A Powerful Way to Uncover and Heal Hidden Aspects of Grief

Very often my clients will think that they’ve completely recovered from losing a loved one, when in actuality, there’s still quite a bit of pain hidden beneath the surface of their awareness. And while they may not be conscious of this grief, it is still affecting nearly every aspect of their lives. Because it so reliably reveals hidden aspects of grief, at some point during their course of treatment, I always ask my clients the following question: If you had the opportunity to speak to the person who passed away and could say anything to him or her without fear of repercussions of any kind (hurting his or her feelings, angering him or her, etc.), what would you say?

Here are some of the responses I frequently hear: I miss you. I love you. I feel lost without you. I wish you were still here. I don’t want to let go of my grief because it makes me feel close to you. Thank you for everything you did for me. I’m sorry (that you suffered so much/that I hurt you/that someone else hurt you/that your life was hard/that you were unhappy). I’m angry at you because ________________. I wish you had _____________________. I wish I had ____________________.

When using this technique with my clients, I have them close their eyes and imagine their loved one’s face. Then I ask them the question.

If you could speak to the person who passed away, what would you say?

When they answer it, if their response has an emotional charge (and it nearly always does), I use it as a tapping statement, and we tap it through the points until it no longer brings up any emotional pain or stress.

Usually, there is more than one thing that they want to say, so we repeat this process until they feel complete with it, meaning they have nothing more to say that feels emotionally charged for them.


The deep (and often unconscious) need many people have to speak from their heart to loved ones who have passed away is poignantly addressed in a segment of the public radio show This American Life. In this segment, called Really Long Distance, the show’s producers travel to Japan to visit a non-functioning phone booth to which thousands of people who lost loved ones in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami have gone in order to pour their hearts out to the deceased.

I’ve listened to this segment twice, and both times I was struck by how cathartic the practice was for those who did it, and also how truly healing it would be if these people tapped while saying what they have to say. For while catharsis provides temporary relief from the pain of loss, tapping permanently releases it. Here’s a link to the episode if you’d like to listen to it.


When doing EFT/tapping on your own, if you get stuck, aren't getting the results you want, or would simply like to have the support and guidance of an experienced professional, I recommend working with an EFT practitioner. To schedule a session or free consultation with me, click here.


Heather Ambler is a San Francisco Bay Area based EFT practitioner and mindset coach. Through her private practice and online programs, she's helped over 12,000 people from 78 countries recover from loss, heal trauma, overcome fears, release limiting beliefs, and achieve goals. To schedule a free consultation, click here.

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Client Testimonial

“It’s amazing that I can now talk about my brother’s death without feeling that pang.”  — Emily

Client Testimonial

“Today's EFT session was more impactful than any counseling I've ever had.”  — Connie

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