In a previous blog I explored The Choices Method by Dr. Patricia Carrington, EFT Master. Here is an excerpt from EFT for Teens where Pat explores using it for a client with depression and marriage issues.
I’ve found that the Choices Method can assist a client to consolidate and make permanent the beneficial changes brought about by EFT, thus helping these EFT-created changes to generalize to many aspects of the person’s life. When that happens, we see true transformation.
“Tara” came into therapy for help with intermittent depression and marital problems. She is an accomplished singer who grew up in a world of theater people. Her mother played a regular bit part on a TV series, her father was a well-known TV director. Their friends were all show biz people.
An only child, Tara recalls that she was always dressed up in “adorable” clothes with an ever-different colored bow in her soft blonde curls. She would often recite Longfellow poems and do a little tap dance at age 3 to excited rounds of applause from their guests, which of course was the highest form of compliment from show people.
At superficial glance one might conclude that she was “over-valued” since her every move was subjected to exaggerated attention (either praise or criticism), and her mother professed incredible pride and seemed to glory in her daughter’s achievements, never missing a detail of one of her recitals. In fact, the mother seemed almost to have lived vicariously through her daughter, enjoying a triumph that she had never achieved in her own modest career.
When Tara came into therapy she acted as though she had “no identity” of her own, and this became a main focus for her treatment. In her year and a half of therapy we have made heavy use of EFT, with many sessions of tapping on her original family situation, on her fear of being more successful than her pretty actress mother, on her fear of failing to please her “highly directive” director father, and on the depression she feels today when she isn’t getting what she considers enough attention (no applause in other words) from others.
During this time, Tara has changed remarkably. She now walks with dignity where before she seemed to flutter into a room. She now speaks more slowly and with a new sincerity and directness that make her come across as a “real person” to others for the first time. Her life in general, and her relationships have become much more real and very much richer.
It often seems as though I am greeting a different person when she walks into the office.
Despite all these gains, however, she still had a residual sadness in her face, the look of a person gazing at some far away painful scene.
When she came for a session recently, her sadness had come to the surface (which was good because now we could deal with it directly), and as we tapped on the sadness, it became evident that it was not due to anything in the present, nor was it about her being forced in childhood to uphold a facade for their guests.
In fact, it was not about attention per se; rather, it was about being in people’s awareness, having them aware of her.
In the middle of this session, Tara’s eyes lowered, and she became silent.
Then she said in a low voice: “It’s not about my worry about pleasing people anymore ” that’s doesn’t bother me the way it did. It’s just that, attention or no attention, and no matter how much she said she loved me, and no matter how much she boasted about me. My mother wasn’t really aware of ME.”
Her eyes welled up with tears as she spoke about this, and she explained that even when she had performed beautifully, and tap-danced and sung and recited the way her parents wanted her to, that she now realized that her mother never really saw the real “her.”
“She saw the little puppet she’d created. She was so proud of that puppet, but she never saw ME,” she said.
Here was a source of some of the deepest sadness within Tara and we were able, gently and with respect for the difficulty it was for her to articulate this, to dissipate this painful memory through quietly tapping on it:
Even though Mommy never really saw me…
Even though Mommy didn’t know I was there…
Even though her eyes didn’t really look at me…
As she tapped away, a quiet came over Tara, a peace I hadn’t seen there before.
There was a new clarity in her eye as she said very slowly, “I never really realized this before. She saw the performer. She loved her. She never saw me…”
She then said that she had a peaceful feeling about this and that it was a tremendous relief to have faced it and been able to tap right on it, not on issues “around it.”
It was clear that this was a turning point for Tara.
I knew how fundamental the session had been and I wanted to help her consolidate her gain, to allow this insight and understanding to become a basis for her life from now on. To help this along, I suggested that we make a few Choices relating to what she had discovered. She was familiar with making Choices since we’d used them a number of times during her therapy. So she worked with me to create several to take home with her.
These choices evolved from a discussion that she and I then had about how we can “see” and respect ourselves even though someone as vital in our life as a parent may not have been truly aware of us as a child.
Our discussion led to Tara realizing that her mother had not seen “her” (but only the little budding stage star) because the mother had never seen herself as real, but only as a would-be “star. None of this was because she didn’t love Tara. Love had nothing to do with it. It was her mother’s sense of insignificance that was the factor operating here.
This was a time of deep understanding for Tara, a melting of a resentment she had carried around against her mother for years. She realized now that the two of them had both been caught in the same dilemma-that both had felt they were nonentities.
Several Choices (which Tara took home with her to work on) came out of this session, each dealing with a slightly different aspect of the problem and stating her preferred solution for it.
These were worded as follows:
I choose to know and love the real me, even if Mommy couldn’t.
I choose to understand why Mommy could never see me.
I choose to feel close to Mommy because we both had the same problem.
And finally, I choose to allow my real self to be seen.
This was probably the most important choice of all for Tara because she had been terribly afraid to take this chance before. She took home the little blue cards with her choices written on them (I’ll explain the process in a moment) and has used them ever since. The feeling that she could “know my real self” has grown in her as a result of this to a point where she has been largely able to dispense with the facade she had had all her life.She is now an intentionally fine and studied performer on stage (in fact she claims to be an even better one now) but unlike before, she is now able to be a “real” person off stage, one whom she genuinely likes and respects, as do many others. Her choices have strongly reinforced the insights she gained during the EFT process.