These are some common questions and answers about self-regulation techniques we teach like the Trauma Tapping Technique, TTT, head holding, self-Havening, 4-7-8 breathing etc.
I've tried Tapping before, why didn't it seem to work?
Short answer: Some results are immediate, some take time.
Long answer: Tapping is pretty much like washing your hands. At best they at least become clean. If you wash a specific area that is infected it can start healing, sometimes inmediately, sometimes over time, depending on the circumstances. Tapping will calm down stress responses in your Autonomous Nervous System (ANS). This means that the minimum effect you will find after tapping is becoming calmer than before. If you were calm already you will probably need to be skilled to notice the difference. If you were tapping to resolve a specific issue and that issue wasn’t active in your mind and emotions it won’t have much effect on it. The emotional response must be active for the tapping to know what to “clean”. Otherwise it will be like turning on the water and adding soap but not putting your hands in it, so they never get washed.
How do I know what to say when I do EFT or TTT?
Short answer: Whatever feels good.
Long answer: TTT is a silent intervention that works without a word spoken, providing that you are ever so lightly connected to the emotional response you wish to resolve when you do it. With EFT and many other interventions there is mainly one neurological reason for talking, which is to stay focused on the issue you are working to resolve. Any word such as ”headache” or ”pain” or this feeling” or ”this memory” will work. Another use of talking is to reinforce whatever better emotions you would like to have, so you can say any word like ”hopeful” or ”feel better” or ”loving”. A way to tie these two goals into a sentence is to say for example ”despite this ”headache” (unwanted response/emotion/feeling/experience) I want to ”feel better” (what you would like to have) every way possible”.
It looks so easy when someone else does it, but I wonder if I can make a mistake?
Short answer: Don't worry, these methods are generous.
Long answer: Anything looks easy when somebody knows it. Most Energy Psychology interventions, like tapping, are techniques we humans do intuitively to calm ourselves - tapping our forehead, rubbing our faces etc. These interventions use your natural healing responses and are generous in that they can be applied in many ways and still get results. Have you ever heard about somebody hurting themselves by tapping on their own body? The methods are generous and allow for a lot of variations. Test them and find out which one works best for you.
What does self-regulate or self-soothe mean?
Short answer: To calm yourself down.
Long answer: when you get stressed you probably already do something to calm yourself down. There are so many ways, some less healthy or practical like self-medicating with cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs or biting nails, gambling, fighting or other ways of looking for adrenaline kicks and distraction or healthier like exercise, meditation, music, dancing, social interaction. Among the fastest, easiest and most efficient methods are the Energy Psychology techniques like tapping that you can find and try here. They can be done by anybody and usually have immediate effects on calming your symptoms of stress, or even trauma.
How do I know these techniques are working, how should I feel after I do them?
Short answer: How you feel will vary.
Long answer: How you will react to a self-regulation technique can vary depending on hour mood, your state of mind, what kind of issue you are working to resolve, gor some there is a noticeable immediate change like ”finally relaxing”, ”lifting a blanket”, for others a slight shift that continues to shift from day to day. Yet others may experience one emotion being suddenly replaced by another, like layers of skin of an onion: under grief there may be anger, under anger sorrow, behind sorrow emptiness, after emptiness peace. There is no one response. Find yours.
How often should I do these?
Short answer: As often as you want.
Long answer: You can tap to relax, to reinforce a good feeling or to resolve an uncomfortable emotion. There is no overdose. It is simply a soothing massage that calms down your nervous system and activates something called the relaxation response, or the healing zone. Some do these interventions once or twice in a lifetime, some whenever they feel they need it and others as part of a daily routine, like before falling asleep - to ensire good rest and healing at night. If you make it a part of your emotional hygiene and resilience training by doing it every morning and evening you will find it can make a great change in a short time.
How long does it take to heal from sexual trauma?
Short answer: it depends.
Long answer: Every traumatic experience is personal and no two can be compared. Two people may share a traumatic experience and while one of them heals relatively fast, the other may be affected a lifetime, unless something is done to address it. There can be many layers to sexual trauma such as shame, guilt, anger, sorrow, loss and more. Some traumas involve a single incident while others may have been going on for years, creating a more complex set of symptoms and reactions. The good news is that self-regulation techniques like tapping and other Energy Psychology interventions can be helpful for all of these experiences.
What if I'm taking medicine, do these techniques still help?
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: Tapping and other forms of energy psychology interventions all have one thing in common, they will down regulate stress responses and allow you to enter what some call the Healing Zone, which is a relaxation response hour body automatically activates when calmed down. Whatever medicine you are taking will continue having its effect, probably even better when the body isn't in stress.
What is the science behind these techniques?
Short answer: Quite a lot.
Long answer: There are scientific studies on many of the aspects of Energy Psychology interventions like tapping. Tapping has proven helpful in lowering stress and stress hormones like cortisol, to alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress, to help people with food cravings, exam nerves, resolve anxiety and many other things. There is a number of hypothesis about what the mechanisms involved do, from memory re-consolidation and de-potentiation of learned fight-or-flight responses to ideas based on Traditional Chinese Medicine and how trauma can cause blocks in our energy meridians that are resolved by the tapping procedure. Some find it more interesting with testimonials and case studies of which there are thousands. These interventions have been tried by millions of people over the last 30-40 years.
Can I really change how my brain works, how I respond to being triggered?
Short answer: yes
Long answer: it isn’t only your brain that is involved when you respond to being triggered, it is your whole nervous system on many levels. When you create a relaxed state ,for example by tapping or some other Energy Psychology intervention, while a trigger is active, the whole system will reprogram your response to a calmer one. That is how amazingly well your neuroplasticity works during your whole life.
What does it mean when someone says "I'm triggered" by ”this or that”?
Short answer: it depends.
Long answer: Whenever you experience something very pleasant or something very unpleasant a special memory is formed to find or avoid that situation in the future. All your senses, seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, feeling and smelling will create triggers to alert you and remind you of that experience. When somebody says they are triggered they are most probably connecting ”this or that” to one of those earlier experiences and if it was unpleasant it will put them in a fight-or-flight mood. Another kind of triggered is if somebody is stuck in a hyper-vigilant alert mood, then anything can ”trigger” them. Energy psychology interventions like tapping can resolve triggers. Try for yourself if it happens.