A BALANCED PERSPECTIVE
Half hour with Dr. Anthony Sharkey
Dr. Anthony Sharkey (MB, Bch, BAO, Diploma in Child Health) is Irelands only medically qualified doctor specializing exclusively in the use of EFT for serious illness, specifically depression, anxiety disorders, panic attacks and phobias.
He qualified in medicine from Trinity College in 1982. Since then he has continued to train and has qualified in a number of very potent healing modalities. These include Child Health, Kinesiology and NLP. His main modality is EFT in the context of his orthodox medical practice.
When were you first introduced to EFT?
I came across EFT around the year 2000, about 11 years ago. A friend of my colleague Sean was doing TFT (Thought Field Therapy) at that time and getting great results. I was very cautious about anything that promised fast results. I had been using other techniques which had promised fast results but were not delivering as their marketing had suggested.
My colleague Sean decided to use TFT on one of his clients who had a fear of walking over a pedestrian bridge on the Stillorgan by-pass in Dublin. After 45 minutes of doing TFT the stress levels of the client had reduced to zero. The client actually commented that he couldn’t understand why he was actually attending Sean and why he had been so fearful of walking over a bridge. My friend Sean told me this story. I immediately bought Roger Callahan’s book – Tapping the Healer Within. That is how I got started with EFT.
It was hard to get training at the time. The training for TFT was so expensive and surrounded in a lot of mystery. About 6 years ago I bought Gary Craig’s EFT dvd’s. I studied them and started to practice EFT. It just grew from there.
What stood out the most about EFT for you, that you continued to use it?
One of the themes in my personal life is finding how to get the maximum results with the minimum effort. I have done all sorts of training in my life but my main aim is to heal the person as fast, as gently and as permanently as possible. That has always been my criteria. For me EFT is fast, gentle and permanent.
I taught meditation for many years. Meditation is a tool for change – a tool for transformation, including emotional transformation, changing negative thoughts and emotions. That is actually quite a slow process. EFT is so amazing and so fast. If I was to rank the tools for change that work for me – Meditation would be first and then EFT would be next on the list. That is huge for me to say that. 99% of clients who come to me for EFT are in some sort of emotional pain or feel stuck. They just want to get out of that pain and get on with their life.
What kind of response have you received from other GP’s about the use of EFT as part of your practice?
I do not have much contact with other doctors. It is just the way my life has evolved really. I was involved in meditation for years and I stopped having a career in medicine for about 17 years. I would see the occasional private patient. I returned to Dublin in 2005 and currently spend my time teaching Meditation, practising as a MedicaI Doctor and an EFT practitioner. I don’t have any contact with ordinary GP’s to have that conversation. But I can tell you that most GP’s aren’t that open to EFT.
Why do you think that is?
I trained at the Meath hospital in Dublin in the 80’s. Our training wasn’t conducive to looking at alternatives. That’s one thing. I attended my 25 year class reunion a few years ago. There were 14 of us. Not one of them were into alternative medicine. I realized why that was the case. Some of them were specialists. They have spent 30 years studying their chosen speciality. All the others were in general practice. All have very busy practices. They can have up to 10,000 patients on their books. Actually when you qualify as a doctor you almost immediately have a large practice. A doctors’ practice within its own framework works. When I was talking with my friends I realized that they started to work immediately after they qualified – in their mid-20s. And 25 years later, they are still working bloody hard and they have no need to look beyond what they are doing. So that’s one explanation.
How have you incorporated EFT into your practice? If someone comes to you as a doctor do you treat them with your ‘doctor hat’ on?
I advertise myself as a medically qualified EFT practitioner . I am presently the only medically qualified doctor in Ireland who specializes in EFT. It is a big loss for medics because EFT is so easy to learn. Medics could do an awful lot with EFT. Mostly I probably see what your typical EFT practitioner sees. I specialize in the treatment of Anxiety and Depression. That encompasses so much. I just do EFT sessions– mostly working with clients who have emotional and psychological traumas – typical anxiety, fears and phobias.
If a client was on medication before they came to you, and you felt they didn’t need to continue taking it would take them off that medication?
I would take them off it. I do take clients off anti-depressants. At the same time I do prescribe anti-depressants as well. There is a place for anti-depressants. Doctors are good at putting people on anti-depressants and not so good at taking them off anti-depressants. I have found people who come to me who are on anti-depressants are more difficult to treat. You get some movement in one session but it is much more difficult. That’s my personal opinion. When I hear someone is on anti-depressants I think ‘this will be a bit trickier’
How often would you see a client?
That depends on the client. It could be weekly or fortnightly sessions. I tend to leave it up to the client. I don’t have a preset sense of how often I will see a client. That’s an important point. I don’t have a protocol that I am going to see this person weekly. Between the client and I, we decide what the optimal is. I always leave it up to the client. I aim to give the client a sense of a co-operative environment. So I will say quiet deliberately ‘What is your sense of when we will see each other again?.They will say maybe a week or a fortnight. And I will say ‘I think you are right’. It is a little thing and it might seem trivial – but it is so empowering for the client.
Have you come across any clients that come to you for treatment who have so much resistance to getting better that they are almost happier holding on to the Anxiety because it is their identity?
I get a sense from people whether or not they are committed to the Anxiety or not. The majority of people that I have worked with who have Anxiety (including fears and phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, fear of the future..) want to get out of it. There may be a secondary gain. I might ask them ‘Have you thought on some level that you are getting something out of this?’
Here are examples of 2 people who came to me recently with PTSD. One person had knocked a person down in a road traffic accident 12 months previously. She was in total shock when she came to my office. When we saw each other it was as if she had knocked that person down 10 minutes ago. She was trapped in this nightmare. She could hardly breathe – in total shock.
Another woman had witnessed an accident where a child died. She had attended a Traumatologist 20 times (without any improvement) before she came to me. EFT worked like it was bursting a bubble. It was so intense. 15 minutes later she wasn’t in shock anymore. To go from extreme anxiety and so much emotional pain to resolution and peace in such a short space of time is powerful. She thought she was going mad. EFT gave her back her sanity. You can’t put a price on that. EFT is very powerful and precise – it really works.
How would you compare the basic underlying belief of traditional medicine to the EFT model – that the basic model of traditional medicine is that the body needs medicine and or surgery to heal itself as oppose to the EFT model that an emotional trauma contributes greatly to disease in the body which is the underlying cause of the symptoms?
I think first and foremost the origin of physical disease will always be either physical, mental or spiritual. That is what influences the manifestation of any disease. What orthodox medicine tends to do is concentrate on the physical. So you go to your doctor, you have a disease / illness process going on and basically you are given drugs or have surgery. But there is no treatment for psychological/ emotional and spiritual elements. EFT works on the psychological / emotional level. With a disease or illness there will either be a back ground of unresolved emotional pain, an emotional response to the disease or both. There is always some sort of emotionality associated with the disease – either in the background or the response to the disease.
Where do you see the future of EFT moving forward?
I really feel that EFT practitioners have to really focus on marketing the benefits of EFT. It is such a powerful tool. It is counter intuitive because we have been taught that change takes a long time and that we have to do a lot of therapy. I having nothing against therapy but sometimes the trauma of everyday life can be so challenging. EFT is so simple and so effective. I worked with a client recently who had a fear of flying. It was all over in 40 minutes. This is not how people think about their problems. EFT is elegant – you get maximum results for minimal effort.
Where is your practice?
My practice is in Dublin. I offer a free 15 minute telephone consultation where the person can establish if EFT is the right fit for them. There is no charge for this call.
Interview by Fiona Holden, EFT Master Practitioner & Trainer, www.eftireland.com
Additional info on Dr. Anthony Sharkey:
His practice is at 14 Lower Pembroke Street in Dublin 2.
Mobile: 086-2136125 Email: email@example.com.