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Steve WellsBy Steve Wells

Recently I read an article in a popular EFT newsletter written by a "certified EFT expert and  trainer" on a "four-word phrase that often clears depression". I was intrigued. The phrase? "I am soooo happy!" The author of the article says when this phrase is repeated at every tapping point (meaning you tap on each of the EFT points in turn whilst repeating the phrase as you do so), followed by similarly tapping on "I am such a happy person" that this "usually resolves the underlying emotions and begins the recovery process". The author claims to have had "hundreds" of clients "break through depression" using this technique!!  The author then goes on to say, "Of course, using this four-word phrase just begins the process. To clear depression, more tapping should be done."

I admit I had to do a lot of tapping on my own negative reactions before I could write this!

My first thought was that the writer doesn't know anything about real depression. My second thought was that it would be insulting to those who HAVE experienced true depression, and it perpetuates a myth of "instant success" from tapping with depression which "just ain't so" for the majority of sufferers.

In my experience from 14 years of using numerous Energy Techniques with all types of depression and other emotional problems the approach this person advocates  does not and will not work on the types of depression I see in my practice. I showed it to one of my clients who has suffered from severe depression and she dismissed it immediately with "I'm proof that approach won't work". This lady has been through the mill of positive thinking approaches like this, including various intensive programs of spiritual study and learning that would put most of us to shame. She knew it all, yet she was still depressed  (Depressed no longer by the way, but that's another story which I'll come back to another time).

The author lumps what I would call feeling "a little down", or "little 'd' depression", the kind that most of us experience quite often, into a basket category right along with "big 'D' Depression", the kind that overwhelms people's energy, can incapacitate them for months and years and is totally toxic and destructive to relationships, families, and to life itself."

I strongly doubt that this person has followed up with those clients to see if the results they apparently achieved in the workshop or tapping session actually held up a few days or weeks or months later.

The challenge with depression is that often it WILL lift in the short term in response to tapping or other treatments. So it DOES often (though not always) tend to lift in a workshop or in the office. And the client goes away with a smile on their face. But what is the case a few days or weeks later? In many cases, without additional support, the client is back to being deeply depressed. And that can be the case even if they have tapped every day. So for these clients tapping usually needs to be combined with other things in order to lift the energy sufficiently to keep their head above water for long enough for them to catch their breath and begin to regain sufficient energy to swim for shore!

Most people working with large numbers of depressed clients in clinical practice agree that the rapid results that tapping achieves on anxiety-based problems are usually not achieved in the same way on depression, other than cases of mild depression. So the approach advocated by this practitioner might be fine for some cases of "little 'd' depression, but not "big "D" Depression. In fact, that's a bit of a test really. IMO if it responds to this approach then it IS NOT what I would call depression. So, hey, if you are feeling a bit down, give it a go. If it works for you, great. But please don't tell the world it cured your depression. That will feel like an insult to those people who are truly depressed. And if any readers have been depressed for some time and want to give it a go just to prove me wrong, I encourage you to do so and write about your experiences below. Maybe I'm just seeing more than my fair share of really strongly depressed people...

By the way, I am NOT depressed about working with depressed clients, nor am I negative about the chances of getting results. In fact, I think the results I've been getting with my own "combo approach" with depressed clients are world class.  I'll write about this in more detail at another time.  I just know from experience that the best approach for long term results involves a bit more than having them repeat a phrase such as "I am so happy", even if they really emphasise the word "SOOOOOOOOO"!!

In my experience, treatment for "big "D" Depression usually requires a combination approach to be most effective. Tapping on its own rarely works with severely depressed clients, and here I am referring to those stronger and more clinical forms of depression which are characterised by intense periods of darkness and heaviness, very black feelings and even blacker thoughts, low energy, deep sadness and despair, disrupted sleep patterns, low or no motivation, among other things. Their energy system is overwhelmed, and their brain chemistry is completely awry.  Something needs to happen to "lift" the energy of the depressed person. Now tapping CAN be a huge part of a successful approach, and since using the continual tapping approach of SET and having people tap on a daily basis my results using tapping with depression are far superior to when I was just using EFT. However, in most cases of moderate to severe depression, tapping is not enough on its own, even if clients do tap every day.

What needs to happen to get big "D" depression to lift in a sustainable way? (That's the key, sustainable, so that the results last). In no particular order, some combination of the following can help:

Good therapy with a skilled therapist or practitioner with experience in treating depression and the capacity to connect with you in a way that you feel understood and safe and held. If you have moderate to severe depression, this will almost certainly need to be more than just "a few sessions". IMO the therapist needs to see the client through until they are able to function well over time. This doesn't necessarily need to be someone who uses tapping, as tapping can be added to any therapy. But ideally they are not just a technician who is focused only on technique such as where to tap / what to say, they are someone who can connect on a human level and knows how to use their own energetic and emotional state to influence the state of the client on an ongoing basis. Good therapy with or without tapping addresses not only the despair, but the roots of this in past trauma and negative future projections....

Daily SET tapping in order to help the energy to lift and stay lifted. I recommend  up to an hour a day of tapping or even more for very depressed clients, particularly in the early weeks. It's not enough to do a few rounds of tapping or a few positive affirmations and expect that alone to do the job. Tap every morning and night and inbetween and add tapping to your daily routine. Get enough of it happening and you will be doing something which may progressively help to lift your mood as over time the benefits can accumulate and build. And combine this with...

Other people. Friends, families and faiths have for centuries done most of the real therapy. We need other people and the key here is to find people who can help your energy to lift. I'd also caution to avoid those who deplete your energy when you are working with the sort of energy deficit of strong depression.  To get your energy to lift you are going to need a steady diet of people who will help you. Asking for their help and accepting it can be an issue to work on in therapy!

Medical diagnosis and possibly antidepressants.  This is a hugely contentious issue as people hate the idea of going to the doctor and detest the idea of drugs. A good medical diagnosis will rule out other things such as thyroid problems which can be upsetting your general balance and mood. I want to go on record that I dislike drugs but not as much as I hate to see people suffering.  They are not for everyone however I've seen  people get their life back with the right treatment. We need to get over the "either-or" thinking of alternative vs traditional and "all drugs are bad" biases and work with whatever will help your energy to lift and stay lifted. Sure, the ideal is to ultimately live drug-free and if you can lift the depression sustainably with natural methods alone that is great, however I have seen many people struggle for years trying to use "natural" approaches only to end up more depressed. Many natural approaches  only have good results on milder forms of depression unfortunately...

Good nutrition. There is good evidence that dietary changes can help lift energy, and there's a lot of good research now for supplements like fish oil, which has in some studies outperformed antidepressants. Without wishing to prescribe anything specific for any one person (you must work with your personal therapist, doctor, alternative practitioner, etc, to work out what is best for you specifically), if I were depressed I'd be getting into daily doses of fish oil, and increasing my diet of raw foods (which I like to do anyway!).

Exercise. There's heaps of evidence that exercise can help to lift depression. The challenge is  you need to do it regularly and for a long enough period to get your energy to lift and stay lifted. Best advice is to find someone who will commit to doing it with you. If you can keep it up for a couple of months or more there is usually a compounding effect with increased production of good things like endorphins and a suppression of stress chemicals ...

Whatever (else) it takes...  As Dr. David Lake advises, " May I suggest that you consider having whatever treatment it takes, either natural or orthodox, to get the depression to lift?" This might include exploring such things as allergy treatments, cranio-sacral balancing, David Berceli's Trauma Release Exercises (TRE), 5-element acupuncture, St John's Wort, eliminating grains, among other things, as well as seeking out a medical practitioner who you trust and can work with as a partner in health, and exploring all the options offered.

There is much more I could say about effectively treating depression, however I don't have space here. The main thing is to accept that as long as you are still feeling depressed it means you still need further help, accept that it is out there but may take time and a few blind alleyways before you find the unique combination that works for you. Persist even though at times you may feel that all is lost, realise people can and do overcome this condition and you can to be in that category.

And, hey, if tapping and reciting "I am so happy" works for you, let me know, I'll be happy to reconsider my position if enough people who've experienced real depression convince me it works!! If it doesn't, take heart, many people - in fact most in my experience - who have experienced real depression DO need more than this. Just because that is so doesn't make the situation hopeless, just more real.

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