Artemis Psychotherapy
Sandra Lewis, MA, EFT-Adv.

Articles:




Using EFT on Autism With Dramatic Results

 

 

 

by: Sandra Lewis, MA, EFT-Adv.

 

 

For those of you who haven’t heard of EFT, it stands for Emotional Freedom Technique, and is what we call an energy-based meridian therapy. There are several different meridian therapies in use, but EFT is by far the most widely used, embraced by psychiatrists, psychologists, medical doctors, life coaches, and lay people around the world who use it for everything from physical aches and pains to the worst childhood traumas.

 

I have been a psychotherapist in Toronto for many years now, practicing classical therapeutic techniques with a broad range of clients. In the last few years, I have included EFT in my work, and have seen many dramatic events as a result of it. But I wanted to talk about one in particular, because for the first time I was able to convince a parent to try EFT with her child. As you can imagine, it is difficult for the therapist to interact with the child using what is essentially an acupressure technique. It required the willingness of a parent to take extra time out of a very busy life to make the effort at home.

 

My client, Katia, who is happy to share this information with my readers, has a 7-year-old son who was diagnosed many years ago with severe autism. Her husband quit his job and devoted himself full-time to helping David function as well as might be hoped. He used the Sonrise technique, which many of you may be familiar with. And her husband was certainly able to make a difference, after three years of enormous effort. But like many parents of autistic children, he began to run out of steam. It’s a very demanding role for a parent to fill, as you know.

 

Katia came to me without her son, David, and together she and I worked on some of her frustrations as a parent, using the EFT protocol. Then I gave her some statements to use with David. We decided that we would work initially on making him more responsive to his parents and less of a challenge to their patience. Katia told me that David was very sensitive to noise, and would scream and cry when she turned on the blender in the kitchen. He would also scream in the car if she had the radio on. EFT combines tapping on key acupuncture points while repeating a kind of affirmation at the same time.

 

Katia used statements that focused on the noisy blender, the irritation David felt when he heard it, and his reaction (screaming).

 

Katia also told me that, like many autistic children, David had suffered a trauma when he was born. The doctors had to use a vacuum and then forceps. Katia couldn’t see this, but she could see the expression on her husband’s face, which went white with anxiety. As well, David was vaccinated 12 hours after being born.  

 

So we added statements to release this trauma, statements that reflected what we imagined it must have been like for David, how terrible it must have been, how frightening, how the world suddenly didn’t seem safe, how his head hurt. 

Katia would tap every evening while David was going to sleep. She would tap on herself as a surrogate and on him. Amazingly EFT works both ways, which is a Godsend for autistic children who don’t like to be touched. She added statements for his speech problems, and his difficulty communicating.

 

All this time Katia’s husband was away on a trip. When he returned after one month, he said he noticed immediately an enormous change in his son’s behaviour. He said he hardly recognized David. These are some of the things he and Katia saw in just one month:

 

·           David's speech improved dramatically. He would answer questions, something he never did before, even when they were simple yes or no questions.

·           He would ask for things in complete sentences: "I want bread" instead of using one word, “bread".

·           He started noticing other children and wanting to play with them (before he seemed lost in his own world).

·           When he was playing with children, he would follow the rules of the game.

·           He was visually focusing on his parents, making conscious eye contact and holding it for minutes at a time (before he would look all around the room, but not at them).

·           He was clearly processing information from them when he was making this eye contact (his eyes seemed active instead of vacant).

·           He stopped screaming when he heard loud noises, and even asked for the radio to be turned on in the car (in Katia’s words, there was no chance this could happen before he didn’t like music from any source except TV).

·           It was possible to negotiate things with him for the first time, i.e. If you eat this apple, then you can have a cookie.

·           He started eating apples bananas were the only fruit he would eat before.

 

 

David's grandfather was away as well for a month and he agreed that his grandson had made a big shift while he was away.  Normally it might have been difficult to clearly identify EFT as the cause of this change. But because David’s father, Yuri, was the one who usually worked with him, while Yuri was away, virtually no extra time was spent with David on his autism. Katia was busy just taking care of the house and preparing meals, and so the only extra time spent with David were the few minutes she devoted to tapping in the evening.

 

 

Katia continues to work on David and he continues to make progress. One day, for example, he put together very complicated tower (around 200-300 Lego pieces) completely by himself, and without any instructions. It was very close to the suggested one on the box, but with quite a lot of improvisations.

 

As well, he is more often using sentences of three to four words, instead of single words. His father says, “The interesting thing is it seems like he is constructing some of the sentences himself. So, he is starting to generalize, which is the main issue with autism. I still do not have a stop watch, but it looks to me as though his attention span is getting longer.”


(as published on the EFT website Jan/07 at http://www.emofree.com/Archives)


Power of Forgiveness and Reconciliation
(as published in the Canadian journal, Conflict Resolution Today, 2006)

 

by: Sandra Lewis, MA, EFT-Adv.

 

 

...it is in giving that we receive
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned

-St. Francis of Assisi:

 

GRAHAM Snyder is, by his own admission, not a dynamic speaker. And yet when he walked to the podium as keynote speaker for Conflict Resolution Network Canada's conference this June in Winnipeg, a respectful and anticipatory silence descended upon the packed room. And for the 45 minutes or so that he took to tell his story, no one stirred, no one left, no papers were shuffled, no chairs scraped, no coughs, no whispers. While the rest of the conference was filled with many interesting experts discussing everything from community mediation to conflict resolution in postwar Bosnia, Grahams talk was different: it was deeply personal, it was gripping, and it was hard to imagine.

Graham's son, Dan, was killed as the result of a car accident in 2003, at the age of 25. Dan had just been accepted into the permanent roster of the Atlanta Thrashers hockey club, fulfilling his dream of being in the regular NHL. His best friend and teammate, Dany Heatley, was driving the car too fast as they returned from a Meet the Players event organized by the team.

"Dan had overcome every obstacle in his short life. Why this? Why now? How could my family cope or find blessings in this tragedy?" Graham told the audience. "And I began to realize, in those dark days, that we can't choose what happens to us, only how we will respond. We chose forgiveness and reconciliation," he said. "And it's so powerful... this one act of forgiveness has reinforced its healing strength over and over in our lives."


  "Why this? Why now? How could we cope?"

The value of forgiveness is, perhaps surprisingly, not something that has interested social scientists historically. Prior to 1985, only five studies had been done on the subject. Then in 1986, Lewis Smedes, professor emeritus of theology and ethics in California, published his book Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don't Deserve, which inspired a wave of forgiveness research. Eight years later the International Forgiveness Institute was established in Madison, Wisconsin. And in 1997, the Templeton Foundation sponsored "The Science of Forgiveness," a research symposium during which more than 130 scientists were invited to submit proposals for funding. By 1998, dozens of studies had been completed, and the Campaign for Forgiveness Research was launched to raise additional funds. Co-chairs of the campaign include Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former President Jimmy Carter.

As the forgiveness project writes on its website:

"The need to understand the power and place of forgiveness in our world was defined on September 11, 2001. It is urgent that we examine the steps that lead to justice and strengthen society. Now more than ever, we need to understand how forgiveness improves the human condition." [1]

Wherever there is conflict, there is the potential for forgiveness, so the studies covered everything from adolescents who have been physically and emotionally abused, to Vietnam vets with PTSD; from survivors of suicide victims to people living with HIV/AIDS. International studies looked at:  the role of forgiveness in Northern Ireland [2]; the results of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission; and, in Rwanda, whether forgiveness groups could promote healing between Hutus and Tutsis.

What did their research show? Well, they discovered that forgiveness can be an incredibly healing process, when it's done in certain ways. And that it can backfire or simply be ineffective, when it's coerced or done without laying the right groundwork. For instance, the study on South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission concluded:

"the TRC portrayed itself as a body promoting a restorative approach to justice among victims. The evidence shows that most victims continued to demand some form of accountability from perpetrators. The TRC is widely viewed as a mechanism that successfully promoted forgiveness and reconciliation. Analyses question the willingness of the majority of victims to forgive perpetrators and offer criticisms from a variety of groups, including religious leaders, of the TRCs model of unconditional forgiveness. While the project found many positive ways that the TRC had contributed to reconciliation, it also suggested the need to reconceptualize the meaning and relationship of forgiveness and reconciliation in a transitional justice process." [3]

But other studies showed that when forgiveness is done properly, it can have beneficial results on not only relationships, but also personal health and happiness. One research project conducted by Charlotte VanOyen Witvliet at Hope College, called Embodied Forgiveness: Empirical Studies of Cognitive, Emotional and Physical Dimensions of Forgiveness-related Responses, concluded that forgiveness strategies created a significant variance in measures of PTSD, anxiety, depression, hostility and physical health complaints:

"These findings suggest that researchers and clinicians serving combat veterans should continue to evaluate the relevance of forgiveness and religious coping to veterans' mental and physical health." [4]

A second study by the same researcher measured immediate physiological effects when participants rehearsed hurtful memories and grudges and found that:

"Unforgiving thoughts prompted more aversive emotion, and significantly higher electromyogram, skin conductance, heart rate, and blood pressure changes from baseline. The effects persisted after imagery into the recovery periods. Forgiveness thoughts prompted greater perceived control and comparatively lower physiological stress responses."

"Forgiveness can be taught... it is not therapy"

There have been many other forgiveness projects since then, including one at Stanford University. Its studies have indicated that forgiveness can be taught, that it decreases mental and physical symptoms of stress and that it will increase the willingness to forgive in the future. The director of the project is Frederic Luskin, Ph.D. a senior fellow at the Stanford Center on Conflict and Negotiation and an Associate Professor at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.

 "It is not therapy. It is teaching people how to learn this kind of skill," he said. "We can teach people to forgive and that will improve their well-being." [5]

 The Woodstock Theological Center, about ten years ago, began a multi-year project investigating "Forgiveness in Conflict Resolution: Reality and Utility". That project ended a couple of years ago with the publication of the book, Forgiveness in International Politics: An Alternative Road to Peace. Among the subjects studied:

"truth commissions and facilitated small-group reconciliation as well as the ambiguous role of religious communities in both perpetuating conflict and promoting cultures of forgiveness. It also helped identify what the book calls "transactions of forgiveness," such as acknowledgments of political atrocity and gestures of forbearance from revenge (of the kind offered by South Africa's Nelson Mandela and South Koreas Kim Dae Jung during the political transitions in those countries)." [6]

       Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heal that has crushed it.

-Mark Twain

 

In teaching forgiveness, studies show that it is important to make a distinction: forgiving is not forgetting. It is not condoning an act or becoming friendly with the perpetrator. In Graham Snyder's case, he is not only friends with Dany Heatley, but also a great supporter of his. But that result is not always possible, or even desirable.

At the end of Graham's talk at the CRNC's plenary that morning, he was approached by a woman named Wilma Derksen. We don't know of what they spoke, but we can guess. Wilma Derksen has been on a healing journey of her own since her 13-year-old daughter, Candace, was abducted and killed in Winnipeg, Manitoba more than 20 years ago. She and her husband made a decision at that time: learning how to forgive would be preferable to a lifetime seeking vengeance. That decision motivated her to begin a program called Victim's Voice at Stony Mountain Prison in Manitoba. She coordinates meetings of victims and offenders, where victims can ask the questions that sometimes never really get asked during a trial. She herself has been denied even that; the person who killed her daughter has never been caught. 

Still,  
forgiveness, she says, is a key component in the healing process. She describes forgiveness as letting go of the need to retaliate, letting go of the need to hurt back and letting go of revenge.

"We have to let go of that and learn to trust again," she explains." [6]

What's remarkable about many stories of forgiveness are the rewards it seems to bring the victims. The Snyders have discovered that for every kindness they have shown, it has come back a hundredfold. Graham says "We are not walking alone on this journey. We have received phone calls and letters from people who have suffered similar losses around the world telling us how our story has changed their outlook. We have met so many wonderful people along this path."

As William Shakespeare said nearly 500 hundred years ago, (and a favourite quote of Graham Snyder's):

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd;
It blesseth him that gives and h
im that takes...

Why optimism is your best strategy

Everyday reality seems to leave little room for optimism. Television and newspapers report mainly on failure and misery: Terrorism, violence, intolerance and climate change. People everywhere are under a continual onslaught of negativity. No wonder more and more people are depressed. Under these circumstances, how can you stay positive and optimistic? In an exhaustive cover story, the French magazine Psychologies (January 2005) explains that optimism is a quality that anyone can learn. True optimism isn't about denying reality against our better judgement. And optimism is not the same thing as idealism, which also reflects a tendency to push up against harsh realities. The idealist is chasing after a big ideal and runs the risk of big disappointment.

Psychologies calls for "intelligent optimism". Intelligent optimists don't deny problems, but adjust to them, while still seeking an opportunity for progress. Intelligent optimists don't allow themselves to get carried away by circumstances they can't change, but focus on things that are within their grasp and that they can enjoy. The magazine quotes the diary of Etty Hillesum, a Dutch Jew who wrote a journal describing her life in a Nazi death camp: "Today we walked along little German roads past lilacs and roses."

 "Today we walked along little German 
    roads past lilacs and roses."

You learn to become optimistic by concentrating on things that give you a sense of satisfaction, and you remain an optimist by feeding those things to make them grow. Intelligent optimists also know that for every problem there is at least the beginning of a solution and that the search for that solution can be inspirational in itself. They are also not afraid of negative thoughts, which they realize offer some protection and help them stay realistic.

Psychologies confirms that very little research has been done into factors that influence optimism because "science is not interested in happy people". Nonetheless, the psychologists and psychotherapists quoted in the magazine believe that the aptitude for optimism is not genetically determined. In other words: anyone can learn to be optimistic. All it requires is courage and practice, along with a good grasp of reality. Positive examples around can also help: people associating with others who are optimistic become optimistic themselves. And just as children of depressed parents are more prone to depression, psychologists believe the reverse is also true. Optimism breeds optimism.

      "Satisfaction is something you have to practice"

The U.S. magazine Balanced Living (winter 2004) also comes to the same conclusion: that an optimistic attitude can be "cultivated." You have to "work" at it, according to the magazine. "Satisfaction is something you have to practise". And therein lies a challenge. Most of us are more aware of how to practise dissatisfaction: we worry about money, complain about our boss and compare ourselves to others. But satisfaction starts with accepting what you have and what you can't change. Balanced Living advises regularly saying the following affirmation:

 

What I have, is enough.

What I am, is enough.

What I do, is enough.

What I've achieved, is enough.

 

This consciousness teaches you to value what you have and to enjoy the moment-which is the beginning of a satisfied and optimistic attitude towards life.

The American business magazine Fast Company (April 2005) adds that optimists understand that change is a given. History teaches us that unpleasant circumstances ultimately fade away. But change is a slow process, "one person at a time." So there's no point in getting depressed about any current situation. Optimists can enjoy a half-full glass in an imperfect world, according to the publication. In other words: optimism is a choice.

Make Peace with Where You Are

Excerpted from Abraham-Hicks Workshop G-1-29-05, San Antonio, TX

We always begin by asking: Those manifestations that have not yet come about are still pleasing to you, yes? And some lie and say yes, others say no, but we want you to come to the place where you say yes and really mean it.

"Yes, there are things that I want that have not come into manifestation yet. There are things I want that I can't even see any way of them happening but they are still delightful to me. I still feel anticipation. I still feel encouraged."

We want your unfulfilled desires to feel good to you, because, well, there are two reasons: If you cannot make peace with where you are, then the unfulfilled desires are very slow in becoming fulfilled because that angst you feel about things not yet happening, is an indication of a vibration that's literally holding it apart, from you.

So, when you're sick, and you've been sick for a long time and it doesn't seem like you're getting better, or when you have one of those diagnoses that says you're probably not going to get better, and you feel afraid, then in fact, improvement cannot come under those conditions.

The vibrational difference between feeling hopeful and feeling fearful is the difference between getting well and not getting well. It's the difference between holding this condition on and on and on, or letting it go.

So, in the same way, your current financial affairs might not be good. You could have more bills than you have income. You could have people hounding you on the telephone or beating on your door every day. But you could have that financial condition and still you could feel hopeful, or, you could have that condition percolating along and you could feel fearful. And the difference between fearful and hopeful is the difference between things improving for you or not improving.

   "The vibrational difference between feeling hopeful and feeling fearful is the difference between getting well and not getting well."

This is a Vibrational Universe and you are Vibrational Beings. You don't set your radio dial on 630 AM and expect to hear what's being broadcast on 98.6 FM. You understand you've got to line those frequencies up, and so you do. You don't stubbornly set it on the station that you don't want to hear and then demand that the laws of physics change so that you can hear it anyway.

Make peace with wherever you stand. And here's the most important part: When you feel despair, or anything that doesn't feel good, and you reach for a thought that feels better, what comes right along with that is a conscious awareness that you do have some control of your experience. And friends, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of that conscious awareness that you can do something about the way you feel.

When you choose a thought that feels better than the thought that you were choosing before, and you consciously acknowledge that you had the power to choose it and that it did change your vibrational frequency, there's no place you cannot go.

Sometimes well-meaning people will encourage you to get happy faster than you can. But if you are in despair, or fear, or anger, you can't jump all the way into bliss; you can't even get a whiff of bliss. It's a different vibrational frequency.

            "There's no place you cannot go"

When you try to jump from anger or despair all the way to bliss, you don't make the jump; you can't possibly do it. And it's not because you're not good; it's because the Law of Attraction is not going to give you access to thoughts or memories or experiences, or other people, that's very far from where you are offering your vibration.

The thing that is so important is that you, now, once and for all, make a decision that your dominant intent is to find the best-feeling thoughts that you can find from where you are. Not the best-feeling thoughts you've ever thought, or not the best-feeling thought that anybody has ever thought, but just the best-feeling thought that you have access to, right now.

Decide, really soon, that you are not going to compare your emotional state with anybody else's, because their emotional state is only about their emotional state; it doesn't have anything to do with you. Your friend who says, "Cheer up; be happy; come with me," say to your friend, "I was depressed yesterday, and today I'm really, really angry. And it's the best I can do. So, don't ask me to jump up there in your bright, fluffy, sunshine, lollipop and roses vibration; it's not possible. It's a quantum leap I cannot make. Go away, unless you like to be around an angry person."

When you move from despair or fear into anger, we want you to have a triumphant feeling of celebration because that was an enormous, important movement, vibrationally, and because once you get angry, you can move rather quickly into frustration, and when you find that fresh breath of air that frustration gives you, we want you to stop and celebrate your achievement but you're not going to be able to do that if you are trying to compare yourself with where others are.

Most people, when they see conditions that seem bad, they just feel bad. And when they see something that makes them feel good they just feel good. And then they conclude, "We've got to control the conditions." And so, they make laws, and they get all kinds of people who then try to enforce the laws because they believe that if they could just control  conditions, they would never have to look at anything that upsets them again. But then you discover that the tsunami will come, and that there aren't laws or rules, or armies, that can stop that. Or the hurricane will come, or the earthquake will come. In other words, there's always going to be something to challenge your idea that you can control circumstances.

"...make a decision that your intent is to find the best-feeling thoughts that you can find from where you are."

You cannot control circumstances. You never intended to control circumstances. You intended to discover unconditional love. You intended to discover a way to feel good, no matter what, because you have the facility, you have the power, you have the ability to focus. You have the ability to choose where you focus, therefore you have the ability to choose the way you feel. But it takes some practice.

As you practice, every day, something will happen and you will feel it viscerally in your body. Somebody says something or does something, or you see something on television, and then you've got to stop, right then, and you have to say, "nothing is more important than that I feel good. And, right now, I'm going to do my best to find the best-feeling thought that I can find."

Once you show yourself that that person, or that circumstance, does not have to change for you to move from fearful up to hopeful, or from despair up to anger to frustration, once you show yourself that nothing has to change, for you to have real movement in the emotional journey, then watch what happens.

      "It's important to have unfulfilled desires"


That's why it's important to have unfulfilled desires that still excite you. We want you to work on getting to the place where you say, "Yes, I love this unfulfilled desire! I love knowing that there's something in the offing for me. I love knowing that it's out there percolating, and I love doing my work, which is, gradually, gently, consistently bringing me into vibrational alignment with it."

So your work, as you stand in the absence of something wanted, is to pretend it, to imagine it, to become so familiar with the essence of what it would feel like when it comes, that even though it hasn't come, you still feel good. (You get this?) Even though my lover hasn't arrived yet, I'm excited about the idea. I'm anticipating.

We think you heard that. Our work here is done.

Excerpted from Abraham-Hicks Workshop G-1-29-05, San Antonio, TX