Exciting possibilities and discoveries often come when you least expect it.

I had never thought of using TappyBear, the winsome lovable stuffed toy with the EFT tapping spots on its face and upper torso, for the treatment of intractable traumas, in the therapy of –– adults. I had used the bear with children, and for certain current issues with adult clients, but the depth of this therapeutic toy's potential contribution for deeper ongoing issues that seem to resist therapy is a possibility that had not occurred to me until about a month ago.

I was speaking with an EFT practitioner, Al Rodee, a personal performance coach from Halifax, Canada, who told me of a surprising breakthrough he had witnessed in a client whose childhood sexual abuse issues had up until that point proven unreachable with ordinary EFT. Her emotions about her long ago abuse had seemed buried.

Because he had used TappyBear successfully the day before to clear up a bellyache in his five-year-old son who had resisted regular EFT tapping for this, Al acted on his intuition and decided to use this therapeutic EFT toy with a client of his, a woman suffering from the trauma of sexual abuse which had occurred long ago in her childhood.

When he presented the bear to her, the woman responded to it immediately, as most people do regardless of age –– they seem to feel the bear as a comforting presence, as though it were the spirit of EFT itself now embodied in a warm, friendly being.

Although she agreed to use the toy bear and liked him, she was reluctant to tap on the stuffed toy itself, so Al suggested that she place Tappy on a chair beside her. He then asked her to imagine the bear as her own self of seven years old, her age at the time of her first molestation.

He suggested she speak to her “seven-year-old self”, represented by the bear, and say anything she needed to say to her seven year old self. At first she was shy about doing this, but looking into the trusting and innocent eyes of the bear beside her, she found herself moved to speak to the child inside herself, "I'm so sorry I wasn't there to protect you.” she said to the child, “ Your mom didn't want to know what was happening. She wasn't there either."

Then she was able to answer, speaking through Tappy, as the little girl who was frightened by her abusing stepfather. "I'm so scared of him "she whispered.

Al describes her voice changing as she spoke through Tappy. It became the voice of a little girl, one who was beginning to find comfort. For some reason, the client was still resistant to tapping on the bear, but looking at the toy and tapping on herself, she experienced deep feelings of fear and sadness emerging that had not been experienced by her before.

Previously unexpressed emotions then began to emerge -- sadness, fear, and a strong sense of betrayal – and the tears gushed as she continuously tapped until she was finally able to reach a new and more stable place. The EFT therapeutic toy had allowed her to share what she had never been able to share before at any time during her adulthood -- the depth of a little girl’s pain.

This woman had to travel the next day but she e-mailed Al to tell him about the sense of lightness and relief she was now feeling about these incidents of her childhood. Her experience tapping with the bear and “feeling his acceptance” (actually it was her self-acceptance) had allowed her to feel, finally, safe.

Al commented that, “I think this happened because we’re not different from our children. We all need to be loved unconditionally. She found a ‘helper-protector’ in the bear, and this worked."

The therapeutic success he reported alerted me because I myself have many times experienced a new sort of EFT energy when holding the bear and tapping on him. I like to tap on his EFT spots.

He is soft and furry and so steady in his seeming acceptance of me, that he fulfills some deep longing that I suspect we all have with within us -- a longing for total, uncontaminated, simple understanding. I personally interpret the look in his eyes to be one of concern and innocent love. Perhaps that is because these things are what I most needed as a child, but I have not perceived that look in other stuffed toys, or dolls. Strangely, this appealing and somehow human-like bear seems to evoke a side of me that is deeply loving and understanding –– of myself.

Al’s experience sparked in me the idea of using TappyBear with a client of mine who has a history of continuing and unrelenting sexual abuse from her father from the time she was aged 3 up until 12 years old. It had been an ever present repeated abuse that amounted in effect to a form of sexual slavery. This woman, now in her early sixties, has suffered profoundly all her life from her terrifying childhood, and her life has been severely curtailed because of it. Not surprisingly, this prolonged series of traumas has left intractable scars.

Over the past year and a half, my use of EFT with her has helped this basically sensitive and very spiritual woman to reach a point of self acceptance which had been impossible for her before, but there was still a portion of the early trauma that was locked away from her. It seemed to be frozen, confined within a little box within herself, and unreachable through therapy. I wondered whether the bear could possibly help her as it had helped Al’s client who was also sexually abused.

This possibility seemed worth investigating. “Angelina” (not her real name) had bought a TappyBear at Christmas time at my suggestion, and had loved it from the moment she first saw it, their meeting felt to her like a “joining”. But she had never used Tappy therapeutically, and I thought it would be useful to ask her to work with “him” now while talking to me on the telephone (she lives some distance from me).

She was thrilled with this idea, and when the day came for her appointment she was holding Tappy in front of her as she began speaking to me on the phone.

As soon as she actually tapped on TappyBear (the first time she had ever done so) she reported that she felt something “different” about doing EFT when she was tapping on him, especially when she gazed into his “accepting eyes”. After one round of tapping, her voice seemed to lose its tension and became that voice of a thoughtful person of great depth –– which in fact she is. “You know what?” she commented, with a sense of wonder, "It’s different when I tap on Tappy, it’s difficult to explain, but I feel safe, as though I were at home."

Holding the bear while tapping on him, she was somehow able to feel what she referred to as “different” as she recalled the prolonged, terrifying moments of waiting, always expecting her father to open the door of her room (he had long ago broken the lock) but never knowing when he would do so and when he would enter the room. She had lived with an unceasing dread of his imminent abuse.

After several rounds of tapping with Tappy, however, she reported that something seemed, inexplicably, to be settling down. She was becoming able, through the comforting presence of the bear, to feel a peace within her that seemed to enable a different kind of processing.

“It's hard to describe,” she said, "but I feel clean and new, as though this is a new start." Then she added, "I have never had anything so profound happen to me."

After that, an anger suddenly started welling up in her. It was an anger so enormous it was initially terrifying. She described it as a wish, long hidden from herself, to strike out at her father and kill him in order to rid herself of this torture forever. Her anger was so tremendous, when it finally came, that it seemed to consume her.

I told her to, "Look into Tappy’s eyes and ask him to absorb your anger and transmute it...Can you do that?”

Angelina then held the bear in front of her as she spoke and tapped on, "Even though I want to kill my father for all that, I ask Tappy to absorb my anger and transmute it.”

She tapped several rounds asking this of Tappy, and then commented, “I can actually feel him doing this - absorbing the anger and making it change. He seems to be able to transmute my anger into…love –– it is changing into love, for me.”

The experience of having Tappy absorb her anger and her enormous negativity without judgment was extremely comforting to her, and as she continued to tap, she conceived of the idea of writing out the words, “I choose to have Tappy absorb my negativity and convert it into love” on a little card and tying it around Tappy’s neck so that she could see those words every time she passed by the bear in her home.

In fact, she did just this after our phone session and the result was profound. After she had set up the bear in her home with the little note on his neck, she described her reactions by saying, “ You know what? It seems as though the more pain I ask him to transmute, the more love he gives back to me. It's as though a little miracle had happened.”

Then she reminded me that, “I was an only child and so awfully alone, and my mother wouldn't let me tell her about this or even suggest that it was happening.”

Tapping along with Tappy and repeating the EFT phrases, she felt that this was “not a one-way street. We’re together and I feel a commitment. I’ve never felt such emotions before, and he absorbs them, and makes me feel safe.”

Working with this therapeutic bear has resulted in a breakthrough for Angelina, a connection with a part of herself –– the lonely terrified child who had nowhere to turn and no one to tell about what was happening –– and now she was doing this in the presence of a “protector”. She now has an understanding helper and protector (in Tappy) that she did not have as a child and is in contact with a warm compassionate part of herself that seems to act like a “savior” to herself. This is doing more for her than all the previous EFT had done, and all the skill I could bring to working with her in the past.

It was after I had watched Angelina’s response to him that I realized the immense power of the totally accepting, unconditionally loving presence that Tappy seems to represent for so many people. I have since had more of these deeply gratifying experiences using Tappy with adults and am using the bear regularly now with adult clients. I have repeatedly seen this heal the wounded child within them.

I will report in this newsletter about some other unusual uses of TappyBear at another time, but tentatively I suggest that, with the advent of TappyBear, we may be glimpsing the possibility of moving up to a higher floor of greater perspective and hope in the Healing High-Rise which Gary Craig has referred to when talking about EFT's potential.

All I can say now is:

“All hail to the loving spirit embodied in and represented by a simple and wonderful stuffed bear...”

Author's Bio: 

Psychologist Dr. Patricia Carrington is an internationally acclaimed authority on stress management. She is the author of three leading books in the self-development field (published by Doubleday, William Morrow and Harper-Collins respectively) and is a major popularizer of leading edge self-help methods. She has received the coveted National Mental Health Association Award for the “best approach to stress management in corporate settings”. Dr. Carrington is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, New Jersey and one of the leaders in the fast-growing field of Energy Psychology, a new frontier in alternative medicine. She makes it easy to conquer emotional overeating by counteracting the hidden emotions that can defeat any diet.