Healing the Wounded Inner Child with EFT
By Carna Zacharias-Miller
"Little Maggie", about 4 years old, is sitting in the middle of a playground. She is sad and desperately lonesome. "Little Anna" is trapped in the gingerbread house, immobilized by fear. And "Little Kurt" is hiding in his room and refuses to come out, ever.
The world is crowded with lonesome, fearful, and hurt Inner Children. At least that is the impression I get when I work with women -and sometimes men- who have "Missing Mother Syndrome" (actually, often the fathers are "missing", too). All of my clients were unappreciated, abandoned, or abused in their childhood. EFT can make a real difference in such a person's life in just a few sessions.
So, what is this miracle technique called EFT? EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), developed by Gary Craig, is an emotional form of acupressure. You tap with your fingertips to stimulate certain meridian energy points on your body while you are "tuned in" to your problem. The cause of every negative emotion lies in the disruption of the body's energy system. EFT is usually rapid, long-lasting and gentle. No need for drugs or equipment. It is easily learned by anyone, children included.
In order to get to the core issues quickly, I usually let clients meet with their Inner Child. I use Guided Imagery, because this way the client does not think about sadness, shame, abandonment, or fear, but has direct access to these emotions. And emotional it is! Almost everybody comes up with a very specific - often heartbreaking - image of the hurt little girl or boy within.
The intense emotions are an excellent starting point for EFT. We go repeatedly through the whole range of emotions and bodily sensations that present themselves in a vivid, powerful way, until they subside, or change. Sometimes the Inner Child has a specific name, and then we use that name.
Even though Little Maggie is sad and lonesome because nobody wants to play with her... Even though Little Anna is scared to death of the witch... Even though Little Kurt does not want to leave his room because nobody cares about how he feels anyway... Even though Little Rose has this horror of being locked in a dark closet stuck in her throat... Even though Froggie wants to throw up because his stepfather does not want him... Even though Little Pat's heart burns like hell...
Often real memories pop up when we tap on the Inner Child images: When "Karen" met her Inner Child, she saw a little girl hiding in her room, full of dread and fear. The most intense feeling was "being worthless." She reported tension in her chest and stomach. The SUD level was at a 7 (the term 'SUD' stands for Subjective Unit of Distress). Immediately, a memory popped up: When she was about 5 years old, she was taken to her grandparents, where she had dinner. When she tipped her plate and spilt food, her mother scolded her: "Can't you do anything right!" Several rounds of tapping brought the feeling of being worthless to a SUD level of 0 to 1. We then moved to other memories with the theme "worthlessness".
After tapping on the feelings of the Inner Child and working with any real memories that came up, I ask how the little one is feeling now. More often than not, the whole inner scenery has changed. The adult person is hugging and comforting the child, and they start talking or taking action to change the situation. It was a huge relief for "Kurt", when his little boy finally opened the door and left the room he had been hiding in for a very long time.
Although there still might be some feelings of hurt and abandonment, the Inner Child usually starts to hug and play, once the adult made the connection. No longer is it merely painful to visit this archetype, but it is also perceived as a source of joy and wonder. The most rewarding moment for me comes when somebody discovers that their Inner Child is not weak and powerless, but a strong and courageous little person that did the best she or he could to survive in a hostile environment. EFT is Superman when it comes to rescuing Inner Children!