Ask Zoe: What is PTSD and How Do You Work with It?

Jeanine recently asked, “What is PTSD and how do you work with it?

healing-stress-healing-traumaWhen most of us experience a threatening, scary or painful event, our energy systems and nervous systems are zapped and, almost inevitably, emotional and/or physical symptoms automatically begin. Usually, they don’t subside until we do specific work to alleviate them. The complex of emotional and physical symptoms that start happening after one of these scary, threatening or painful events is called PTSD—Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

I’ve been trained in various ways of working with PTSD symptoms: Process Work, a trauma method similar to Somatic Experiencing and EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). In my over 25 years’ experience as a psychotherapist, I’ve found EFT to be the most effective, by far, in resolving the emotional pain that often follows painful experiences and painful childhood family patterns–in other words, PTSD. So that’s how I work with it. PTSD creates a painful “charge” in the nervous system. Clients often find that, where before they would be overwhelmed by emotional pain and even physical pain, after a short time using EFT, when they think  about a traumatic incident or painful family pattern, it’s like it’s far away or like watching a movie.  There’s no painful emotion attached to it anymore. They also find that their lives and relationships become much freer, too.

If you’d like to know more, read my past blog posts, EFT Helps with PTSD and  EFT Helps With PTSD, Part 3    .

Wishing you a free and joyous life,


Ask Zoe: How Do You Work With Relationships?

Ann wrote, “I’m having problems in my relationship. How do you work with relationships? Can EFT help with relationships? 

When I’m working with couples or people in any other kind of relationship—siblings, parent/child, families, groups—I think the main thing is to be thorough and deep. I look at relationships in two ways: (1) they’re made up of individuals and (2) they are an entity or organism in themselves. One thing I do is to help each person express him/herself as thoroughly and deeply as possible, trying to help them get to the essence of what they’re thinking and feeling, or even to get underneath what they’re aware of at first. Second, I think of the relationship as “wanting” to be known in itself. Each relationship has a character, a personality, even a purpose in the world that I want to help express itself, too.

In addition to helping people get at the core of their thoughts and feelings, I often have each person authentically take the other person’s point of view. This is tricky, because it’s important that they are genuinely taking the other side and not being sarcastic or split (my side/your side) while they’re doing it. When they can genuinely take the other person’s side, the whole relationship grows, and relationship conflict is healed.

I also use EFT with couples and other relationships, by having one person speak their thoughts/feelings while both people tap at the same time. This is pretty amazing sometimes in how quickly and deeply it gets at issues and helps transform them.

If you’d like to find out more about my work with relationships and about EFT, check out my Relationship Counseling page!

Wishing you a free and joyous life,


The Drive for Self-Acceptance: We Just Have to Be Ourselves

What Seems Like Self-Sabotage Often Isn’t

Isn’t it interesting how most of us just have to be ourselves? And if we try not to be, something in us “sabotages” the hard work we’re doing to push ourselves down. We somehow just need self-acceptance. For example, I had a client a while ago who tried to stay in a certain program in school because he’d already finished three years, but something in him just wouldn’t let him continue on.

EFT Tapping to Find Your Passion

When we used EFT Tapping to work on what he thought was “self-sabotage,” it ended up that something in him was pushing him to move into a career with heart. He thought he had chosen a school major that was practical—but there was no passion in it for him.

Finding Our Path With Heart

Another client found himself thinking that, when his kids were out of school, he’d become a hobo, sitting by a lake with a beer in his hand and a fishing line hanging in the water. Again, he thought he was sabotaging his life, because he was trying not to drink, and trying to be a good provider for his family. When we explored what was behind the hobo-by-the-lake-image, it turned out not to be self-sabotage but finding out what he really needed in his life. To do this, I asked him what he needed a vacation from. It turns out, he’d been working 12-14 hours a day at his job and was really getting burned out. He needed to reconfigure his time at the job so that he had time to get underway with several writing projects that were what he really loved to do.

Some people can put off their passion for quite a while, while others can’t wait so long. (The source of many addictions is a deep need for something that’s missing in our lives–see my blog post EFT for Addictions .) But it seems that, for most of us, if we don’t support and live from what has heart, the “life” in us will sabotage our most heroic efforts to conform to what we think we “should” do and be.

EFT  Helps With Self-Sabotage

I use a few really fun, interesting and creative EFT exercises (Emotional Freedom Techniques) that help people discover—or re-discover—where their path with heart lies, to find out what’s in the way of moving down it, and to get on with where the life is for them.

Wishing you a free and joyous life,