Moving forward after trauma: choose your therapist


by Julie-Anne Mullan

EFT trainer and advanced practitioner Julie-Anne Mullan discusses choosing a therapist in part 2 of her notes and thoughts from a teleclass originally aired at the Trauma Telesummit on February 9, 2011.

Pressure to ‘get over it’ and how that works

You have the right and the responsibility to move forward and beyond trauma, if that is what you perceive as your need. It could be easier and more interesting than you think. When you’re ready, and have (maybe) tapped on limiting beliefs or symptoms that were holding you hostage to the trauma, assert your rights and responsibilities to grow and create a great life for you.

  • No therapist wants to work with a reluctant client. Ask yourself “am I embarking on therapy of my own free will?”
  • Fundamentally, you are looking for someone you want to spend time with because they are good at their job! The clearer you are about your needs the easier it will be to recognise the therapist whose skillset fits your requirements
  • The first therapist you come across may not be the best for you. Trust yourself, your judgment, your intuition on this
  • An experienced therapist will be familiar and helpful in answering your questions when conducting an initial interview on the phone, or in person
  • Ask for detailed information as to professional qualifications and years of experience a therapist has. And what to do about missed appointments, fees.

Counselling and energy work

Counselling doesn’t always complete the change you need. I speak from experience! I wondered why the sad feelings persisted. Are you experiencing some still remaining emotional turmoil? Energy therapy clears inner conflicts that persist post-counselling.


One mistaken perception is that energy work is magic. It is true that change occurs in the blink of an eye! It can be put down to the therapy method, but of paramount importance is that the therapist be competent to work with complex issues should they arise.

If to begin with, you might have no choice, suffice it to say that if you don’t get along (feel comfortable and safe) with the first therapist, ask to be seen by another.

Referral by word of mouth is an exceptionally strong and vibrant method of information in many cultures. Who are the most credible sources of information in your life? Whose recommendation would carry weight? What do they actually know that is useful to you?

Talk to the therapist

Prioritise the order in which you’d like to approach things. Energy therapists are often trained in a number of approaches. Ask whether they use them singly or in combination.

It is possible to see more than one professional simultaneously. EFT provides emotional support while building physical stamina with exercise and nutrition. Not all approaches are complementary to one another so it’s advisable to inform your therapist or GP what other treatments, for example, allopathic, psychodynamic, you are using.

When you don’t want to talk about it, or can’t remember

It isn’t unusual to meet a client who doesn't want to talk about what happened (not yet, or ever) or can’t. There is no need to ‘go there’ until or unless you are ready! There are energy therapists who do brilliant work in this area. Not that they avoid the issue. Not at all! They make it possible to address the pain of trauma by gently acknowledging, allowing and accepting your right to find your voice, be heard and understood, all before doing the energy work. A skilled energy therapist addresses trauma without re-traumatising the client.

I would encourage you to follow your head, and your heart, in choosing who you permit to accompany you on your life journey. Not everyone has a choice but everyone has a voice and should use it to advocate for themselves.

Therapist rights and responsibilities

“I believe that trauma is for us to learn and grow…’s because of my own personal journey and pain that I chose to enter this field...Because of my own personal pain it’s allowed me to connect with my clients on a whole new level. My experience along with my education and training gives me an edge over those that haven’t lived their pain, loved it accepted it and then let it go. It’s really important that those of us who work with clients do our work as well otherwise we get triggered and are unable to handle certain traumas.”
Pauline Leroux, Counsellor, Ontario

A good energy therapist:

  • adheres to a professional code of practice and continued professional development as required
  • prioritises self-care. It takes some effort, and self-discipline
  • works with the client by mutual agreement. A working relationship is a reflection of the mutually agreed outcomes, and on creating professional and personal impact on the client
  • both parties have a right to terminate or take a break from the (formal/informal) contract
  • will truly relate to you and create good rapport
  • provides a place of safety and security for clients to work on their issues
  • is honest with themselves and to the client
  • builds trust, mutual respect in thought, word and deed
  • know to admit when they have reached the limits of their competence and consider terminating sessions, if mis-matched with the client
  • does not pressure a client to conform, or promote personal values and beliefs
  • has knowledge based on years of reading, study, discussion and practice
  • has issues, and will realise if personal issues are triggered. Personal work never stops
  • measures results by progress made in discussion with the client
  • practices wisdom, insight, gentle enquiry, and knows when to refer onwards
  • a client who feels misunderstood, hears judgement in therapist language and tone, or experiences lack of results, would do well to reflect as to the reasons why. No-one wants to make a hasty decision to stop seeing an otherwise great therapist.

Julie-Anne Mullan MA
EFT trainer and advanced practitioner (AAMET)
Email: eftexpert email

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