EFT/Tapping for PTSD and C-PTSD: Case Studies

EFT/Tapping for PTSD and C-PTSD: Case Studies

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) or ‘tapping’ is a scientifically proven technique which can release any ‘blockages’ which can be the source of emotional intensity and discomfort, and has shown to be incredibly effective at treating PTSD and C-PTSD. Below, you’ll find some cases studies of people who’ve experienced this life-changing treatment for PTSD and C-PTSD.

Read more about EFT or tapping here.

London Terrorist Attacks | C-PTSD and EFT

“It was a typical summer day on July 7, 2005. I had just started my 6am shift. My partner and I had just dropped off a patient at Southend hospital when we were assigned to an incident at Aldgate East in London. It took about 30 minutes to get there on a blue light run.

When we arrived, we were told that there had been a suspected terrorist incident. At that time, we were told that there had been an explosion on a tube train. 

With other colleagues, we followed the commander down to the tube tracks. It was very dark, and we were led by our torches. The smell was the usual dusty smell of the tube but there was also a dank and metallic smell. We stepped over debris.  It was weird that my brain couldn’t make the connection between the debris and the train. 

We were instructed to deal with a section of the tube train. I treated numerous patients with open wounds, various limb and burn injuries. Once treated, we carried our patients up to a waiting ambulance and handed them over to the paramedics. Then we went straight back down to treat other people. There were multiple fatalities, but most passengers who were were alive were injured. We were there all day and we left about 6pm. 

We were thanked by the commander for all our help, and we drove back to our Ambulance station. 

About three years later, I started to struggle with the day-to-day incidents and my tolerance levels were very low. A close friend and colleague noticed my emotional difficulties and reported her concerns to my manager. The manager’s words were “It’s her job. She needs to deal with it”. 

My symptoms included irritability and poor sleep. I suffered nightmares about that day.  They were a jumbled frightening mess. I kept getting triggered by incidents of the day at work and I would go into a trance-like state. I would be more there than here.

My eczema broke out and it was so severe that I had to wear a bandage soaked in an emollient cream. I had an infection in both my legs and needed antibiotics. I also noticed that I had an abhorrence for cooking and eating pork chops. I realised later this was due to the sight and smell of the burn injuries. 

I became isolated and introverted and I couldn’t face going out. A friend was in contact with a therapist, and she asked if she could pass on my details. I agreed and a consultant psychotherapist recommended that I begin EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) with a therapist who specialised in Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD). 

My first session began over SKYPE. I was nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. My EFT therapist explained how the treatment worked and we took things at my pace. I noticed that my eczema started to clear up quickly. My sleep patterns improved. My mood lifted. I felt more able to cope with life and my job. I was no longer triggered by sounds and smells. 

During the sessions, there were periods when I had no recollection of what happened.  We progressed slowly from the last thing I could remember. That calmed me.  I was gradually able to remember more detail.

We kept tapping until I remembered everything and we tapped away all traces of the remaining emotions. We tapped away emotions like fear, rage, anger, disgust, guilt, sadness, grief. I once remarked that I thought I should be feeling something My therapist said, ‘it’s just the tapping doing its job. It doesn’t mean you don’t care’.

Now I know that I had been experiencing dissociation and dissociative amnesia. It was interesting that on recalling certain incidents, I was outside my body.  I also learned a lot about myself during these sessions. 

At the end of my treatment, my therapist explained that the last part was being able to tell the story of what happened. Up until then we were only using guesses and other ‘psychological distancing’ techniques. I couldn’t believe that I was able to talk about everything and there was nothing, no emotional reaction at all. I was also able to eat pork again! 

I had six sessions in all. Since the sessions I have had no flashbacks, nightmares or any lasting problems. I haven’t had eczema since my sessions.

I would recommend EFT to everyone. It’s a life changer.”

Fatal Accident | PTSD and EFT

“My mum fell down the stairs while I was talking to her on July 8, 2018. I had to do CPR and she died in my arms that day. I went from having a laugh with her and planning a haircut, to suddenly battling to save her life with 999 telling me how to do CPR over the phone. The whole ordeal lasted six hours and traumatised me.

As it was a sudden death and 18 days after an operation, there was an inquest to establish the cause of her death.  We had to go to it. It was around this time that PTSD was first recognised by my doctor, and I eventually ended up leaving my job because of it, after long term sickness.

I went to see a therapist who specialises in trauma. She also did EFT.  I was sceptical at first as I’d not heard of it but after a few talking sessions, I built up trust and I did a session with her.

I suffered guilt, while I was doing CPR.  All sorts of thoughts popped up in my head and I felt really bad about them for a long time after. I had thoughts like ‘it’s too hard’ and ‘I can’t do it’. ‘I just want to go to the shop ‘. All sorts of thoughts popped up in my mind as I was pumped with adrenaline. The guilt took me to some really dark places.  I didn’t want to live anymore at times.

We did an EFT session, and I said every thought that popped up in my mind whilst I tapped on acupuncture pressure points. I got really lost in the session and she had me say ‘these are normal responses in a trauma’ as a positive affirmation. I said all these thoughts whilst tapping along, around 20 minutes I think, probably for as long as I did CPR.

It fixed the guilt in that one session.  I didn’t feel any guilt around CPR from that day after that EFT session. It really was amazing how powerful it was.”


Domestic Abuse | PTSD and EFT

“Unfortunately, my son decided to use me as a punching bag. It was a one off and he doesn’t live at home anymore. But still I was traumatized. I went to a ‘specialist’ therapist who works specifically to help people with PTSD, but when I needed to think calming thoughts, it had the exact opposite effect. Kudos to the therapist, he said he didn’t want to waste my money and so we agreed to stop.

But the trauma didn’t.

Eventually, I started seeing an EFT practitioner and everything came spilling out. Talking about these things didn’t come easily. I struggled to speak, to breathe. But with her encouragement and suggestion that I try tapping, it became easier and easier to speak about it and to deal with the issues that came up.

The constant fear, tears and lumps in the throat are pretty much gone. I still have issues when I see him, but my practitioner works with me to help me through it.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! A million times! I don’t know where I’d be if not for her!

Below is the practitioner’s account of Tracy’s journey:

“On one occasion when I was working with Tracy*, we did some tapping on her feelings of guilt (and some fear) about two issues in her life.

Talking (and tapping) about these feelings of guilt suddenly brought up a very traumatic memory of a violent event that happened years before.  Tracy’s adult son assaulted her.

Tracy had very strong reactions whilst retelling some of the story but telling it was something she wanted to do. We tapped on her fear from then and her fear now. She was afraid of what else her son might do.

We also tapped on feelings of guilt. She felt she somehow put all the blame on herself – that this was all her fault and all about her being a bad parent. She was taking full responsibility for what happened. Her husband also seemed to be blaming her.  That made her feel judged and unsupported at the time and also brought up feelings of shame.

Tracy had tried once before to address this traumatic incident during a therapy session. She described having a similarly strong reaction. That therapist stopped the session. She literally felt as if the lid had been put back on the trauma and on her and she hadn’t talked about it since.

Tracy found the tapping session really powerful.  She described it as ‘coming through the other side.’ She felt that I was able to stay with her, give her space to express what she was feeling and also that she had a sense of control. She was tapping all the way through and experienced the change as she felt her nervous system calm down.

As we continued tapping, Tracy was even able to laugh at how ridiculous it sounded, when she heard herself saying that it was all her fault and that she had to take full responsibility for everyone’s actions.

Tracy has since then been able to talk about what happened, with no more than a few tears when she recalls the incident though she still has major concerns about her son.

Tracy is also getting her voice back and feeling able to be more assertive. For a long time, she felt that she didn’t have a voice, that her opinion didn’t count and that everyone else’s opinion was more valid than hers. She is able to seek help when she needs it but is also deferring less and feels more comfortable with the decisions she makes as a parent.

Not surprisingly, when Tracy taps on difficult feelings, she experiences a tightening of her throat and chest. The tapping helps this to release and she feels a noticeable opening up in these areas.

She is also starting to recognise that she does not have to take all the responsibility for the actions of those close to her.”


Abuse | C-PTSD and EFT

“I was diagnosed with complex PTSD when I was 38, after suffering multiple bouts of depression throughout my early 20s and 30s. My mother had alcohol dependency and was a mental health service user who took out her mood swings on me. I had years of mental and physical abuse which culminated in her being sectioned for a violent incident aimed at me.

I had classic PTSD symptoms – avoidance of conflict, perfectionism, high expectations of self and others – leading to frequent burnout, stress, self-criticism, and exhaustion. The clinical psychologist in his diagnosis letter complimented me on my resources and coping strategies in dealing with the trauma for so long and discussed ways that I could face my fears to allow images and thoughts about the past to play through my mind and lose their potency. Until I discovered EFT, I had not found a way to do that without causing me more trauma.

I left home at 17 (kicked out after getting caught up in a domestic incident), and only escaped the dysfunctional family situation by staying on at school and passing my exams to get to university.  After training as a scientist, I ended up on a professional Health and Safety role.  I was the target of bullying several times, leading to long bouts of depression.

I now realise that I moved into a career in Health and Safety to keep people safe because I didn’t ever feel safe myself. My identity became being responsible for keeping people safe. I became very stressed and never switched off.

I tried counselling, CBT, talking therapy, as well as training as a mental health first aider and finding ways to reduce the shame and stigma I felt about my mental health. Art helped me to find some calm. I also tried exercise including training for two marathons. However, a further stressful period in my life led me to try EFT for the first time.

We had relocated over 500 miles to care for my mother-in-law who had an aggressive brain tumour. Our family were all quite traumatised by the move, and the caring responsibilities as well as settling into new school and workplaces. We had nine months of this until she passed. Then my father-in-law passed away eight months later.

We moved into their house to clear and renovate it and were then faced with legal threats from family members over probate relating to the house. I became so low, feeling isolated and anxious about where we might live and this triggered memories of being kicked out of home as a teenager. 

I also had a lot of anger and financial worries as I had given up a good salary and pension to relocate to care for my in-laws and was only able to work part time because of my caring responsibilities so we couldn’t get a mortgage.

My friend was training as an EFT practitioner and needed case study volunteers, so I jumped at the chance. I was desperate to try anything that might help me find a solution to our housing challenges.

So, in January 2018 I went (with a little apprehension I must admit) to my first EFT tapping session, with the intention of helping my friend out and with a  little curiosity to see what might emerge.

In the first session we went over my most pressing issues and started tapping on the current issues around our family challenges and recent bereavements. This felt strange at first, but the practitioner was skilled at making me feel safe and as I felt calmer talking about the stressful situation I was in.  I was able to explore my feelings around them in a way that I had never been able to before because it would have triggered and re-traumatised me.

I had tried CBT years before and have been practicing mindfulness and meditation for a number of years so have a good understanding of how our thoughts can affect our physical state and how to be present with my emotions. But the act of tapping while talking really calmed down my emotional response to the things that were coming up in my mind as the session developed.

I shed a lot of tears during that first session and yawned a lot too. Both are quite common indicators that the tapping is working. The practitioner explained that these responses helped to release the energy blocks and emotions trapped in my body from the years of chronic stress and trauma response.

I felt quite exhausted, but so much lighter after the first session, and spent the week between that and the next session noting down all sorts of things that were bubbling up from my mind that I hadn’t allowed myself to notice before.

In the second and third session I felt more comfortable working through to some really deep core emotional traumas relating to my adverse childhood experiences that had left me feeling anxious and hypervigilant, and thus more vulnerable to stress as an adult. One of the key coping mechanisms the PTSD sufferers often have is avoidance of conflict. As I was deeply involved in a family conflict at the time, this was really difficult for me to deal with.  It was triggering my stress response every day.

We tapped on feeling loved, looked at my inner child and did some deep healing work to let go of the unloved child and reconnect with my adult self and then work on my anxieties, anger, and guilt about the challenges we were facing about our family situation. I also realised that my career in Health and Safety that had been causing me so much stress was part of the problem- I was trying to keep other safe because I never felt safe myself.

I walked out of the third session feeling lighter and went straight to the estate agents to look for a house, and within five months of that session we had moved into our dream home and let go of the family challenges we had been subjected to.

I realised then how powerful this technique was, so I learned as much as I could about it. I continued to tap regularly, working through a long list of issues. I then decided to train as a practitioner so I could help others benefit from tapping.

In the three years since my first EFT session, I have qualified as an EFT practitioner, have no more symptoms of PTSD, and have moved on to retrain in the creative career I always wanted to do but felt too scared to because I felt I should stick with keeping myself and others safe.

I am now doing work that brings me joy, and also starts more conversations about PTSD and mental health.  I have even taken EFT tapping into schools to help pupils and teachers start to connect with their emotions in a safe (and fun) way and helped lots of people with my talks about EFT and the 1:1 and group coaching.

I am much happier now as I choose who I want to work with and when I want to work. I have made it my mission to smash the stigma about talking about PTSD and have started a podcast to help others share their stories of creating resilience- I would never have been able to do this without having EFT in my life and for that I am eternally grateful.


Fatal Shooting | PTSD and EFT

After witnessing her friend being brutally shot, Debbie* developed PTSD. “The SWAT team arrived with tons of support and help. But it was too late, my friend was dead.  He had shot her three times to be sure she was. After an hour he committed suicide. The nightmare was over. But was it?

Their nightmare was over to be sure, but mine was just beginning. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t open closed doors if I didn’t know who was behind them. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t feel safe in my skin and so much more. I now know I was suffering from PTSD.

After three years of grief and trauma counselling, (which didn’t include Tapping) I had lots of information, but still wasn’t back to my old self.

Sure, I could cope in day-to-day situations, someone else could open the door for me, right? There were just so many triggers and fears. I was attending a life coaching training and the facilitator made an offhanded comment about discovering Tapping and how it had changed her anxiety. She definitely had my attention!

She directed me to several links about EFT and tapping.  I began to learn and haven’t stopped since! I did several sessions on my own and felt the shifts and knew I had finally found a tool that would heal me. Working with certified professionals, changed my life, and set me free me from the PTSD of the shooting. I have now become a EFT practitioner, wanting to give others the freedom I have experienced.”


*Names have been changed for anonymity

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