Recently I was experiencing a strange physical symptom. My head was itching! Not all the time, just when I wasn’t busy. I considered whether it was an allergy or something physical. After a while, though, I realized it was probably caused by stress. In talking to a friend, she suggested EFT. EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique, and it’s a modality I’ve been familiar with for years, but never actually tried.
In fact, this same friend had mentioned it in the past. And I considered trying it. And then… well, you know how it goes. Other stuff came up! And I forgot about it!
But the head itching was driving me bananas, and I was miserable enough to try anything. Including EFT. Even though it sounds weird! I mean, why would lightly tapping on your body do anything?
I watched a video on YouTube and did as instructed.
Lo and behold, the itching stopped! And beyond that, I felt great! Calm, serene, almost floating.
I called my friend and asked her, “Is THIS what a regulated nervous system feels like?!? Wow!!”
Anyway, I share this success not to try to get you try EFT, but as an example of what it means to “Do The Work.”
We all – yes, even therapists – have self-work to do, and sometimes we prioritize it and do it. And sometimes we don’t.
I get it. Life happens. Sometimes we’re busy. Sometimes we’re short on funds. Work is crazy. Kids are amazing AND all-consuming at times.
But here’s the deal:
You still gotta do the work.
If you have issues (hint: we all have issues), and you want to be happy and healthy, there’s work to do.
Commit to doing the work.
What does that look like?
Well, it depends on the issue.
Step One: Write down what issue is giving you grief.
Is it your anxiety in relationship? Is your head itching uncontrollably? Are migraines taking over your days? Are you constantly attracted to unavailable partners?
If you have multiple issues, do this four-step process for each issue you have.
Step Two: Consider the possible causes for your issue.
If the issue is physical, be sure to consider that emotional causes are often the root of our physical symptoms. For help in pinpointing what emotional issue might be causing a physical symptom, I recommend Louise Hay’s helpful guide.
Recognize that there may (and are likely) multiple causes. List all possible causes.
Step Three: Make a list of possible solutions.
If your problem is emotional, one of the items on your “solutions” list should most certainly be a therapist or a coach.
“But Xanet, I already have a therapist. Isn’t that good enough? Aren’t I doing the work?”
Maybe…? Is the therapy working?
Or do you still have the issue?
If you’ve been experiencing the problem for a years and also seeing your therapist for all those years, then a solution might be to look for a different therapist or coach.
Not all treatments or therapies are equally effective. Sometimes talk therapy works well for people. Often, though, the mind is resistant to change, and simply talking about problems does nothing to fix them.
In those cases, I recommend somatic therapy. “Somatic” means “of or relating to the body.” It’s therapy that engages not just the mind, but also the body, to connect the two and bring about deeper healing.
I do this in my own work, using the Somatica Technique to help people heal their sexual issues not just in their mind, but in their body. But there are many types of somatic therapy, including EFT, EMDR, and others.
In addition, there are also other types of talk-based therapy, such as IFS (Internal Family Systems) that do more than just talk about the problems. IFS helps you identify and name issues in a way that allows you to process them more effectively.
You might also consider Energy work. This could include working with a guide who can channel messages to understand the root of problems or find solutions. It might involve reiki or energy clearing or spiritual work.
I know some of you may dismiss these ideas as too woo-woo. But many people find that they work, so please keep an open mind.
Consider the effectiveness of placebos! And then consider that a placebo still works, even if the person taking it is aware that it’s a placebo.
Doing something – anything! – is better than doing nothing, so long as the thing you do isn’t causing harm.
Don’t stop with Step Three until you have a long list of Solutions.
Step Four: Pick three of those solutions and do them!
I’ll offer for you here a sample so you can see what this practice might look like:
I’m experiencing tons of anxiety in my relationship. I react to things my partner does or doesn’t do even when my partner is being reasonable.
- Anxious attachment issues
- Inner child wounds
- Low self worth
- General anxiety disorder
- Lack of sleep
- Too much stress in rest of life
- Financial insecurity, leading to excess stress
- Poor nutrition
- Lack of self-care
- Therapy (or if already in therapy, find a new therapist or coach)
- EMDR to address trauma
- IFS therapy
- EFT to practice on my own when I get activated
- Ketamine-assisted therapy
- Improve my sleep schedule to get adequate rest
- Cook at least one nutritious meals for myself each day
- Apply for different jobs
- Try anxiety medication
- Schedule a massage
- Meditate daily
- 3x a week, do something to cultivate or strengthen friendships
- Read a book about Attachment issues (Perhaps Polysecure or Attached)
- Weekly forest baths
Now, looking at this list, an anxious person can pick three of the solutions and do them.
There you have it!
Now get to it and Do The Work!