Sandplay and the inner child

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EFT for weight loss

EFT for weight loss

by Rachel Kaplan, MA, CCHT

My client Michelle, a 70 year-old, mother of two, and grandmother of four, presented with the issue of not being able to stop eating compulsively and gaining weight, even though her joints are hurting, her breathing is labored, and her blood pressure is on the rise.  Though Michelle lives for her grandchildren, it is becoming harder than ever for her to play with them.  She can’t understand why she keeps making such poor food choices, even when there are such dire consequences.  Sound familiar?  So many of us can relate to one form of self-sabotage or another.

There is a remarkable harmonizing effect when different parts in the psyche such as the adult and the child or the protector and the self-saboteur, are accessed, embodied, and given a voice through EFT.  When disparate “selves” are witnessed in this non-judgmental and highly somatic way, there is no longer a need for the parts to maintain the tension of their separate positions.  Then, there is a natural shift in consciousness from opposition to unity.

Before beginning our tapping, Michelle and I adapted an EFT “set-up phrase” to her particular situation: “Even though I’m in pain, it’s hard to breathe, and I can’t stop eating compulsively, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”  After several rounds, Michelle reported that the heavy weight of despair in her chest had transformed into warm and bubbly sensations.

“What do these new feelings in your chest have to say?” I asked.  Right away she said: “Why should I stop eating what I want?  You can’t make me stop!”  She said this last part with her chin up and her eyes narrowed.

Immediately, I recognized a child’s voice.  “Is there a little one here?” I asked.  She responded emphatically and without hesitation, “Yes! I’m four!”

“Great!” I said, “welcome! And what is happening in your world little one?”

“Well,” she said, “my dad just got back from the war and my mom is sick.  So my mom said that now I have to be the mom and take care of my two younger brothers.  Yuck! I just want to play and have fun.  And now the only thing that I have for fun is food.”

“Wow, that is incredibly hard!” I said, “to have to do an adult’s job at such a young age.  I can imagine that you are feeling really frustrated and MAD! And I also know that you are doing the very best you can using food to comfort yourself.”

After I saw her brow unfurl and heard her exhale, I asked: “Would you like to say more while we tap?

“Yes!” she said.

So, together we came up with the “set-up phrase”: “Even though I feel scared to change my eating, I love myself, and I want to be healthy too.”

An interesting thing happened when little Michelle started tapping.  All by herself, she started coming up with alternatives to eating compulsively, while also setting clear boundaries about what would and wouldn’t work for her.  She said: “If I’m going to eat less, I want to play more, but none of this ‘woo woo,’ spiritual/self-help stuff.  I want to jump rope and play catch and cards and watch movies.”  As she was talking, her whole demeanor changed; her shoulders moved back, her head came up, and her face looked brighter and more hopeful.

After I thanked the little one for her great courage and honesty, I checked back in with Michelle’s adult self.  Adult Michelle was practically speechless she was so amazed.  She said that she had never before felt so aligned with herself and willing to make the necessary changes in her diet and behavior.  She even laughed along with her younger self, about her adult tendency to do all this “spiritual stuff,” and not be in her physical body.

I encouraged Michelle to “visit” daily with her little one: “This inner “adult-child” relationship needs regular, loving attention in order to flourish,” I said, “and to help you to feel happier and more fulfilled in general, and therefore, better able to meet your health goals.  As you continue to welcome all of your parts, Michelle, you will increasingly experience yourself as a “unified front,” with more energy and enthusiasm to follow through on your commitments.”  I then suggested that she attend a 12-step meeting related to overeating, a great support for physical as well as emotional recovery.

Lastly, I asked both adult and child for permission before closing the session with a combination of Reiki and acupressure, both for anchoring and integration.

Note: When I saw Michelle the week following the above session, she relayed feeling more serene and “together” than she had in a while.  She also said that her remaining anxiety had especially diminished in the past couple days, as increasingly, she had been able to tune into the peaceful feelings in her chest. She also expressed a renewed enthusiasm for EFT.  “Spread the word,” I said, “this stuff really works!”

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