By Craig Weiner, DC, EFT TRN-3, and Alina Frank, EFT TRN-3
Over the last decade we have witnessed the spread of EFT to millions of people around the world. With this rapid expansion, however, we have seen false expectations offered, misconceptions generated, and potentially harmful ideas put forward about EFT. This article addresses what we consider to be the 10 most common myths about EFT, which we feel any newcomer to EFT should be aware of.
The 10 Misconceptions About EFT Tapping are:
Myth #1: EFT is just a self-help tool.
One of the things we love about EFT is that anyone can learn the tool and self-apply it. There aren’t many healing modalities that even offer such an option. If, however, you have used EFT and it appears to have failed, it may simply be because you were only utilizing it as a self-help tool. Though there are millions of issues you can work on by yourself, there isn’t a single person who wouldn’t benefit from being guided in the tapping process by a skilled expert.
Think of it this way: A dentist can brush his teeth and may even be able to use some of the hygienist’s tools to clean them thoroughly, but he can’t perform a root canal on himself no matter how good he is. If you haven’t received sufficient progress on your issue(s), then please consider working with a certified EFT coach with experience in the challenges you want to resolve. This is especially true when significant traumatic experiences are at the heart of the issue you are working on.
Myth #2: EFT is better than Western medicine.
Yes, recent studies show that medical mistakes happen and that medications are frequently offered when safer alternatives could be explored. It is also true that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. That being said, lives are saved every minute by the appropriate use of medication and properly offered medical attention. Too often we have seen alternative care practitioners or advocates of complementary care eschew Western medicine to a fault to the point of not obtaining a proper diagnosis or treatment.
We’ve seen a number of times when just the right dosage of a psychotropic medication given for a short period of time by a skilled and ethical psychiatrist made all the difference in the world in terms of EFT actually being able to work. Just like going to get a cast for a broken bone, getting medication for mental health challenges has its place. Luckily, more than ever, doctors, therapists, and psychiatrists are either learning about EFT or are at least open-minded enough to work in conjunction with EFT.
When this happens, everyone wins. Research has only begun to compare EFT to more traditional and accepted techniques such as CBT and EMDR. To claim EFT’s superiority without evidence is fallacy and potentially harmful. The first question that any qualified EFT professional should be asking regarding a client’s physical condition is whether that client has seen a doctor and been properly examined.
Myth #3: All certified practitioners have resolved all their issues.
Just because an EFT practitioner has been in private practice for several or more years does not mean that they have healed all their own wounds. There are chain-smoking tappers, alcoholic tappers, coaches with unresolved physical and emotional issues, and others who have difficulty setting appropriate boundaries, as a result of unfinished personal work.
The best practitioners are ones who continue to do their own personal work for a lifetime. Just because practitioners have not completely resolved their own issues does not make them incapable of helping you with yours. Looking into their references, their certifications, their experience in the area you wish to work in, along with having a consultation before you commit to working with them is our best advice.
Make sure that when you decide to work with someone it’s a good fit. This is a very special relationship you will be building and can be a significant investment of time, energy, and expense, so double-check to make sure you are in good hands. The best practitioners are the ones that know and accept that their own healing work is never done. An EFT coach who doesn’t do this takes the risk of working with an inflated ego, crossing a line, or suffering from vicarious trauma.
Myth #4: All EFT training is created equal.
There is absolutely no substitute for live workshop training delivered by a highly experienced trainer. During a live training, a good trainer will provide you with many opportunities to practice and offer invaluable individual feedback. There are nuances that even a streaming broadcast cannot capture.
The best EFT training programs will then require that you spend time with a mentor reviewing your work with clients as you go through certification. In our opinion, this results in a much better practitioner than those who feel they learned enough through videos courses. If I needed electrical work done in my home, I wouldn’t trust a person who called him/herself an electrician after training in just an online or mail-order course.
I would trust the electrician that went to school, was a supervised apprentice under someone who had been in the profession for years, and passed his/her requirements for licensure. Because EFT is an unlicensed profession, you will find many EFT practitioners that haven’t taken the necessary steps for mastery and think they are prepared to work with bigger issues that are likely to arise during tapping.
Myth #5: Practitioners should always ask, “Tell me about the first or worst time this happened to you.”
Some people who do EFT feel that asking these questions early in an EFT session will get you to your “core” issue faster. After all, such a high percentage of core issues are formed during early childhood. As EFT and trauma educators, we have rather strong opinions about this based upon the most advanced trauma therapies being researched and discussed in the trauma field. There are multiple problems when this query is asked too soon.
As a client, you may not be prepared for this question, you may well not have recall available in that moment, and then you may feel the pressure to figure it out immediately, which can feel very stressful. Even more important, as a practitioner, you may rip open in the client what we call a “trauma capsule,” without the benefit of having established sufficient connection, rapport, and safety. We have seen that if we ask clients to remember more recent events, they have better access to those memories and we can start unraveling the layers of the onion easily without force, coercion, or manipulation.
The apparent failure to remember early events in your life is quite common and may occur because your psyche/subconscious mind is doing a good job of protecting you from painful memories that you may not be ready, have the resources, or feel safe enough to recall. Recently, a student, after hearing us teach about this, said, “No wonder no one wants to come to me after the first session. I was taught to always go for the earliest and worst memories first.”
This student works with a highly vulnerable and frequently traumatized population. It is especially important to be working more slowly when this is the case. The more you educate yourself on trauma the more you will find that the organic pace of a session, when guided by a skillful practitioner, feels safer, more gentle, and will get the results you want in a relatively short period of time without requiring an early questioning about the “first and worst.”
Myth #6: No lifestyle changes are necessary when doing EFT.
There are some issues that are resolved completely by tapping; it’s truly remarkable and amazing. There are other habits or patterns that require supportive lifestyle changes. We have had a few clients who had Type 2 diabetes who were able to wean off their insulin. While EFT was used on emotionally relevant underlying aspects to the condition, it was also critically important to deal with their challenges to get on and stick to an all-raw diet.
It would be nice to be able to tap and wake up one morning and weigh 60 pounds less, but the reality is that most will not achieve that miracle response from tapping alone. EFT can help you get off the couch, motivate you to move your body, and curb your cravings enough to help you stick with a program that will lead to reaching your goal.
Myth #7: Issues get collapsed in a single session.
Some presenting issues are resolved amazingly fast with EFT, but the truth is that many take dedication and persistence. Though we have seen food cravings resolve in a single session, there is much more to losing weight than eliminating a single food craving. Many a time, we have witnessed a physical pain disappear in minutes, but the underlying emotional issues, triggers, and stress responses frequently require several sessions to resolve. A commitment to resolution, to tapping regularly, is an important aspect of getting the results you want.
Do not be disappointed if, after a single session, you do not meet your soul mate or resolve completely your fear of intimacy or suddenly find your net worth increase dramatically!
Myth #8: The newest variations of EFT must mean they are both new and improved.
There are techniques that use the initials EFT that actually aren’t EFT at all. Some tapping systems may not only be less effective, but also be used in such a way as to be traumatizing. Other variations may include those that always use positive statements and do not focus on releasing the negative emotions.
Those systems or variations are not EFT, despite using those three letters in their name. EFT is based on the notion that “What you resist, persists” and the positive spinning should not be utilized until you have reached a state where enough of the problem is gone. People who do not address the problem sufficiently in tapping may blame EFT for not working, when, in fact, the problem is they didn’t do EFT correctly.
Ask your practitioner about their training and style before hiring them.
Myth #9: EFT views people as broken.
We actually don’t know where this myth came from, but we’ve seen it around the Internet in a few places and we felt that we should address it. EFT teachings have never said anything remotely resembling this. EFT has brilliantly created the statement that there’s a disruption caused by traumas (big and small) that interferes in one’s ability to be in one’s natural state of wellness, prosperity, joy, and happiness. Imagine that you cut yourself with a piece of glass and it’s still in your hand.
You don’t need to say things like “You are healed” or “The tissue around the glass is in perfect harmony with the Universe” or anything else. All you need to do is focus on taking that piece of glass out of your hand and the body can heal itself in short order. That is exactly what EFT does: remove the interference and allow the inherent and innate ability of the body to heal itself.
Myth #10: Tapping scripts or tap-along videos must work well or they wouldn’t be used so often.
When Alina discovered EFT online after 12 years of trying to find a way to heal from a debilitating, autoimmune health condition, she knew exactly what to do because back then there were only a few resources on the Web. She made the connection between the grief and loss of her stillborn child and her illness that started several months later…and, bingo, it worked and her condition resolved.
There will never be a tap-along video or a tapping script that will say, “Let’s tap on the trauma of your stillborn because that’s the connection and was the psychoemotional trigger for the onset of your autoimmune disease.”
There will never be a tap-along video or script that will tap on your fear of speaking in front of an audience that has you tap on that time your priest molested you in the rectory when you were 8. (This was an actual case.) For more experienced tappers, scripts can offer possible ideas and connections that they had not previously considered, and they can then use that information to connect it to specific events in their own lives. That is a skill, however, that we don’t often see used sufficiently.
The proliferation of tapping resources online has been a mixed blessing. On one hand, more people know about tapping than ever before. One the other, the vast majority of tapping resources online are “tapping lite” and don’t stress the importance of drilling down on your specific gloriously unique connections and associations (mostly subconscious) that have kept you stuck and with the same problems.
We are saddened to hear people say, “Tapping may work for other people but not for me” because we know that 9 times out of 10 their only exposure was a weak practitioner or a tap-along exercise, video, or script. We’ve made it our mission to provide a very high level of training and mentoring to ensure that everyone walks away with the ability to help heal the world with the most remarkable tool we’ve ever come across.