I recently had the honor of being invited to train with Dr. Lori Leyden in an EFT Masterclass specifically for trauma and resiliency. Dr. Lori Leyden, PhD MBA Founder of Create Global Healing, Project Light Rwanda and part of the team for The Tapping Solution Foundation’s humanitarian work, is one of the worlds foremost authorities on treating trauma. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), also known as tapping, is a modality of treatment for a wide range of conditions from PTSD, emotional conditions, chronic physical pain, and the list goes on. While some have moved to discredit the technique, calling it a ‘psuedoscience’, one must look to the individuals whose lives have been changed by the practice of EFT to garner the proof of what others are calling ‘nothing short of a miracle’.
Dr. Lori Leyden, has done extensive work with EFT in Rwanda after the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994, in Newtown Connecticut after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, and is now working to bring training on EFT to South East Florida to work with those affected by the Parkland Shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School on Valentine’s Day of this year; this is where I met Dr. Leyden.
EFT/Tapping, as we know it today, was developed by Gary Craig, Stanford Engineer, Ordained Minister, and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Master Practitioner. Burrowing, but modifying, the techniques of Dr. Roger Callahan’s TFT (Thought Field Therapy), of whom Craig was a student, he essentially made the tapping technique more streamlined and universal.
“During a typical EFT session, the person will focus on a specific issue while tapping on “end points of the body’s energy meridians.”
According to the EFT manual, the procedure consists of the participant rating the emotional intensity of their reaction on a Subjective Units of Distress Scale (SUDS) (a Likert scale for subjective measures of distress, calibrated 0-10) then repeating an orienting affirmation while rubbing or tapping specific points on the body. Some practitioners incorporate eye movements or other tasks. The emotional intensity is then rescored and repeated until no changes are noted in the emotional intensity. Proponents of EFT and other similar treatments believe that tapping/stimulating acupuncture points provide the basis for significant improvement in psychological problems.” (Wikipedia)
I had had a basic understanding and minimal training on EFT/tapping through other trainings I had been through in the past, but this experience with Dr. Leyden deepened both my knowledge and respect for the technique. The masterclass that I was a participant of was a mixture of people like me (colleagues of mine from my work as a transformational coach and spiritual teacher) who had heard of and used tapping as a self-treating technique, and licensed clinicians in the Parkland/Fort Lauderdale area, most of whom had no previous training with the process. After a two day immersion of EFT protocol and plenty of opportunities to practice the EFT technique in our groups, we all walked away with hope and conviction that we’d added another tool that could facilitate the healing of those seeking treatment, specifically around the trauma associated with the school shooting that had happened only a month prior.
Later in the week I returned, as I was invited back to MSD High School on the day of the National School Walkout by friends and members of our EFT training group. Before the walkout I was able to meander around the perimeter of the school, taking in the sight of the mementos of the memorial that have been built around the campus, almost like a moat surrounding a fortress. Around the mounds of flowers, candles, cards, stuffed animals, and signs signifying an outpouring of grief, support, and incredulousness around the event that the local community is still trying to process was a growing crowd of parents, security officers, and throngs of media. After the initial ‘walkout’ which consisted of seventeen minutes of silence to remember those seventeen students killed in the shooting on February 14, the students took leave to a neighboring park, also filled with memorials left by members of the community. After the crowd gathered in the park there was a prayer vigil followed by one story after another by those who were present the day of the shooting; each one tragic and confusing as the last, trying to make sense of it all and to process the stages of the emotions that they were experiencing, each in his or her own way.
As I observed the display of what was a mixture of tragedy, mourning, strength, and resolution, I did my best to view the whole experience as a witness to the human condition; a condition which is all at once loving, vengeful, demanding, forgiving, and above all determined. Whether that determination manifests as advocacy, protest, activism, survival, or service; what I observed that day was that we are all connected by our determination to survive.
There can be no higher honor for me than to do my part to ensure not only the survival but the betterment of our human existence and I am truly blessed to have been given yet another opportunity and another tool for my toolbox in helping to heal those affected by the things that can come along to threaten survival and betterment. There is a point when I must ask myself, “Where does the air that I breathe end and the air that you breathe begin?” because this question puts into perspective, for me, the reminder of what it means to share this planet with one another.