Healing Depression Using The Emotional Freedom Technique This Emotional Life - PBS

Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

Depression / Blog

    Catherine Ewing, LCSW, MDiv, MSW

Catherine Ewing, LCSW, MDiv, MSW's Bio

Ewing is a licensed therapist specializing in energy healing modalities and personal transformation programs.

Healing Depression Using The Emotional Freedom Technique


Topics

During dinner with my kids recently my son got a text message. He choked back tears as he told us that a friend had committed suicide. Earlier this year, on Mother's Day, a 16-year-old friend of my daughter's took his life while at their boarding school. Neither of these young men appeared to be depressed or at risk of ending their lives. Their devastated families and friends are left with unimaginable grief, unanswered questions, and, most likely, a measure of guilt over what they did or didn’t do that might have contributed to, or prevented the tragic death of their loved one.

As a psychotherapist and energy healer I work with people every day who are struggling with depression. Very few of them will reach such levels of despair that they will resort to ending their lives, but many will live lives of quiet desperation, not able to find joy in everyday life, perhaps relying on some addictive behavior to provide a measure of relief from the constant pain of depression.

For some, the depression is a result of some loss or traumatic life event, or perhaps a culmination of such events. For others, the depression seems to be part of their personal make-up; it has been present with them for as long as they can remember and there doesn't seem to have been any precipitating cause. My experience indicates that depression is almost always a symptom of some physical or emotional insult, whether the client is consciously aware of the causal event or not.

Therapeutic challenges
As the person on whom my clients rely for some relief from the stranglehold of their depression, I often felt as though I was letting my clients down. Although we made some positive changes in attitude and behavior, I sensed that we were not unearthing the real roots of their depression. Changes took place on a superficial level; healing was not happening at a level that allowed clients to experience deeply satisfying and joyful lives. 

We were working at the level of the conscious mind, dealing with the 3-7% of information that the conscious mind knows. Although I was using hypnotherapy, guided imagery and other tools to access the subconscious mind, which is responsible for the other 93-97% of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, the results were not clear and consistent. 

Some clients experienced a measure of relief from anti-depressant medications but others were either reluctant to take medication or struggled with side effects that were worse than the depression itself. In a nutshell, my experience in treating people with depression using traditional methods of therapy was, in a word, depressing. 

Finally, a breakthrough
Trained in several energy healing modalities, I was well aware of the power of clearing blockages from the energy bodies to bring about mental, emotional and physical well-being. I set about finding a technique that I could use in therapy sessions without violating my professional boundaries concerning touch and without compromising my credibility with clients who might have thought of energy work as too "woo-woo". In 2006 I discovered Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and have been using it successfully with clients ever since. It is not only the most effective and efficient method I have come across in 20 years of psychotherapy; it has the much added bonus of not causing unnecessary secondary trauma to the clients. It is also portable, meaning that it can be easily taught to clients so that they can use the technique between sessions with their therapist or EFT practitioner. 

Clients can experience immediate relief from painful emotions at the moment they are occurring and they can work on old painful issues on their own, which can significantly speed up the time it takes to relieve their depressive symptoms.

What is EFT?
EFT is a form of Energy Psychology, combining psychotherapy, the use of words and the cognitive mind, and energy healing, the use of subtle energies and the emotional body. It is an energetic form of acupuncture that relies on tapping with the fingertips instead of needles to release old, stagnant energy. 

Scientific research by Candace Pert, Bruce Lipton and Dawson Church, to name a few, tells us that everything we experience in the course of our lifetimes is stored in the form of emotional energy in the cells of our body. This is known as cellular memory.

To understand how EFT works, think of yourself as a computer. Imagine that everything that has been stored in your cellular memory is your operating system. So, if you grew up in a dysfunctional or abusive family, or experienced a major life trauma, or even just the insults of a mean sibling or school bully, you carry all of these memories, as well as the accompanying negative beliefs, around with you in energetic form. In other words, you are "programmed" by your life experiences. This becomes your "default" mode, the response your mind will call up every time you have to deal with some new information. 

Every time a new experience comes into your life, your computer immediately searches for a way to respond and pulls something out of your old, outdated software program, like going into a mental filing cabinet. No wonder we sometimes catch ourselves acting like a 10-year-old or over-reacting to a situation without even knowing why!

Through the use of words and touch, EFT clears these old "default" patterns out of your cellular memory, releases the emotional intensity from them, and allows you to begin to operate with a new and improved software system! 

In situations where depression has been brought on by a particular event, EFT clears that energy quickly and effectively. By having clients tap on the acupuncture points while repeating words that represent the issue, EFT has "cured" clients of depression brought about by the loss of a loved one, sexual trauma, being witness to a traumatic event, animal attacks, physical pain, and accidents of various kinds.

Clients whose depression seems to be part of their constitution can also experience profound healing through EFT. Issues stored deep within the subconscious mind, not available to the conscious mind for talk therapy, are uncovered while using EFT. These are often memories stored before the person became verbal and has no memory of them or words to describe them. The energy is stored in their cells, however, and is responsible for the previously unexplainable depression. To name a few, these issues may be related to pregnancy or birth trauma, early abandonment by one or both parents, childhood neglect or abuse, family violence, or death of a sibling at an early age (including a twin at birth). I have had several clients recall past-life memories while using EFT which has helped to explain and clear life-long depression.

I believe, and science is proving, that external experiences are much more powerful in determining our mental, emotional and physical well-being than we ever imagined. The thoughts we think and the beliefs we've developed through our life experience are stored in our cellular memory and clearly determine the quality of our health and our lives. EFT, with its ability to clear energetic imprints, holds tremendous potential for the well-being of mind, body and spirit.

Originally published on YourTango.