A Trauma & Abuse Case History File
From Gary Craig's EFT email support list

War trauma--no more nightmares.
(Follow-up at end)

Hi Everyone,

Very few traumatic events can compete with the horrors of war. The aftermath, for those who survive, include constant battlegrounds within the soldiers' psyche. Flashbacks. Deep anxiety. Nightmares. And on it goes.

EFT is often very effective with war trauma and, in my opinion, every soldier in the world should be given mandatory sessions. The effect on our veterans would be beyond awesome. Maybe someday....

Crystal Hawk expertly applies EFT to a soldier. Here is the story.

Hugs, Gary

Dear Gary:

A young man named Kevin (not his real name) was brought to me by his Canadian live-in girl friend. He was a Peace Keeper in the UK Army for 18 months in Bosnia and has been suffering with terrible nightmares almost nightly since his release. For the 7 months he stayed in England and for the 5 years he’s been in Canada he’s suffered from these flashbacks and nightmares as well as deep anxiety. He is currently seeing both a psychiatrist and a therapist for various problems but has never dealt with this issue.

Kevin was born into a military family. With both parents serving as officers in various armies - one in the UK and one in Canada - he was raised by his maternal grandmother in the UK. She was a loving person and his early life was quite happy. To help him defend himself against his two younger, but much larger, brothers he was taught Judo at an early age and knew that he had the power to kill with his hands since that time. But he’s never used this ‘skill’ at any time.

He attended the finest Military Academy in England, possibly in the world, and upon graduation, with his two best friends, Jim and Joe, he enlisted in the Bosnia Peace Corps. His worst recurring nightmare was seeing Jim being demolished by a land mine. Other nightmares involved witnessing horrendous atrocities.

I followed your technique (on the "6 Days at the VA" tape) and he quickly came down from a 1000 to 10 to 7 to 1. At that point he could tell me about Jim’s death without an emotional charge. And he could describe the other horrendous scenes as well.

Then I had him use the Tapas technique [TAT] to eliminate his core belief that he was meant to live a military life and that it was a good life for him. This allowed him to forgive all of the people/media/etc. who had given him this belief. At one point he called out “John Wayne!”.

I realized the moment he left my office that now that he was free of this overwhelming memory and anxiety he probably would get in touch with his own guilt for some of the horrendous actions he took while in Bosnia. And that, of course, is exactly what happened. He says we don’t realize that Peace Keepers are often in hand to hand combat. In the following session he dealt with his own guilt for actions taken to protect his men and his own life. He also dealt with some more personal family guilt and came to a 1 very easily.

At the third session he reported that he was sleeping wonderfully with no nightmares and that when he did wake he knew exactly where he was and what was going on. He was definitely in the present. He said he felt so much more creative, more focused with no distractions in his head and he felt he could get on with his life. Canada Day has just taken place on July 1st and for the first time he could watch and listen to the fireworks with enjoyment and without thinking it was possible artillery.

I felt really good about this but am thinking of all the Peace Keepers who have not received EFT.

Crystal Hawk


Several months after Crystal wrote the above, she received this letter from her client...

"I want to thank you for the peace I feel every night when I close my eyes knowing that the memories of the terrible things I've seen and done in my tour in Bosnia will not bother me. Thank you for my peace of mind."


Curing PTSD
(Including some debate at the end of this message)

Hi Everyone,

Gene Douglas works with prisoners, many of whom are beset with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He has his challenges in delivering these procedures, of course, because gaining rapport is sometimes difficult with this population.

In his message below, Gene uses the term "cure" regarding many of his PTSD cases. In conventional circles this is often a no-no word. While the reasons vary, the essence of the resistance is that PTSD is considered incurable by those who have never had true success with it (i.e. most conventional practitioners). Thus, to use the word "cure" is to, presumably, hold out false hope to the afflicted. It borders on unethical behavior and charlatanism to those that have never cured a single case of PTSD.

Frankly, I don't see anything wrong with the word "cure." Seems pretty accurate to me. Besides, what else should we call it when the problem goes away and doesn't come back? If it wasn't for the disbelievers, I think "cure" would be right on. But to appease the disbelievers (until they have more evidence), how about these acronyms....? (smile)

bullet PSPN=Possible Suspension of the Problem for Now
bullet AHS=Apparent Hibernation of the Symptoms
Maybe we should just call it Luck or Magic--anything but "cure." Geez!

Enough! Gene also demonstrates a creative method for backing off and then sneaking up on an intense PTSD issue. I think you will find his message important.

Hugs, Gary

Hi Gary,

I get so used to "miraculous" cures, I almost forget to mention them. I have cured a number of cases of PTSD in single sessions. One early case was of a woman who was riding in a taxi in Washington DC, and a bullet struck the window of the cab. Had it not been defective, and nearly spent, it would have hit her in the neck.

She had been experiencing symptoms of PTSD for months, and we removed them in a few minutes. Since then, a number of PTSD cases have come and gone, many quickly successful.

At the prison where I work, there is a veteran who is getting out in about a month. I consider him a great American, that we owe a lot to, though for now he is considered "nothing but a convict."

About a year ago, I saw him for a symptom of some kind, probably insomnia. At the time, I didn't know his history. I treated him for regret at getting himself into prison. Somebody had threatened to kill him, had driven a truck up into his driveway and was walking toward his door. He killed the person, and learned later that that was not self-defense.

I also treated him for some feelings in regard to a traffic accident in Viet Nam, and didn't hear from him for about a year. Recently, he came back, with more symptoms, including insomnia and nightmares, of the recurring, repeating variety. He had that drugged-out PTSD look they get when the doctors load them up on tranquilizers to mask their feelings.

We tried EFT and TAT, but his feelings were so strong that he was unable to continue, just thinking about the events, including being a prisoner of war and being tortured. He showed me some pretty bad scars, including a stab wound in his abdomen, from torture.

I backed up, and addressed his being drafted at age 19. No strong feelings. Training, just excitement and anticipation. Further trainings, and eventually Ranger training. Excitement and anticipation. Leaving for Viet Nam, the same. Arriving in Viet Nam, excitement and fear, a 10 for each.

We treated, the fear went to zero, and the excitement remained a 10. He told me some stories, and the session was ended. A week later, he was having nightmares, but not so many. I treated his getting on a helicopter for the first time, 10 to zero. Arriving at the battle scene, 10 to zero. Beginning the first battle, 10 to zero. End of the battle, a zero. Living with a small group in the bush for six months, and evading detection, zero, while the previous week it had been way up there. Being captured, zero. Being tortured, zero.

His explanation was that it had been so long, it didn't matter any more. [GC: This is a classic example of the Apex effect]. I thought he was just suppressing, and expected to see strong feeling again, as he had shown before. Those two sessions, I also noticed his miming my hand gestures, without his noticing that he was doing that.

A week later, he said the nightmares were gone, he was sleeping better, and said the thought of those scenes didn't bother him, because it was so long ago. For the first time, I could see emotion in his face and voice, and the flat, dead affect was gone. That, together with the absent nightmares, seemed to be my best evidence of improvement. A week later we met again, and it was the same. He was scheduled to see the psychiatrist after that, and I am wondering if his meds will be reduced.

I expect to see him as much as possible, simply because he will be getting out soon, and the treatment out there may not be as effective as he seems to be getting now. PTSD used to be considered incurable, and when I was using EMDR, feelings would shoot through the roof and the client would quit.

However, in this case, I "sneaked up on it" by addressing the least stressful aspect first, and gradually approaching the more stressful aspects after some treatment was already done. I had done something similar a year earlier, in addressing starting out on the road the day of the accident, getting close to the accident scene, and so forth. That gradual strategy was successful then, and also in this latter case.

Gene Douglas

Note:  A debate ensued regarding the word "cure".
Here are two important responses from that debate.


Dear Gary,

Perhaps my M.D. credentials can add some light to the dialog you are having regarding the word "cure."

In standard medicine, when dealing with the majority of the cancers, if a person is disease free for 5 years, this in most cases is considered a cure. I'm not sure why cases of psychologic healing are held to a different standard.

I have personally dealt with at least 4 cases of PTSD, and numerous cases of long term abuse. In each case, after 1-2 sessions of EFT all of their symptoms were gone. In fact, with many of these cases, the patients' physical complaints diminished or disappeared after clearing up the emotional aspects. I have over one year followup on these patients, with no recurrence of symptoms, either physical or psychological.

I believe that for true psychologic change to occur, the change must happen at the unconscious level. For me, I know I am working at the unconscious level by asking the person where they feel the trauma or the emotions IN THEIR BODY. I then know that I have cleared the problem at the unconscious level when the person cannot feel the trauma or emotions in their body as they once did. This is a far cry from talk therapy, where most change is made at the conscious level. With conscious changes, the person my try to think or cognize differently, but there is little change in the way the client feels the problem in their body.

EFT is one of very few modalities that causes a true and lasting PHYSIOLOGIC change in the body. It has been a welcome addition to my practice of standard medicine.

Sincerely, Eric Robins, MD


Yesterday, I attended my 50th 'client'. (a mile-stone of sorts). She's 19-years old and three days ago was raped by her boyfriend. He also attempted to break both of her arms. He forced her left eyelids open and held a live cigarette lighter close to her eyeball. He attempted to strangle her, then sodomised her then, just for drill, he beat her face to a pulp. She came to me, a complete mess (hardly surprising) as a result of my helping her mother through some serious issues.

My first words were...Mikaela, if I help you no jury in the land will convict this man because you will be incapable of evincing 'any' emotional import to what he did to you. And so, if revenge is your immediate need it would be better if you filed a complete police report, waited for the trial, and then I can help you off-load your agony. She replied, with tears and mucous streaming down her battered face, a result of incohate agony, "Make 'it' (the pain) go away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

And so I did. I worked with Mikaela, blow-by-blow, indignity-by-indignity. assault-by-assault, agony-by-agony. For the thick end of three long hours we went to every nuance, every apsect....believe me there were heaps of subjective/supportive aspects from her childhood.... till we got every one of them from tens to zeros.

I called on Mikaela this morning, for a follow-up. Her comment was, "You know David, I feel really sorry for Paul (the rapist). How much shit do you think is on his head? Do you think you can help him?"

Every little moment of the entire episode is still with her, yet her pain has gone, and she feels genuinely sorry for her rapist! Nar! Can't have been EFT. It must have been something in the water she didn't drink.

David Peppiatt


A client talks about her abusive childhood and her relief via EFT.

Hi Everyone,

We owe major appreciation to Pat Gurnick for sharing with us her recent experience as an EFT client. She lived through a childhood so abusive that most of us would avoid discussing it, let alone experiencing it. It approached ritual abuse in its severity.

The key word in this leg of Pat's healing journey is forgiveness. As you will see, she has every reason to hold within herself mountains of anger and other hateful emotions. This is normal--par for the course--we all do it. It is an "inside job" which harms us until we can truly let it go--until we can be free of it and forgive.

Hugs, Gary

My older sister, Judy, is mentally ill (Borderline Personality with Psychotic features) and has been in and out of mental hospitals. She badly abused me from the time I was a baby until age 10. I was told she put alcohol down my throat as a baby, and dropped me from the crib--besides other things unmentionable. As I grew older she physically abused me by trying to put me in scalding hot showers, in hot ovens, and on top of the oven burners - I fought for my life. Stepping on broken glass was her favorite torture. Included, of course, was non-stop emotional abuse.

I had many emotional and physical problems as a result of the abuse as well as my parents' lack of protection/abandonment. Two months ago, I was privileged to start working with Dr. Marilynn Snow Jones, my chiropractor, who applied EFT on my behalf. I have used EFT for physical ailments such as headaches and neck pain and it eliminated the symptoms. As for the emotional trauma, I am proud to say I can now actually stand to be in the same room with my sister Judy, hug her, and listen to her, just from the brief work we recently did.

Before 2 months ago, I went into terror and panic when I thought of Judy. I never wanted to speak to her again nor acknowledge that I even had her as a sister. I hated her from the bottom of my heart. Now, since my EFT treatments with Dr. Jones, I can talk to Judy on the phone and give her sisterly advice. Recently (she lives in Colorado and I live in Los Angeles) I saw her at my nephew's wedding and gave her a warm greeting. It was amazing.

Dr. Jones performed the setup and sequence (didn't use the 9 gamut) with me while, among other things, I stated, "I forgive her for abusing me and forgive myself for not being able to protect myself and I forgive all those who did not protect me." It took about 3 sessions--an hour or so--with aspects abound, to finally get to this point. I was yawning when releasing which gave Dr. Jones the cue that the issues were being processed and that the energy disruptions were corrected on that particular issue.

We found working on 'specific' incidences of the abuse helpful when performing EFT. For example, we worked on emotions that included: HATE, RAGE, TERROR, GRIEF FOR THE ABUSED LITTLE GIRL THAT I WAS, ANGER AND ABANDONMENT--to name a few. At points I felt nausea, numbness (stated "even though I feel numb..."), lump in my throat and a sensation that a hand was around my throat or that my arms/legs were being held down. All these aspects came up as we did EFT, and we moved through them!

I never in my wildest dreams thought I could ever be civil to my sister, let alone hug her! I feel it has not taken away what has happened, but it has taken away the unbearable emotions and made my life more peaceful!

I'm still not done with it. There are still some past memories and grievances that "get to me." But the distance traveled so far is very freeing. It's remarkable.

Best wishes to all,

Pat Gurnick, B.A., C.A.C.


Rapid relief from accident flashbacks.

Hi Everyone,

EFT Contributing Editor Ann Adams gives us the details (including several sets of Set Up language) behind a relatively simple case involving accident flashbacks. This is a common problem and thus Ann's message should help many clients.

Hugs, Gary

Gary, This is one of those times where the process was so amazingly simple. I find it works really well for these types of fears. Ann

Last year one of our terrific cooks at our residential program, Brenda, had two traffic accidents in less than a six-week period. The real irony was that both accidents occurred at the same intersection on her way home from work.

She didn’t break any bones but had whiplash and a variety of other physical problems. She had weeks of physical therapy and was out of work for four months. She returned to work last August. In November she shared with me that she was still having flashbacks of the accident and trouble sleeping. Since I was conducting another staff training on using EFT the next week, I suggested she attend.

I started the training session with a very brief explanation of the technique and led them right into an exercise (telling them, of course, that they did not have to believe this exercise would work). I asked them to pick a specific incident in their life that still upset them when they thought about it and then write down their current intensity on a scale of 0-10.

Then we did three group rounds starting with: “Even though I have this upset feeling, I deeply and completely accept myself.” After two slow deep breaths, I asked them to think about their upset and write down the number again.

The inevitable surprised looks came on some faces. Several said the upset incident didn’t bother them any more. Brenda said, “Oh my goodness!” and I asked if she’d like to elaborate on that statement. She was working on the second traffic accident and said, “I can still see it happen but I am calm now. It is over and I am ok.” I asked for her number and she said it was a zero. She seemed so comfortable with talking about it that I asked if she would like to work on other aspects of the accident as a demonstration in front of the group.

She agreed but wanted to remain seated. I asked her to think of the worse part of the accident and she said she was so afraid of being hit again that she drove five extra miles both coming and going to work in a detour around the "accident intersection." Her fear of being hit again at that intersection was "at least a 9 on the 0 -10 scale."

We tapped several times for:

"Even though I am afraid to drive through the intersection..."

"Even though I am afraid I will be hit again... "

"Even though I feel helpless to prevent being hit by a car..."

until she said she felt she could drive through that intersection.

I asked her to picture herself passing that intersection on her way home but to stop at any point she felt herself getting upset again. She began by picturing herself getting in the car, starting it and then passing each landmark along the way until she got to the intersection where she had the two wrecks.

She closed her eyes and was quiet a few seconds. Then she said she was still a little apprehensive when she got close enough to actually see the intersection (it was a 6). So we tapped twice through the points for: "Even though I still have some apprehension (her word) about getting close to where the accident happened..."

When asked to take a deep breath and give me a number; she reported it was now a 2. I told the audience that I wanted to show them another step and for those who still had any level of upset to think about their problem and follow along. So Brenda and the audience through the 9 gamut procedure and another round of tapping. Brenda was smiling now and said she thought she could go home the shorter way.

I suggested to Brenda that she use the remaining time in the staff training to work on any other scenes of the accident that still affected her. And, as always, I gave the group a handout that describes the process and encouraged them to use it for everything.

That was in November.

About the middle of January I had an opportunity to ask Brenda about her feelings now about the accident. She said, “That stuff you did really helped” and told me she not only had been able to drive home the shorter way but that after the training she was able to sleep and that she no longer was having flashbacks about the cars ramming into her.

But she said that something about it still bothered her--it was a nagging kind of feeling that something was still wrong. Wrong with what? I asked. “Wrong with me”, she said. She was meaning emotionally, so I took a guess and said that sometimes victims felt that in some way they were responsible for what had happened to them. She said, “Yes, I feel like I should have been able to do something to stop it. That I shouldn’t have been driving by that intersection that day.”

We started tapping for:

"Even though I ought to have been able to do something…"

"Even though I feel responsible…"

"Even though I feel guilty for the accident…"

Brenda then laughed and told me that she couldn’t see now how she could have thought she was responsible. There was nothing she could have done to stop it. “It was not my fault.”

I asked her to close her eyes again and pictured both accidents (including the police and hospital experiences) and to stop at any point there was any upset. About a minute passed and she opened her eyes and said no. “That’s amazing.”

Yeah, Brenda, it sure is!

Ann Adams


An EFT Newcomer relieves Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Thought for the day....

"If it were true that we learn from our mistakes, most of us would be geniuses by now."

Howard Wight

Hi Everyone,

Tam and Mair Llewellyn from the UK share with us a letter from Geoff Graham, a therapist and recent graduate of their EFT training courses. Several things are worth noting....

1. Geoff's sense of trepidation at applying these strange appearing methods, especially to such an intense issue as PTSD. This is particularly useful to newcomers who, typically, are understandably timid about trying out this new healing tool.

2. The physical trauma (from a car accident) was healing fine but the emotional trauma emerged as the major problem.

3. Geoff uses the "tap while telling the story" method of delivering EFT. This is a very convenient and effective technique that often brings up important aspects without having to dig them up. Highly recommended.

Hugs, Gary


Very soon after completing the Practitioner Training with Tam & Mair I met with a young man, "Tom" and his mother. Tom had toured the USA the previous summer, with other young people, playing soccer against other American teams. The whole team had worked hard to make this happen and had put much energy into fund raising.

While on tour Tom had been involved in a serious road traffic accident and suffered considerable injuries to his legs and pelvis.

Although he was making good progress physically, the trauma of the event was proving more difficult and symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder were very evident (with very high anxiety when travelling in any motor vehicle).

I taught both Tom and his mother the EFT protocol. I have to confess I did it with some trepidation as it was still new to me. I even suggested before we started that if, at the end of the session, Tom decided he'd just spent some time in the company of a nut case then I'd accept it!

As we tapped, however, he became visibly more relaxed. I asked him to tell me the story of the accident, stopping at each point where he began to feel some anxiety, and then to tap on this aspect. Soon he was able to recount the events without any distress. I have to admit I had a mixture of emotions - I was pleased we seem to have a success, and yet there were nagging doubts - "It won't last, he's just saying it's OK to please this strange nut case" etc.

The car journey home after our session, some 30 or 40 miles in the dark, was quite uneventful. Tom had been calm, relaxed and without any of the previously displayed alarms that had marked the journey to me.

The mother asked me to write a letter to the boy's doctor describing how I found him. I understand the doctor had to communicate to the USA and let the authorities know of Tom's progress. This gave me good reason to contact Tom and his mother about a fortnight later. To my delight, I discovered that Tom was fine and progressing well. He continued to be relaxed during subsequent car journeys. He had also been seen by his doctor who was struck by the change in him and who no longer required a supporting letter from me. (I still wrote to him, though. Business is business!)

So there it is folks. A success....and now I'm hungry for more clients to practice on - I mean share with!

Geoff Graham