Resolving Trauma

by Fred P. Gallo, Ph.D, and Harry Vincenzi, Ed.D

Painful memories are the result of experiencing traumatic events. Unfortunately, traumatic events are far too common in today's society and are the cause of many psychological problems and unhappiness.

Many health care professionals also believe that trauma is a major contributing cause of many physical disorders, such as cancer and heart disease. When the distressing emotions attached to the memories of these traumas are eliminated, their negative effects dissipate as well. For example, relationships and emotional and physical health improve.

Have you ever wondered why you consciously remember so little about your past? Whether you remember or not, all that information is nonetheless stored inside you, affecting the way you think, feel, and behave. This not only applies to your memories of traumatic events, but also to those that you remember as positive and neutral. Your conscious mind has a limited capacity for storing information.

The majority of your life is stored as memories filed away in your unconscious mind. Current events or thinking about a specific time frame in your life may trigger these memories. If a memory pops up in certain situations or at certain times, it probably has meaning to you. You must evaluate the memory and determine if the event you remember had a traumatic impact on you. In most cases, the answer is self evident.

It is amazing how a cruel remark made by an acquaintance or even a stranger may have a significant, long-lasting effect on you. Of course, this doesn't mean that all negative events that happened when you were younger will have a lasting impact on you. But if an incident hurt your feeling or affected the way you feel about yourself, it's time to treat the memory.

Traumas and lingering painful memories can lead to secondary problems, such as an 'unwillingness' to psychologically let go of the event. After some traumatic events, psychological reversal can set in and block your ability to see the situation from any perspective other than a distressing one. For example, if you were to lose a child, you might believe that if you allowed yourself to let go of the pain, it would mean that you didn't care about your child.

Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. No matter what you do, you will always care about your child and you will continue to feel sadness and loss. Once your energy system is balanced about the event, however, the memory no longer will continue to overwhelm you or prevent you from moving on with your life.

Being assaulted can also provoke an 'unwillingness-to-let-go-of...' response. If you were mugged or beaten, for example, you might feel that letting go of the trauma would either jeopardize your safety or be equivalent to absolving the perpetrator of any wrongdoing. Again, these types of thoughts are not accurate. Getting over a trauma such as assault does not invariably set up up to be assaulted again.

Although resolving the traumas helps you to feel and function better, it does not cause you to forget what happened or to forget any useful information you gained from the experience. That is, if a specific person assaulted you, you would still know to avoid that person in the future. Also, as far as exoneration is concerned, what's right is right and what's wrong is wrong.

How you currently react to your memory of the event does not affect the fact that the perpetrator was nothing short of evil in his actions. When you resolve your painful memories, however, you become stronger and better able to deal with the traumatic memory.

Trauma can also lead to other problems, such as shame, self-blame, belittlement, powerlessness, and resignation. If you are feeling one of these strong emotions, it is possible that a psychological reversal has occurred, causing you to sabotage some area of your life. In this case, you will also have to treat the secondary problems, along with the painful memories, in order to resolve the problem.

Treatment for Simple Trauma Simple traumas can be any event in your life that you feel is holding you back. They can involve cruel remarks, embarrassing situations, times when you were bullied, or perceived mistakes you made in life for which you continue to punish yourself.

The first step in the treatment sequence is to remember the event. It's not necessary to experience any discomfort, except for a brief moment when the memory of the even is recalled. The purse of recalling the event is twofold: to get a distress rating, and to make sure that the problem memory is tuned in so that it can be successfully treated.

Concerning the latter, to simply go through energy psychology treatments without tuning in to the event possibly could result in a pleasant feeling of relaxation, but it would do nothing to resolve a specific problem. The problem must be brought to your awareness, although it need be only at the subtlest level.



1. Think about a traumatic or painful memory. It should be a single, specific event. Rate your level of distress on a scale of 0 to 10 with 10 representing the highest level of distress and 0 indicating no stress.

2. Treat for the possibility of reversal by tapping repeatedly on the Side of Hand (SH) or rubbing the Sore Spot (SS) while thinking or saying three times, 'I deeply accept myself even though I'm upset.' It also may be helpful to tap the SH or rub the SS while saying, 'I accept myself with all my problems and limitations.' You can be specific about the event.

3. Look at the chart and at diagram 19 to identify the location for the meridian points for Eyebrow (EB) and Under Collarbone (UCB). While vaguely thinking about the event (don't get into it so much that you experience any major discomfort during the process), tap five times at each of these meridian points. Tap them in the following order 1 then 2. Tap only hard enough to feel it. It should not cause any pain.

4. Again, rate your distress on a 0 to 10 scale (a number should just pop into your mind). If there is no decrease, go back to step 2 and cycle through the sequence again. If there is not a decrease after three attempts, this is probably not an appropriate sequence for this event, or else there is another sabotageing belief (i.e. reversal) that needs correction.

5. Next, do the Brain Balancer (BB) by tapping repeatedly at the Back of Hand (BH) while rotating your eyes clockwise, rotating your eyes counterclockwise, then humming a tune, counting to five, and humming again.

6. Repeat the tapping sequence 1 then 2.

7. Again, rate your level of distress from 0 to 10-. It should be lower yet. When the distress is within the 0 to 2 range, go to step 9. Sometimes you'll need to repeat the treatment several times - while you are thinking about your trauma - before you complete relief from the distressing situation.

8. As long as there is a decrease in the level of distress, continue with the
sequence until there is very little or no stress remaining. If the treatments stalls at any point, this indicates a mini -reversal. Treat this by tapping on the little finger Side of Hand (SH) while saying three times, 'I deeply accept myself, even though I'm still upset.

9. When the distress level is 0 to 2, do the Eye Roll (ER) to lower the distress further or to complete the treatment effects. To do this, tap on the Back of Hand (BH), hold your head straight, and, moving only your eyes, look at the floor and then slowly raise your eyes up toward the ceiling.

In most cases, once a trauma has been treated successfully with this sequence, the distress will not return. If distress should return at a later time, repeat these treatments. In time, distress will become less and less frequent.

It should be noted that the trauma treatment sequences do not change the memories themselves. Rather, they eliminate the upsetting emotional elements of the memory. So, when you have successfully treated a trauma, notice that you will still be able to recall the event in detail, although you may feel detached from it.

This is an extract from Energy Tapping: How to Rapidly Eliminate Anxiety, Depression, Cravings, and More Using Energy Psychology by Fred P. Gallo, Ph.D, and Harry Vincenzi, Ed.D., 2000, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications. You can find out more about painful memories and energy psychology at www.energypsych.com The book is available in the Soothingminds online shop.








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