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Grief to Gratitude: All about Aspects

Updated on November 28, 2012
Photo by pedrosimoes7
Photo by pedrosimoes7

How understanding aspects is the key to progress.

In my blog introducing the topic of EFT and grief (http://hub.me/aetul) I discussed the various emotions that are woven into the experience of grief. Gary Craig, founder of EFT, uses a kitchen table to describe how to work with a complex situation such as grief presents. In his analogy he describes collapsing a table by dealing with one leg at a time. That is how EFT practitioners work with grief.

For example, if a man has deep seated anger towards his Father for incidents that occurred in childhood and adolescence he will need to work on those incidents, perhaps coming to a perspective that allows him to forgive his Father, before he can move on in the grief process. Reducing the emotional charge around that issue allow the client to use more understanding, more compassion and thus reframe the situation.

This anger is one of the legs that keep us stuck in unhealthy grief. It also has several aspects - various situations that initiated and reinforced that feeling of resentment and anger. Some of these need to be dealt with individually.

It is not necessary to deal with every incident because of something called the Generalization Effect – if we deal with enough of the incidents the whole issue collapses in kind of a domino effect. Gary Craig talks about trees falling in a forest.

How will we know if we have dealt with enough aspects? If we have dealt with enough aspects, when we think about the person we are angry at or the incidents that caused the anger, we no longer have the intensity of emotion towards them.

EFT practitioners use something called a SUDS level – that stands for Subjective Units of Distress. It is a simple one to ten scale. The client is asked to think about the subject and rate the intensity of the feeling that is aroused. There are a variety of methods of getting the client to focus on the subject, but what is important is to point out either how much progress has been made on that issue or, conversely, how much needs to be done and if the current approach is not working. EFT practitioners have a bag of techniques for getting focused on issues.

The best outcome is a complete letting go of the resentment and anger and having it replaced with compassion – the Father is someone who suffered because of his own weakness, his own negative experiences, something in his upbringing that made him who he was. That letting go may open up a flood of emotion that is the start of healthy grieving.

He may also feel that he should feel more sorrow when his Father dies – he may feel some guilt at not feeling sadder (because there is still some anger?). Or the guilt may come from doing or not doing something that could have contributed to the outcome of death. That guilt is another aspect of grief.

Telling ourselves we should feel something does nothing. Emotions arise spontaneously when they are not blocked - and that is the main benefit of EFT.

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