Examples in English
Martine is afraid to die during surgery
A few years ago, one of my clients, Martine, told me that she needed to have a gall-bladder stone removed. She confessed the following: “I know it’s irrational, but I’m afraid to die on the operating table.” I suggested the EMT technique as a method of intervention. Despite the avant-gardist nature of this technique, the client was willing to try it.
I therefore began the EMT session. During the sitting, Martine’s stress level dropped progressively from 10 to 8/10, and from 8 to 6/10, and finally from 6 to 1/10. Furthermore, she indicated that rational and optimistic thoughts came to mind: “I feel that I will not die on the operating table”, “I am not the first person to be operated for a gall-bladder stone… It’s just a stone, it is no big deal…”, “I will be well taken care of by a medical team”. Not once had I suggested any of these thoughts. Overall, thirty minutes were necessary to complete this EMT session.
A few days following the surgery, I made a follow up call. Martine mentioned that she was not worried about the surgery after our appointment. She added: “I felt stressed just a few minutes before going on the operating table, but not to the point of panicking.” I was delighted with the effectiveness of EMT.
Marise and her worries concerning her 26-year-old son
The following example shows how EMT might be useful and effective in psychotherapy in helping parents with worries regarding their children, young or old…
Marise is a health professional. She consulted me because she felt guilty about the situation of her 26-year-old son: “He spends many hours alone playing video games. He doesn’t practice any physical activity. He smokes marijuana. He sees very few friends.” As a health professional, she was able to observe the negative impacts of an unhealthy lifestyle in her patients’ lives. She then mentioned another concern. Her son only had a high school diploma. She was afraid that he would end up with an exhausting, unsatisfying and low-paying job. I suggested that we use EMT to reduce her worries concerning her son. She agreed to give it a try though she felt it was somewhat avant-gardist.
At her next appointment, I invited my client to tell me what was her biggest worry about her son. Her answer was crystal clear: “I’m afraid he will destroy his health because of his unhealthy lifestyle”. The target problem for this session was labelled “What if my son destroys his health because of his unhealthy lifestyle.” This negative scenario triggered some anxiety which my client rated 5 on a scale from 0 to 10. Physically, she felt tightness in the throat and a pulsatile pressure in her chest.
During the first set of bilateral tapping, some negative scenarios came up in her mind. She imagined her son, in the future, with some health issues that he may develop: throat cancer, disc herniation, anemia, osteoporosis. She thought to herself: “Ok, so?!” and she felt calmer. But she felt that her anxiety had not diminished.
During the second set of tapping, she began to think of the possibility that her son may someday face cognitive deficits. She also worried about the risk of injury on the job due to heavy lifting. But rational thoughts began to emerge: “He is currently in good health. It does not mean that he will develop health issues. I too had some unhealthy habits, but I still enjoy good health today. And should he ever be injured on the job, he will have access to healthcare through his group insurance plan”. Then, a surprising and positive scenario came to mind: her son rising from bed and taking action. She also felt better physically (chest and throat). Her anxiety had decreased (4/10).
During the third set, she thought of the possibility that her son may someday suffer from anemia. But she immediately realised that there was no “family history”. Then she thought about the possibility of developing throat cancer due to his marijuana consumption. But she immediately thought about some people who never had cancer despite their unhealthy lifestyle. Finally, she feared that he would suffer from osteoporosis due to his sedentary lifestyle. But her anxiety kept dropping (3-4/10).
During the forth set, she felt a headache for a short while. She thought about her son’s sedentary lifestyle and the fact that this bad habit may cause low bone density. She even imagined her son losing his teeth! “I have never addressed this issue with him. I should talk to him about this matter when the time is right.” Her anxiety continued to decrease (3/10).
The fifth set brought to light some new information. Marise remembered that her son looked quite happy and seemed to be in good health the past several months. She then thought about healthy elderly people who may have had unhealthy habits in the past. She also thought about her neighbour who wasn’t worried about his daughter who was neglecting her health as well. To her surprise Marise then imagined her son ten years later being as healthy as other people the same age. She felt a lightness in her body. Her anxiety had dropped even more.
During the sixth set, another positive scenario came to mind. She pictured her son in a good mood driving a delivery vehicle. She imagined him coming back home and enjoying a good meal that he picked up on the way. The cancer hypothesis came up again, but a thought stopped this scenario: “This issue has been dealt with a few minutes ago! Not all smokers get cancer.” According to my client, her anxiety was as low as 1-2/10.
We completed one last set of tapping related to the target problem. My client realised that her son didn’t smoke marijuana every day and that his consumption didn’t seem to affect his work performance. She felt a physical wellness. Her anxiety had decreased to 1/10.
I went over the EMT session with my client. She noticed many changes within herself: “I have this feeling of lightness. I was able to solve some issues. Surprisingly, I had positive images related to my son: he was in a good mood, in good health, enjoying his job.” My client left my office with the feeling that her future interactions with her son would be more pleasant thanks to her emotional release.
I met with my client two weeks later. She mentioned that she didn’t have any worries about her son. She saw her son and felt well and relaxed with him. Wow!
This issue was solved. Therefore, we could tackle another concern, once again with EMT!
Nicolas: a paramedic who is afraid of failing
Nicolas is a 40-year-old paramedic. He has been off work for a whole year due to a post-traumatic stress disorder. This disorder has been successfully treated during the last few weeks. His mental health is improving, and he is considering more and more a possible return to work. However, he is experiencing a great fear regarding his future: to fail the upgrade course that he will probably be required to take upon his return. To reduce this fear, I offered to use a technique that is avant-gardist and effective: EMT.
The client’s progression
We formulated the target problem as: “What if I fail the upgrade course upon my return to work.” This scenario triggered a fear within which he rated 8 on a scale from 0 to 10; he felt a global tension throughout his body.
During the first set of bilateral tapping, my client felt stress and sadness. He imagined himself in training, practising on dummies. At a physical level, he felt some palpitations. At the end of this first set, his stress was as intense as it was at the beginning.
During the second set, he experienced stress. “Butterflies in my stomach”, he added. The image of him at work became more blurred and vague in his mind. Also, the following thought came up: “It won’t happen (failing his upgrade)!” His fear had started to drop. Nicolas rated it 5 on 10.
During the third set, he felt the same sensation in his stomach but at a lesser degree. A thought came to mind: “If I should fail my upgrade, I can always do something else (a career change).” Another thought followed: “But it won’t happen (failing).” His fear continued to drop: 2.5 on 10.
During the forth set, new thoughts emerged: “The probabilities of failing the upgrade course are very low. I have always succeeded my exams. To date, no complaints were ever made regarding my services. I have never deviated from protocols.” The sensation in his stomach was low in intensity. His fear almost vanished completely: 0.5 on 10.
With my client’s agreement, we performed a fifth and last set of tapping. During this set, he wondered: “Why did I have this fear of not being capable? I am usually not negative nor am I a defeatist person when facing challenges.” His fear level was about 0 to 0.5.
We assessed the EMT session together. Nicolas noticed that he had thoughts leading to a more positive point of view concerning his upgrade. He felt certain that it would go well. He noticed that his fear had disappeared. He now felt confident that he would be able to cope with his return to work.
I asked my client with what thought he wanted to conclude the session. He said: “The upgrade course will go well.” I suggested a modified version: “I am going to succeed the upgrade course”. He fully agreed. I performed a short set of tapping while he focused on this positive thought. He left the session feeling calm, satisfied and relieved from the apprehension that prevented him from enjoying his leave of absence.
Comments from anglophone mental health professionals
- "Great training. Il will definitely integrate (EMT) into my practice." - Jessica Daigle, MSW, social worker (NB)
- "It was nice, interesting and I was able to follow easily with English as a second language." - Jessica Maltais, social worker (NB)
- "Very concrete. I left with something clear and specific to apply in my practice with confidence. Thank you." - Sylvie Smith, clinical social worker (NB)
- "It feels great to leave with a tool that we can put into practice. The simplicity is fabulous! I’m looking forward to putting EMT into practice." - Brenda Richard, registered Nurse (NB)
- "Excellent training! Feel like I have a new skill (tool, in my tool box). Thank you! P.S. English = well done!" - Micheline Léger, social worker (NB)