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.