Jul 8, 2013

“Tapping into Hope!” A secret technique for the hopeless survivor

Have you ever been told you were treatment resistant? Noncompliant? Or, maybe you have been disheartened by the suggestion that your attitude about recovery is futile or perhaps you’ve even been criticized because of your inability to just “choose” recovery?

Perhaps like me, you have wanted to throw your hands up and scream, “I surrender!”

Healing from a relentlessly, debilitating course of chronic anorexia, I have experienced my fair share of recovery disappointments. Stepping back, I see how my hope for full recovery slowly eroded with each unsuccessful trial of treatment. Thankfully, my inner survivor always has and continues to keep a flicker of hope lit, even through the darkest days that we all share in this journey.

Finding the energy to dig deep enough to find hope may be the accomplishment of the day.

I want to believe. I want to have the right attitude. I want to be positive, especially for those who have gone above and beyond with learning and trying their best to support me.

Yet, my brain is stubborn. “If I don’t believe something, how am I supposed to BELIEVE it? As far as I am concerned, obviously, it is untrue.” When you find yourself in a desperate, negative state, you may stumble into such darkness where you fear believing in yourself. The assuming and impending failure may seem too much to bear, so you would rather just skip all of the drama of ever hoping and being disappointed. Trust me, I get it!

In order to effectively communicate where I am with the chronic fatigue of having been “recovering” for as long as I have, my simplified response has been along the lines of “I want to want to believe. I want to want to have hope. I want to want to believe I can recover, fully!”

But the truth is that I don’t really, truly, whole-heartedly believe all of the time. With a disease as tenacious and cunning as anorexia, hopeless days are troublesome. And, I have tried the faking it until I make it thing, too. I just end up feeling like a fraud. In my experience, I need authenticity!

With this being where I am, what are my options here and now?

Over the last month, I have received several nudges to try Meridian Tapping Therapy, also known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).

Diagram of EFT Meridian Tapping “EFT is a form of psychological acupressure, based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture to treat physical and emotional ailments for over five thousand years, but without the invasiveness of needles. Instead, simple tapping with the fingertips is used to input kinetic energy onto specific meridians on the head and chest while you think about your specific problem – whether it is a traumatic event, an addiction, pain, etc. — and voice positive affirmations.”

This combination of tapping the energy meridians and voicing positive affirmation works to clear the “short-circuit” – the emotional block — from your body’s bioenergy system, thus restoring your mind and body’s balance, which is essential for optimal health and the healing of physical disease.” (Definition retrieved from Dr. Mercola)

Last Monday, I decided to try it out by attending a webinar. The impact from that first session and this first week of tapping has been so profound that I cannot yet gather into cohesion an explanation to share, but the movement in my life have been nothing short of profound. Where I felt stuck, maybe even paralyzed, there is new space.

Despite 5 years of graduate school studying counseling and therapeutic interventions and over 20 years of personal work on my own healing journey, I only have one substantial question, “Why didn’t I learn this sooner?”

Tapping is used at Mirasol Recovery Centers frequently, daily in fact, so I only wish I had taken Jeannie’s earlier suggestion that I try this technique myself! Mirasol clients use tapping therapy at mealtimes to reduce anxiety and work through cognitive and emotional blocks that make meals uncomfortable and overwhelming, but they don’t stop there. Tapping scripts can be created and modified to clear all types of mental anguish once you learn the foundations of the technique. In the last week alone, I have tapped about creative writing, music performance anxiety, financial ease, and various healing intentions.

Here are the top three reasons why I am an instant fan of tapping / EFT!

  1. You start where you are: For me, the most valuable benefit of tapping is that you can start where you are and you get to honor that place without judgment. Where you are is REALity and it is OK! You can tap into your inner survivor and begin to transform the darkness into light. If you want to want to believe in recovery, you can tap into that. I find a great deal of emotional safety with the technique because I can tailor it to nurture precisely what I want and need in life in any given moment. Basically, you get to target the work emotional work you are willing and ready to do.
  2. The technique is self-administered: I am a huge proponent of self-administered techniques. Any tool you can walk away with and reapply at will provides an endless well of empowerment. While many first learn of EFT from a counselor or energy psychologist, the technique is actually self-administered. Once you learn the tapping points and the scripts, you can tap anywhere at any time. Usually, it only takes a few minutes before one is off to tapping independently.
  3. Tapping is based on the mind-body integration: For obvious reasons, this is of particular importance to those suffering with eating disorders as the disease impairs the mind and body in tandem. What if the very thing you resent, fear, or despise became the very thing that healed you, that thing being your very own body!?! It definitely lends well to increasing one’s body appreciation!

More to come in this EFT Tapping Blog Series…
1. Understanding the meridian points & tapping techniques
2. Making your own ED Recovery Scripts
3. Evidence-based research & EFT resources


Watch Affirmation Queen, Louise Hay, participate in her own tapping session:

Thank you for reading and happy, hope-filled tapping to you too!

~Heather Purdin, M.Ed., RYT (Guest Blogger)

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