Tessa returns to top form in maths


Tessa is suddenly getting really bad marks at school, mainly in Maths, even though she used to be an A student. Two EFT sessions later, she’s back to As all along. And her smile is back too! Here’s how...

by Christine Disant

First session

Nine-year-old Tessa is French, but lives in the US. Her school grades are good, and the year before she moved ahead a year in Maths. However, this year, even though she understands the lessons in the classroom, her grades are falling. And that definitely doesn’t make her happy.

This issue seems to apply only to Maths. At every other subject she is fine. She has no idea of the reason. Her mother told me that homework often brings tears, and tension rises whenever the topic is discussed. The teacher is understanding and supportive. If Tessa’s grades are not improving, she suggests returning to the previous level, thus removing this unnecessary stress on Tessa.

Tessa already knows about EFT, and has used it a few times when she was not well. So we can start working straight away. I ask her to think about a failed test, she remembers one where she had a D.

That first session goes in two steps: clean up past negative experiences, and prepare for a happy future experience.

First, Tessa can still recall her panic when she thinks about that test. EFT really benefits when associated with other techniques. In Tessa’s case, her preferred means of letting go of the panic is ‘the pipe’. While she taps, I ask her to visualise her panic, which to her feels like nausea in her heart. Then I ask her to imagine a pipe going right out of her heart, and then ‘see’ her nausea going right out through the pipe, like dirty water.

We do this several times, and every time she thinks all the nausea and panic went away through the pipe. However, when asked to focus on that test, the panic is right back, if a little less acute each time. After three rounds, she can now think of that test with no anxiety at all.

We then move onto another memory, two years earlier, as we continue tapping.

“The teacher had just explained a lesson, and then she gave us a test to check that we’d understood,” Tessa says. “Everybody else had understood, but my answer was wrong. I felt the other kids thought I was stupid ... I felt I was blushing.”

Once that memory was cleaned up, too, and she could recall it without emotion, we moved onto a third memory which used to stress her out. However, hard as she tried, she couldn’t feel any level of stress over it anymore. I really love this about EFT. If you went through 10 traumas, working on two or three of them is sometimes enough to really feel at peace with all of them. A lovely side effect!

It’s now time to look at another angle. I introduce it to her: “Tomorrow, you’re going to school, and there’s a test. How do you feel?”

Again, panic comes up, shame that she isn’t ready, embarrassment if the others would finish before she does, if she didn’t understand all of it. She also feels embarrassed when she remembers a friend who asked her why a specific test had taken so long for her to finish. After a few more rounds of tapping, Tessa now feels perfectly OK with the idea of that future test.

It was a long session. I email her the following round, to use a few times before homework or before going to school. I copied it here in full, because it includes most of the aspects we worked on during the session. It could inspire other parents.

  • Even though I feel I’ll still panic a little bit, I know I’m doing my best.
  • Even though I might panic again, and feel embarrassed if I don’t find the answer to a question fast enough, I choose to remain calm and focused.
  • Even though there is a possibility that I panic or feel embarrassed if I’m not fast enough or if I don't get the right answer, every mistake is a learning opportunity, and all is well!
  • I’m going to feel embarrassed or panicked
  • It’s always like that, particularly with maths.
  • When they need to explain several times for me
  • or when I’m slower that the others, and they have to wait for me.
  • They are going to resent me for that.
  • Or I won’t find the correct answer and I’ll panic.
  • Or I’ll panic because I didn’t know there would be a test.
  • I don’t enjoy this panic!
  • I don’t panic on purpose!
  • And when others have to wait for me, I feel embarrassed, they are going to resent me.
  • I don’t resent them when I have to wait for them.
  • But my friend already asked me why it took me so long once.
  • I know she didn’t mean to make me feel bad.
  • But I felt embarrassed all the same, and I’m slightly panicking when I think of it.
  • She didn’t really think of this.
  • Still, I did feel embarrassed.
  • It really doesn’t help anybody when I feel embarrassed or panicked.
  • It doesn’t help my friends, or the teacher, or myself.
  • So even if I need a bit more time or if I don’t get the answer right
  • I choose to know, deep in my heart,
  • That all is well.
  • This time it’s me, another time, it will be somebody else.
  • And since I would not resent them for needing more time, I don’t resent myself either!
  • I don’t need the panic anymore either: if I know the answer, I choose to find it easily, and if I don’t know it, that’s OK, I’m going to learn something new!
  • So I’m letting any remaining panic or embarrassment go out through the pipe! I love feeling clear in my head to learn even better!

Mum’s session

One month later, Tessa had scored another D in her last test. However, her reaction has changed. She’s not stressed out anymore, but disappointed, she thought she had the correct answer. She really should have had a B.

Another positive change, she finds it easier to understand in the classroom. Tessa”s mum Anne says: “It’s difficult to say that these changes are due to the tapping. She’s less stressed, more confident, doesn’t cry much on this any more. She manages better. At home everything is OK.”

I suggest a tapping session with Anne. I have noticed in the past how the traumas experienced by a parent could transfer as a similar trauma in the child, sometimes in very unexpected ways.

We start tapping for Tessa surrogately, a technique a lot of tapping parents use.

  • Even though Tessa still finds it difficult to manage tests
  • Even though she’ll need several hours to recover form the shock (of the D)

But very quickly we come back to Anne, who herself has a very vivid memory of a failed maths test from age 12. Even the topic is fresh in her memory – to compute the proportions of an ice-cream recipe!

To clean a past trauma, visualising the feeling is quite often an efficient shortcut. We use that method to clean up sadness and anxiety still coming up when she was recalling that test.

But the sadness is not always completely gone after our work. It happens quite often in similar circumstances that the last 5 per cent or so of a past feeling just stays there. It can be difficult to accept the idea that a feeling that has been sitting in the conscious or unconscious mind for so long could really completely go away. That particular belief needs to be treated specifically.

A very summarised version of that round goes:

  • Even though I refuse to believe that the sadness I had for all these years could actually go away in just a few minutes ... 95 per cent of it is already gone, so why not the last 5 per cent?

It takes a few more rounds to free Anne completely of the bad feelings related to that memory. She’s really surprised. She comments with her lovely smile: “It’s incredible, I feel a weight off my chest.”

We tend to reason and forget how much an event which can seem quite meaningless when we consider a life span, is actually very vivid and active in our subconscious mind.

We decide to have another session with Tessa a few days later.

Second session

Tessa thinks that the first session did help her. She actually used the pipe technique several times. “I didn’t tap, since the pipe was enough.”

Completely logical! She did share quality time with mum tapping on her before going to bed.

I ask Tessa for her version of what has improved and what still needs work.

“My grades are getting better, and I’m stressing less. But I still felt stressed during tests and had bad grades then.”

She has two tests in the following days, including one on the program of the previous three months.

This time, we use the film technique, going through every single scene, tapping away negative emotions as they show up, until you can tell the whole story without any negative feeling at all.

So we identify each step, leaving home, going to school, arriving at school at 8:00, test starting at 10:30, sitting the test, end of the test.

When we run the scenario the first time, she feels anxiety (7 out of 10) just imagining she’s leaving home. We tap that away, start again, and then the anxiety shows up on the way to school. Little by little, the anxiety comes in later and later, and weaker each time. Wen the anxiety doesn’t show up anymore, we add more triggers, like recalling the last failed test, imagining she has a question she can’t possibly find an answer to two, three or seven of these questions, adding the stress to know that there are only two minutes to finish. We run the scenario 10 times to be able to run it completely peacefully.

Every time we go through the scenario we use various tools, such as tapping, and visualising the pipe, or colors. At some point, she mentions that yellow means calm and light to her, to replace a blue anxiety in her stomach. Each person associates different colours to different feelings. You’ll see that this comment was very important for Tessa.

We are screening the film perfectly calmly when I add one aspect: “Could anybody tease you about your D at the last test?”

Bad feelings immediately go back up. Still tapping, we do a few interesting visualisations, focusing on the kid, we call her ‘G’, who already made this comment. So our new scenario is: Tessa meets G, G makes a nasty comment, and then Tessa arrives at the classroom for the test.

Tessa has a very rich imagination. Her hands fidget, her anger at G “goes out through her ears, like in cartoons”. Knowing that Tessa would never do this in real life, I even suggest that she gets physical: “if you were to kick her, would that help to let go of your anger?” That kick actually kicked the anger out. But then, we’re facing another issue: doubt. “What if G was right? What if I failed this test too?” This is also tapped away.

I choose to write down most of this next round, because I feel it’s important to highlight Tessa’s change of mind about G. If we could apply the same concept in all bullying situations in school, who knows what could happen?

  • Even though G might be right, and maybe that’s why I’m angry at her, maybe I will have another D, she could also be wrong, and I know I prepared well for this test.
  • Even though she might be right, and she planted a doubt in my mind, I don’t have to accept this doubt she gave me. I can choose what I want to think, and I allow her to think what she wants, too.

  • Maybe she gave me that doubt
  • because she’s jealous
  • maybe she’d like to be nice like me
  • maybe things are difficult for her
  • maybe she’s just unhappy,
  • maybe she only knows to say nasty things
  • maybe nobody ever taught her to say nice things (I check with Tessa if she thinks all these are potentially true – she agrees)
  • maybe she doesn’t really say mean things on purpose?

  • Maybe she would like to say nice things
  • but she doesn’t know how?
  • Whatever the situation, I can’t solve her issue.
  • And I choose to feel OK, whatever happens,
  • I forgive her for giving me that doubt,
  • and I forgive myself for having accepted that doubt
  • and I choose to know, deep inside me, that I do know ALL the answers.
  • That I CAN have an A

  • that I DESERVE an A

  • and that I WILL have an A
  • and all is well! Thank you!

Tessa is now relaxed and smiling.

Follow up three days later

Three days later, I start my day beautifully, opening my first emails. Each one contains a picture of Tessa, looking happier and happier, holding a sign that says “thank you Christine”, and covered with yellow pieces of paper. Each picture has a different caption:

  • I got an A with only one mistake!!!!
  • I applied the technique on a tough question and it works!!!
  • I am looking for yellow everywhere!

Remember the comment about colours? Yellow only appeared a few minutes in the second session, and I hadn't realised how much that had helped.

Follow up three months later

Three months later, mum write to confirm that Tessa got her grades for the second semester.

in maths: she has A on average!!!! She only spoke to me on this one of course. It's amazing in only 2 session how it has done her good... She has As everywhere except B in sciences, but nothing matters apart from Maths!!!

So thanks again!!!!!. No more tears, no need for help, she works on her own without me ... pure joy!! It really is a 100 per cent turn around, amazing!!! :).- and regarding G, it was already improving, but this comment about maths had touched her because of the topic!

Note that, besides the G episode, which has quite a minimal importance in this case, nobody had done anything to traumatise Tessa. Her anxiety was simply rooted in her extreme sensitivity and a trivial event. Just imagine a world where all traumas which are created in school could be healed right there and then.

EFT is beginning to take root in schools, at various levels, and this is good news. On that topic, I’d suggest you spend a few minutes to watch this video.

Also, remember that persistence is key. We could have settled on the results of the first session, but the second one really put the icing on the cake. Children, parents and all, let’s all tap together!

Christine Disant
Practical Learners

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