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Scleroderma case

A very interesting physical change has been noticed by my client from Germany, who has systemic, progressive Scleroderma. Systemic means, it's all over his body, attacking organs, making his skin hard like leather und unflexible, his hands are tight, hard and bent into claws. Progressive means the disease is progressing fast. He has problems with the blood supply in his body, especially to his extremities. At every doctor's visit, he gets heart and lungs checked for symptoms of the disease.

Right now he is getting problems with his esophagus. Obviously it too has hardened, become unflexible, so he has problems and pain when he swallows food.

We had our first phone session last Thursday, June 17 for just one hour. I only addressed his disease in general as a problem, such as:

Even though I have this illness..... I am okay
Even though I am afraid I will never get over this illness .... I am okay
Even though I am afraid to deal with this problem ....
Even though I can't believe there is any help for me ... I am okay with me and my poor, sick body

Even though Baerbel tells me there might be relief... I am afraid to have any hopes..... because it's painful to be disappointed again ... and because all Doctors told me it's incurable .... and I have to live with it ....
I choose to be open to participate in the therapy ..... and I'm still okay

Even though it's hard for me to trust .... that there could be positive changes in how I live with this illness.... and there she comes and tells me so ... it's hard to believe .... I am afraid of being disappointed again .....

and even though she represents hope for me .... and I just feel her confidence about being able to make positive changes in my disease..... I am still okay

Even though I might not be able or willing to do everything to lessen my problems .... I am still okay......

Even though I have this illness .... I am okay just the way I am .... and I accept my body the way it is...

On our second session Friday June 18, he was very excited to tell me about this:

He has had an open wound on his finger for more than one year.
This wound would hurt, be inflamed and not heal at all, no matter what the doctors tried. So again, they told him he had to live with it! On the morning after our first session the crust on the wound broke open and started to discharge a lot of puss. Then it closed, cleanly, without any discomfort whatsoever.
That experience is not only good for his health, most of all it was a GREAT motivator for him, to hope again. This made him believe, that there still is power within himself, that he still will be able to accomplish positive changes for himself. It will help a lot, because it changed his mindset, he now strongly WANTS to go forward.

Wow! I do like my job, you know!
I'll keep you posted on this ongoing work. I just can't help feeling very positive about possible improvements, always have.

Follow-Up

After our second phone session my Scleroderma client told me, he had noticed quite a bit of tingling in his otherwise numb, hard fingers.
I like what I am hearing....
Just wanted to let you know, changes for the better are happening already!

Further thoughts on applying EFT

.....As you will see, some cases take a lot of patience and skill to provide relief. Not everything we do is a "one minute wonder."

Many practitioners have contacted me about my type of therapy for chronic/serious diseases like this one, so this is in response to their questions.

I'd like to add a few ideas which are good to know in general, maybe even before therapists start working on severe cases.

I believe the most important thing for therapists is to have STRONG, SOLID RAPPORT. This will allow the clients to work with you, even when they really don't feel like it. It is hard work for both client and therapist! This will carry both of them through tough times of not being able to believe that they will get better or onsets of depression which are common in those cases. Good rapport enables the client to trust in whatever the therapist comes up with, to make it possible for them to again go another step forward. I often also find that, as a woman I cannot come "from Venus" but have to "be from Mars" (thank you, John Gray). It is different working with women than with men who have chronic diseases.

There is a certain unpredictability how clients with serious diseases behave, caused partly by how painful the impact of physical symptoms is. In addition, we will have emotional unstability from depressive thoughts, from the awareness that this will take ongoing work for a while and the physical limitations will still be there, at least to a certain degree. Therefore it is crucial for them to see and acknowledge even the slightest improvements on a daily basis, and that's where the creative work of the therapist comes in. For the therapist EFT will help to release uncomfortable feelings about his/her own capacities.

I have my clients fill out symptom charts, where they answer different questions about how they feel about their symptoms that particular day. I do that before and after the session. It is enormously gratifying and assuring for both client and therapist to see the much lower levels of physical and emotional symptoms on their chart after the session is over. As a hypnotherapist I do work with what I call "Relaxation Therapy", it always provides solid relaxation of body and mind. That will carry the client through many hours of the day with relief of pain big time, even if there is not a direct response to the EFT part of the session. Especially in serious diseases that may come later, or it may also come suddenly in a bundle.

I am planning to do a 3-day seminar on this topic in October. By then I will have worked with my Scleroderma client here in Colorado for two weeks. He is coming in August to work one-on-one with me for intense therapy.

Hope this will help to answer most of the questions.

Yes, I still love my work.......

Follow-Up

Still going on "with Turbo".....

Six weeks have passed and I've been working on the phone, doing EFT across the Atlantic with my Scleroderma client in Germany. Improvements so far have been quite a few, physically and emotionally. He has now cut his meds dramatically, lowering the Cortison he used to take in very high doses. He is able to do that because the inflammation in his body is decreasing. His doctor did a blood test recently to measure the inflammation in his body. Before, his numbers was always somewhere between 40 to 70. Now he is at 20; 10 would be considered a normal, healthy number. He has never been at 20 since he has been diagnosed and tested. This is medical proof of his progress. For his decreasing pain he now needs less and less medication; during the last two weeks all together he only took a dose twice; before he often needed a big dose 3 times a day.

Because of the hardening of his esophagus swallowing was getting painful for my client. It seems he can now swallow without problems.

Because of the hardening of the skin on his hands, shoulders and face he has needed massages twice a week. The massage therapist mentioned to him the other day that the skin on his hands, which used to be extremely tight and tough, now definitely is becoming smoother, more elastic and flexible. It also has improved in thickness, especially on his knuckles. Before the skin there was paper thin; you could see the bone underneath.

The emotional improvement is amazing. I am still coaching him through practical changes he needed to do in his work (he has his own business). He needed to turn his life around quite a bit and he did! He now takes times out during the day for himself, to rest, to pause, to do some exercise. He has taken up swimming again and started running at a slow pace. That's the man who couldn't do any exercise anymore, because his body was hurting too much.

We have done a lot of tapping on his anger and frustration, on his grief and despair. The way he started to hate his body, because it refused to do what he wanted it to do; we tapped on that and we're still not finished.

Even though I hate my body .... I can't do anything any more ..... all the things my body used to do so well for me.... and I always could rely on it .... can't do it anymore ... it's a joke .... can't even hold a pen anymore .... can't do the work I love any more ..... took it away from me ....

Even though I am being punished .... don't know what for ..... everything that was ever important to me .... my body refuses to do now ....

..I now choose to accept my body .... it is my oldest, very best friend ..... just the way it is!
I now choose to understand ..... I have to learn how to treat my body .... like my oldest, very best friend!

I believe we have also found an important clue of why he had to become sick; why he got this illness and what it has served him for. That will be the stuff for another up-date though. In any case, it is possible for him to believe that he can be well again. Right now it looks as if the progression of Scleroderma has stopped. Looks like it has even started to reverse in some areas. His immune system seems to work FOR him now, instead of AGAINST him earlier.

A NOTE: My client has always been an "over achiever". He has for ever pushed himself over his limits, and that could be one of the reasons he'd gotten this illness in the first place. The good thing is, that we can now turn his ambitions around and use his way of extreme commitment for his own benefits.

Much more is there to do in his case. That's why he'll visit me in Colorado in August and we will do some intense one-on-one work. I will keep you posted on that.

Further follow up

I used some hypnosis with lots of EFT, also journaling and some Art Therapy. My client, because of his physical limitations, got tired easily with tapping, so hypnosis brought about quick changes in how he felt physically. Hypnosis in the form of visualizations and healing imagery are great motivators. There were some difficult moments during those intense 2 weeks:

1. Doing 4 hours of one-on-one therapy daily with a physically restricted client, I had to find ways to make tapping possible physically.
2. I also had to find ways to keep myself going on in "turbo" and not miss a thing.
3. I had to "catch" my client when he was having an emotional breakdown, suddenly telling me "You can't do anything anyway, nobody can help me, this therapy won't change a thing" - and luckily I succeeded.

The following tapping phrases really saved the day. Whenever he felt stuck or tired, we did them; always with the result that his mood changed completely and he felt much better, emotionally and physically:

Even though I am completely healthy .... I can accept myself
Even though life is wonderful and complete .... I profoundly accept myself
Even though I have everything I ever wanted in my life .... I do accept myself the way I am...

... I am moving around comfortably ... feeling at my very best .... never felt better in my life .... life is really good .... couldn't be better for me ....nice hands ... there is nothing I can't do for myself ..... the sky is the limit! ..... I feel very strong .... I am extremely capable .... and I am well!

The day he left for the airport, he told me he felt "profoundly" convinced that he is going to get better; There were no doubts in his mind. The improvements in his physical symptoms were:

1. The skin on his claw-like fingers seemed to become more flexible and elastic.
2. The hardening of his esophagus and the resulting pain have gone completely. (Yeah!)
3. He has cut his daily meds to very low doses, two of them he only takes when needed for pain.

Overall the pain has decreased to mostly 1; his discomfort stayed there for most of the time. In rare cases it briefly went up to 4 or 5 when emotionally or physically triggered; either by physical activities or and in the very first days, by outbreaks of depression.

We are now waiting for medical tests to be done.

It was a precious experience. It's amazing how much you can achieve when you see the client every day.

Final Follow-up

Here comes the latest update on the Scleroderma case I have written about 6 months ago. I had not heard from my client for several months after he had been in Colorado Springs for two weeks of one-on-one therapy and went back to Germany in late August. He told me then he was "done" with therapy, including "all the tapping and advice" and would be fine on his own. After that he never responded to my e-mails until recently when I received a letter from him.

This man is now back to serious physical health conditions, things have gone back to where they were when we started his therapy. As soon as he was on the plane back to Germany his pain level, which had been consistently low for months, shot up into extreme heights and he was forced to again take his strong pain medications. Back home he had blood work done which showed high inflammation counts.

I am writing this report because this is a classical "secondary gain" case; it contains important facts that may give valuable and much needed information to other therapists, while dealing with clients with serious diseases. You can read all related details of his therapy in my earlier articles about Scleroderma including several follow-ups.

My client's mental condition however has become and still is absolutely great!

In his letter he thanks me for the COMPLETE emotional well-being he is enjoying. He describes himself as emotionally balanced, always in a good mood now. He talks about "looking forward into the future optimistically". He sold his business and enjoys financial independence. He plans on spending the cold months of the year in a warm climate, reading and doing many enjoyable things he was not able to do before while he was tied up in his business.

It is important to take a look at this clients' background to better understand the changes in this case:
41-year old male, divorced, lives alone, describes his family of origin (two brothers) as good. Had his own thriving stone-masonry business, employed several people. Over-achiever, no way to communicate feelings besides anger and rage, which he was feared for. Never felt good enough, constantly pushed himself further to achieve more. Sometimes aggressive expressions and behavior, analytical, critical thinking, difficult to communicate with during therapy, frugal with words and empathy for others. Does not express himself willingly ("I'm not used to talking about my problems"); trust has always been an issue. Needed to constantly protect himself from "exploitation" by others, not easily convinced about anything. Has lived his life, always feeling he could never have what he really wanted!

One-on-one therapy with him turned out to be real hard work for me, mostly because of the unpredictability of the case development. Each day was different. Some days he refused to even look at the possibility that he could be well again or at least much better than he was. His "skeptic" - his extremely critical part - was all over his dreams, the pictures he drew and made him refuse tapping. The "skeptic" insisted that "no human being can get out of my illness, it's impossible, and no tapping will change that." On other days my client was in a more receptive mood, he seemed to enjoy what we did and even had a peaceful way about him. Because he often was exhausted already in the morning, I used hypnosis many times to help him regain motivation and physical strength.

Looking back I have realized, this type of therapy made it possible for him to finally find his true inner voice, his core, that led him to understand deep down inside what he really, really needed. Coming back out of his increasingly deeper trances, he slowly started to be a different person, a more warm, caring and patient individual.

Obviously he came to understand and accept that his illness would make it possible for him to live in a different way than he demanded before. It may even have felt as the "door to a new kind of freedom" for him, including changes that would not have been accepted in his culture or by his family, if he would have regained his health. Those changes could have been to let go of his business, the work that he had invested so much energy into, just to have "an easy life without the hard work".

By watching him becoming a more gentle, peaceful person, becoming more confident with his body and his outlook on life, I can still remember feeling that things changed into unknown territory during those last few days we spent together. He couldn't wait to get back home, he obviously had found what he'd been looking for.

I am happy for him, reading that for the first time he likes his life, that he enjoys doing what he choose he wanted to do. It took me a while though; I had to battle my own demons that were telling me I had not done good enough work, not showed him more or better alternatives for dealing with his illness, not done who knows what. Until I got to understand I did exactly what a good therapist has to do: to facilitate healing and empowerment, so that the client is able to make his own decision!

NOTE:
His Dad told me (I also had phone sessions with him), he has never seen his son as "alive and well" emotionally as now! He points out how my client has changed his attitude, how calmly he his making his decisions now. "There is a deep calm about my son that was never there before!"

The following phrases show what I have needed to tap on:
Even though I didn't do my job ..... couldn't help my client ..... I am waiting for the time when I can accept myself again.

Even though I'm a failure ..... I am trying to accept myself anyway.
Even though this is not want I wanted for him ....I now understand it's obviously what he wanted....and needed ... and he could accept himself again ... so I now choose to accept myself also.

Even though I thought I had the real truth for my client .... and he showed me I was wrong .... I am okay with that.... because I now choose to understand that it is not what I want for him ... but what he is willing to get for himself...which is pretty good after all ...turning an angry man into a happy, peaceful man..... and I am open to look at myself in a more accepting way ,,,, the only thing that counts is having happy clients .... and so I will be happy too.

Even though I had to find out .... that it was a PRIMARY GAIN .... instead of a secondary gain ..... I now decide for myself ..... that all that matters is facilitating empowerment .... and healing ... in whatever way my client chooses to use it ... for his own well-being .... and so I choose to step back .... and accept the fact .... that I have again learned something important .... and can accept myself ..... as a therapist and human being .... exactly the way I am!"

Love and lots of encouragement to all who have decided to work with seriously ill clients!

NOTE:
I have never before dealt with Scleroderma issues in the past. That does not keep me from believing, that we can achieve positive changes in this disease or the connected symptoms. I am convinced that changes WILL happen through EFT. As we create changes in our belief system and get rid of old stuff, the physical changes will always follow. Whatever I can find and get my client to release, any painful issue of guild or anger that he can let go of, will get us much closer to physical improvements.
Look for my next reports on that on http://www.eftuniverse.com and Betty's Website.