CJ Puotinen
EFT Coach and Trainer


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Lifelong asthma and its dog-phobia core issue cleared in 10 minutes

by CJ Puotinen

(This report was published in Gary Craig's online newsletter June 16, 2006.)

The Hudson Valley Visiting Pet Program is an Animal-Assisted Therapy organization in which volunteers and their calm, friendly dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and other pets visit hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and other facilities in New York and New Jersey.

I am the program’s codirector and I teach EFT workshops as fund-raisers to support our recruiting and training. In the workshops, our volunteers and their pets help demonstrate how to use EFT for the benefit of animals using both direct and surrogate tapping.

On March 11, 2006, we ran a Level 1 EFT workshop that Holly Anne Shelowitz attended. Holly is a nutrition counselor and whole foods chef in Kingston, New York. Holly gave me permission to tell her story and requested that her real name be used.

That afternoon, we brought some of our therapy dogs into the classroom for our “EFT for pets” demonstration. First I had my Labrador Retriever, Chloe, come out of her portable crate and invited our 55 students to come close so they could see how she sits with her eyes closed and head back, blissed out, while I tap on the top of her head with one hand and the front of her chest with the other. I usually use this combination for our setup phrases. Chloe is a great model who enjoys having her face tapped using the standard EFT points, and I usually tap on either side of her spine as well.

Chloe returned to her crate for a nap and we brought in Luna, a Doberman Pinscher puppy, who was being trained for therapy work. She made a brief appearance and left the room. Next came Primo, a Portuguese Water Dog; Topsy, a Standard Poodle; and Booka, a Miniature Dachshund. These dogs and their handlers sat in the back of the room, one on each side and one in the middle.

While the dogs were getting settled, I realized that Holly was standing next to me, facing the class, backing away from the group, and she looked extremely uncomfortable.

When I asked how she felt, she said, “I’m really allergic to dogs. I get asthma whenever I’m around them.”

I said, “How are you right now on a scale from 1 to 10?”

“Well,” she replied, “I’ve got my hand in my pocket on my asthma inhaler, and I’m about to take it out and use it.”

I said, “I guess you’re on your way from a 9 to a 10,” and she agreed.

I told the class, “This is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to improve our breathing while we tap with Holly, who is having an asthma attack. Let’s all of us start tapping on our karate chop points while we focus on our breathing problems.”

At once people started volunteering. “There’s early pollen in the air, and I’m allergic to pollen.”  “I think there must be mold around here somewhere, there’s been so much rain. I’m really sensitive to mold.”  “I’m coming down with a cold, so my breathing is getting restricted.”  “I have trouble breathing anyway, so this is nothing new.”

I asked everyone to take two or three deep breaths to prepare the lungs, then take a very deep breath while comparing it to their maximum deep breath. On a scale of 0 to 10, how deeply were they breathing, with 10 being the maximum? Most people reported numbers between 3 and 8. (This is Gary Craig’s restricted breathing exercise, which he recommends as a way of introducing EFT to groups and individuals.)

We all tapped together on our karate chop points while saying:

Even though there’s pollen in the air, there are dogs in the room, I’m allergic to mold, I’m allergic to pollen, I’m coming down with a cold, I’m allergic to dogs, I have asthma, I can’t breathe, my breathing is shallow, my lungs barely inflate, it’s hard to breathe, breathing is an effort, breathing is difficult, I don’t get enough exercise, my lungs have forgotten how to inflate fully, I lead a sedentary shallow-breathing life, no wonder I’m dying from oxygen deprivation, my body is starved for oxygen, no wonder I wheeze and gasp for breath, and no wonder I’m afraid to go out and live life to the fullest, but I deeply and completely accept myself anyway.

These setups took shallow or impaired breathing to its logical extreme. People relaxed and laughed as they tapped for their inability to breathe deeply. I was standing next to Holly where I could see her, make eye contact with her, and clearly hear her breathing.

We tapped on the EFT points while repeating “problem” reminder phrases: can’t breathe, pollen, mold, shallow breathing, stuck breathing, hard to breathe.

After three rounds of tapping, people reported signficant improvement, including Holly, whose discomfort had fallen from a 10 to a 6 or 7 and whose lung capacity had increased from a 1 to a 5 or 6.

We started another round of tapping at the karate chop point by saying:

Even though I still have some breathing problems, I deeply and completely accept myself anyway.

Even though this asthma, these allergies, this discomfort, these breathing problems are still with me, I forgive myself and my lungs, which are doing the best they can.

We tapped on the EFT points using reminder phrases like: this remaining asthma, these remaining allergies, this remaining breathing problem, etc.

After three long rounds of tapping, I asked Holly how she felt, and she looked happy and surprised. “It’s gone,” she said. “It’s completely gone. I’m at a zero. I feel fine. The asthma has completely disappeared!”  Everyone else reported improvement, too.

Booka, the Miniature Dachshund on the right side of the room, was the dog closest to us, so I asked Holly if she would be comfortable walking a little closer to him. She was willing, so we moved toward him. Holly was completely relaxed and at ease until we got within about 15 feet of Booka, and she suddenly bounced back, as though she had walked into a wall. Her voice cracked, her face got very tense, and she was having trouble breathing.

Holly and I stood back where she felt safe and tapped, with the group’s support, on how

Even though I’m allergic to dogs, even though dogs give me asthma, and now I’m close to a dog and it’s hard to breathe, I deeply and completely accept myself. Even though I can’t breathe around dogs, my lungs feel constricted, it’s hard to breathe in and breathe out, and I’m really allergic to dogs, I deeply and completely accept myself.

Next came detective work to find the core issue. I stopped and asked Holly how long she had had this reaction. “All my life,” she said, “since I was a child.”

We tapped on how even though I’ve been allergic to dogs all my life, I love and accept myself. Then I said, “This allergy to dogs has been part of my life forever, and now I realize that this reminds me of -----.”

Holly paused and thought, then said, “This reminds me of when I was really young and I was bit by a dog.”

In fact, Holly said, she was less than a year old when a dog bit her on the arm, and she said she actually remembered it happening. “What kind of dog was it?” I asked, and she said, “It was a black dog.”  Booka, the Miniature Dachshund, is a black dog. At this point, Booka’s owner, Virginia Montoya, picked Booka up and held him in her arms, which helped Holly feel less threatened and more comfortable.

Now we had a core issue to tap on, so we said:

Even though I’m allergic to dogs, and dogs give me asthma, I realize now that it’s because I was bit by a black dog when I was an infant. I still remember it. My conscious mind remembers it, and so does my unconscious mind. I can never forget that dogs are dangerous. Dogs bite. I got bit. I have to stay away from dogs.  My brilliant mind has done a terrific job over the years of keeping me safe by giving me asthma whenever I get close to a dog. Asthma has kept me safe from dog bites all these years. It’s been a very successful strategy. But now I realize that I’m an adult woman and I no longer have to let my life be controlled by an infant’s logic. I can live in the present moment and be free from the past. I can thank my clever mind for having kept me safe all these years, and I know it will continue to keep me safe from things that are actually harmful. Starting now, it can release my fear of calm, friendly dogs that have no interest in hurting me. I can be free from a fear that no longer serves a useful purpose. I can breathe freely and deeply, even when I’m close to a dog. I can look at a dog and feel terrific. In fact,I feel terrific right now.

We switched from the karate chop point and did three quick rounds of tapping the EFT points, saying reminder phrases like asthma, dogs, dog bites, danger, can’t breathe, fear, worry, stay safe, keep away, etc. Then we switched to positive reminder phrases like I feel terrific, life is good, dogs are great, I can breathe freely, asthma all gone, goodbye asthma.

At that point, Holly walked straight up to Booka and looked into his face. She reached up and touched one of his ears. She petted him. She was completely relaxed.

I asked, “What do you see when you look at him now?”

Holly replied, “What a cute little face!!”

“What did you see a few minutes ago when you looked at him?”

“What a scary little face!!!”

Later, after the workshop, Holly stayed while we cleared the classroom and put things away. We asked Holly if Luna (the Doberman Pinscher puppy) and Chloe (my black Lab), who were the only dogs left in the building, could come out of their crates and play. If Holly was still uncomfortable around dogs, we would leave them where they were.

“Oh, that will be fine,” she said, “as long as they don’t jump on me.”

For the next half hour, Luna and Chloe chased each other and played, often stopping at Holly’s feet or even leaning against her. At no time did she feel any anxiety or experience any asthma symptoms.

Two months after the workshop, Holly reported that her lifelong fear of dogs had disappeared and stayed away. She had only one brief moment of tightness in her breathing, which happened when she approached a Golden Retriever. She wasn’t afraid of the dog and actually wanted to pet it and connect with it. Golden Retrievers have long hair, and perhaps Holly was reacting to dander or some other allergen that we hadn’t specifically tapped for. I assured her that tapping for her sensitivity to Golden Retrievers and other long-haired dogs – or perhaps dogs that are colors other than black – would address these different issues or aspects and help her enjoy new canine friendships.

I check in with Holly once a year or so, and today – more than four years after the workshop – she has had no further asthma attacks, and her fear of dogs has not returned.

Once people learn and master basicl EFT and begin exploring their concerns with intuition, creative questioning, and conversations with themselves, it can (in some cases, at least) take as little as 10 minutes to find and neutralize the core issue of a problem that has lasted a lifetime.

(The above photo of Holly and Booka was taken by Susan Dickens during the workshop.)

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