The following article, Reducing Childhood Baggage by Heike Prevrhal appreared in the EFT International newsletter and has been reprinted with permssion. I invite you to read this thoroughly entertaining, beautifully written account of Heike’s use of EFT with her 5 year old son. This is an exceptional example of the power of EFT and how it can help children clear very deep issues that may otherwise go on to become part of their adult baggage.
The following episode with my 5 year-old son Anton made me yet again so grateful for having EFT in my parenting toolbox that I want all parents to know about it.
It was an eye opener for me to experience first-hand how EFT addresses existing issues in children so comprehensively and deeply, and how it greatly contributes to avoiding some of the usual accumulation of emotional childhood baggage – what a blessing!
Here is the story. On a walk to the park Anton accidently ran head-on into a newspaper stand. His lips were bleeding a little bit, and a few bruises started to appear quickly. This was his third “severe” little accident within a few days. Anton is normally very healthy and not accident prone at all.
Now he was in pain, cried hard, and he was very upset. We sat down and I started tapping on him addressing the accident. “Even though I’m hurting, my face hurts, I’m still a great kid; I’m scared, I did not see this stand, it hurts, but I’m still a good kid, Mama and Papa love me,…”
He then kept saying: “Mama, mama” and we simply tapped on “I want my mama, mama!!! Mama!! I want my mama” (while he was sitting on my lap anyway), “I want my mama to help me, and I am a great kid, mama, make it go away!”
He calmed down a bit and then said:”I want to glue up this bad box with all yucky stuff, I am going to make it sooooo yucky that they will take it away! And then I’ll put so many coins in the slot that it’s completely stuffed up, and I’ll have the only key, so nobody can use it and they’ll take it away, so it does not hurt me…” – I heard a whole lot of anger and being mad at the stand, so we tapped on anger, all the while using his own words. After a couple of rounds the power of his anger seemed to wane, and he calmed down.
Then he threw his hat to the ground. I managed to just observe instead of reprimanding him. He also pulled his hair and on the skin on his front head. I asked him what he was doing, he replied “I want to take my skin off!” “So you want to take your skin off?” I mirrored. “I don’t want to keep getting hurt in this skin.” Wow, this is deep. Don’t we all feel uncomfortable in our skin at times and would love to be able to get out of it?? So there was FEAR, fear of being hurt again and having to go through pain again. That’s on what we tapped next “…want my skin off, don’t want to hurt again, afraid of being hurt again, not safe, and I am a great kid anyway…”.
He seemed calm and in a good space at this point. It occurred to me to ask him “So why do you think you’ve been getting hurt so much recently?” He contemplated this for a moment, and then very deliberately answered “Mama, it’s because of those scary bad guys in the dreams I’ve been having.”
What followed was a description of four scary dreams that I had not heard in such detail and clarity before. The most recent one was about “this scary killer person coming to our house”. The other three were from a little while ago; one about a favorite stuffed animal doggie being stuffed into the toilet several times without Anton being able to prevent it; another dream included someone being really mean to Anton’s sister and taking things away from her repeatedly, and Anton could not help her. The fourth dream was set at the playground where a giant scary hand suddenly appeared on top of the climbing structure and tried to grab him.
I sensed a lot of fear and feelings of disempowerment and helplessness in these dreams. I simply kept tapping on him while he was describing his dreams. Then his story started shifting and words just kept bubbling out of his mouths like a waterfall for the next 20 minutes: In great technical detail (people who know Anton well will easily guess what I mean!) he described how the chairs in which the bad guys would sit down would automatically fall over and release the bad guys and monsters into a big, giant long tube extending to the center of the earth, far, far away. He described the mechanism as a one way valve, so there was no coming back for the bad guys. At the center of the earth the bad guys would get all “mushed up” and transformed into “yucky cake”. At this point Anton started having fun with his story, and declared with a big empowered smile on his face, “But then there is another small hole that I can sit on and pee and pooh on the monsters! (laughter and delight – made me think of all those strategies around imagining an intimidating boss naked to feel more empowered, this definitely worked for Anton).
But he kept talking: Now there was another giant, long tube, because now the yucky cake made out of bad guys had been transformed into yummy cakes, and only those would automatically be suctioned back right into our kitchen. There he would share those yummy cakes with his friends (well, all this happened right after the Thanksgiving dinner!), and you know what? The scary hand from the playground had now become his friend, and actually, now there were two of these hands helping him cut the yummy cakes!!!
Only now was he really done and started skip-jumping off to the park in a delighted mood. An hour later and back at the house a friend of ours asked him about the bruises. He looked at her as if that accident had completely dropped from his mind.
The complexity of emotions and issues in this tapping conversation with my son just put me to awe. I was deeply impressed by the creative way in which the negative emotions transformed into “yummy cakes”, empowerment and regaining of control. And really, this basically was just one of those every-day bumps. Usually we’d provide some initial comfort and attention and then simply move on, or we would distract the child away from the negative emotions.
This conversation felt like a window into the soul and psyche of my child to me. Holding this kind of presence with our children seems like a wonderful way of reducing the accumulation of unaddressed negative emotions into emotional baggage they would otherwise have to carry around. Simple tapping – what a gift to pass along to our children!
Follow up: Anton and I have been having a couple of follow-up conversations, and over-all I am touched by the way he is willing and able to share his emotions with me -it seems to transform and deepen our relationship.
One time he woke up with another distressing dream where bad guys were coming from the air, throwing things at him and therefore would not sit down on those “special chairs that drop them” – I simply tapped on him while he was talking, and he very quickly came up with another creative solution that worked for him and calmed him right down (the helper hand would squeeze the bad guys in the air).
Another evening before falling asleep Anton said: “Mama, I am really trying to leave these bad guys behind, but I am still thinking of them”. We tapped on:
…Even though I try really hard to not think about bad guys, I still do, and I am a great kid…
…even though the more I try to NOT think about bad guys, the more I seem to think about them, and I am a great kid…
…trying to not think about bad guys really hard kind of is like thinking about bad guys, it’s so confusing…maybe I should just pretend to not even care if I think about them or not…
Then he decided to transform bad guys into penguins, which he loves dearly. I kept tapping on him while he told me his strategy. Then he shifted and said, with shiny happy eyes: “Mama, now it does not matter any more, it’s even a good thing when I think about many bad guys, because then I’ll have a BIG huddle of penguins”, and he drifted off to sleep peacefully.
EFT practitioner, Mom of Anton and Annika, and incredibly grateful about this amazing technique!
Bio: In addition to studying/completing online training with EFT founder Gary Craig’s material’s, Heike completed the “Progressive EFT Practitioners Intensive” with Lindsay Kenny and Zoe Walton September in 2008 towards certification as a Progressive EFT Practitioner.. She is now running a successful and rapidly growing Progressive EFT practice in San Francisco. Heike now offers in- person office and worldwide phone and Skype sessions in her office in San Francisco, and phone sessions and skype world wide. Sessions are offered both in English and German.
As a proud mother of two, she has this to say about her own EFT practice: “EFT has made me a much happier and more loving mother, partner, professional and person in general. To me the biggest gift that we can give to our children is dealing with and releasing our own issues. (Kids are a great help in that – they will trigger the most patient of us at some point, clearly pointing out any remaining baggage!!) – The second biggest gift we can give to them might well be teaching them early how to tap!”