Claude Improves His Fishing

FishingBy Dr. Patricia Carrington

On the subject of using EFT “for everything” (Gary Craig’s oft-repeated advice), I would like to report an unusual effect of this technique, which was shared with me by Hank Krol, a counselor at Stairways Behavioral Health, an outpatient mental health clinic in Erie, Pennsylvania that deals with severely disturbed patients.


Hank has developed a most interesting method of dealing with major depression using the Emotional Freedom Technique. It involves

Gary Craig’s Introduction:

To some, this will be a trip into the ether. To others, it will provide evidence, and a possible EFT link, to the far reaching effects of our inner attitudes on our outer circumstances.

Almost everyone recognizes that we radiate our inner thoughts through such things as our posture, gestures, voice intonations and choice of words. People pick up on this, of course, and tend to respond to us in a manner commensurate with what we are “putting out.” Thus if we are internally angry, people will tend to be angry back. If we are internally peaceful, people will tend to give us peaceful feedback.

Nothing new here.

But what about the effects of our internal state on the “non-people” elements of our outer world? Do our internal thoughts affect those as well? There have been many scientific experiments proving the effects of our intention on both living and inanimate objects. It is for real. Dr. William Tiller gave us a fascinating trip into this world as part of his presentation on our Steps Toward Becoming The Ultimate Therapist videos.

Along these lines Dr. Patricia Carrington provides us with the story of “Claude” whose ability to catch fish rose dramatically after using EFT to improve his inner states of confidence, embarrassment and jealousy.

We can dismiss this account, of course, as being too “woo-woo”…OR…we can use it as evidence of exciting potentials within us. Which you choose, of course, depends on your inner thoughts (smile).

breaking up the (much too) general category of “Depression” into 15 component depressive symptoms, having the patient check those which apply to him or her, and then applying EFT to each one in turn, usually over a number of sessions. I have previously written this method for therapists and others interested in the treatment of depression, but I will report here a rather puzzling effect of EFT experienced by one of the depressed patients whom Hank Krol has been treating.

“Claude” (not his real name) sought help at the clinic following a prolonged hospitalization for major depression. When commencing to treat him, Hank followed Gary’s recommendation to demonstrate the efficacy of EFT right at the start when attempting to win newcomers over to the technique. He began by using EFT with Claude on relatively minor issues completely unrelated to his depression.

The first application was for a shoulder and lower back pain for which the tapping brought immediate relief. Claude’s pain (on a 0-10 scale) came down from an initial “7 or 8” to a “1” by the end of the session, and Claude conceded that EFT was effective.

When he returned for the next therapy session a week later he had used EFT several times in the interim and this way he had managed to keep his shoulder and neck pain minimal. He then asked Hank, quite out of the blue, if he thought EFT would “help me with my fishing”.

Claude is semi-retired and one of his favorite pastimes is going down to the local creek where a number of experienced fishermen assemble daily. His girlfriend introduced him to fishing following his discharge from the hospital and he took to it right away. Being somewhat of a perfectionist, he bought all the right equipment (the very best) and carefully observed the other fishermen, making sure to use exactly the same bait that they did, to fish in the same area, and so forth. While on the one hand he looked forward to his new hobby, it had so far been extremely frustrating for him.

There were usually at least ten other fisherman lined up on the bank and, according to Claude, almost all of them would manage to catch large numbers of BIG Steelhead Trout (Erie is the top city in the world for this variety of fish) each time they fished. By contrast, although the creek is known for its exceptional trout, Claude would consistently leave at the end of the day with only a couple of “small fish,” if any, in his pail.

This was particularly frustrating because to his knowledge he was doing nothing differently from the other fishermen, but rather following their procedures “to the letter.” He recalls that he fished with minimal luck on at least 15 to 20 different occasions and did not experience a single successful day during that time.

Claude was persistent, however, and he kept on fishing. In fact, he was wearing his fishing boots at the session and was preparing to return to the creek right after his appointment.

Hank responded to Claude’s question about using EFT for fishing, by saying, “Let’s try it.” It is important to note, however, that Hank did not have Claude address his fishing problem as “the problem”— that is, he did not suggest that he tap on, “Even though I’m a failure at fishing…” or similar statement. Instead he questioned him about his EMOTIONAL REACTIONS to the failure and asked Claude to tap only on his feelings.

Claude was able to identify three primary emotional reactions to this situation — “jealousy,” “embarrassment,” and a feeling of “lack of confidence” – emotions quite familiar to him in other situations as well. When he tapped on “embarrassment” his intensity was originally a “10” and after three rounds it had come down almost to zero. “Jealousy” was substantially reduced by the end of the session, and “lack of confidence” was similarly lessened. Claude was pleased with these results and marched out to test them at the creek.

When he returned for his next session he said (words to the effect of)”I can’t believe it, but that tapping worked for the fishing!” Here is his account of what happened.

When he went to the creek after his therapy session, the other fishermen were lined up and as usual were pulling in fish after fish. Claude set up his fishing tackle and waited. But this time he didn’t have to wait long. The fish began biting soon after he arrived there, and he found himself, to his amazement, bringing in so many Steel Head Trout that soon he had caught more than he could possibly use — and they were big ones too!

This was the beginning of a new era. Claude systematically used EFT each day before he fished, and each time that he tapped away his embarrassment and jealousy and lack of confidence he kept on having successes. He estimates that since he began using EFT he experienced 30 to 40 truly “good” fishing days, and only 12 days that were “not so good,” a remarkable record for him. At the writing of this report, his success at fishing continued and contributed greatly to his self-esteem.

When asked how he explains his extreme lack of success before he learned EFT, Claude said that he attributed it to “bad luck” and that he had been “unlucky” all of his life. While he also lacked as much experience as the other fishermen, the fact that there was an immediate turnaround on the very day he commenced using EFT, strongly suggested to him that “bad luck’ really didn’t have much to do with it. He said that when he tapped on the three issues (embarrassment, jealousy, and lack of confidence) before he went fishing (he did this religiously) that he would go to the creek expecting to catch fish and that his lack of confidence was gone.

Claude continued to experience major problems to confront in his life, many of them stemmed from his extreme under evaluation of himself, but at least his confidence with respect to fishing seemed to be handled. And, under the guidance of Hank, he continued using EFT for some months for an even more basic issue in his life – his lack of self esteem. Interestingly, he reported a marked improvement in his self-esteem since he had been doing this. Measured on a ten point scale, with 10 representing a maximum sense of “self worth” and 0 a complete lack of any sense of self worth, Claude estimated the following:

When he was in the hospital with severe depression his sense of self worth was a zero on the 10 point scale. When he was discharged from the hospital his sense of self worth rose to a 4 on this scale. Then, (in March, 2002), after several months of treatment using EFT with counseling for this problem, he rated his sense of self worth as 7 on that scale and, as a consequence, his depressive symptoms became manageable for the first time.

To get back to his improvement in fishing, although we can speculate on the reasons for the unexpected outcome, actually none of us know exactly how EFT worked to achieve its results from the standpoint of the FISH. Since using EFT for this issue, is it that Claude is now engaging in some uncharacteristic behavior when fishing that has turned the outcome around for him, even though he is not aware of behaving differently when using EFT? Obviously if he is doing this it is not apparent to him, and it is hard to imagine how confidence or lack of it is conveyed to the fish so that they either take the bait or not.

The Universal Energies Around Us

Those who have studied the operations of energy fields have observed that subtle energies are not confined to the individual but can impact many other organisms and sometimes even inanimate objects (as in the studies of the effects of thought on random number generators conducted by Robert Jahn, Dean of the School of Engineering at Princeton University). Reasoning from this perspective, one might possibly wonder if Claude’s much more relaxed and confident attitude about fishing is somehow being conveyed to the fish through means other than through the five senses. This would be in some ways similar to what happens during surrogate tapping.

All this is speculation. I leave it to you to decipher the mystery of the Steelhead Trouts’ response to EFT. . . .

EFT Master Patricia Carrington, Ph.D.

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