This article was original written for Focus on Health & Wellbeing Magazine in 2020
“I can see myself clearly” I said. “I am six years old, visiting my mum in hospital. She is very ill and looks terrible with tubes everywhere. I am scared, uncertain and confused but I can’t cry and I can’t ask what is happening.”
“Imagine your adult self stepping into that scene and showing little Mary-Jane how to tap on herself for all those feelings of sadness and confusion,” said the Matrix Reimprinting practitioner. “Share with her the wisdom that you have now … that Mum survived, and that your young self is going to be okay.”
Within minutes I could see my little self feeling calmer.
“What was the belief or the decision you made that day?” asked the practitioner. Without any conscious thought I replied “That I can’t show emotions and I am responsible for the well-being of others”.
Well, that hit me like a sledgehammer … I spent my adolescence and early adult life quite emotionally closed, to the detriment of many friendships and relationships. I also chose work in which I would be responsible for others. I had no idea that the belief I made at six years old had impacted my adult life so profoundly.
The practitioner asked “What would your little one want to happen now?” When I connected with my younger self I could see that she wanted to understand what was happening and to be told why she was in this hospital with her very poorly mum.
Under the guidance of the practitioner, I imagined my six year old self, with my dad, my mum and my siblings, sharing what was happening and why I was there. We were able to add in the knowledge that mum did recover from her nearly fatal illness.
The feeling of relief and inclusion was wonderful, and, again, with the guidance of the practitioner, I reimprinted those new feelings into that day.
In subsequent weeks I noticed that I behaved differently in situations where I would usually have been shut down emotionally. I found it easier to express my emotions and to open up to others. As a result, I felt freer, lighter and less weighed down. Those close to me observed a difference, and I was better able to make eye contact with others. I began to realise that I was not responsible for others and this changed the way I worked with more emphasis on guiding others to take responsibility for themselves.
So what is Matrix Reimprinting?
The chances are you have never heard of this therapy, which is an advanced version of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or Tapping.
It was developed by Karl Dawson, an EFT Master trainer, who completed his own training with the founder of EFT, Gary Craig. Whilst running an EFT training course in Australia, Karl asked the student who was taking part in a demonstration if she could see her younger self in a particular memory. The student responded “I can see her so clearly I could tap on her”, and so the initial idea of Matrix Reimprinting was born.
In conventional EFT, when we work on a memory, the client is encouraged to feel what they felt at the time. The tapping points are used to release the emotions that were felt on that day, whilst events unfolded. Karl Dawson likens this to being an actor in your own play.
With Matrix Reimprinting, this is taken a step further. Not only do you NOT connect in with the emotions that were felt that day, making it a wonderful, gentle therapy to help with significant traumatic events, you imagine your current self tapping with the version of you that experienced those events. This has the advantage of the current ‘you’ being able to offer wisdom to the younger ‘you’. When bad things happen we often believe it will be the end of the world, and if the current self can reassure the younger one that all is well, it can make a profound difference. As someone once said to me “I only really trust myself, so having the current me reassure the younger me is very therapeutic”.
Secondly, we can make some changes to how events unfolded. We do not deny what happened, but as in the case of my six year old, we imagined that she was included and told what was happening rather than being left uncertain, scared and confused. As Karl Dawson explains, you become the director of the play, not just an actor.
As the scene is replayed, different emotions, usually more positive ones, are felt and these can be ‘reimprinted’ into the scene. The consequence of this is that the beliefs that we make in moments of crisis, and which often then colour our lives, can be changed in an instant and that has a signficant impact on our day to day behaviour.
Who benefits from Matrix Reimprinting?
I have yet to meet someone who didn’t benefit from this therapy. It is easy to grasp and when used by a competent practitioner, it can be effective at dealing with everything from PTSD to chronic pain and illness plus a host of other things.
You can find a practitioner at https://www.matrixreimprinting.com
Training is available to anyone who has completed Level 2 practitioner training in Emotional Freedom Technique and you can find training opportunities at the link above.
Karl Dawson has written two books on the subject:
Matrix Reimprinting using EFT (with Sasha Allenby)
Transform your beliefs, Transform your life (with Kate Marillat)
Both published by Hay House.