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Vietnam US Veteran

Don’s Story, as told by his coach:

“Don” is a 61 year old Vietnam veteran who has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. We worked together for a total of six EFT session hours, as part of the National Institute for Integrative Healthcare study of veterans with PTSD.

Since returning from Vietnam, “Don” did not have one night of uninterrupted sleep. He usually went to bed between 9:30pm and 10:30pm, and got up between 8:15am and 10:00am, feeling fatigued. In this 10-12 hour time period that he spent in bed, he was woken up by horrific nightmares at least twice per night. He never slept more than 1-2 hours at a stretch, and never more than 4-5 hours total – for forty years…

Our first session took only 20 minutes, as this was all that “Don” could handle that day. Before we started with EFT, he said his thoughts were like bumper cars, bouncing all over, but the tapping helped him relax and release the tension in his mind. It also stopped the tremors and shaking that are symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. We tapped on finding peace with the war and peace with Vietnam. After this brief session, his sleep already greatly improved: He now slept 6-7 hours, woke up twice briefly, and felt rested instead of fatigued.

In our second session we worked through the traumatic memory of having shot someone’s arm off two weeks before he returned home from Vietnam. His sadness and guilt for the Vietnam soldier was overwhelming and had followed him for forty years. The Vietnamese had raised his weapon in front of him, and Don wasn’t sure if he wanted to give up or shoot at him, so he shot first. This happened two weeks before he was supposed to return home. We released the sadness and guilt using the gentle EFT techniques, the tearless trauma, sneaking up on the problem and the movie technique, and tapped on deserving forgiveness.

In his email the morning after the session, Don reported: “Sleep is improving, no nightmares last night. My overall energy has been on an upswing. My hands still shake, but not as much, I’ve been tapping on the shakes and it seems to help. I think what we’ve worked on is quite amazing. Thanks, “Don”.

The third session dealt with a very traumatic event – his best friend, who usually walked to the left of “Don”, this time took his right side while scanning the jungle. When he got shot, “Don” felt that his friend had caught the bullet for him and never forgave himself for this. It didn’t matter that he received a bronze star for the dangerous rescue efforts that he made to save his friend’s life, “Don” felt that this was undeserved as he couldn’t save him, and after all these years still cried about the loss and guilt. The images of turning his friend, whom he loved like a brother, over, and seeing his head exploded, haunted him daily.

After using EFT on this memory, he realized that if he had caught the bullet, and his friend survived, he would have forgotten and released him a long time ago. He would never expect or want him to feel the way he felt himself. This realization allowed him to finally find peace, love and forgiveness.

In his email he wrote: “Thank you for today’s session, I feel much more at ease. I slept for two full hours after the session, a fairly sound sleep, I couldn’t believe that it was for two hours, it seemed like only minutes. Thank you again for all your help…..”Don”

Two days later, “Don” had an intense dream relating to the death of his father, who had killed himself while driving drunk when Don was eighteen. So we worked through his trauma, releasing pain and guilt he had carried for more than four decades.

Sleep: By now, he was going to bed between 9:45 and 10:15, sleeping 7-8 hours, waking up briefly once or twice in between, but no more nightmares. He just rolled over, and went back to sleep. He woke up fairly refreshed between 7:30 and 8:15am. What an improvement for someone who had usually two serious nightmares each night and never got more than 4-5 hours!

In our fifth tapping session three days later, Don talked a lot about the improvements in his sleep and overall wellbeing. Then we tapped for the stress and feelings of lack of control resulting from the construction of his new home and people not doing what they were supposed to do. No more war memories came up for him! Reviewing his progress two weeks later, Don said, “I still think about Vietnam but it doesn’t seem to bother me.”

After 60 days, we did another session, and one more war memory came up: He had to identify comrades that had been killed and found in the jungle several days earlier. After tapping on all the aspects of what he saw and smelled and the disgust and nausea that he felt, he took a deep breath and stated: “Now the bad spirits are gone.” He had felt as if these dead men had always been with him, somehow, weighing him down and taking his breath away. Now he reported that he felt as if a huge weight is lifted of him, and he can breathe and think clearly.

Don’s voice has a very different sound now. It is clearer, lighter, and faster. There is less roughness and he laughs more. It is truly nice to hear the hope and confidence in his voice. His sleep has improved from getting 4-5 hours per night in a ten-hour time period, interrupted by an average of two nightmares, to getting an average of 7-8 hours with no nightmares, waking up refreshed.

Between the first session and his 30- and 60- day follow ups, “Don’s” scores for depression, anxiety, hostility and other psychological issues dropped gradually from 122 to 77. His PTSD score dropped from 65 to 34 after session 5, and remained there through the 30- and 60-day follow-ups.

He continues to tap on his Parkinson’s symptoms to keep the shaking under control. His wife has noticed that he seems happier and relaxed. He feels comfortable socializing now, and is a true believer in EFT.

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