By ERIN ELLIOTT BRYAN / Community News Editor
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
— Albert Einstein
Kathilyn Solomon has published a new book, Tapping into Wellness: Using EFT to Clear Emotional and Physical Pain and Illness (Llewellyn). The book is described as a comprehensive introduction and reference guide to Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), or tapping.
Similar to acupuncture, but without the needles, EFT is part of a fast-growing area of healing and self-improvement called energy therapy. It can be used to alleviate stress, cravings, bad memories, grief, phobias, physical pain, illness and more.
“When we’re totally stressed out with what we’re thinking, our immune system can’t be working, and a ton of that is subconscious,” Solomon said in a recent interview at the AJW office.
And though she stressed the fact that we do not cause our illnesses in any way, Solomon said “there is a way to get at the emotional contributors that may be supporting that physical thing.”
EFT practitioners guide their clients through a round of tapping on nine calming acu-points, which are also known as meridians: side of the hand (karate chop point), top of head, eyebrow, side of eye, under eye, under nose, chin, collar bone and under arm. These points activate the body’s electromagnetic system and correspond to different organ systems in the body. The exercise draws on what Solomon says is the “brilliance of the body-mind system.”
As people tap these points, they focus on a specific target or problem; it could be a bad memory (going far back into childhood), a body sensation (such as pain), a fear or a looming deadline. The final step is to add an affirmation, a simple positive statement that the client says out loud as they tap. Solomon says you don’t even have to believe the statement: “it’s a notion of the idea of acceptance (not resignation).”
The round of tapping ends with some deep breaths.
“The way out is through,” Solomon said. “Don’t just say, ‘It’s just the way I am’ or ‘I’m always going to be that way.’ There is a way, but we’ve been programmed to believe that ‘it’s the way we are, it’s the way my family is, it’s the way it is.’ It’s about changing belief systems, changing thought patterns, changing the way one relates to those events that were traumatic, having complete peace around them and seeing their life take off.”
Solomon, who works in private practice in Minneapolis, is among a handful of EFT experts worldwide with advanced practitioner status through the Association of Comprehensive Energy Psychology. She has also earned advanced certification from AAMET International, the world’s largest professional EFT Association, and received her early tapping credentials through or in association with EFT founder Gary Craig.
But Solomon also learned the benefits of EFT firsthand.
In the late 1990s, she had found success in New York City’s publishing industry and had authored seven children’s books. Solomon then transitioned to a freelance communications job at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
“But there was a pattern for me,” Solomon said. “As soon as I got to a certain level in my career, I would turn down offers right and left for jobs that people would die for… That was a hallmark of me not thinking I was good enough, like somehow I couldn’t do the work even though I was doing the work, and my history really demonstrated that I could do it.”
After a near-death experience during the home birth of her son, Solomon was faced with a long recovery and the inability to work or socialize. She also made the difficult decision to end her unhealthy marriage.
When her son was a year and a half, Solomon moved back to Minnesota, but now she was a single mother without a job, and she eventually qualified for welfare.
“Some of those beliefs I had from earlier on in my life, like ‘I’m not good enough,’ those didn’t help me at that time… There’s a certain level of shame if you’re not ‘performing,’” Solomon said. “Every time I met someone, they weren’t meeting me, they were meeting all the crap I was putting out. It was a pretty lonely time for me.”
And physically, Solomon couldn’t seem to recover. She was eventually diagnosed with fibromyalgia, an autoimmune disease that causes chronic pain — and doctors couldn’t do anything to help her. And similar to other autoimmune illnesses, such as lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome or Lyme disease, sufferers still look “normal” on the outside.
“It’s not like a broken leg that you can see,” Solomon said. “It’s a place where you’re not being seen or understood.”
She had a lifelong interest in plants and the “organic, holistic way life works,” so a friend introduced Solomon to thought field therapy (TFT) and later EFT.
“The EFT worked. It didn’t work right away, but it helped, and what I began to understand was that I had triggers for me,” Solomon said. “It wasn’t only EFT that healed me. It was EFT, it was being willing to do some really deep inner work, understanding more about what led me to choosing the life that I had chosen and taking responsibility for my choices, no matter how difficult that seemed. And to stop blaming other people and then coming to a different understanding about what happened, from a much more mature perspective.”
Solomon said she also supplemented her wellness with holistic support, including massage and healthy eating. She said her physical issues completely resolved when her son was nine years old.
She has been a certified EFT practitioner since 2004, also conducting workshops and teaching on the subject. She continues to write under the rubric of ERRTHY WRRX: Creative and Healing Arts Good for People and Planet, and teaches Hebrew — for her, the “sacred language of Creation.”
Solomon mentioned the Shema prayer, which references the unity at the heart of every soul.
“Underneath the trauma is that unity,” she said. “The thing about this tapping, you can begin to be free. It’s called Emotional Freedom. There’s the freedom, the relief, the lightness, the sense of well-being, the vitality that comes from experiencing the truth of who you are… The idea of this is to come from a place of unity and love and understanding.”