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5 Reasons Why People Don't Fully Recover from Loss

Though EFT tapping is incredibly effective for grief recovery, most people don’t fully recover from losing a loved one.

Throughout the past 10 years as an EFT practitioner, I’ve observed 5 main reasons for this. In today’s post, I’ll go over each one, including examples of how these inner obstacles to healing tend to present.


Over and over again, tapping has shown me

that love is forever, but grief doesn't have to be.


1) Thinking That They’ve Fully Recovered, and Not Consciously Aware That the Loss Is Still Affecting Them

When I’m working with a client on grief recovery, after one or two sessions, they usually feel that their healing is complete, when, in reality, there are still remaining aspects of their grief to heal.

The reason why people think that their healing is complete when it’s not is because they feel so much more at peace about the loss than they did before we began our work together, that they can’t imagine feeling even better.

For example:

  • They no longer cry when they think about their deceased loved one.

  • They can laugh and remember the good times when they talk about that person.

  • They no longer feel depressed.

  • They can imagine having a happy life without their loved one who passed away.

Because EFT is so effective, and because it works so quickly, people tend to be shocked by how much better they feel in just 1 or 2 sessions. They already feel better than they thought possible about the loss that they’ve suffered, and they assume that that’s as good as it gets. How could it get better than that?

While it fills me with joy to facilitate deep healing like this, because I know what to look for in terms of hidden aspects of grief, I also know that their healing isn’t complete, and that pains me.

I have a list of tools and techniques that I use to check for these hidden aspects, but there’s only so much we can get to in a one-hour session. If the client feels that they’ve already received a better result than they had even hoped for, it can be difficult to convey to them how much residual grief is probably still there which we should test for.

2) Believing That It’s Not Possible to Fully Recover from Losing a Loved One

This belief is so common that it’s practically sacrilege to suggest otherwise. And I can understand why. Without a powerful release technique like tapping, people really don’t fully heal, and pain about the loss continues for the rest of their lives.

But EFT has changed that, because it truly heals the grief, as opposed to just making it easier to bear, which is what most other approaches to bereavement do.

The majority of people don’t know about EFT, so they really can’t imagine how grief could truly be healed. And even for those who do know EFT and have experienced its healing power, it’s still hard to wrap their mind around full recovery from loss being possible. And so the myth of grief’s permanency continues.

When I’m working with a client who has this belief, it only stands in the way of healing when it causes them to stop their EFT work prematurely. They don’t continue tapping toward full recovery (either with me, on their own, or both), because they simply don’t believe that it’s possible, and usually nothing I say can convince them otherwise.

3) Believing That If They’re No Longer in Pain About the Loss, It’s a Betrayal or Abandonment of That Person

This belief is also very common. It’s usually tied to feeling that they owe it to the person they lost to grieve for the rest of their life. And in that way, it’s also tied to the previous belief that it’s not possible to fully recover from loss.

What I also see is the client feeling split about their recovery. On the one hand, they believe that their deceased loved one wouldn’t want them to spend the rest of their life feeling sad. On the other hand, they equate grief with love, and believe that if they’re no longer grieving the person, it means that they no longer love that person.

While it’s not usually necessary to tap out the belief from above that grief is permanent, it is nearly always necessary to tap out this belief around full recovery meaning some kind of betrayal or abandonment. That’s why it’s one of the things I always look for in my work with clients, so that if we find it, we can release it, as well as heal whatever aspects of grief we find that are related to it.

4) Believing That Their Grief Ties Them to the Person, and That If They No Longer Have That Grief, They’ll Lose That Connection

This is another one that, when present, needs to be tapped out in order for healing to be complete. It’s very common, so I always look for it.

However, sometimes I don’t even have to look for it, because my clients will say things like:

  • My sadness makes me feel close to ___________.

  • My grief is all I have left of _____________.

  • I need my grief in order to stay connected to ____________.

  • My grief keeps her memory alive.

  • If I’m no longer grieving, then that means they’re really gone.

You’ll notice that that last one isn’t entirely rational, but if you’ve ever lost someone close to you, you know that grief often isn’t rational. It’s unpredictable and illogical, often causing thoughts like, "That must be Mom," when your phone rings, though you know full well that your mom has passed away.

When someone expresses a belief like “If I’m no longer grieving, then that means he’s really gone,” they will usually also say, “I know that doesn’t make any senses, but it’s how I feel.”

In terms of healing with EFT, it doesn’t matter whether or not something makes sense. The key is to keep a laser focus on how you actually feel, your emotional truth, and apply the tapping to that.

Once the belief that grief is necessary to feel close to a deceased loved one has been cleared, the person spontaneously realizes that though their grief is gone, all of the love they have for the person is still there, along with deep gratitude for everything they shared with the person when she was still living.

5) Being Bereaved Has Become Part of Their Identity

This is most common in widows, widowers, those who have lost a child, and those who lost a parent when they were a child. The loss becomes part of the fabric of their identity, and as such, they are attached to it (usually unconsciously).

This one I don’t see all that often in my work with clients, because it’s such a powerful block to healing that it usually prevents people from seeking healing at all. However, it does come up from time to time. When it does, it usually presents as feelings and beliefs like:

  • Because I lost my _____________, I'm permanently damaged.

  • It's not possible to recover from losing a _____________.

  • I'll never be whole because I lost _______________.

  • I'll never be happy because my ___________ passed away.

When an emotional wound or issue (grief or anything else), becomes part of someone's identify, secondary gains are usually involved, and those also need to be addressed and released with the tapping.

For example, the attention and sympathy one gets for having experienced a devastating lost, being able to use grief as a reason to avoid certain parts of life, etc.

The fear of losing part of one's identity must also be unpacked and released with the tapping, as well as any related emotions.


What all of these 5 reasons that people don't fully recover from loss share in common is that they can all be overcome with tapping. Then the grief recovery process can be completed, allowing love, gratitude, and peace to remain where pain and sadness once were.

If you've lost someone close to you, do you recognize any of these beliefs and patterns in yourself? If so, see if you can gently acknowledge them with compassionate curiosity, and without judgment. Then see if you might be willing to do EFT on them, either on your own or with an EFT practitioner.


When doing EFT tapping on your own, if you aren't able completely heal the issue you're working on, so that when you think about it, it no longer causes any stress, emotional pain, anger, or fear, I recommend working with an EFT practitioner. If you decide that this is the best course of action for you, and you would like to work with me, click here to schedule a session or free consultation.


Heather Ambler is a San Francisco Bay Area EFT practitioner and mindset coach. Through her private practice and online programs, she has helped over 10,000 people from 78 countries recover from loss, heal trauma, release fears, increase their confidence, and achieve their goals. To schedule a free consultation, click here.


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