Creating Therapeutic Fairy Tales

In my many years as a Boulder psychotherapist, I’ve been fortunate to be able to incorporate many creative methods into helping clients heal emotional pain. Something I learned a number of years ago, from my training and practice in Process Work (created by Arnold Mindell), is to create fairy tales out of issues coming up in therapy. This can be especially useful when dealing with dysfunctional childhood family patterns.

Combining Process Work and EFT

As we begin co-create our fairy tale, EFT Tapping helps it continue to create itself, laying out the problem and then, organically, the solution tends to present itself. Here is such a story:

The Mirror Princess

Once upon a time, there was a castle surrounded by beautiful rolling hills, crystal lakes and a magical forest in which lived unicorns and talking deer and other magical creatures. In this castle lived a young prince and his step-sister, Nettle. The King was adored by his parents the King and Queen, but Nettle found no favor in their eyes. She was ignored and treated with disdain. When the prince became King, and was adored by all the realm, Nettle was so enraged that she stormed into the dining parlor one dinner and screamed, “Your daughter shall be cursed to be as a mirror to others. When they face her, they will see in her all that they love about themselves and will take that for themselves. Then they will look behind themselves and see all that they hate in themselves and will see it as hers, and will hate her, scorn her and mock her. She will be unseen and alone for all the days of her life, unless someone should come who loves himself completely and without condition. Such a person will be able to see through the mirror and will see the princess as she truly is.”

After several years, a beautiful baby daughter was born to the King and Queen. They looked upon her and adored her dark hair, rosy cheeks and gentle disposition. They took these for themselves, so that they too had dark hair, rosy cheeks and gentle dispositions. Then they began to walk away and looked back at her. The air shimmered around the baby. The King saw cowardice and the Queen saw selfishness. “She is so selfish!” said the Queen. “She is so cowardly,” said the King and shuddered.

Ever after, whoever came to face the young princess would take the wonderful characteristics they saw in her and take them as their own. Then, upon walking away, they would be compelled to look back. The air would shimmer and they would see ugly traits. They would be repelled by what they saw and see these traits as her traits. Soon, all the kingdom scorned and mocked and hated her.

Soon, everyone in the realm looked much like the princess. And yet, the princess was all alone. She didn’t know why everyone hated her and mocked her. She tried so hard to be good and kind and generous, but nothing changed how people reacted to her.

Only when she was in the forest surrounding the castle did she feel loved. Whenever she walked there, the deer walked beside her and they talked and laughed together. When she sat down to rest, a unicorn came to sit beside her. Soon, she was surrounded by the smallest and largest of animals and all were peaceful around her.

One day, on her 18th birthday, she ran into the forest in tears. Again and again, someone had come near her and seemed to change to take on her positive characteristics. As she did every time, she felt hope rising that this time, she would be seen and loved. But then, again and again, each person began to walk away and looked back at her. Suddenly, their expressions changed. They spewed hatred and scorn upon her. She felt so alone and rejected. As she wept in the forest, despairing, she cried to the animals to help her. They sent up a loud wailing around her in empathy for her pain.

There was a very old small brown mole who had, for all these years, hidden in his little hole. Startled out of sleep, he clambered out of his hole. “What is all this wailing?” he asked. The princess told him of her despair. No one knew how to ease her pain.

“Why of course I know what has happened, and how to solve it!” He was not a very modest sort. He told them of the step-sister’s curse.

“All you have to do is find one person who loves himself completely and without condition, and bring him to her.”

“But why is it to be a “him?” asked the animals.

“How should I know? That was the step-sister’s condition to break the curse. It’s not my condition,” the mole snapped back.

“But where will we find such a rare person?” wailed the animals.

“That is not my problem,” snorted the mole grumpily and dove back into his hole for a nap.

“You go back to the castle,” the animals urged the princess, “and we will scour the realm for the one who loves himself completely and without condition. We will bring him to you.”

For a year, the animals scoured the realm, interviewing and testing many many boys and men to find one who loved himself completely and without condition. Always, upon further questioning, each one hated or doubted something about himself.

But on the princess’ 19th birthday, the princess heard through her bedroom window a loud noise. All the animals were calling to her. Alarmed, she ran out through the castle door, over the moat and into the forest. Before her stood a beautiful young man. He looked at her and smiled. He took her hand and kissed it. She smiled back. They walked together and talked with each other. She noticed that the young man did not begin to look like her, nor did he seem to take on her character traits. He stayed looking like himself and being himself.

After a time, the day began to darken and the princess told him she had to go back to the castle. He leapt upon his horse, turned to look back, gave her a long look, smiled and waved. “I will return tomorrow,” he called.

The princess returned to the castle. Whoever she passed looked upon her and a change went over them. One by one, within moments were transformed from looking much like her to looking quite different from her. They shook themselves and greeted her. When they looked back at her, the air did not shimmer. They smiled and waved at her, and she waved back. For the first time, they saw the princess as she was.

The next day, the young man, who turned out to be the prince of a neighboring realm, came to the castle to ask for the princess. Over time, they grew to love each other and married.

EFT and Therapeutic Fairy Tales

There are many creative ways to use EFT Tapping and to combine Process Work and EFT for emotional healing. To find out more about EFT and my psychotherapy practices, see my website, EFT-Emotionalfreedom.com.

Wishing you a free and joyous life,

Zoë

EFT for After-Effects of Accidents

Most people who have been in a vehicular accident—car, bike, whatever—notice that after that, they’re more nervous on the road—some people even feel panic or unexplained anger. That’s because, when something scary like that happens, our nervous systems automatically go into “threat mode.” No matter how much we tell ourselves that it was an accident, it’s over, it’s not likely to happen again, our nervous system is saying, “It happened once, now I have to be alert all the time.” This is PTSD.

Accidents Create Nervous System Defensive Responses

Most accidents, by their very nature, happen very quickly. A lot is going on all at once, and our body and emotions are trying to react to all of it, but they can’t. The reactions are called “defensive responses.” Think of taking a martial arts class: somebody comes at you and you go into a defensive posture and as they make contact, you follow through with your defense. You’re learning how to do that in the class, and you practice by doing it slowly, over and over.

When you’re in an accident, something is coming at you, and your body and emotions automatically try to move into defense, but they don’t get a chance to follow through on anything. Many defensive responses get stuck—and stay stuck—inside you. That’s why you have those automatic flinches and shots of adrenaline going through you in traffic.

Clients Who Have Had Accidents

One person I know gets these shots of adrenaline when she’s a passenger in a car and the driver gets too close to the car ahead—she once had an airbag go off in her face. When she’s sitting in the front passenger seat, she also pushes the seat back as far as it will go.

A client who had been hit by a car on her bike when the car suddenly swerved into her lane could not face going through the intersection near where it happened. She not only had trouble riding her bike, she was constantly having near-panic reactions whenever anyone came from the left.

Automatic Fear Reactions After Accidents Persist

These are “normal” automatic reactions after accidents, and they don’t tend to go away. If a person has had more than one accident, the nervous system reactions tend to get stronger over time.

 EFT Tapping is Effective for Healing Accident After-Effects

I’ve used EFT Tapping with a number of people who have been involved in accidents—cars, bicycles, falling, and others. I’ve found that EFT is extremely effective in helping people get over the nervous system after-effects: phobias, fears, nervousness, anxiety, panic, difficulty sleeping, intrusive memories of the accident, unexplainable anger, physical pain and emotional pain. In my experience, they are all quite quickly alleviated with EFT.

For more information on how EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) works, see my EFT and EFT Case Studies pages, and my page on Stress & Trauma.

Wishing you a free and joyous life,

Zoe

*Denver EFT*Boulder EFT*Colorado EFT*EFT Wherever You Are!

EFT Helps With PTSD, Part 2

Self-Destructive and Impulsive Behavior

 

Abusive Families Create PTSD Symptoms

In abusive families, children often suffer physical abuse or sexual abuse or their parents criticize them severely or play painful mind-games. A child might see or hear something that’s wrong and try to say something about it, but her parents might tell her that it’s not really happening or that she’s crazy. If she tells her parents she doesn’t want them to do what they’re doing or that it hurts her feelings if they say cruel things to her, they ridicule her, put her down or tell her they’re not doing whatever they’re doing. This is psychological abuse. Abuse often results in PTSD symptoms. (See my blog entry, EFT Helps With PTSD, for a definition of PTSD and some introductory background).

Children Suffering From Childhood Abuse Are Powerless

When children are abused, they often have no recourse—no one is there to help them. They’re trapped, and they don’t know a way out. As young children, parents are like mirrors for us, showing us who we are by the way they act toward us. If they are constantly criticizing or hurting us, the mirror is showing us that we’re ugly or wrong or stupid. And because we have no other input, we automatically believe it.

Childhood Abuse Creates Self-Destructive and Impulsive Behavior

Having a mirror that says we’re ugly and wrong creates a split in us. On the one hand, we believe it and start to beat upon ourselves just like they do; we hurt ourselves. On the other hand, there’s a healthy core in us that’s really angry about being treated so badly. Unfortunately, children have few relationship tools; often their way of expressing this anger is to act out impulsively or aggressively. This gets them in trouble in the larger world, which usually doesn’t understand the root of their behavior.

Negative Self-Image, Self-Destructive and Impulsive Behavior Continues into Adulthood

Whatever is mirrored to us as young children stays with us into adulthood. This is because we learned from this mirror before we ever knew we were learning anything. It unconsciously becomes our worldview and our self-view. And the way we learn to react to it to survive emotionally becomes an automatic habit that continues on into adulthood. But I’ve seen that we can change all of this.

EFT Helps With PTSD Symptoms of Childhood Abuse

EFT is amazingly effective with the PTSD symptoms caused by childhood abuse and other causes of PTSD and healing pain, both physical and emotional pain. For more details, see my website EFT-Emotionalfreedom.com.

Wishing you a free and joyous life,

Zoë