When working on an issue, it’s important to track your progress, especially since the results can be pretty subjective. To that end, my colleagues and I use a SUDS (Subjective Unit of Distress Scale) tracking technique. It’s a method that is used in a number of healing modalities, most notably EMDR and EFT, because it’s an easy scale for clients to track their results. We have several additions to the process.
The beginning step is to choose a trigger event that is the “poster child” for the issue that you’re working on. It can be any specific moment of time that defines that issue, such as the most recent, the earliest, the biggest example, etc. The client gets to choose a phrase that encapsulates the event, so that when he refers to the event, all that needs to be said is something like “my boss issue”. This part of the process is especially useful in a workshop setting, as the whole story does not need to be revealed.
Then, the client looks for whatever emotions come up when thinking about the issue and the location in the body where that emotion is manifesting. So, the “boss issue” might elicit anger in the throat, and pressure in the head. Numbers are then assigned to each sensation, from 0-10, with 0 being there’s nothing to talk about and 10 being the worst possible example of that emotion. An example might be…
Boss issue = anger in heart =8, pressure in head = 10, and tightness in gut = 7
Then, once the factors and numbers have been recorded, the issue doesn’t need to be considered again until the technique that is being employed to release the issue has been utilized. This process is beneficial in that way, because the client doesn’t need to keep reliving any powerful events. This factor is especially beneficial if the trigger event is emotionally packed such as rape or some other form of abuse.
Sometimes, depending on what the issue is and how open the client is to transforming and releasing the stuck energy, not all of the elements of the tracking scale will be able to be recorded. Some people will have suppressed their feelings so much that all they know is that there is tightness in the stomach, but can’t name the emotion connected with it. Others will know about an emotion, but not be able to tell you any place that it exists in their body, as they are so unfamiliar with paying attention to body sensations. As the mentor in the healing process, my colleagues and I keep track of the sensations and numbers for our clients during a session, but there’s no reason why you can’t use this process yourself when using your own methods or releasing stuck energy.
After doing a round of whatever technique you’re employing, you then have the client go back into the exact same moment of the trigger event, and see what’s up now. Is it still anger in the heart at an 8, or has the anger changed body locations, or has the number gone down. Perhaps, now it’s just frustration, it’s still in the heart/chest area, and has gone down to a 6.( a 2 point drop is a big change.) Whatever changes have occurred get recorded, and probably two or more rounds of the technique may need to be employed until you get down to the “dirty fingerprint” stage. That’s what I call the phase right before you’re about to completely release the issue. You “know” that something isn’t quite right yet, but it’s hard to define as if you’re looking at smudges on the window pane.
You want to continue with whatever process you’re employing, until all emotions, body sensation and numbers are at a zero, because if pieces are left uncleared, then those can re-manifest in the same form or in a variation of the original event. It’s important to keep the same trigger event throughout the healing process until all numbers have reached that zero stage, so you’re comparing apples to apples. If the event is representative of one of your core issues, you might have to then pick a new event in the same series, For instance, the boss event might have several painful occurrences, such as the time you were humiliated in front of co-workers, and another time when you were asked to do something dishonest. Each of those events would probably need to be handled separately, and then an even earlier event might be uncovered to work on, such as an early childhood issue with a parent, sibling, or significant person in your life.
So often, when doing alternative healing, there are so many factors at play in a healing session, that having a consistent tracking system can help you see progress from one session to the next. Don’t be surprised as you get closer and closer to totally releasing an issue, that the numbers go up. That’s your reptilian brain operating from fear, but the important factor here is that a change has taken place, With perseverance and love directed at whatever part of you is putting on the brakes, healing can and will take place.
How have you tracked your progress while healing an issue? How did it work for you and what suggestions would you offer to others on how to track their progress?
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You can find out more about my healing work at www.hearthealing.net, about my artwork on my web site at www.fiberfantasies.com (be patient as it loads; it’s worth it), and can find me on Google + , Facebook (for Transition Portals), Facebook (for Fiber Fantasies), and Twitter.