Recently, a client showed up to a session “in the river”. It’s an Inner Bonding® metaphor for the times when, for very good reasons, we are distraught with our Wounded Self in charge, floundering and gasping for air amid life’s challenges. There is no Loving Adult available to compassionately throw the WS a rescuing rope from a secure shore because that part of us has been pulled into the roiling rapids, too! All triggers are trauma, so when something is “up” in us that strongly, it’s a wonderful opportunity to bring curiosity and compassion to the injury and do some deep healing work. First though, we need to calm the emotional upheaval enough to begin to access the strength of our Loving Adult and call in our source of wisdom and power. The Emotional Freedom Technique, or Tapping for short, is a way to soothe our activated, flooded nervous system and interrupt the automatic patterns that distress our Inner Child and overwhelm our access to Guidance, compassion and wisdom.
(Learn more about tapping, it’s benefits and access a free guided meditation to reduce anxiety here: The Tapping Solution (EFT): How To Get Started
Margaret Paul teaches that the time to do an Inner Bonding® process is when we are feeling anything less than peace. Often, settling in with a short meditation or prayer and breathing in compassion, kindness and gentleness is enough to ground us and prepare us for Step 1. However, there are also times when our Wounded Self will be activated strongly enough that we need to do more to attend to ourselves before we can be present in the body, as was true of my client who was “in the river.”
One approach is to have prepared in advance for this situation and employ a generic, guided, calming tapping sequence like those offered on the Tapping Solution website or on You Tube. It’s also possible that you may be aware of what the trigger was and go right to tapping on that. For example, a triggering thought might be, “No matter what I do, or how hard I try, it’s never enough!” (Thoughts that give rise to painful emotions, like this one, are always Wounded Beliefs.)
In Step 3, through dialoguing with the Inner Child and Wounded Self, we can begin to understand the very good reasons we had for adopting those beliefs and how we are creating the resulting painful feelings. Then in Step 4, we ask our Guidance to teach us the truth about the belief and the Loving Actions that will serve our highest good in response to the truth we have discovered.
This is a great time to begin a tapping sequence to decrease our emotional intensity. The tapping set-up on the side of the hand could be very general like:
“Even though I’m feeling scared/anxious/like screaming, I still deeply love and appreciate myself."
Repeat this statement accompanied by tapping on the side of the hand three times. Or, you could begin with the painful belief:
“Even though I have the thought that ‘it’s never enough’, I still deeply love and appreciate myself.”
Then, follow the tapping points protocol while expressing the painful feelings. Maybe the truth is that you feel like you’re ready to explode, or are feeling shame, or anger and you tap while talking through everything that comes up as you explore your sensations and emotions.
Step 1 is feeling our feelings and tapping can be employed as we’re tuning into what’s going on in our body. In her book My Stroke of Insight, neuroscientist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor teaches that the cascade of chemicals that produce emotions in our body only lasts for about 90 seconds. Noticing and tapping through our emotions is a way to stay present as we wait for the chemicals to dissipate. Then, when it feels right, we can continue to tap through wanting to take responsibility for our feelings, which is the second part of Step 1.
After a few rounds, our emotional intensity has often subsided to a level where we can begin to experience compassion and curiosity and open to learning about how to be loving to ourselves in Step 2. Much to the relief of our precious Inner Child, we have thrown out a rope and guided ourselves back to safe and solid footing.
I have worked through Steps 1-4 while tapping and have found it to be very effective way to give myself and my clients some needed internal spaciousness and acceptance while experiencing the aftermath of a painful experience. Understanding, clarity, peace and a clear next right step are available to us as we pair an Inner Bonding® process with EFT Tapping. I’d be pleased to guide and support you as we explore the healing possibilities of this powerful combination.