As a young therapist out of graduate school, I remember when couples sat across from me in my office, things felt messy and chaotic. It was like I was on a road trip without a map. I knew the general direction I needed to go, but didn’t quite know the best route. I would consult with my supervisor and others in my practice with experience. They all told me something different. None seemed to hit the nail close enough to the head. Something was missing.
I also remember in my personal journey through relationships feeling that there had to be more to getting through conflict with others. I’d been told to just show love, turn the other cheek, no one can make you angry it’s just a choice you make, and that I needed to forgive. It didn’t make sense and I felt that there had to be more to repairing rifts.
Then my agency offered a training in EFT and it was like someone handed me that road map. Finally something made sense and so much sense I didn’t understand why I was just coming on to this now. I latched on to the model and held on tight.
After a couple years of maternity leave for my first 2 sons, I moved halfway across the country, and decided that I was going to begin a private practice and EFT and couples work were going to be at the heart of it. I signed up for the externship and began core skills while I was in the process of getting my Virginia license and setting up my practice. I had to share a tape of a session in core skills. I believe it was the third of four core skills weekends when I was slated to show a tape. The tape was of my second session with the first couple I had seen in 2 years, a couple that was highly escalated and distressed, one having a trauma history and the other addiction. While we were supposed to show 15 minutes or so we only got through about 3 since we stopped so many times to explore what I could have done. It was pretty clear as I watched the tape next to others there that I had a lot to learn (2 of the others in the room that day are now trainers). While I knew I had a ways to go, I felt warmly supported and encouraged by the others there. They said I had a warmth, genuineness, and tenderness about me that was able to hold my clients. I believed them and knew I would eventually be able to do what I was seeing the others do. While the next 6 months were rocky I was blessed with the mentorship of a local EFT supervisor who blew some wind under my wings. She believed in me. And I believed in me, too.
While I walked away from core skills with confidence, I found that I was struggling to produce the same magical results that I’d watched my trainers produce. I sought out support, tried 3 different supervisors until I settled into one that I found could help draw out of me the gift I felt was inside. The gift that was unique to me, though we all have something like it within us, our heart – with it’s very own shape – that longs to connect with another heart, to walk beside them as they find their way out of their pain and into love and connection.
I asked every couple I worked with if I could tape them. I recorded as many sessions as they allowed. I scheduled monthly supervision sessions and picked just one memorable session to watch before hand and selected a clip to share with my supervisor. I also did something else – I took my focus off of certification and instead put it on growth. I let myself be in the process, allowed it to take the time it needed, the learning process felt so good I just wanted to be in it. And I knew I didn’t want certification to end it. Thus there was no rush. I knew that in time a tape would surface that would work. Eventually I shared tapes that my supervisor felt were on point. It was incredibly rewarding and validating to know that I was working with couples in session in a way that met the high standards of my supervisor and ICEEFT. The process of transcribing my tapes and completing the additional requirements further enhanced my learning. I am so glad I committed to the process and gave myself this growth opportunity. The certificate wasn’t the reward, but rather the process was the reward.
The key element to getting me where I needed to be was learning to access my own deeper feelings and inner world. I learned this through direct experience. For a time, I quit thinking about the steps and stages, where I was and where I needed to go, and rather let myself be present in each session. I learned to be with them a little bit more each time. I had to learn to let my feelings be present in session, to notice them, and work with them in way that allowed my heart to be with my clients’ heart. An incredible, precious new way of being in therapy room.
In this learning process there were also things happening on a personal level. I was learning a new way to be in relationships. I was learning to access my heart, to be vulnerable, to identify my instincts and patterns that get me caught in cycles with those I love. To be able to be different, to feel different, to love differently – more deeply and more vulnerably – is a reward that I cherish with all of my heart.
Now, nearly 2 years post certification I’m well into the process of becoming an EFT supervisor. I am again relishing the learning process. My supervisor-of-supervision is amazing and taking me to still new places within myself. She’s providing safety and support for me in a remarkable way and it’s a pleasure to learn to pass this on to my supervisees. I’m so grateful for the EFT learning process and look forward to continue to learn, grow and teach in EFT.
I challenge you to take the next step in your EFT journey. Send me a message through the contact form below and tell me where you are in your process. Together we can find a way to help you take the next step forward.