Gaining Traction, Get to Softenings with Jim Thomas in Portsmouth-What we learned

Gaining Traction, Get to Softenings with Jim Thomas in Portsmouth-What we learned

Last weekend Jim Thomas was here in Portsmouth, NH for Gaining Tractions, Getting to Softenings.It was such a powerful learning experience. I feel energized one week out both by Jim’s teaching and passion for the work and by OUR community. I continue to feel lifted up by the hugs and all the connecting. What an incredible group of clinicians. I asked everyone to email me what they took from the experience. Below are some of the responses:

“My jaw is still dropped in awe after that weekend. I am in awe of Jim- his presence and vulnerability, and of the community-I’ve never felt closer to a big group in a training. I thank each and everyone one of you for how transformative it was…I still get tears in my eyes when I think about it. And I am a better therapist this week.” Sage Goodwin

Jim asked us to “pinky swear” what we promised to do differently after the training. Or as Michelle Avignan said in her email lets “consolidate what we have learned and keep the warm wonderful EFT community feeling alive.”

Here are more words of wisdom from the group…


“I felt inspired by Jim to work harder. I need to prepare more for each couple. Like he said, the chef in the restaurant would not just sit back and say, I’m tired, and let those brussel sprouts go uncooked. I went into my office Sunday and looked at each couple I had Monday and wrote out the most vulnerable thing said in previous session, thought about where we were in the model and had a plan.” Deb Curtis

“I have been at this awhile, and realized that that inspiration to stop “phoning it in”, and get reenergized to dedicate myself to this work was why I had come. I reviewed each tape and took really good notes detailing the most vulnerable moments. I also wrote what I thought I needed to do in order to move a couple from Stage One to Stage Two, in some cases. I kept my notes on my lap and referred to them during the sessions. It really helped me to do this. I stayed on track, recognized the exits, and stayed in the model much more consistently. I have a renewed sense of confidence in my work. I can DO this more effectively. But I do have to work harder, and I am confident that it will pay off and make a huge difference. Jim is magic….and so are we.” Paula Zerfoss

I have interrupted my “bad habit” of going into a withdrawn, hopeless state with my very anxious fearful/avoidant pursuer…and have felt more courageous to interrupt him when he talks on and on, and help him get to his deeper emotion. Watching Jim be so relentlessly active and fearless with his couples gave me more courage to do this.Also, I’ve been comforted by remembering that 75% of the time is typically spent in Stage One. I’ve stopped beating myself up about this, or imagining that if my couples were only with a more experience EFT therapist, they would surely have gotten to their bonding event by now!!  Instead, I am stepping in more to provide that necessary empathy, and NOT expecting the other partner to respond well. Yes ! I get it ! Stage One means that the safe attachment is with ME!!!! This has been so helpful. Sara Acker

“I so appreciated Jim’s humility as a trainer when he said, “Some of you might do better reflections of the cycle than me, or some of you might be better at validation than me, etc…but what I have is that I’ve been in the promised land of EFT longer.” Jim talked about bringing into the room his own mentor—If Sue were here, what might she do? This reminds me to use Jim as an ally in my therapy room rather than feel intimidated or seeing myself as “less than” after being exposed to his work.” Nancy Knudsen


“One big one is how mind-blowing it is to organize my understanding of the model around the idea of partners connecting with themselves in Stage 1 and getting most of the responsiveness from me, and partners connecting with each other in Stage 2 when we choreograph enactments and responsiveness. I also loved the image of the umbilical cord. “ Michelle Avigan

“I love the “One Thing” concept, that we are moving towards bonding events, and that we envision that potential in every couple from day one. Just this simple handle embodies the kind of sharp focus and intention of the tapas chef in the restaurant kitchen that served as such a great metaphor throughout the training.” Nancy Knudsen

“The weekend was inspiring. I’ve been really conscious of the “one thing” and focused and deepened, working toward that bonding event. I thought long and hard about my most “disorganized attachment” Pursuer and prepared to really stay with her pain (instead of withdrawing myself) and then found that with my new understanding and preparation I worked all session with the abused child pain of her withdrawing husband, leading to a touching bonding event that left him visibly more substantial and them touching each other.”   Ross Hackerson


“What I pinky promised to do was to go towards all emotion, without pursuing, especially the emotion of the withdrawer. It has already helped this week with my own understanding of each couple in my office. My poor withdrawers were all in the hot seat this week!” Sage Goodwin

“I had a great couples session yesterday but have noticed that all of my individual sessions have deepened as well. I think I have taken away that I can lean in to their discomfort with them, be more empathic than I knew was possible, stay in the fear or hurt or pain and in those spaces, just by being there with them, something magical starts to happen. It was there all along, just waiting to be set free. I keep thinking about Jim’s admonition that the fear isn’t the problem, it’s only the keeping it in that injures.” Naomi Rather

“I loved watching all the film and seeing the model in action, seeing the transformation was tearful and awe-inspiring. Jim is so skilled, I had to manage my fear I could never live up! My commitment is to try to start every session in a place of emotion and vulnerability instead of a check-in and spending half the session in cognitive space.” Louise Howlett


“How did I love it? Let me count the ways:  I was inspired by Jim’s vulnerable, yet appropriate sharing and his sense of humor and humility.  I was inspired to be more courageous with my couples ( pinky swear on that one); I learned so much about the differences between Step 3 and Step 5 and how to tell the difference; I will forever see that umbilical cord, and think of the courage it takes for two people who are hurting to make the call to our offices; the phrase, “it’s the withdrawers who lead the way into the bonding event.” And on and on.  Using our knowledge, but working that knowledge through heart before head.” with gratitude- Pam Pacelli