Forty emotional freedom techniques (EFT) practitioners gathered in Southbury, Conn., on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2013 to plan and train for a major relief effort to help the community cope with the devastating massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in nearby Newtown. Twenty children and six adults were killed by a gunman who broke into the school Dec. 14, 2012.
The training is part of the Tapping Solution for Newtown: Stress and Trauma Relief Project. The relief effort was launched by the Ortner family, EFT practitioners who live in Newtown. Lori Leyden, Ph.D., who established Project LIGHT Rwanda and uses EFT to work with genocide victims in Rwanda, is overseeing the project. Leyden and her team have already worked with some people directly affected by the tragedy. They are developing a process to help even more people in the Newtown community.
The day-long training event brought together organizers and EFT practitioners who have ties to the tragedy or live within driving distance of Newtown.
"There were a lot of dedicated people there who are committed to providing long-term support to the Newtown community," says Roberta Lewis, a certified hypnotherapist and EFT practitioner at Whole Mind Health. "The organizers talked about taking things slowly and how important it is to be heart-present when we work with victims, teachers, first responders and others traumatized by this tragedy."
EFT — also called tapping — is a technique that uses ancient acupressure principles and modern psychology to provide relief from a host of emotional and physical problems. When using EFT, people say some simple statements about the issue they're working on while they tap on the body's acupressure points. The tapping sends calming signals through the body and neutralizes painful emotions. Studies show that EFT is an effective way to help people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), phobias, anxiety, etc.
"EFT can make an enormous difference in the lives of those affected by the Newtown shootings," Lewis says. "It's not a quick fix. We're not trying to take away the grief they feel for the people they've lost. But we can help them deal with the trauma of the violence they experienced."
Not only are organizers developing a way to help the Newtown community, they also are creating a model that can be used to help communities deal with similar issues and circumstances.