functions of consciousness, memory, or perception of the environment.” (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Scaer (2012) describes dissociation more practically as a “confused, distracted state in your patient that prevents you from breaking through the fog into any semblance of meaningful contact. It’s the patient ‘leaving the room’ [emotionally] losing contact with you when you’ve barely touched on the meaningful traumatic material, or when an obtuse reference to some supposedly benign topic causes a short circuit to a traumatic cue in their memory. It’s the state of confusion and distraction that the patient describes, as if they’ve suffered a brain injury.”

After a lifetime spent stuffing bad experiences into one’s shadow, or forming trauma capsules, and not truly feeling or processing negative experiences, a person can develop a reflexive habit of responding to negative experiences this way. Such a person might feel very few of their feelings deeply, and perceive emotions as dangerous and disruptive. Their safety lies in dissociating.

When a person with a long history of using dissociation as a coping strategy and with a huge collection of disowned personality fragments stuffed into their shadow starts to learn EFT, these fragments may begin to emerge. Although the person might have managed to feel okay in the past by suppressing these fragments and associated feelings, and might have reported low emotional intensity, they’re now feeling them fully, and reporting high emotional intensity. In this case, a rise in emotional



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