Healing approaches

The power of EFT and matrix reimprinting: Working with your ECHO

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By Gemma Kennedy, transformational coach

I spent five intense, incredible days in Brighton recently completing a number of practitioner courses with Karl Dawson, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) Master and founder of the ‘matrix reimprinting’ approach, which builds on it. Here is an overview of some of the things I learned:

What is EFT?

EFT, which is also known as tapping, was first introduced to the public by Gary Craig in 1995. Craig found that tapping on the body’s meridian points with your fingertips released trauma and improved both mental and physical symptoms.

After sharing his knowledge, often for free, at large conferences and recorded training sessions, EFT spread around the world and is becoming increasingly popular as a tool in the rapidly-growing field of ‘energy psychology’. This term is used to describe the coming together of ancient Eastern wisdom with modern-day psychology and neurology. Often described as acupuncture without the needles, EFT can be useful for all kinds of issues, including anxiety, depression, phobias, and addictions.

Moreover, with scientists such as Bruce Lipton giving such ideas more credibility by demonstrating the link between emotional disharmony and physical dis-ease, EFT is now being used to deal with chronic illness more and more – and often with fascinating results. The publication of more than 55 peer-reviewed studies demonstrating the efficacy of tapping and other energy psychology approaches also means that its use is only expected to grow.

Dawson says: “In essence, with tapping, we verbally and energetically tune in to an issue – emotional, physical, mental or spiritual – and tap on several different acupoints on the body whilst repeating a reminder phrase about the issue. This then reduces the fight or flight signal from the brain and results in emotional and cognitive shifts.”

The beauty of EFT is that it can achieve powerful results in a shorter timeframe than many conventional talking therapies. What clients might spend months or even years talking about may be solved in a limited number of EFT sessions. Some issues take longer as a result of deep trauma or the persistent nature of core beliefs, but this is where ‘matrix reimprinting’ really comes into its own.

Inner child

How matrix reimprinting builds on EFT

While EFT can bring down the intensity of feeling surrounding particular issues, matrix reimprinting goes further by helping to create a harmonious picture around an event. Doing so raises an individual’s vibration and, according to Dawson, “floods your system with positive energy and beliefs every time you pull it up”.

These events could be either small or large traumas. But the idea is that, whether you experienced a natural disaster or were on the receiving end of a seemingly insignificant comment as a child, you will have formed a belief about yourself or the world that will continue to affect you until you find a resolution. Matrix enables you to do so without being re-traumatised, which can happen with some other therapeutic approaches.

Using EFT as the cornerstone, matrix reimprinting enables clients to work with their younger selves or ECHOs (Energetic Conscious Holograms). In other modalities, the ECHO is referred to as the inner child.

Many believe that, in the case of trauma, part of us splits off to protect ourself, while another part relives the event repeatedly as though it had never ended. It is this reliving of trauma that matrix can bring to an end, both because we stay separate from our younger selves during the session and because the memory is completed, allowing us to move forward.

To demonstrate how this approach works, I will share an example. For as long as Olivia could remember, she had experienced low self-worth and a negative body image. As a result, she had tried various therapies to little avail.

During a session, her therapist used EFT to tune into her body’s discomfort and asked her subconscious to take her back to a time when she had previously experienced the same feeling. A memory came up of when she was 20 and had been stood up on a date.

When asked for an earlier experience of the feeling, she was able to connect with a memory of when she was 13 and had been bullied during a physical education class because her classmates considered her “overweight”. She was next taken back to the age of six when one of her parents had shouted at her, telling her not to eat another biscuit or she would be “as big as a bus.”

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Working with your ECHO

By going back to that earliest memory and working with her ECHO, she was able to calm her younger self down and query what beliefs she had formed about herself that day. The ECHO told her that she felt unloveable and unattractive. Looking at the other memories in the same stream, she noticed how her later experiences had further compounded these beliefs.

Having identified the beliefs that little Olivia had formed, she was then invited to bring in anyone, or anything, who had helped support her. She talked about her granny, who reminded her that she was enough just the way she was, and her pet hamster who she felt loved her unconditionally.

She also told her ECHO that the way her parent had reacted that day was linked to their own issues rather than to Olivia herself. Once this picture was as positive as she could make it, Olivia was guided through the reimprinting process and asked to revisit the memory daily over the coming weeks to assist in re-wiring her brain. The aim was to cement her new beliefs of being loveable and of her body being good enough just as it was.

While these are likely to be deeply ingrained beliefs that would require more than one session in order to work through other reinforcing memories, the resolution and shift in perspective afforded to Olivia were still invaluable.

Hopefully it is clear that this approach is not about pretending a memory never happened. Instead it is simply about changing the meaning that is attributed to it, allowing us to change how we engage with the world moving forward.

I, for one, was certainly struck by the transformation experienced by both myself and my peers in only 30 to 60 minutes, a situation that makes the possibilities of matrix reimprinting potentially truly endless.

If you would like to find out more about the approach, Dawson has written a book entitled ‘Transform your Beliefs, Transform your Life’, which is available from both Hay House and Amazon.

Gemma Kennedy

Gem Kennedy is a Body Positive activist and transformational coach. Having started her first diet aged 10 and spent many years promising herself that this would be the year to lose weight and start living, a switch flicked in 2017 when she discovered the Body Positive and Fat Activist communities. After training as a transformational coach, she now specialises in coaching and mentoring clients both individually and in groups to help them shed the burden of today’s diet culture and feel confident enough to be in the world exactly as they are, right now.

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Healing approaches

Counselling: Embarking on a journey of self-discovery

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By Helen Preston, counsellor, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) expert and reiki practitioner.

People who come for counselling generally wish to understand either themselves or a situation, or both. The goal can, and often does, change as sessions progress, but therapy creates a safe, non-judgmental space where it is possible to discuss anything.

Current issues may spark off unresolved issues from the past. Areas of unhealed pain and suffering may come to the surface. When we as individuals try to process problems alone in our own heads, our viewpoint is often limited and we may feel stuck and hopeless. But therapy can offer a new perspective from which to find a solution.

The point is that we can only view the world from our own perspective, which is gained through experience. This may result in us thinking we are the only person in the world feeling the way we do and no one understands us or how we feel. It is a very lonely place to be.

But counselling offers an opportunity to be understood and, perhaps even more importantly, not to be judged simply for being who we are. After all, each one of us is a work in progress and has the capacity to grow and flourish. Therapy can help you move from merely surviving to thriving.

What should you expect?

The first session is often the hardest so it is important to feel at ease with your counsellor. You are seeing a stranger with the intention of sharing painful and intimate details about yourself and your life. I believe it is always important to acknowledge this situation and each client’s courage and vulnerability.

Therapy happens at a pace that the client dictates. It is like digging for a diamond and fresh insights are revealed as each new layer is exposed. So while it may not be possible to change the past, it can be healed. Such healing is a deeply personal process that clients are guided through by their therapist so they do not have to go it alone.

Only two things are required for the process to succeed: someone to speak their truth out loud and someone to hear it. Listening is key and it is vital for people to feel heard and for their therapist to be fully present as they experience often difficult emotions. This is about empathy not sympathy.

Counselling sessions last an hour and usually take place weekly, but the overall duration depends upon the issues and goals to be dealt with. As therapy progresses, sessions may take place at longer intervals, but flexibility is important.

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What issues do I focus on personally?

My clients are aged 14 upwards and come from a wide range of backgrounds. The common thread that runs between them though is that they feel stuck or unable to resolve a particular issue, with many suffering from depression or anxiety as a result.

There can be any number of reasons why people end up feeling how they do, which includes both internal factors and external events. Life can be a tricky journey, but my aim is to walk this part of their life beside them.

As a result, I take an integrated approach and explore the present, past and possible future situations. Sometimes simply talking about an issue and sharing the emotions it evokes can be enough to generate positive change. At other times, the situation is more complex and requires a range of therapeutic approaches over a longer period of time.

But on other occasions, talking is simply not enough. At such points, it is often beneficial to use Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping) to help release energy from the body, aid relaxation and relieve stress, before reframing the problem so that hopefully the subconscious will let the issue go.

Why did I become a counsellor?

As long as I can remember, people have shared their secrets with me. Friends said they felt safe confiding in me. Strangers that I met only briefly would tell me about private matters, adding “I don’t know why I told you that.”

But I have always been genuinely interested in other people, their stories and their life experiences. I have also always been aware of my own inner world – that part of us so few of us get to know either within ourselves or within each other.

So over the years, I have built on this framework to develop further self-understanding not only by attending seminars and workshops, but also by reading or sitting in the silence of meditation. I have likewise learned much from experience and from ‘feeling’ things for myself.

But when my children were in their early teens, I came to a crossroads in my life: continue my career in law or take a different path? Stick to the familiar or delve into the unknown?

So I retrained as a counsellor. I learned how to understand my own subconscious, challenge my self-limiting beliefs and heal old wounds. I learned how to empower myself and gathered the tools to help empower others. This approach fitted with my core beliefs and values as I felt I could really be of service to others.

But I am also aware that, while knowledge can be acquired in many different ways, wisdom comes from within. From an early age, we are all taught to conform to everything from family rules and values to the social norms of our birth place, school, workplace, religion, government and so on.

Sometimes these things work for us and sometimes they do not. But ultimately, I believe humans are hardwired to be happy, which makes it necessary to sift through these learned rules and values in order to see what fits us now – and that is the true aim of therapy.

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Helen Preston is a counsellor, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) expert and reiki practitioner. Her approach to therapy acknowledges the crucial inter-relationship of mind, body and spirit. Helen is a member of the National Counselling Society and has an Advanced Diploma in psychotherapy and counselling, a Diploma in Hypnotherapy and an EFT Master Practitioner certificate.