Turning Bullies Into Enlightened Leaders

Bullies are made, not born, and yet, many of us, quite understandably, struggle to feel compassion for them. What then happensis that bullies lose their voice, often even their right to speak, except when they’re behaving like bullies.

So what happens when we go out of our way to give bullies a voice – and then, a chance to heal from the pain that is causing them to behave like bullies? It was the question The Tapping Solution Foundation got an opportunity to answer when we first began working with Shyla.

During her last year in middle school, Shyla had suddenly turned into a dark, brooding teenager. Now in high school, her grades had been on a downward spiral, and nearly every week she was being sent to the principal’s office for bullying.

Prone to rage-fueled outbursts,Shyla had become a source of disruption and frustration for teachers and administrators alike. Unfortunately, the ongoing negative attention she was getting – in the form of school detention, reprimands, and more – only seemed to worsenher attitude, behavior, and performance.

What few at her school initially realized was that Shyla’s transformationhad taken place soon after a shooting had taken place at her former school.Forced to remain still and quiet in the dark for five agonizingly long hours of city-wide lockdown, Shyla, then a middle schooler,had huddled alone under a desk listening for gunshots while helicopters flew overheadand sirensblarednearby.

Although she had survived that day, all these years later Shyla was being haunted by the trauma of that experience.To make matters worse, Shyla’s family life was unpredictable. Whether at home or school, Shyla felt she had nowhere to turn for supportand guidance.

Fortunately, one administrator at her current school looked into Shyla’s history. After realizing that Shyla had been caught in that shooting, the school reached out toThe Tapping Solution Foundation, which is increasingly being recognized for the success of its trauma relief programs in schools nationwide.

Soon after sitting down with Shyla, it was clear to Lori Leyden, Director of The Tapping Solution Foundation thatShylawas suffering from untreated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) incurred during the school shooting.

After explaining how tapping accesses the amygdala in the brain and then lowers cortisol levels in the body, Lori askedhow her body feels when she’s overcome by rage. Shyla described a burning sensation in her stomach, and an inability to think before acting out her rage.

Hoping to motivate her to do trauma-healing work, Lori asked Shyla what her goal was. Kids who are labeled as “bullies” are often punished, but rarely asked what they want or how they feel, so giving Shyla a voice in the process was critical.“I want to improve my grades so I can transfer to the school I want to go to,” Shyla replied without hesitation.

Whilemany of her teachers saw Shyla as an out of control problem student, it was clear that Shyla had done extensive independent research about attending this one specific school. In order to attend that school, however, she had to maintain a higher grade point average and receive positive reviews from teachers.

With that long-term goal clearly in mind, Lori then asked Shyla to focus on a petty annoyance she’d recently experienced. Before diving into trauma healing work, it’s important to experience some kind of results from tapping, as those initial results make people more invested in the process.

Shyla’s petty annoyance had happened a few days earlier, when her sister had borrowed Shyla’s favorite shirt without asking. Using that event as a starting point, Lori led Shyla through a few rounds of tapping. Within just a few minutes, Shyla could recall the event without feeling any irritation. She also shared that her body felt more relaxed.

Over a period of several weeks, Lori had weekly tapping sessions with Shyla, focusing on clearing the emotional intensity of her memories of the school shooting. When the focus turned to Shyla’s bullying behavior, it became clear that she, like many kids, had only begun bullying others after being continually bullied by a small group of students at her current school.

Her bullying was a coping strategy, a way to appear tough so that she herself would no longer be harassed.

There had been one especially traumatic day when a student had called her fat, and then ripped her shirt and pushed her into a nearby crowd to be publicly mocked. Just recalling that day, Shyla could feel rage burning in her stomach before racing up into her head. With that memory fresh in her mind, it took just two rounds of tapping to get Shyla’s rage from a 10 out of 10 down to a 2.

After releasing the emotional charge from these events and others, Shyla once again became a different kid. This time, however, the transformation was a reflection of her positive mental and emotional well-being. The next time she was bullied, instead of lashing out in rage, she stayed calm. She also reported the bullying to school administrators.

Her goal of getting into the other school was so important to her that, for the first time ever, Shyla was willing to risk being called a “tattle tale.”

Since then, Shyla has become a leader at her school. Teachers and administrators alike now see her as an example of the transformation they want to see in other students.

Once she’d used tapping to heal from the trauma of the school shooting she’d survived, Shyla no longer needed to use bullying behavior to defend herself. Instead, she can rely on positive forms of leadership to move her life and school community forward.

By giving Shyla a chance to heal and reclaim her voice, Shyla could see that she didn’t have to be victim to others’ bullying. Nor did she need to use bullying behaviors to protect herself. What a difference! 

I’m thrilled to share that The Tapping SolutionFoundation is doing this kind of work at a growing number of schools around the country, helping students, teachers and administrators to heal from trauma, and to support them all in fostering a positive environment for learning and social/emotional development. Just imagine what could happen if all children everywhere had easy access to the kind of healing that Shyla and her school community received.

Turning Adult Trauma into Healing for Childhood Wounds

How do you tell parents that their elementary school child was just shot to death at school? That was the challenge facing Dan, one of first responders at the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting that tragically took the lives of twenty children and six adults on December 14, 2012. Although trained to deliver this kind of news, Dan’s memories of that day had haunted him in the years since.

When Dan first sat down with Lori Leyden, Director of The Tapping Solution Foundation, they began tapping on the trauma of that day. Dan was suffering from a mental replay loop he couldn’t stop – images from the school that day, as well as the looks on parents’ faces when he delivered the tragic news about their children.

After a few rounds of tapping through those traumatic memories, Dan recalled a pivotal moment from his early childhood. It was the day when his mother had sat him down to tell him that his brother had been killed in a car accident. He’d never forgotten the look on his mother’s face that day. It was the same look he’d seen on the Sandy Hook parents’ faces.

While tapping, Dan realized that he’d made a promise to himself very early in life – that he would do anything, including abandoning himself and his emotions, to avoid seeing the look he’d seen on his mother’s face on anyone else, ever. As a result, when he’d seen that same look on the Sandy Hook parents’ faces, it had re-ignited the trauma of his brother’s young death.

As Dan continued tapping through these traumatic memories, he realized that the anger he’d been holding in since his brother’s death had been limiting his ability to feel joy. All these years, his energy had been consumed by keeping that anger inside, and as a result, he’d experienced ongoing challenges in his marriage, and in his relationships at work.

Once Dan had tapped through his anger, he no longer felt burdened by repressed emotions. He soon began to open up to the idea of feeling more love and connection with his wife, and with the children who had been lost during the Sandy Hook shootings.

Even as adults few things limit us more than unresolved childhood trauma. When those deep wounds are finally healed, the transformation that happens is profound and sweeping. Relationships improve, careers take off, and most importantly, people’s sense of their own value and worth returns. As was the case for Dan, daily life becomes an entirely new experience, and in all the right ways. J

So often, though, people get stuck before they take that critical first step – reaching out for help in releasing trauma. If you or a loved one is struggling to seek support in overcoming a childhood (or adulthood) trauma, here’s a short tapping script that may prove helpful:

First, take 3 deep breaths and notice how much resistance you feel around seeking out support in overcoming the trauma you or a loved one survived. Give that resistance a number on a scale of 0 – 10, with 10 being the highest intensity resistance you can imagine.

We’ll begin by tapping three times on the Karate Chop point:

KC: Even though I don’t want to face what happened, it’s just too terrifying, I accept how I feel.

KC: Even though I can’t seek out support to overcome this trauma, I just can’t face it, the pain is too great, I accept how I feel.

KC: Even though I can’t face this, it’s too excruciating and I really can’t look at it too closely, I accept how I feel.

Eyebrow: I just can’t face this
Side of Eye: It’s too much
Under Eye: I can’t look at this
Under Nose: I need to push it away
Under Mouth: This is too terrifying for me to look at
Collarbone: So many emotions I can’t face
Under Arm: This trauma is bigger than me
Top of Head: I just can’t face it

Eyebrow: There’s so much tied to this trauma
Side of Eye: I feel paralyzed when I think of it
Under Eye: I just want to push it away
Under Nose: But pushing it away isn’t working
Under Mouth: I can’t seem to get rid of it
Collarbone: I know I can’t release it on my own
Under Arm: But I’m so scared to seek out support
Top of Head: I’m so scared what will happen if I face this

Eyebrow:  I know I need to, though
Side of Eye: I know I can’t do this on my own
Under Eye: I know I need help
Under Nose: I want help
Under Mouth: But it’s so scary to seek it out
Collarbone: Maybe that’s okay
Under Arm: Maybe it’s normal to be afraid
Top of Head: Maybe I can seek out support anyway

Eyebrow: Maybe I can face what happened
Side of Eye: And my first step can be to seek out support
Under Eye: It’s okay that part of me is resisting this
Under Nose: I can still seek out support
Under Mouth: I can seek out support for overcoming what happened
Collarbone: I can allow myself that opportunity to let go of this
Under Arm: I don’t have to let this fear stop me
Top of Head: Allowing myself to feel safe in seeking out support now

Take a deep breath and check in with your resistance to seeking out support from overcoming trauma now. Where is it on a scale of 0 – 10 now? Continue tapping, if you like.

The Key to Being An Effective Change Agent

A passionate and dedicated educator, Barbara had spent years advocating for special needs children in schools. When the Sandy Hook shooting took place in her town, however, Barbara’s entire world was shaken. After spending hours in lockdown that day, she’d felt powerless, overwhelmed by guilt that her efforts had failed to prevent this incredible trauma. How could the shooter have fallen through the system? she wondered. Consumed by guilt, she felt that she had failed all those who had been lost that day.

As time wore on and her guilt intensified, Barbara began having panic attacks. This formerly active, social woman soon began to withdraw from her colleagues and students, as well as friends and family. As more time passed, her panic attacks became so severe that she’d been unable to return to the school where she’d worked.

Thanks to the support of The Tapping Solution Foundation, Barbara had one tapping session that changed her life. By using tapping to process and release the traumatic guilt she was feeling, Barbara was able to identify the core issue behind her panic attacks – a belief about being “not good enough” that she’d been carrying since early childhood.

After tapping on releasing that belief, Barbara’s panic attacks stopped. She also began advocating for special needs kids in schools again. This time, however, she took a different approach. Instead of focusing on what was broken in the current system, she began to approach her work from a more positive perspective.

Using this more balanced, healing vantage point, she’s become a more powerful change agent. As a result, her work is having a bigger impact than before the shooting. In addition to helping special needs children, she is now helping an entire community and school system to heal.

Barbara’s story is a powerful testament to what can happen when we stop resisting what we want to change, and instead, become part of the change process. Instead of pointing fingers at what’s wrong, we can get involved in a deeper way. We can make ourselves accessible to the system or process we aspire to change, and in doing so, support true and sustainable transformation, which almost always happens from the inside out.

Is there an institution or process you aspire to transform? If so, are there any beliefs you’re holding onto that could get in your way – for instance, about a system that’s “broken,” or a process that “can never work”? Take out a pen and paper and write down any resistance you experience about the way things are now.

When you’re done writing the list, read through it and notice how true these beliefs feel. Pick one or two beliefs that feel very true – say, that a system you’d like to change is “broken” – and give it a number on a scale of 0 – 10 with 10 being totally true, and 0 being not true at all.

Now, let’s do some tapping to lower your resistance to how things are now. Keep in mind, this exercise isn’t intended to make you complacent about the current system or process or organization you aspire to change. Instead, it’s intended to allow you a more balanced perspective so that you, like Barbara, can become a more powerful change agent.

To begin take three deep breaths. We’ll begin by tapping three times on the Karate Chop point:

KC: Even though I see no good in this system/process/organization I yearn to change, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

KC: Even though I can’t see anything positive about this system/process/organization I yearn to change, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

KC: Even though the system/process/organization I yearn to change looks so broken, I just can’t see any good in it, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

 

Eyebrow: All I see is how broken this is
Side of Eye: All I can see are the problems
Under Eye: There’s nothing good about this system/process/organization
Under Nose: It needs a complete overhaul
Under Mouth: There’s just nothing good about it as it is now
Collarbone: I’m so mad about how broken it is!
Under Arm: It’s got to change!
Top of Head: I hate how it is now

Eyebrow: All this anger…
Side of Eye: Maybe it’s time to let it go
Under Eye: There are so many problems with this system/process/organization
Under Nose: But I can’t change it with all this anger in me
Under Mouth: I’ll only see the bad things when I’m feeling this angry
Collarbone: Letting go of this anger now
Under Arm: Releasing this need to focus only on what’s wrong
Top of Head: Allowing myself to see some positives, as well

Eyebrow: I can’t transform what I’m determined to resist
Side of Eye: It’s time to open up to some good
Under Eye: To allow myself to see the positive when it appears
Under Nose: To allow myself a more balanced perspective
Under Mouth: And to allow that balance to make me a more powerful change agent
Collarbone: I can allow myself to notice good things, even if they’re very small ones, in the current system/process/organization
Under Arm: And to then use those bright spots as impetus for positive, sustainable change
Top of Head: I am a positive and powerful change agent!

Take a deep breath, and look back at your list of beliefs around the system/process/organization you desire to change. How true do those beliefs feel now? Continue tapping, if you’d like.

Releasing This Emotion Is Key To Personal Transformation

Imagine dropping your children off at school, and then leaving the building just before hearing gunshots going off inside the school. That was what happened to Robert right after delivering his two young children to Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.

Stuck in the parking lot outside the school where the shootings were taking place, Robert had been traumatized throughout the four hours of city-wide lockdown. Feeling terrified and powerless, he’d spent that time not knowing what was happening, unsure whether his children, as well as the rest of the children and staff, had survived.

Two years later, Robert’s memories of that day were still vivid. As he began tapping with Lori Leyden, Director of The Tapping Solution Foundation, it was clear that Robert, like so many in the community, had been severely traumatized that day. He’d since withdrawn from friends and family, convinced that he was alone in his struggle to cope with daily life.

While tapping on the events and emotions he’d experienced that day at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Robert recalled a car accident that had nearly taken his life many years before, when he was still an adolescent.

After that accident, Robert had made a promise to God that he would clean up his act and be a better person. Blinded by shame, Robert had stood outside of Sandy Hook the day of the shooting wondering if he was being punished for his failure to clean up his act.

After one session of tapping on releasing the shame he’d felt since that car accident, Robert could see that he’d been given a second chance. Since that car accident, he’d locked himself inside this belief that he deserved to feel shame. After tapping on releasing these emotions and beliefs, Robert began to experience joy again.

For the first time since adolescence, he feels fully present in his everyday life, able to be more open, available and loving in his marriage, and as a father and community member.

Shame is a sneaky, often hidden emotion that keeps us stuck, unable to move toward what we desire. Brené Brown, shame researcher and best-selling author of The Gifts of Imperfection, sums it up this way:

“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we’re capable of change.”

When we feel shame, we’re invested in beliefs about the kind of person we are. For Robert, that meant believing he was bad and undeserving of love, family, and happiness. With shame clouding his vision, the bad things in his life felt like punishment for the kind of person he had been. Once he’d used tapping to release that shame, however, he could see that shame was an emotion he was feeling, not a summary of who he is or what he deserves to experience in his life.

Are you holding onto shame about something in your past? Do you believe you can’t change? If so, take the time to tap on releasing any shame you’re feeling, as well as any limiting beliefs about the kind of person you are, or the kind of life you deserve to live.

Releasing Guilt, Finding Connection, Love & Light

Cynthia’s house had always been a neighborhood favorite. A fun-spirited woman who loved children, she was close friends with several neighborhood moms, and always welcomed their kids into her home with open arms. Although childless herself, Cynthia often helped out by occasionally filling in on school drop-offs and pick-ups for her friends’ children.

It had therefore come as no surprise when one morning a couple of years ago, Cynthia got a desperate call from a close neighbor friend asking if Cynthia could walk her son to school that day. The boy’s sister was sick, and their doctor’s appointment was at the same time as her son’s school drop-off. Cynthia happily agreed to fill in.

On her way home from dropping her friend’s son off at school that day, Cynthia felt a sudden onset of anxiety. “It seemed odd at the time,” she recalled, “but I remember wanting to return to the school and bring him back to my house for the day.”

Later that day, Cynthia got a call that changed her life forever. There had been a shooting at the school, she was told, and her neighbor’s son, the boy she’d walked to school that very morning, had been killed in the crossfire.

Ever since that call, Cynthia had felt frozen. Rarely able to sleep, prone to panic attacks, and overwhelmed by survivor’s guilt, Cynthia wept as she repeated the phrase that had been continually running through her brain for nearly two years straight: “I delivered him to his death.”

Led by Lori Leyden, Director of The Tapping Solution Foundation, Cynthia did multiple tapping rounds while repeating that sentence. As tears rolled down her face, she realized that this guilt had been with her far longer than she’d realized.

Many years earlier, Cynthia had been forced to surrender her own newborn for adoption. The trauma of that event had been reignited by the tragedy that had happened at her neighborhood school.

Within just one session, Cynthia was able to use tapping to release that guilt, and began to regain her energy and reconnect with her desire to help her friends, as well as her larger community, to heal from this tragedy.

After that session, Cynthia’s panic attacks, insomnia, and depression all stopped. Instead, Cynthia has been able to use tapping to help those around her to heal from the trauma they all underwent the day of the shooting. Although those lost will never be forgotten, they are now creating a future that will honor their memory of the beloved little ones lost that day.

Are you holding onto guilt about something in your life? What might change if you were able to fully release that guilt? So often, guilt is an unconscious way of punishing ourselves. In so doing, however, guilt keeps us stuck in a past we can’t change. When we’re able to release guilt on emotional and physical levels, we can do what our guilt never could – support ourselves and others through the healing process.

Take a moment now to do some tapping on any guilt you may feel, and then allow yourself to release what is no longer serving you or anyone around you.

Quieting the Ripple Effects of Trauma

One of the central tenets of trauma relief work is understanding how quickly trauma can spread. While those at the center of a trauma may be most severely affected, the larger community typically also suffers from trauma symptoms that are more subtle and harder to detect.

Keenly aware of how this phenomenon had been playing out in Newtown, CT since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting took place in December 2012, The Tapping Solution Foundation recently offered a parents’ workshop to the larger community.

The group that came together during this workshop was comprised of eleven moms. None of these women knew each other, and none had lost children or been physically present during the shootings. Yet all of them had spent the past two years living in a hyper vigilant state, wracked by intense fear, anxiety, and survivor’s guilt.

For nearly two years all of these women had felt responsible for the lives of their children, husbands, friends and community. They expressed the incredible overwhelm they had all felt, as well as the guilt they had felt for feeling overwhelmed. They were, after all, the lucky ones, the ones whose families were still intact. Who were they to buckle under a trauma that had affected other families so much more deeply than their own?

One by one, they each expressed that they felt they couldn’t let their guards down, because if they did, they would fall apart. If that happened, who would take care of everyone they’d been caring for?

As each parent voiced how she was feeling, Lori Leyden, Director of The Tapping Solution Foundation, asked if anyone else was feeling that particular way. Each time, hands around the room shot up. After explaining that these are all common experiences in trauma survivors, the group began tapping together.

Through tapping, they began to reconnect with their bodies, and then release the incredible fear, anxiety and guilt they had been feeling for the previous two years. Finally, they could feel safe in their own bodies again, and let go of the need to try to control everything inside and around them. Instead of trying to survive alone, they could come together and support each other in healing and moving their lives and the entire community forward.

“As each person voiced their own truth,” Lori explained, “they experienced a deep sense of connection with everyone in that room, and realized they weren’t alone at all. And that in itself is another miracle.”

Trauma survivors often isolate themselves as a way of avoiding additional pain. While that isolation can serve a purpose by helping to keep ourselves and others safe, over time that isolation becomes an additional source of pain. That’s why it’s so important to join together with like-minded people and give a voice to what previously seemed unspeakable – our experience, emotions, and beliefs – to create a community that supports healthy emotional release and healing from trauma.

Moving Forward After Trauma Strikes

For the previous 25 years teaching had felt like Kevin’s life’s work, a career he had woken up to happily and pursued passionately. When a shooting happened at his school, however, his entire life seemed to turn upside down. During the few years since that unforgettable day, Kevin had begun to question his teaching, and the role it played in his life.

Since the shooting, student apathy had been at an all-time high. School administrators were doing little to address the problem, and parents were still so overwhelmed by the trauma they and their families had undergone, they were overtly allowing children to skip homework and studying.

In all his years of teaching, Kevin had never felt so frustrated and hopeless. Each day he faced his class, he walked away terrified that he would have to end his decades-long career with a total failure to engage his students.

When Lori Leyden, Director of The Tapping Solution Foundation, first sat down with Kevin, he shared details of the trauma that he, his colleagues, and students experienced the day of the shooting. Although a few years had passed, the details were still vivid in his mind. Kevin felt that the school, and its surrounding community, had been broken that day, and he didn’t know whether it would ever be healed.

It was the first time in his life that Kevin had felt like a failure, and it wasn’t until tapping through those feelings that he realized why he was struggling so acutely. While tapping, Kevin remembered a long forgotten memory of his parents telling him that failure wasn’t an option.

A young boy at the time, Kevin had understood that he wasn’t allowed to fail, and so he hadn’t. A hard worker who had applied himself to pursuits he loved, Kevin had been successful at almost everything he had done in his life. The overwhelming apathy he was now facing among his students was the first major obstacle he wasn’t sure he could overcome.

After tapping on and releasing his belief that he wasn’t allowed to fail, Kevin’s hopelessness and frustration quickly faded. He could once again access the incredible creativity and resourcefulness that had fueled his teaching for all these years. Before the session was over, Kevin had decided to take a new approach with his students the following day.

The next time he walked into class, he got the class’ attention and did something he’d never done. He shared his frustration about the apathy throughout the school with his students, and expressed his desire to support and connect with them to overcome it together.

From that point forward, with the consent of their parents, Kevin began tapping with his students often. In just a few short weeks, he and his class created a renewed sense of community and connection. It was the first time since the shooting that the students seemed engaged.

Since then, Kevin’s approach has been adopted by other teachers in the school. There’s now a renewed sense of hope and healing at Kevin’s school. Thanks to his dedication, students, parents, teachers and administrators alike are all using tapping to heal from the incredible trauma they survived.

Kevin’s story is a powerful testament to something we at The Tapping Solution have seen countless times. When the world around us seems to fall apart, we can’t move forward until we dig deep inside ourselves. By healing our inner wounds, we free ourselves to access the countless resources we already possess. That’s when we can move forward to create an abundant and fulfilling future.

If you or a loved one is feeling the effects of past trauma, seek out the help you need and commit to healing, using tapping to release the trauma on emotional, mental and physical levels. For guidance, feel free to begin with our tapping practitioners page here.

Helping School Children Thrive

What happens when we give children a chance to develop emotionally and mentally, as well as academically, within the school environment? Traditionally viewed as places of learning, the biggest challenges students face often have little to do with the curriculum. Instead, factors like test anxiety, classroom dynamics, social pressures, as well as bullying, issues at home, and in some cases, trauma, can have the largest impact on how students perform.

Eager to support students in managing their emotional well-being, The Tapping Solution Foundation designed a short, simple program that would be easy for schools to incorporate into their packed schedules. The Foundation then offered that program to Pacific Grove Middle School in Pacific Grove, CA, curious to see what kind of impact it would have.

Before the school rolled the program out to students, teachers were given a training session in tapping. During that training, school staff and teachers were taught how to tap, as well as how tapping impacts the body, relieving stress by lowering cortisol levels in the body.

Once the teachers had been trained, the only change to school routines happened at the start of each school day, when the 11 and 12-year old students come together for homeroom. Instead of jumping directly into the day’s announcements, teachers began each morning’s homeroom with a six-minute group tapping meditation.

During that time, teachers, students and staff did tapping on releasing stress and anxiety, and then ended by tapping on setting positive intentions for kindness, gratitude, and achieving specific academic goals that day.

Within the first two weeks of this daily practice, student social and test anxiety went down, test scores improved, and behavioral issues among students decreased. Teachers, students, and staff also noticed that special needs children were self-regulating better. Bullying also went down as cooperation and productivity went up.

Before long, these tapping meditations had had such an effect on the students, teachers, and staff that tapping became a central part of the classroom culture. When a student was having a bad day, it was common for another student to suggest that the entire class pause to tap with that student. Similarly, students began suggesting they all tap together when a teacher seemed to be having a bad day.

As a result, students are continuing to perform better on all levels – academically, socially and emotionally. Relationships within and beyond the classroom have also dramatically improved. It’s been a huge shift, all from just six minutes of tapping per day.

Thanks to the overwhelming success of the program in Pacific Grove, it has since been expanded, and is now active in schools in Hawaii, New York State, Connecticut and beyond.

To learn more about the work we’re doing in schools and elsewhere, visit TheTappingSolutionFoundation.org website here.

Healing the Healers

A school counselor, Julie had felt utterly powerless in her role since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Overwhelmed by the magnitude of the trauma she, her school and the entire community of Newtown, CT had survived that day, Julie felt hopeless, unable to fix the school and community she cared so much about.

As months went by, the emotional strain she was experiencing grew increasingly acute. Eventually, Julie had to be rushed to the hospital, where she was promptly diagnosed with a serious heart condition.

Struggling to recover from the trauma physically, mentally and emotionally, Julie began tapping sessions with The Tapping Solution Foundation. In spite of the severity of her diagnosis, she hadn’t been following her doctor’s advice for self-care, and it wasn’t until she began tapping that she was able to understand why.

As with many survivors that day, Julie’s traumatic experience during the shootings had awoken unresolved pain from childhood. Having grown up with a brother who was addicted to drugs, as early as 11 years old, Julie had learned two painful lessons: 1) that she couldn’t count on anyone, including adults, to help or care for her; and 2) that by trying to fix the people and circumstances around her, she could control them.

Since the shootings at Sandy Hook, however, neither of these lessons had served her. The frightened 11-year old girl inside her was screaming out for help, but had no one to rely on. As time passed, she had felt increasingly frozen, unable to move her life forward, and too traumatized to care for herself or others.

After her second serious heart incident led to another emergency hospital visit, Julie realized while tapping that her childhood experiences had taught her to stuff down her emotions. Her body was now buckling under the pressure of the emotions she’d been repressing since childhood.

During a series of four or five tapping sessions, Julie was able to see how much energy she’d put into resisting her own emotions. It was a huge Aha! moment when she realized that her heart was literally breaking open, crying out for a chance to express what she was feeling. Using tapping, Julie realized that she could let herself feel her emotions as a way of taking control over her health and wellness in a healthier way.

As healers, we sometimes forgo the opportunity to tend to our own emotional and mental well-being in order to be of greater service to others. There can also be a subtle pressure for healers to be, or at least appear, like we’ve evolved beyond everyday emotional challenges. The thinking goes, if I struggle or feel in any way overwhelmed by my own issues, how can I possibly heal others? Without realizing it, we may use these limiting beliefs about needing to be “perfect” to rob ourselves of the chance to process and release the challenging events and emotions we inevitably experience.

Ironically, these beliefs around needing to be “perfect” to be true healers then prevent us from reaching our true potential as healers. In reality it’s only when we allow ourselves the chance to heal our own wounds, as Julie did, that we can become the evolved healers we aspire to being. In other words, it’s because of our challenges and imperfections, not in spite of them, that our healing work has such an impact.

Are you, or a loved one, a healer who feels the need to be a “perfect” in order to heal others? Notice any beliefs and emotions that come up when you think about taking time to accept your imperfections and tend to your own emotional and mental well-being. How intense do those beliefs and emotions feel on a scale of 0 – 10? Give them a number.

Now take three deep breaths. We’ll begin by tapping three times on the Karate Chop point:

KC: Even though I feel the need to maintain perfect emotional and mental well-being in order to be a true healer, I deeply and complete love and accept myself.

KC: Even though I feel pressured to be perfect in order to heal others, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

KC: Even though I feel the need to be perfect in order to be a true healer, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

Eyebrow: I have to be perfect
Side of Eye: How can I be a healer if I’m struggling?
Under Eye: I can’t heal others if I’m not healed myself
Under Nose: All this pressure to be perfect
Under Mouth: It’s so overwhelming
Collarbone: But I have to be perfect to heal others
Under Arm: All this pressure to be perfect
Top of Head: It’s suffocating me

Eyebrow: I hate this pressure
Side of Eye: But I don’t see how I can get rid of it
Under Eye: I can’t see how to be a true healer unless I’m perfect
Under Nose: But I don’t feel perfect
Under Mouth: How can I heal others when I’m not perfect?
Collarbone: So much pressure to be perfect in order to heal others
Under Arm: I feel so overwhelmed by it
Top of Head: This pressure isn’t helping me

Eyebrow: It’s just making me feel inadequate
Side of Eye: I hate this pressure
Under Eye: Maybe I don’t need to be perfect
Under Nose: Maybe not being perfect makes me a better healer
Under Mouth: It fosters empathy and understanding
Collarbone: I don’t need to be perfect to be a true healer
Under Arm: Not being perfect makes me an even better healer
Top of Head: Releasing this need to be perfect now

Take a deep breath, and check back in with your feeling that you need to be perfect to be a true healer. How true does that belief feel now on a scale of 0 – 10? Continue tapping, if you like.