April 28, 2020

Symptoms of Complex PTSD and How EFT Supports Healing

Dr. Lori Haskell, clinical Psychologist and professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, describes major symptoms of PTSD as noted in Rupert Ross’s book Indigenous Healing.

Complex PTSD differs from post-trauma from combat, disaster or assault in that victims are survivors of repeated traumas, including childhood abuse.

Symptoms include:

  • Substance abuse in a vain attempt to regulate emotional states
  • Significantly greater suicidality, self-harm, insomnia and sexual dysfunction
  • Chronic, low-grade depression, which is considered a ‘normal’ way to feel by victims
  • Disruptions in consciousness, memory, sense of self, attachment to others and the establishment of sound and durable boundaries within relationships
  • Reduced ability to trust one’s own judgment, assert needs or cope with others
  • Uncontrolled vacillation between pronounced dissociation and extreme fear
  • A sense of emotional numbness and retreat into silence
  • A smouldering anger

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), an evidence-based intervention that can be used as an effective and adaptable complement to psychotherapy, counseling, coaching and other mental health therapies. EFT or ‘tapping,’ as it is sometimes referred to, works to facilitate an immediate emotional calming while the client is tuned into a distressing past event or troubling current situation. Studies have demonstrated a significant decline in cortisol levels, reduction in cravings and measurable decrease in self-reported levels of distress.

EFT protocols uses a systematic approach to identifying all aspects of an emotional issue so that the client can be guided methodically and safely through traumatic memories avoiding abreaction, emotional overwhelm or needing to retreat from the issue.

EFT can be applied effectively by licensed mental health professionals and EFT coaches (certified EFT practitioners) alike.

The focus remains on the current emotional response without the need to analyze, grasp, or rationalize the remembered unresolved experience. Suppressed, often intense emotions including fear, grief and anger are allowed to surface and then quickly dissolved and integrated by tapping on specific acupuncture points to calm the nervous system and reduce tension in the body.

Studies have shown that these immediate changes are lasting, without the need to revisit the issue once substantially resolved through EFT tapping therapy.