Category Archives: Tapping

Reprogramming your brain: 9th World Tapping Summit

Spring greetings to my readers!

Sorry for not being in touch for a while. Things have been rather busy in my life and work lately and I fell behind with my monthly blogs. I promise to amend this in the near future, but in the meantime I want to draw your attention to one very good free online event: the 9th Annual Tapping World Summit:

http://www.thetappingsolution.com/2017tws/reg/afpd/new-access.php

As you may know EFT tapping is one of the very effective tools that help us ‘rewire’ our brain, get rid of unhelpful habits and thought patterns, heal our bodies and thus improve our lives. This is possible because our brain possesses the quality of neuroplasticity and if we find the way of communicating with it in the right manner all kinds of amazing things become possible. EFT tapping is one such ‘language.’

The Tapping Summit runs from 27 February to 10 March, with two presentations every day (that also contain tap-along sessions). Replays are available for 24 hours. To register and catch up on the first day (including science behind EFT: interview with Dr. Dawson Church) go here:

http://www.thetappingsolution.com/2017tws/reg/afpd/new-access.php

With warmest wishes,

Ludmila

Dealing with anxiety

DSCF1098aOne of the most common complaints that bring people to therapy is anxiety. Anxiety is something familiar to all of us. Part and parcel of our human condition it peppers our existence and we develop strategies and learn how cope with anxiety on the daily basis. However, sometimes anxiety can become so intense or so frequent that it severely undermines one’s life.

In order to learn how to deal with anxiety it is important to understand its nature and the role it plays in our life. In this blog article I am going to look at the various facets of anxiety and discuss its underlying neurological and emotional mechanisms, root causes as well as possible treatments.

Anxiety symptoms

What are the signs that you may be suffering from anxiety? There are a number of symptoms, emotional as well as physical, that can help you gain a better understanding of what is happening.

Emotional symptoms include feeling fearful or panicky in certain situations. You may be constantly worrying that something may go wrong. You may be nervous and uneasy about social situations. Sometimes people have difficulty in concentrating or struggle to express themselves in an articulate way. Mood changes, sudden irritability, feeling overwhelmed or feeling that you are out of control are also common.

Physical symptoms may include shortness of breath, heart palpitations, stomach ache, nausea and sickness, headaches and migraines, dizziness, cold sweat, sleep disturbances with difficulty in falling or staying asleep as well as blushing, stammering or nervous coughing.

Anxiety… is your friend!

Anxiety is an uncomfortable psycho-physical state and our instinctual desire is to get rid of it. However, surprising as this may sound, anxiety is not your enemy. Quite on the contrary, the ‘function’ of anxiety is to protect us, to help us keep safe. The feelings of anxiety arise as a result of neurological processes in our brain that responds to perceived danger and issues warning signals. These signals, which we experience as anxiety, make us alert to the possible risks and indicate that we need to be prepared to meet them.

How then does it happen that the same situation may trigger only mild or no anxiety in some people and be absolutely overwhelming for others?

The answer to this question once again belongs to the field of neurology. It turns out that our brain, sophisticated as it is, cannot distinguish between the ‘real’ and the ‘imaginary’ danger. Neither can it always estimate correctly the scope of the perceived danger. It bases its evaluation on our previous experiences.

Notice what situations trigger anxiety in you and ask yourself what you are afraid of. Are you afraid of being laughed at or criticized? Are you afraid of being physically hurt? Or perhaps you are afraid of failure and the ensuing feelings of shame and worthlessness? Whatever feelings come up, the chances are that you have already experienced them sometime in the past in a situation that bears certain resemblance to the current one. In that case, anxiety draws your attention to some emotional wounds that you may be carrying within you and that need healing.

Fear of not being able to cope

Anxiety is usually defined as the ‘fear of the unknown.’ This is true insofar as the ‘unknown’ triggers the feelings of anxiety, suggesting that there might be potential risks if we go in that direction. Very often though what we are really afraid of are not the challenges as such, but that we won’t be able to cope with them or the possible ‘negative’ outcome.

For example, if you are afraid of failing an exam or a job interview, your anxiety is not about the actual failure, but about emotions that this failure may evoke in you. Similarly, if you worry about losing your job, a great deal of your worry is about not being able to deal with the possible situation of financial hardship and the stress of finding another job.

Feelings of anxiety about doing routine things or things that are slightly out of your comfort zone may indicate that you are simply too tired and need to take a break to re-charge your batteries.

As I wrote above, it is very often the case that anxiety is rooted deep in our past experiences, which underlie our current experiences and intensify our emotional response to them. How can you tell whether this is so? If your anxiety appears to be disproportionate in relation to a particular situation chances are that there is something more to it, and in order to alleviate it you need to look at the root cause.

Helping your inner child

Psychological resilience, and trust in your ability to deal with whatever challenges life may throw at you, is the basis for coping effectively with anxiety. We develop this resilience throughout our life, but a foundation for it is created during our childhood. If your needs as a child haven’t been adequately met, if you didn’t feel safe or had to carry too heavy emotional burdens it is likely that you may be more affected by anxiety as an adult.

One of my clients used to suffer from acute anxiety when going more than 10 minutes away from home. When we explored the sensations she was having in her body they led us back to her early childhood. When she was growing up her parents were very busy at work and often left her as young as the age of 6 alone at home to take care of her younger siblings, including a baby. She remembered sitting petrified near telephone anxious whether she would be able to reach her parents and get help quick enough if something happened. A part of her, overburdened early on with too much responsibility, never properly matured, and faced with the challenges of adult life would fly into panic.

It is important to be compassionate and patient with these child-like parts deep within us and help them grow and gain confidence. For this task we need to engage our adult parts that are equipped with knowledge and life experiences. When we perceive our inner children panicking we can gently talk to them, reassuring him or her that they are not alone and will be given the right support and care.

How to deal with anxiety

The first step in dealing with anxiety is becoming more aware of what is going on for you in your mind and in your body, learning to recognize the triggers and pre-conditions (e.g. tiredness). If anxiety is persistent and intense, and stops you from enjoying your life and doing things that you want to do, I would encourage you to seek professional help.

Counselling and psychotherapy in combination with some form of body-mind therapy will help you to understand the root causes of your anxiety and release it from your system. In my practice I work a lot with Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping) and find it very effective for healing past traumas and ‘rewiring’ your brain. EFT is also a great self-help tool for coping with anxiety as you can apply it ‘on the go’ to bring the anxiety levels down immediately.

I see people face to face at my practice in Cambridge and also work online via Skype. You are very welcome to book a session if you would like to try my approach and see whether it can help you become free from your anxieties.

 

 

Discover Emotional Freedom Technique – Free EFT tapping workshops in Cambridge

P1100775

EFT tapping is getting more and more known among people interested in holistic approaches to health which recognize the inherent and inseparable connection between mind and body.

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) is an extremely versatile tool that can be used both in therapy and for self-help. Here are just a few examples of the wide range of things where EFT can help:

  • Releasing stress;
  • Overcoming cravings and addictions;
  • Enhancing your meditation practice;
  • Enhancing concentration and creativity;
  • Alleviating depression;
  • Dealing with anxiety;
  • Relieving physical pain;
  • Healing emotional trauma;
  • Building up self-confidence.

The technical aspect of EFT is very simple. It involves lightly tapping with your fingers on certain acupressure/acupuncture points on your head and the upper part of your body. This is why it is nicknamed ‘tapping’ and is sometimes also called ‘acupuncture without needles.’ Yet its apparent simplicity is misleading and it’s not surprising that many people who have learned the basics of EFT from youtube videos or books come away disappointed and say that it doesn’t work for them.

EFT and mindfulness

The secret power of EFT lies not in mechanically applying the tapping. The key to its success is the ability to tune in – as fully as you can – to what is going on within you, on emotional, mental and physical level. And you need to stay tuned in for the whole duration of tapping. This is easier said than done because in our everyday life we are so overloaded with different tasks and activities that we are often hardly aware how we really feel.

When doing tapping work with clients, I often begin by inviting them to ‘locate’ their emotions in their body. We experience emotions viscerally, whether we are aware of it or not. Unlike thoughts, emotions never exist just in our mind, separately from our body. Old metaphors that speak of ‘broken heart’ or ‘carrying the burden on our shoulders,’ or getting ‘butterflies in your stomach’ are not just fancy phrases, but an accurate expression of complex neurological and physiological processes.

Emotions – like a shock wave – reverberate in our system. I like to compare them to a ‘Genie in a bottle,’ a genie that pounds on the narrow walls of its glass prison demanding to be released. If we don’t pay attention to our emotions, they become stuck and turn into deposits of pain in our bodies. How does this happen? Neuroscientists are still unable to give us an answer. But it happens nonetheless.

Scientific research on EFT

EFT helps to clear emotions trapped and stored in our bodies. Once the emotional ‘genies’ are convinced that we are no longer in need of their service they are only too happy to fly away. Our body can then recover and resume its natural functions.

Over recent years, quite a number of clinical studies have been conducted exploring the efficacy of EFT in treating different physical and mental health conditions, see for example:

www.theeftcentre.com/research

www.eftuniverse.com/research-and-studies/eft-research

An attempt has also been made to understand how exactly EFT works, from the point of view of neurology and physiology: www.thetappingsolution.com/science-and-research. It has been suggested that tapping appears to calm the amygdala – the area of our brain responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ reflex. The amygdala, in turn, operates in close conjunction with the hippocampus – another part of the brain, which is thought to be the centre of emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system. Thus, calming the amygdala helps to ease the intensity of the emotions and disconnect them from memories.

However, as in general with the human brain, much still remains a mystery. And maybe this is not so bad, as it leaves room for excitement, experimentation and discovery…

The use of EFT in counselling

EFT has evolved out of TFT (Thought Field Therapy) developed in the beginning of the 1980s by American clinical psychologist Roger Callahan. Callahan, who had an amateur interest in Chinese medicine, was becoming increasingly frustrated with the slow progress and limited efficacy of traditional talking therapies, and one day – through either inspiration or desperation – he applied tapping on an acupuncture point for treating a patient with water phobia. This produced miraculous results and so started the ball rolling.

My experience concurs with that of Roger Callahan: though talking is essential and provides solid foundation for therapy, very often talking alone is not enough to bridge the gap between the body and the mind. Thus people sometimes come to me after years of counselling and still suffer from the same symptoms.

Tapping serves as a “knock-knock” to your body. It distracts the ‘rational mind’ and allows deep-seated emotions to surface so that they can dissipate. It also allows for communicating the knowledge stored in the ‘rational mind’ down to your body and vice versa. Once this interchange is established, things get moving and flowing, and the shift occurs.

Free EFT tapping workshops at CB2 café in Cambridge

Every first Sunday of the month I run free tapping workshops at CB2 café on Norfolk Street in Cambridge.

If you are interested and happen to be nearby you are very welcome to drop in. We start at 11am in the library upstairs. The first hour is a practical part, followed by questions and discussion over coffee.

Whether you are a complete newcomer to EFT or have already been tapping on your own, you would have something to discover at these workshops. They are fun, heart-warming and uplifting. Also group tapping very often creates a powerful resonance which helps you connect deeper with your self and with others.

There is no need to book your place in advance, but I would be grateful if you could drop me an email if you intend to come so that I know, approximately, how many participants to expect.

Look forward to meeting you! And feel free to drop me an email if you want to ask questions about EFT or to share your story.

With warmest wishes,

Ludmila

PS. Please connect with me on Facebook (Soultap Therapy) to stay in touch and receive updates, offers and other relevant information.

Can therapy really help to change your life? For anyone out there who is suffering and feeling hopeless

P1060627

In my previous blog I spoke about our deep-seated fear of change. Change, in many ways, is akin to dying since it entails ‘dying’ to our old beliefs, our old ideas and ways of being. But change is also about rebirth. Just as in fairy-tales and myths, where frightening monsters are faced and conquered, the descent into our own underworld equips us with the special powers, skills and knowledge needed to make changes in our everyday life.

Most people who decide to try counselling and psychotherapy (or EFT and other forms of therapy) express their doubts as to whether this would work for them. These doubts and scepticism are very natural, normal and healthy. Indeed, how would you know if therapy can really help to change your life? If you have been struggling with depression, anxiety, lack of confidence and relationship issues for a long time it may be difficult to imagine (even if this is what you want) how they can metamorphose into joy, contentment and fulfilment.

Embarking on a therapy journey does require a leap of faith and commitment. It is similar to growing a flower: it takes time, nurturing care, and patience for the seeds that you’ve planted in the earth to bring forth their shoots and eventually blossom. This growing process is subtle and changes can be almost imperceptible until they become visible.

Therapy is not an exact science. Its effectiveness is evidence-based, and from there you can take your faith: if it worked for other people it may work for you. Below I share a ‘real-life’ story told by a client of mine, a young professional woman, with whom I have worked for over two years. It just shows how much things can change, how one’s life can heal and unfold in wonderful ways. I hope you find it as encouraging and inspirational as I do.

For anyone else out there who is suffering and feels hopeless…

My journey in self discovery and healing started almost four years ago when I felt I had reached rock bottom and had almost become unable to do the most simplest of tasks let alone run a business or deal with the family and relationship issues that I was faced with.

I had trapped myself in such negative situations, thought processes and beliefs after suffering great losses, hurt and betrayal, that it felt like I was in a prison I’d never be able to escape from. I was no longer able to trust in the world and people, and had lost considerable hope and belief in myself. I couldn’t see a solution, yet was continually trying so many things to ‘improve myself’. My physical and mental health had become so weak and fragile I felt it would be next to impossible to feel ‘normal’ again and have ‘normal’ friendships and be able to cope with the challenges of life and a demanding career.

This is where I turned to therapy as my last resort. After an incredibly challenging year of conventional counselling I sought out Ludmila because I have heard that EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) was very efficient in helping people recover from trauma.  I will admit it took a tremendous amount of effort, dedication and perseverance on both my and Ludmila’s part but, as with most things in life, the hard work eventually started to pay off and I slowly began to heal from my mental anguish, fear and trauma. And little by little, small, almost imperceptible changes have lead to several major breakthroughs in my life, which I can only fully appreciate now, looking back to where I started…

The biggest breakthrough but also challenge was accepting and forgiving my mother. It was very painful to acknowledge through therapy that my mother was actually a very damaged person. She loved her children very much but was, unfortunately, unable to give us nurturing care because of her own traumatic childhood experiences.

I was always so conflicted about my mother… On the one hand, I knew she loved me and my brother, and she tried her best encouraging our education and cultural development, acquainting us with film, art and performance, ensuring that we got to a good school and later supporting financially my university studies… After the divorce from my father she has been on her own and also juggling a full time job. I appreciate all that very much and I don’t want to wrong her and do her injustice by focusing on the negative things, and yet sometimes it was more than often unbearable growing up with her.

I was living in constant fear that she would blow any second at the smallest thing and scream and shout at me. I became an emotional punch-bag for her unresolved pain which had effectively formed into a severe mental illness. This manifested in constant criticism and resentment towards me, as well as extreme negativity and distrust of life and most of the people she knew or met. Constant mental instability, switching from a seemingly rational and wonderful person to a completely irrational, made her very frightening.

Growing up I was unable to fully understand this, I just tried to keep safe within the emotional war-zone my brother and I lived in by forming effective coping mechanisms. These coping mechanisms consisted of continually ensuring my mother’s needs were met, however irrational or unfair they were. I placed them before my own in order to keep the peace and try to manage her behaviour as much as possible. I effectively looked after her emotionally in exchange for a home, food and education.  I was unaware at the time that this was abnormal, that I was just surviving and not really coping at all…

It only started to become apparent for me years later when all the trauma of those years and subsequent experiences just became too much to bear. Those learnt coping mechanisms no longer protected me, instead they became undermining. I had been living a life driven by the need to please others and putting others’ needs before my own to severe detrimental effect. I didn’t know how to enforce healthy boundaries and was almost unaware of my own feelings and needs, allowing myself to be exploited and never feeling happy or fulfilled.

Acknowledging and confronting this was painful, but also empowering. It has been essential in re-establishing a new healthier relationship with my mother and other demanding characters in my life. Coming to terms with the fact that I am not the cause of their mental anguish, and that it is not something that I am able to resolve for them, was very healing.

I learned to assert my newly-found boundaries and realized that it could be done in a non-aggressive manner. The wonderful outcome has been that my mother and other similar characters in my life now treat me with more respect and no longer seem to unleash their demons on me as much. Or – more importantly – if they do, I no longer feel responsible for their irrational behaviour.

It was very difficult for my mum initially but over time she has adjusted and it has actually brought us closer together although, sadly, we will never be really close and I will always remain on guard in order to protect myself. Nonetheless are relationship is healthier than it has been since I was a teenager, which has benefited every aspect of my life.

I came to forgive my first love for his betrayal and abandonment. Hard as it was, I came to terms with the devastating illness of my father. I also succeeded in reconnecting and repairing my relationship with my partner and learned to stand up to bullies in my professional life.  Even though it seemed almost impossible to achieve, I managed to overcome my huge fears of exam failure, shame, ridicule, exposure and guilt in order to complete my education and become a fully qualified professional in my field.

But, most importantly, I came to forgive myself for all the criticism I constantly gave myself, for not being good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, successful enough, cool enough… the list goes on… I began to acknowledge that I am not a bad person but am worthy of love and goodness in my life.

Looking back at my life four years ago, I have come such a long way, and it’s sometimes incredible to believe the changes I have made in both my personal and professional life. I don’t believe I would have made it without Ludmila’s help, for which I am so grateful. Her strength, conviction and dedication, her compassion, encouragement and faith in me have been truly transformational.

I haven’t by any means come to the end of my journey, but I am now on the right path and feel able to trust in life again and feel secure acknowledging and accepting my hurt and emotions. For anyone else out there who is suffering and feels hopeless, as painful and difficult as it might be, try not to give up on therapy. It can sometimes feel impossible to ever recover from great trauma and despair, but I truly believe we are all capable of healing and great change with hope, dedication and perseverance – together with a therapist you trust.

Miracle healing

Longing for a miracle is deeply engrained in human heart. Even when we grow up the fairytales of our childhood do not completely lose their hold on us. No – they remain within us, even if just in the form of a half-acknowledged almost embarrassing wish that magic would happen and the impossible would come true! This wish intensifies when we are in pain and are searching for healing. The patience of somebody who has lived in pain (either emotional or physical) for a long time wears thin as pain is very tiring. And hence the desire to have the discomfort instantly removed is very understandable. Many people come to therapy (here I am speaking of therapy that has to do with emotions) precisely at this point. They have reached the limit of their endurance and they desire change. Instant change. But is that possible? Can such a miracle really happen so that a person would be healed in a moment?

The story of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), or rather its predecessor TFT (Thought Field Therapy), begins from this kind of seemingly miraculous healing incident. Mary, a patient of Roger Callahan (the founder of TFT) has been cured from the years of severe water-phobia with two minutes tapping. This promise of instant cure has become a hallmark of tapping energy therapy. Yet, as Gary Craig, the father of EFT wrote recently in his blog articles such kind of advertisements are misleading and may do disservice to people who are likely to become discouraged if they do not obtain immediate results. So shall we believe or not believe in the story of Roger Callahan’s patient? Does tapping do or do not produce a miracle healing?

One thing that gets overlooked in Mary’s story is that she had two years of psychotherapy with Roger Callahan prior to their breakthrough. During this work many issues surrounding her fear of water had presumably been addressed, so that when Callahan suggested her to try tapping she was ready for the radical shift. Her healing that appears to be an instant miracle was in fact a journey. At the end of it, having gone through many dark places, she suddenly came to a clearing. And this is how it is in most cases. Although tapping does indeed facilitate quicker release of pent-up energy (emotional and physical) it is only one of the ingredients, a stepping stone on the way to healing.

I want to tell you a fable shared with me by my friend and therapist colleague. Once upon a time there was a man who got lost in a desert. He walked and walked for many days and nights and was exhausted and thirsty. Suddenly he stumbled across an ancient bottle, half buried in the sand. He scraped off the seal and – with a whoosh – a jinni burst out. He thanked his liberator and said: “Tell me your wish – I will make it come true.” “Jinni, said the man, I want to go home.” Jinni took him by the hand and said simply: “Let’s walk then.” “No, jinni, you didn’t understand – I want to go home quickly!” – “Well, then let’s run!”

This little tale captures the myth and truth about therapy. A person who comes to therapy wants to get “home” quickly. Yet healing is a journey and a therapist can go with you at the pace that you are ready to take. Miracle is what happens as the journey unfolds. Essential ingredients that make the magic work are the person’s desire to be healed, their determination and their relationship with the therapist. Therapy is not a one way process. It is an engagement of two minds and spirits, a subtle interchange of energy, which challenges the set patterns of pain and brings about the transformation. This is what I see as a healing miracle. Through this experience of intimate human communion, through this journeying together a person discovers resources and healing powers within him or herself. And it means much more than simply removing a symptom.