When businesswoman Janet Thomson walked away from her marriage after 25 years, she was wracked with guilt. But she was able to free herself from the past with an extraordinarily simple technique — tapping. Here, Janet, 48, from Leicestershire, explains ...
Driving past the beautiful home where I had raised my children, I expected to be overwhelmed with emotion. There was so much to remember: my boys running endless races on the lawn. My daughter wheeling her dolls' pram up and down the drive. The summer parties. The birthdays and Christmas celebrations. The list was endless and every memory was a reminder of what I had lost.
My home, with its six bedrooms, its pool room and breathtaking conservatory, now belonged to strangers. I had been forced to sell it after a divorce.
But while I could remember every detail of my former life, I was amazed to discover that I didn't feel even the faintest flicker of emotion.
Every bad feeling had evaporated. I could look back on my old life and all the trauma of my divorce — without a single tear. In fact, the only thing I felt was immense relief to know I had cured myself of heartache. I had managed this not by months of soul-searching and expensive therapy but by the simplest means imaginable. I literally tapped my emotions away.
Simple yet powerful
I'm no fool — I'm a successful businesswoman with a masters degree. But I am convinced that, while it may sound absurdly simple, Thought Field Therapy (TFT) is a powerful tool.
Tapping various parts of your body while concentrating on the event that's troubling you, you eliminate the effect of those memories. When you have a trauma, you hold a memory of that trauma in your body in the form of a code that your body uses to re-assess the negative feelings.
These codes are stored in your meridian system — the pathways through which energy flows in the body. The codes lie dormant until activated by certain situations or thoughts. Then they open like a computer file. The negative thoughts often trigger physical symptoms such as headaches, stress or increased heart rate.
Using TFT, you can collapse the code and all the symptoms disappear.
When my husband Martin and I moved into our dream home outside an idyllic Leicestershire village in 1992, life could not have been better. I had landed a job helping diet guru Rosemary Conley establish her fitness classes around Britain. I earned £43,000 (Dh255,364) — a fortune in those days. I adored my job. I have a degree in nutrition and exercise science, and am passionate about promoting good health. Martin, 48, ran his own tiling business and together we juggled caring for our three children: Harry, then 8, Jack, 6, and Lauren, 2.
But, happy as things seemed, strains were beginning to show in our marriage. Quite simply, Martin wasn't as driven as I am. We rowed endlessly about the smallest things. But we never had the courage to admit the real problem. We weren't making each other happy. I retrained as a life coach. It was through my training that I discovered TFT in 2004. I was on a two-day counselling course in London. The trainer asked us all to think a happy thought. I couldn't find even one. All I remembered was the huge family row the previous day. In tears, I made my excuses to one of the assistants and prepared to leave. She asked if I could spare five minutes to try a technique she thought might help. To my relief, she didn't ask what was troubling me but asked me to think about the problem — whatever it was.
Then she started tapping specific points on my face and hands. As she did so, i felt a shift physically and emotionally as the almost paralysing negative emotions fell away, like a snake shedding its skin. It was extraordinary. You use the first two fingers of either hand to gently tap specific points related to the different meridians.
For anxiety, you tap three points in succession, under your eye, under your arm and your collar bone. Ten minutes later, I was able to talk about the row objectively. The tears and shaking were gone. I even tried to get the feeling back, thinking perhaps it was just because she had distracted me. I couldn't.
I was so intrigued, I enrolled on a specialist course and began to practise on friends. As I got better, the success rate improved. I know most people will be sceptical — I was at first. However, I never realised just how valuable tapping would prove to me until our marriage finally ended. For all the relief, I also felt devastated and a terrible, crushing guilt.
The only thing that kept me going was tapping. Each time I received an unpleasant legal letter or saw Lauren's pained face, I would sit down and tap.
The practice was created 40 years ago by psychology professor Dr Roger Callahan. He discovered he could collapse negative emotions by tapping his patients' meridian points. He used tapping to treat everything from needle phobias to grief and found it is useful for eradicating anxiety.
Tapping has no negative side-effects. It's not about eradicating memories, it's about eradicating the effect of those memories.
So, although closing the door for the last time on my family home in August 2006 was painful, I tapped all the emotions away. I have moved to a cottage a few miles away and regularly pass my old home without feeling any sorrow. It's the same when Martin and I meet. The best way I can explain it is that I feel aware of the absence of any negative emotion.
The great comfort is that tapping is at my fingertips whenever I need it.
Do it yourself
Access the thought you want to eliminate. Make a picture in your mind of the event or what you fear might happen. Remember any sounds connected with it. Or focus on the feelings you get in your body when you think about the problem. You must hold this thought the whole time you tap. If you have a dog phobia and are thinking about what you are cooking for dinner, you won't eliminate the anxiety. Assess the level of emotion before and after the treatment to gauge your progress. Use a scale from one to ten — with ten being the strongest.
Holding the thought, tap the following points with your first two fingers for eight to ten seconds. Don't count — it doesn't matter if you tap for too long. Side of the hand, under the nose, eyebrow, undereye, underarm, collarbone. Tap the gamut spot — between the small knuckle and the ring-finger knuckle on the back of your hand continually and do a slow blink. Keeping your head still, look down to the right, then to the left, then make a circle with the eyes. Then circle the eyes the other way around.
Now hum a few notes out loud. This isolates the right, visual, side of the brain. Count out loud to five. Hum again. Repeat all the tapping points above. Using the scale one to ten, assess your emotion. It will probably have gone down. If so, repeat the process. If you find the thought or emotion has changed, hold the new thought.
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