Panic Attacks and Chasing the Pain

Fear of being alone

By Puja Kanth Alfred, M.A, EFT-CERT I, EFT-ADV

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I am describing two sessions with my client Ria (name changed), who was undergoing EFT therapy from me for panic attacks and varied emotional problems, last year. One of the tremendous benefits of phone session with her had been the tapping that we did on her panic symptoms while she was experiencing them. She was an ardent EFT follower and had managed to stop her last panic attack from becoming full blown, by tapping on her own (using the affirmations I gave her for emergency panic attack tapping). She was always scared of being alone lest the panic symptoms strike again.

In this session I told Ria to ask her friend(who was staying with her) to be out of the house for awhile but be within reach so that Ria could call her on her cell if an emergency arose. This phone session with Ria gave her the faith that she could rely on EFT when alone and also deal successfully with the panic symptoms as and when they arose. (Note: We had already worked on many emotional issues, previous panic attacks and psycho-somatic symptoms before this session).

Even though I have this fear because my friend has stepped out and I am alone...

The intensity was at 8; she felt a murmuring in her heart and her heart beat was on the verge of increasing. In panic symptoms, generally the increase in heart beat signals danger for people. They fear that they might have a heart attack. We had already worked on this aspect, in the earlier sessions.

Even though I feel murmuring in my heart and my heartbeat is about to increase, I know that I'm safe and I know that nothing will happen.

Her heartbeat returned to normal but the symptoms shifted and she felt tightening of her jaws.

Even though my jaws are getting tight...

Even though I still have fear and anxiety...

Her jaws relaxed but fear decreased only from 8 to 6.

Even though my friend has gone a little further away and I am tensed...

Even though I don't know the route my friend has taken and am anxious about that...

This was a core aspect since she said that she would feel better had she known the route; At this point she said that she felt like running out of the house.

Even though I have this URGE TO ESCAPE from this situation I love and forgive myself. Her fear reduced from 6-0 on a scale of 0 to 10 after 2 rounds.

After this, she was relaxed and calm. I asked her to call me if she felt any fear. She did not call that day. The next day, she said that she did not experience any anxiety or fear during the time she was alone and went about doing her chores. In fact she felt so good about herself and emboldened that since then she has frequently arranged these little trips that her friend makes so that she can be alone. We also had some tapping sessions while she went out of her house alone (she never ventured out alone earlier).

I give full credit to Ria for having resisted the psychiatric drugs that people so often take for the panic attacks and also, for applying EFT persistently on the problems. It was her choice to resist taking the drugs. Sometimes there is a lot of 'chasing the pain' involved and persistence is the key to this.

This other session with Ria demonstrates 'chasing the pain'. She was having severe migraine (mostly pain on her right side) for 2-3 days and tapping on her own didn't help. She had to travel somewhere and the travel anxiety coupled with fear of getting a migraine attack in the bus was aggravating the pain. She reported that a lot of fear surrounded her travel plans. Her level of intensity was 10 on a scale of 0 to 10.

Even though I have a lot of fear coming up and I don't know why... 

Even though I have this pain on my right side of the face...

Even though fear may be causing this pain on my right side of the face...

The pain went from 8 to 6 out of 10 and moved to the back of her head:

Even though the pain has moved to the backside of the head...

Even though I have pain on the backside of the head...

Even though fear of traveling is causing this pain...


The pain moved to right ear where she had inflammation.

Even though I have inflammation behind the ear...

Even though I have pain along the hairline behind the right ear... 

Even though I still have throbbing pain in the right side of my face, I choose to release the pain.

Even though I'm scared because I may have the migraine attack in the bus, I choose to be able to handle it. I asked her to say this aloud and report what she felt. She said that a voice is screaming inside her - NO, I can't handle that! She also, developed a burning sensation on the top of her head.

She tapped on this tail ender - Even though I hear screaming inside me when I say that I can handle the migraine in the bus...

She felt better after 2 rounds and said that she might be able to handle the attack.

Even though I am fearful of traveling on Wednesday night because I may get a migraine attack on the bus, I choose to release this fear.

The burning sensation went away after this. Her pain subsided. I gave her a few homework affirmations for tapping before the bus journey.

Ria has suffered from Panic attacks for the past 6 years. After starting the EFT therapy she has not had a single severe panic attack. Twice she has stopped the panic attacks from becoming severe by tapping on the symptoms as they emerged. Each time she has been free of the symptoms after tapping. In panic attacks the difference between real and imagined danger is blurred.

The brain signals an alarm stage every time any symptom arises. For Ria, tapping on the following also helped.

Even though my brain is unable to distinguish between real and imagined danger...

Even though I am afraid of the symptoms, I know that they indicate no real danger.




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Author's Bio:

Counseling Psychologist & Certified EFT Practitioner.


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