EFT/Tapping is a wonderful self-help tool. You can use it to soothe difficult emotions and ease painful memories.
It’s so good, you imagine that if you just tapped on the symptoms of your problem, relief would be quick to follow.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work that way.
A quick search on the internet will find a multitude of tapping scripts or tap-along videos for your problem. However, while tapping along can soothe the distress at the time, those old feelings can come back later.
It’s as if tapping on the symptoms is like hacking away at the leaves of a tree. If the trunk of the tree is untouched the leaves can grow back with ease. If we don’t work on the trunk and the roots then we could make slow progress.
Let’s imagine someone called Annie.
Annie is now in her thirties and has had the uneasy feeling that she is not wanted for as long as she can remember.
Although she is in a long-term relationship with a loving partner, she often imagines that she is about to lose him to someone who is ‘better’ than she is. In spite of his obvious love for her, she finds it hard to accept that he does love her and that it will last.
She strives to conceal her reservations and be pleasing to him. She puts him first to ensure she keeps his affections.
But, even when things are going well, she feels a deep-seated unease about her relationship and how long it will last.
People ask me: “What is the difference was between Matrix Reimprinting and Identity Healing (because they seem to be identical)?”
At first glance the two approaches seem to be quite similar. Tapping in our imagination with our younger selves to ease the emotional problems of the adult.
But, beneath the apparent similarities there are significant differences in the techniques, the underlying model and their applications.
I took an introductory Matrix Reimprinting training in 2014 and have since used the process to help people heal painful memories. However, I would not call myself an expert in Matrix Reimprinting, so I apologise in advance for any errors in my explanation and description of Matrix Reimprinting.
If I get it wrong I’m sure more experienced practitioners will step in to correct my misunderstandings.
Update: The purpose of this post is to present a thumbnail sketch of Matrix Reimprinting and Identity Healing to clarify some of the differences as I see them. It is not intended to be a thorough description of either the mechanisms or the applications of both, nor a criticism of Matrix Reimprinting or the many ways it can be used.
One of the problems of describing therapeutic techniques is that they can seem dry and remote. It occurred to me that writing a folk tale would be a good way to talk about the Identity Healing process in a way that spoke to the metaphorical part of ourselves that delights in a story. This tale is one way of telling you about it without talking about it. I hope you enjoy the story and see its potential. – Andy
In a land far away and long ago there lies a village remote and beautiful.
A scattering of rough stone houses and tangled gardens surrounded by high hills and deep forest.
The villagers lived the simple lives of villagers everywhere.
They worked, slept, laughed, cried, were born and gave birth, grew up, grew old and died in all the ancient and familiar rhythms of the world.
To their occasional visitors they looked the same as villagers everywhere and anywhere.
To those visitors who stayed a while they seemed happier than villagers ought to be.
In spite of the hard work in the daily and yearly struggle for survival these villagers had found a way to be contented with themselves.
The villagers had an easiness of being. A deep contentment with themselves and the world. And although they had all the familiar vexations in their lives, they lived them to the full without struggle.
Children growing here suffered all the usual knocks and blows of life.
If you saw such a moment in a child’s life here you would see all the things you would expect to see anywhere. The shock, hurt, anger or fear would run through their bodies and over their faces.
What you wouldn’t see, what you couldn’t see, if you were not from this village, is the secret way each child protected themselves from their pain.
If you look at your passport or your driving license you can see your name and your photo. Even if the photo is bad you can tell that it is you.
You appear to be just one person. But is that true?
On the outside you may project an image of calm, capability, or one of the other ways we like to present ourselves to the world. Behind the eyes and beneath the skin it can be a different story.
Have you ever said or heard someone else say?
I am not good enough
There is something wrong with me
I can’t forgive myself
Nobody loves me
I hate myself
Each of these statements is about an ‘I’,’me’ or ‘myself’. They speak about our identity, who we are.
Beneath what we hope are our socially acceptable exteriors there may be parts of ourselves that are not happy.
These parts: the ‘I’ in “I’m not good enough”, the ‘me’ in “Nobody loves me” and the ‘I’ and ‘myself’ in “I hate myself” are sometimes known as sub-personalities. Sub-personalities are parts of our inner selves that step up and wear the mask of our outer selves.
These parts of ourselves are usually suffering.
The ‘I’ in I’m not good enough is not having a good time.
The ‘me’ in “Nobody loves me” feels distress.
The ‘I’ and ‘myself’ in “I hate myself” are both feeling stressed.
These parts of ourselves are often formed in childhood at times of stress. They carry what they felt, thought and did at that time through life in a capsule of that stress and distress.
You may also remember times when it felt as if a younger part of yourself took control of your adult self. It’s as if you had been hijacked by a terrified child or angry teenager. If you’ve had this experience you have felt the presence of a sub-personality.
It’s bad enough that we can carry these pockets of stress and distress within ourselves, but it gets worse.
If you burnt the toast this morning as you were making breakfast you could say that you blamed yourself for the mistake.
It’s not such a bad mistake, you would probably get over it by lunch time.
But, what if you always blamed yourself for everything.
That would be a very different experience: you might give yourself a hard time about how stupid you are and how you mess everything up. You might find it quite difficult to be happy.
People who are being blamed for things don’t usually enjoy the experience.
It gets worse. At least if you are blamed for something by someone else you could get away from them for a bit of peace and quiet, but if you are blaming yourself then it’s difficult to escape from it.
A client of mine, let’s call him Chris, had a strong tendency to blame himself.
When I had him say out loud “I blame myself” it registered 9 out of 10 as a true statement.
If you wanted to take care of this issue using standard EFT you might start digging around in your client’s past to find the experiences that lead to the formation of this self-critical attitude. That might take a lot of digging and tapping, but there are other ways to work with these issues, one of them is what I call Identity Reconciliation which is a part of Identity Healing.