Finding father, finding Mei Mei: a Chinese counsellor’s exploration on the integration of EFT and Christian prayer in trauma recovery
This thesis is an in-depth self-as-subject heuristic inquiry into the integration of EFT and Christian prayer in trauma recovery. It aims to support therapists who work with clients who have a personal relationship with their God, whether the therapists themselves do or not. This research is original in bringing together EFT and Christian prayer. Existing research mainly focuses on the integration of CBT or the psychodynamic tradition with Christian spirituality. This project adopts heuristic inquiry as its methodological foundation, echoing the power of experiential counselling techniques. This inquiry draws from my experience of counsellor training in the UK that exposed my emotional block to anger to myself and others. I explore how my identity as a Chinese woman encouraged this (non-)relationship to anger (or other commonly unwelcomed emotions). Both -emotion-focused therapy (EFT) procedures and Christian prayer healing contributed to a breakthrough on my work with the emotional block, which fascinated and motivated me to explore the integration of the two. I bring my own personal experience that serves the purpose of reflecting the nature of trauma therapy. At times, as in trauma recovery itself, it is sometimes messy, sometimes incoherent and fragmented and sometimes adopts a voice from a younger part of myself. By applying the integration of EFT and Christian prayer on my own therapy following an internal calling of finding father for a dissociated part of me, I have found Mei Mei (an infant part of me) and God, leading to a personal integration and development. EFT techniques are shown helpful in improving the client’s relationship with their emotions and their spirituality (relationship with God), while a relationship with God may be a pre-existing client resource and a product of therapy which continues to strengthen and consolidate the client’s recovery. I then discovered that the theme of integration applies in both my personal and professional life as a client, counsellor and researcher, whereby I have a constant need to balance ‘being and doing’, ‘relationship and technique’ and ‘deconstruct and re-construct’ in a dialectic/dialogical manner facing complex human issues. By comparing EFT and the Christian value of relationships and unconditional love to people, the thesis concludes by clarifying the potential of the integration of EFT and Christian prayer in trauma recovery.