Thanks to Ingrid Dinter for sharing this story of a women veteran (we'll call Joanna) who has suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and her progress with Emotional Freedom Technique. This is only a part of the story, for the full article click here.
“ Joanna ” is a non-combat veteran with severe PTSD who has been on medical disability since 1993. In addition to her PTSD, Joanna suffered from severe Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and childhood sexual trauma. When Joanna agreed to try EFT, she did so out of a sense of desperation.
She was open to alternative healing and had tried many things, but nothing had truly brought her the relief she wanted and needed. I remember the first conversation with her being full of resentment and mistrust about EFT. She was willing to give it a try though, to work on her sleep issues, so we connected.
Joanna had excelled as a female in the military, being the first ever woman to join a very tough elite troop. Rescuing others from life threatening situations, she had to put her life at risk often several times a day, and it was usually the night when they got the most calls to rescue someone.
So Joanne had learned that the night wasn’t safe.
In addition to the resentment against her father, she suffered from many rapes, some by relatives of friends, and some within the military. There was so much harassment in her life, that she at some point just shrug her shoulders about it. After an accident, she was finally bullied out of her job.
So we had a lot of clean up to do.
here's what Joanne had to say after her first appointment...
“I managed not to wake up last night and slept the whole night through. YEA!! Yesterday, I noticed that I wanted to "pick-up" my old emotional trauma/baggage around the accident in 1993. I kept revisiting the accident and after our EFT session the emotional trauma/baggage was gone. Yet I kept wanting to find the old baggage because it has been with me for so long, it’s comfortable and it’s what I know and it felt awkward and exposed without it. I recognized what I was doing and did some self-talk, self-encouragement and was able to just let myself be without trying to re-find of my emotional baggage by treating myself with love and compassion.”
Joanne had seen many casualties and people dying in very drastic situations, but the molestation topped them all. So we took several events from her childhood and, again, released the emotional intensity she felt about them.In my experience, many Veterans and people with PTSD symptoms never feel that they arrive in the present. They keep reliving their trauma from years ago, and their minds function as if the trauma was still happening. So they feel threatened in their daily life, surrounding themselves with weapons and defense mechanisms. Joanna was no different.
However, when we put the time in between, she realized that her life for the past fifteen years had been very different that the beginning of her life. She realized that she had been safe and, even though she was well prepared to defend herself, she never had to use her weapon.
So it was appropriate for her to assume that her life was different and safe now, and she could allow herself to relax.
In her email after the fourth session, she described the results of our work as follows:
“Here is my 15th day of my sleep log.
I am doing well. I went to bed after using EFT again on my sleep. I went to bed and slept well without any prescription medication to sleep. I also didn't wake up at any time during the night. I felt safer and more at peace when I went to bed than ever before. I realized that I carry over my sleep deficient. If I didn't "get enough sleep", I'd carry it over to the next day and think "I need to make up for it tonight" and I'd be anxious to "make sure I sleep enough tonight." Using EFT before I went to bed last night, I reminded myself that I have choices and that there are no rules about sleeping. I also tapped on releasing my old beliefs about sleeping and let my body be the gauge of how much sleep I get every night. I felt lighter and more at peace after tapping and went to bed. Slept soundly. Still tired and sleepy, yet somewhat refreshed. I think this EFT is working.”
Joanna realized that she had joined the army to learn the techniques she needed to keep herself safe, a direct consequence of the constant threat she lived under as a child and adolescent. So we tapped on her finding peace with that reality and claiming her power back from her past.
I asked Joanne if she was willing to write a testimonial about her healing experience, and here is her personal report:
I had already tried group counseling; PTSD awareness training; Veteran’s Administration individual counseling for many years; Transcendental Meditation; metaphysical training (including candle magic, crystal and gemstone magic, and numerology); herbology and herbal remedies; Vimala Handwriting by Vimala Rogers; astrology; Native American healing beliefs; prescribed pharmaceuticals; Western medicine; chiropractic care; New Age healing techniques such as pendulum dowsing and chakra cleansing; University of New Mexico PTSD Sleep Study and Nightmare Reduction; Veteran’s Administration Group therapy many times; nutritional education; self-help books; and almost any other suggestion by any health care worker.
“I still couldn’t fall asleep. I couldn’t remain asleep without waking up repeatedly during the night. And I was plagued by repeated traumatic nightmares every night. Sleep was my enemy and I fought it every night, waking up exhausted and tired. I obsessed about sleep because I was always in sleep deficit. I would get very distressed if I stayed up late, yet couldn’t seem to go to bed until late because I dreaded the nightmares. I wouldn’t take naps during the day because it would make getting to sleep more difficult at night. The things that I tried helped very little.
I gave EFT a chance and I was thrilled with the results. Within two sessions, I felt myself release all the associated trauma, emotions, and obsessions that interfered with my sleep. Sleep became an easy and gentle activity free from worry and fretting. No longer am I afraid of going to sleep or of even how much sleep I receive. Today I let my body tell me when to sleep instead of rigorously following a clock. Sleep today is a joy that refreshes my body and rejuvenates my soul. I wake up earlier than I used to and I need less sleep than before. Sometimes the associated old beliefs about sleep come up but now I utilize EFT to release them. Quick. Easy. Gentle. No more nightmares. No more fighting sleep.”
It was not easy for Joanna to get started and trust such a different technique and healing approach, and she can be very proud of herself for hanging in there and not giving into her fears and resentment before she allowed EFT to do it’s magic.
A statistical background:
To be able to monitor Joanne’s progress,, I asked her to fill out an informed consent form and keep a daily sleep journal. We also used two well established, standardized research tools: The SA-45 and the PCL-M, both of which are explained on my website.
Within ten days and four EFT sessions, “Joanna’s” SA-45 score fell from 162 before the first session to 97 after the last. Her PCL-M score fell from 76 to 47 (a score of 50 and higher is considered PTSD for military personnel).
Joanna and I will have some more cleanups to do in relation to her military experiences and the chronic physical pain that she feels. But this is a great start!