Many times it doesn’t take much to trigger someone around a specific trauma incident. Specific and extensive details of the trauma are not necessary to cause an adverse bodily reaction. Simply saying an “obscure” detail about the event can bring fearful emotions up in the body. Statements like, “I can vividly remember it. We were in the living room” or “The accident happened the day after my birthday,” have caused many of sick stomachs and chest pains.
The What and Why of Trauma Names (TN)
The unique beauty of EFT is that it isn’t necessary to delve deep into a trauma for the client to begin to feel some relief from Tapping – an exemplary testament of “Do No Harm.”
Occasionally, I simply have the person name the traumatic event so that he/she can wade into the Trauma Tapping instead of diving in head first. This is especially helpful if the person is resistant to “going back” there (you can read my blog about easing tapping anxiety here.) Additionally, this allows for the person to put distance between them and the event – that was then, I am now. Also, it helps me to reference the event with my clients, instead of saying things like, “the time your mother left you with your alcoholic father.” We have named it and Tapped on the charge around the name so at the very least, I can bring it up without the fear of throwing my client into a trauma reaction.
How to Create a Trauma Name (TN)
Like with everything in EFT, the Trauma Name needs to be the voice of the client. They come up with the TN and I let them know that this too can change over our sessions. We just need a starting point. It can be a word that represents the event, a date, a group of words, or simply something very general like “the event”. The goal is for the TN to be close enough to home to feel “true” in the body when they say it aloud but not so close to trigger overpowering emotions.
It can be something like “that day”, or contain slightly more details like “the attack“ or even a date -“September 11”.
Trauma names can also be used in other mediums for recovery, such as journaling. For example, one client took the trauma name she used, “That Day”, and made a poem about it to use as a send off:
That day, That day. You have shaped my life and held me prisoner, That day, That day you robbed me of joy and innocence. That day That day I had no one to protect me from you. That day, That day you had all power over me. But it’s no longer that day; it is Today (she inserted a sun here).
Then she created a document titled Today and it was almost like a journal or affirmation document listing overtime many of the good things in her life. She listed things that anchored her in the here and now. The funny thing is, at one point (after some time) she shifted the list from basic affirmations to starting to list the unexpected gifts/lessons that she received from That Day. And as we know, that is when a survivor turns into a thriver.