Bernadette was a client who asked me if I thought EFT would work to help her get more range of motion in her neck. She was able to move her head back and forth a little bit, but she had almost no up and down motion. The lack of movement in her neck was drastically affecting her quality of life. It was as if her head was frozen on her neck, which allowed her to engage in very little physical activity. Her doctor had only surgery and steroids to offer to Bernadette, both of which she had refused. I told her that I believed she would get at least some relief from EFT.
Bernadette had had a long history of abusive relationships in her past. She was partially deaf because of a beating administered by her ex-husband. There was a lot to explore, and together we began the tender and painstaking work of picking through the parts of her past that still seemed “up” to her to see where we might begin to unravel the mystery of her frozen neck.
Bernadette told me early on that as a seven-year-old girl, she had been molested by her step-father. When she told her mother what he had done, her mother opted to send her to a convent. Bernadette and I spent a lot of time on the unimaginable pain of the young girl she had been, the feelings of betrayal she had experienced, the lack of self-worth the experience engendered. Very slowly, her range of up and down motion increased.
Bernadette was lovely in many ways, and especially wonderful to work with because she had already done so much work to understand herself and her life. I felt that she had a strong sense of her value as a human being, and I was sure that she would never allow herself to be treated poorly again. One day during a session, I told Bernadette, “It’s like you you can say yes” – I nodded my head up and down – “but you can’t say no” – I shook my head back and forth to show her what I meant. It made such perfect sense. As a young girl, Bernadette had tried to say no to her step-father, and the consequences had been disastrous; she had lost her mother in the process. This revelation was a turning point of sorts for Bernadette; it seemed to give her more insight into her situation, although her neck remained quite frozen.
We had now been working together for several weeks, and I began to wonder if Bernadette’s frozen neck was just going to stay the way it was. Then one day I had Bernadette imagine that she could “see” into her neck. I asked her to tell me what it was like in there. She said it was like an empty cave, dark, freezing cold and barren. As we continued exploring her felt sense of her neck, it gradually became warmer and lighter in there. She then told me that she had a vision of a thin trail of smoke moving upward. I had her stay with her sense of the smoke, and as she did she suddenly said, with great feeling, “Oh, my!” The feeling in the small consulting room was electric, but I simply sat quietly and waited her for to go on. She still had her eyes closed.
After another moment, she was ready to share the memory: it was the first act of abuse at the hands of her stepfather, when he had pushed her hard one day. She had been knocked forward and had hit her head on the door of the clothes dryer, which was ajar. The impact had slammed her head back, and her body had been holding the memory in her neck, perfectly preserved. . .
It is impossible to explain what it feels like when I have the privilege of participating in the release of old hurts as I did in that moment with Bernadette. We worked on the memory so that it would lose its power to freeze Bernadette’s neck and soul. When we were done, Bernadette said passionately, “This office needs to be cleaned with sage. I don’t want anyone else” and here she vigorously shook her head back and forth – “to have to feel this energy!” Then she looked at me with her eyes completely round. “I just shook my head back and forth!” she exclaimed. And so she had. Her neck was unfrozen, and so was she.
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