Tapping on Trees – Part 2
In my first article in this series I introduced you to the TREE metaphor as means of navigating through an EFT session.
The Trunk of the TREE is the trigger, whatever is out there or imagined or remembered to be out there.
The Trunk of the TREE connects to the Root of the TREE , the emotional event of the past, which may be consciously remembered or may be a hidden or implicit memory.
The Root sets off the ENERGY disturbance or “zzzt”, the first E of TREE.
The “zzzt” is then manifested as an EXPERIENCE (emotion, belief, behavior or physiology) the second E of TREE.
Forests of unwanted TREEs are created when the E of experience itself becomes a trigger and creates more trees. For example, if in response to some trigger (somebody shouting say) the experience is a particular behavior, like nail biting, the nail biting itself then becomes the trigger for emotions and beliefs about nail biting. We’ve all heard people say “I hate myself when I bite my nails” and of course “I hate myself” then sets off more emotions, beliefs and behaviors.
This happens because our memories are stored in our memory banks with emotional tags. When we feel a particular emotion, memories with a similar tag are accessed. This is why when we feel happy we can remember all the good times and when we feel sad then its like life has always been nothing but sadness.
So it goes like this: something triggers frustration; frustration triggers nail biting; nail biting triggers “I hate myself because I can’t stop this”; “I hate myself” triggers memories of failure; memories of failure triggers tears and so on.
If these chains continue uninterrupted then this is how unwanted forests spread. These secondary trees can generate lots of emotional arousal that obscures what it’s all about. Thankfully with EFT we can clear many of those secondary trees to get to the heart of the matter.
Example: Clearing Trees to get to the Root
Kay (not her real name) is a top level manager in a large organisation and was off work with stress. She came to me with a whole forest of emotions: confused, tearful, feeling out-of-control and not able to find a reason for her behaviour other than her own miserable shortcomings. Kay was ready to tell me about everything that was wrong with her and all the woes of her life.
Rather than catalogue her many ills I asked her when this episode had started or got worse and she said that she had been off work since a recent board meeting in which her department had been heavily criticised despite good performance in difficult circumstances. Since then she had fallen apart.
We started by tapping on her general manifestations of emotion “Even though I’m tearful since the board meeting….” and “Even though I wake up shaking since the board meeting…” after each round she was calmer, we were reducing the secondary trees but had not yet got to the central tree.
When she had calmed down enough to do so, I asked her to imagine being in the board meeting and to ask herself: “What was the worst thing about that?” She sat quietly and then said strongly “It’s not fair!” so I asked her “What does its-not-fair remind you of? What was happening the first time you ever felt that its-not-fair feeling?”
We were rewarded with a memory, a Root. When she was 12 her mother threw her alcoholic father out of the house. On a rare visit to Dad, just before her birthday, he promised her a watch next time if she was a good girl. Well she was a very good girl but Dad never gave her the watch and a few weeks after her birthday she saw her mother wearing a watch and concluded “That’s mine, it’s not fair”.
We tapped around the specifics of what she saw and heard. Then I brought in a reframe, referring to her mother: “what does a single mother bringing up 4 children on her own and holding down two jobs need a watch for? No, a twelve year old needs a watch much, much more.” This had Kay laughing out loud as she tapped.
I then brought her back to the boardroom meeting and found that her emotion had gone right down, and out came a change of perception that 30 minutes ago would have seemed a miracle: “So what if they criticise, I’m retiring in two years and it’s going to be good to take a backseat and wind down and plan to do what I enjoy.”
This is an example of how tapping on the experience of the emotions can reduce the secondary trees and so allow the main root to emerge for specific tapping and permanent clearing. Had we worked on her many tearful feelings Kay would no doubt have slept better but the “It’s not fair” would have been re-triggered by the next obstacle she encountered.
Kay made a contribution to the Kind Words page of my website she said: “A lifelong trauma has been unlocked and unblocked. I can see myself on top of a mountain and there are lots of roads ahead.”
Gwyneth Moss EFT Master