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Q: Do I need to tap on the exact points?

A. No. You can tap near the points, or even far away from the points, and still get some effect. At the beginning, just tap, without worrying too much about whether or not you’re on the exact points.
Researchers have asked the question of whether using acupuncture needles on sham points that are not real acupuncture points is as effective as needling the points themselves. Their research results are ambiguous, with some studies showing equal effects from sham and real points, while others show the real points having a larger effect (Harris, Zubieta, Scott, Napadow, Gracely, & Clauw, 2009). If you can imagine a line between the full effect of stimulating the points and no effect, stimulating the wrong points may lie somewhere in the middle. It might be better than no acupuncture at all and less effective than using the precise points.

When you next have an EFT tapping point diagram available, note the location of the points and practice tapping on those exact spots. When you practice EFT using the standard instructions, you can find the exact points by looking at the diagrams and then in a mirror. Most of the points have tiny indentations in the bone and cartilage right below the skin, and you can find them with your fingertips. It’s worth doing that a few times, so that you get into the habit of tapping on the actual acupuncture points rather than nearby places on the skin.

When you need EFT in real life and don’t have a diagram available, however, just tap on the locations as you best remember them.

–from The EFT Manual, by Dawson Church

Q: Is it essential that I tap every point?

A: No. If you forget a point, skip it and tap the next point. With practice, you’ll quickly memorize all the points, and tap them all. At the beginning, it’s fine to skip a point or two. Even experienced practitioners sometimes forget to tap a point if they become completely focused on a client. You’ll be doing many rounds of EFT and you’ll catch the missing point later on.

–from The EFT Manual, by Dawson Church

Q: How do I find the right words for tapping?

Answer 1 (from The EFT Manual, by Dawson Church): One of the most common worries of newcomers to EFT is that they’ll select the wrong words for the Setup Statement. How can you be sure you’ve phrased it correctly, especially if you’re in a situation where you don’t have the instructions in front of you?

The answer to this question is to start tapping the side of the hand point and say the first thing that pops into your head. It’s more important to tap than it is to formulate the Setup Statement perfectly. You say the Setup three times, and you can change it on the second or third rounds if a more descriptive phrase occurs to you.

Keep it simple. If you’ve hurt your thumb, and you’re tapping for that, you can simply say, “My thumb hurts.” If you’ve been emotionally triggered by a bad experience, you can say, “This bad experience.” If you’re feeling annoyed, you can say, “Even though I’m feeling annoyed” while you tap. Start tapping, say any words that keep you focused on the problem, whether they’re the perfect words or not, and complete a round or two of EFT. You don’t need to go into elaborate explanations of why you feel the way you do, such as, “I’m annoyed at Sally. She told me to mind my own business, and she’s always saying things like that. She’s such a pain that I don’t know why I ever talk to her…” and so on. Just keep it simple: “I’m annoyed at Sally.”

With experience, you’ll find yourself easily selecting the words that have the most emotional impact, but at the beginning, it’s fine to use any words that come to mind. What’s important is to stay focused on the problem and tap, and avoid getting into mental considerations about the relative merits of this or that Setup Statement.

Answer 2 by Certified EFT Practitioner and Trainer Jenny Johnston: If you are tapping with clients, it’s important to use their exact words. For example, if they say “solar plexus” and you change it to “stomach” for tapping, they will not feel heard and may not fully tune in to the body part where they are feeling their emotion.

If you are tapping for yourself, I suggest that you sit in front of a mirror and imagine that you are telling your best friend all about an issue/emotion/event that’s going on for you.

Notice what you are feeling and where you are feeling it in your body until a specific event/memory comes up for you. Then tap on all of the aspects you remember, speaking out loud to yourself in the mirror. Tap on what you heard, saw, felt, smelled, and tasted and be as specific as possible as to where you feel it in your body. As long as you are saying out loud how you are feeling and where in the body you are feeling it and also putting a SUD score to it (0-10), then you will be able to see if your reactions are reducing as you tap. The more specific you are about an event and the feelings in your body and use the exact words of how you feel, the better your results will be.

Q: What if there are no words to describe what I am feeling?

A: Sometimes the emotions we feel defy description because we first felt them before we had language, for example, as an infant or toddler. Other times, we’re feeling a combination of emotions and it’s hard to sort out which is which. In both cases, you can tap using the feeling alone, noticing everything you can about it as you tap, just trying to be the observer that allows the body to feel that unnamed feeling while the tapping processes it for you. I find it helpful to ask, “How do I know I am feeling this?”

With feelings you can’t describe, it’s still helpful to get a SUD rating because that way you can track your progress and make sure you keep going when you haven’t cleared it completely, even though you feel much better than when you started. In the case of emotion that is a confusing, colliding jumble of more than one emotion, the tapping will usually have the effect of “teasing out” the separate emotions–perhaps anger, sadness, guilt, and shock. You can then take each one and work on it separately to uncover the specific events that gave birth to it.

–Naomi Janzen, Certified EFT Practitioner and Trainer

Q: Why does EFT focus on negative problems rather than positive thinking?

A: This frequently puzzles newcomers. EFT practitioners keep asking about negative life events to tap on. They ask you about problems that have occurred in your recent past, in your work, your family, your marriage, your finances, your health. They dig deep into your childhood for negative events that happened early in life.

What about the power of positive thinking? Why don’t we tap on positive affirmations as well as negative feelings and life events?

There are several good reasons that EFT takes this approach. The first one is that our culture emphasizes positive thinking and does not emphasize fully processing negative emotions. From an early age, we receive messages like “Big boys don’t cry” and “This too shall pass.” We’re encouraged to look on the bright side of life, to find the silver lining behind every cloud.

As a result, we rarely mourn our losses or grieve adequately. Children are urged to stop crying and cheer up, rather than receiving a respectful hearing as they grieve pets, relatives, and friends they’ve lost. After decades of this, most of us have a large backlog of unprocessed emotional trauma. EFT sessions are often the first real opportunity we’ve had to catch up on this backlog of grief and loss. If you go to the positive side too quickly, you short-circuit the natural process of letting go, grieving, and moving on.

As with every rule, there are exceptions, but one of the biggest mistakes novice or poorly trained practitioners make is going positive. What you’ll notice is that once you’ve really and truly processed your negative emotions, you’ll naturally move to the positive pole without any prompting or urging. If you’re working with a client, you’ll find the client will choose when the grieving process is complete and tell you when they’re ready to go positive. Leading them in a positive direction before this point actually aborts the grieving process, delaying their progress and ensuring that they have to come back to their negative feelings in the future in order to heal. You can’t easily go wrong focusing on the negative with EFT, but you can easily deprive yourself or a client of an opportunity to heal by going positive. That’s why EFT has you focus relentlessly on the negative. When it’s time to go positive, you’ll naturally shift to that perspective, with the healing process complete.

–from The EFT Manual, by Dawson Church

Q: Can EFT be effective with just the basics?

A: Basic EFT produces great results quickly, but it is essential to learn the standardized form of EFT that’s been proven in more than 100 clinical trials: Clinical EFT. This will ensure that you are using the EFT that has been validated many times over by high-quality research and is taught systematically by experts in EFT workshops. The basic Clinical EFT tapping routine (the Basic Recipe) utilizes only six of Clinical EFT’s 48 methods. You will usually get good results from the simple form and phenomenal results from the full range of techniques. To make progress with difficult issues and difficult clients requires knowledge of the 48 methods. For superficial problems, superficial knowledge of EFT is usually effective. Once you go to deeper layers of the psyche and encounter intractable problems, however, you will likely need the more advanced tools.

Q: Why is drinking water during a session helpful?

A: Your body is 70% water, and water is an electrolyte that conducts electricity. Water is essential for the biochemical processes by which your cells signal each other. Many people are dehydrated without knowing it, because we’re rarely trained to drink enough water. We’ve become accustomed to being dehydrated and may mistake our body’s signals of thirst for hunger, anxiety, or compulsive behavior. It’s a good idea to drink water before and during an EFT session, to make sure that you and your client, if you are working with someone, stay well hydrated.

During the experience of strong emotion, your sympathetic nervous system becomes active. It shifts resources toward body systems required for fight or flight, such as blood circulation and your muscles. It shifts resources away from nonessential systems like immunity and digestion. That’s why your mouth goes dry when you’re under stress. Remember that intense job interview during which your salivary glands dried up? Or when you proposed marriage to your spouse? Or when you had to make that public speech, you were very nervous, and your mouth went completely dry? Those are symptoms of the fight-or-flight response.

The simple antidote is to have water handy during each EFT session, and take frequent sips. This helps reassure your body that it’s being taken care of, even though you’re processing strong emotion.

–from The EFT Manual, by Dawson Church

Q: Is it normal to yawn, burp, or feel tired during or after an EFT session?

A: Yawning, burping, and feeling tired during or after a tapping session can mean that the body’s energy is moving or being released. It can also mean that a new aspect or layer has evolved. Yawning or exhaustion signifies feeling “tired of” the issue. Burping signifies not being able to “stomach” the issue. It may be beneficial to tap on these aspects.

–Valerie Lis, Expert EFT Practitioner

Q: What should I do if tapping doesn”™t seem to work?

Answer 1 from The EFT Manual, by Dawson Church:

1. Check for aspects you might have missed.
2. Describe additional details of the event.
3. Drink water. Our bodies are 70% water, and water is a primary conductor of electricity in the body. When we’re stressed, we can become dehydrated.
4. Dig for other events that resemble the presenting event. You or your client might tap on an event without the SUD rating dropping because the presenting event is a pale shadow of a much more troubling event or many similar events. The SUD level of the presenting event is propped up by all the other events behind the scenes. To uncover events that resemble the presenting event, ask questions like: “Was there a time it was worse?” or “Did it happen often?” Once you’ve found an event with bigger emotional impact, tap on that first.
5. Make the problem worse. Intensifying the problem can help you get in touch with the emotion. Your SUD levels may not be dropping because you haven’t really made visceral contact with the depths of raw emotion in the scene. You may have a degree of protective dissociation from the event. Making the problem worse can put you in touch with the emotion. The problem can be made worse in a variety of ways. You can take an argument and extend it to the point of absurdity. You can raise your voice, scream, swear, exaggerate, and catastrophize. You can rant and rave. All while tapping.
Answer 2 by Certified EFT Practitioner and Trainer Jan Watkins: If you aren’t getting results, consider the following:

1. Review the list on “EFT Tapping Basics Tutorials” (under Resources on this site) and consider what else you might try.
2. Address your emotions about your lack of success. Use EFT to problem-solve your lack of results. Tap on the emotion you are experiencing.
3. If you are a practitioner, make sure your client is ready to work on the problem. Back up and use a “stage-oriented process.” Have you completed an assessment of the client? Is the client ready to process this material? Do you need to establish rapport first or increase the client’s resources before addressing difficult material? Also, address any issues you have as a practitioner around feeling unsuccessful.
4. If you are working alone, consider getting some help with the problem. A trained professional can help by asking questions and suggesting different approaches.
5. Be specific. Give special attention to setting up the problem and setting a very specific target. For example, tapping on “my divorce” or “my partner’s affair” will probably not clear all emotions related to the problem. You may need to deal with numerous events and emotions around this unsettling life event and find related core events. For example, Bob wanted to use EFT for his wife’s affair. Before we started, we identified exactly what emotion he wanted to work on. He selected to work on his anger at the man, rather than the anger at Bob’s spouse. I asked him how he would know if this was clear. He said, “If I can laugh about him, I’ll know I’m over that part of the problem.” We tapped very specifically on the issues related to this man’s role in the affair. Before we finished, we were both laughing as he shifted to seeing the man as a “pathetic loser.” Bob reported, “I kind of feel sorry for him.” I asked Bob if he wanted to work on emotions around his wife’s actions next. He said, “No, I want to keep that anger for now.” If we had not been specific about the target, Bob might have reported that EFT didn’t work for this situation. It worked beautifully for the specific target he chose.
6. Address any resistance or blocks to change. You will need to clear away any blocks to change. Consider whether you are (or the client is) ready to resolve the issue. Explore whether there is any reason, conscious or subconscious, that you would want to hold on to an emotion. For example, people are sometimes slow to release grief because they believe letting that go will be letting go of the person they have lost. I remind them that we are simply trying to release old negative energy, not memories. I suggest that it is likely they can hold the memory of a lost loved one closer once they let go of unresolved grief. There are many reasons you might resist positive change. Some of these include: fear of losing your identity, belief than you do not deserve good things, fear that anything gained will ultimately be lost, belief that holding anger and resentment serves to punish another or keep them accountable, fear that it is unsafe to be different for many reasons, and unwillingness to take responsibility for your life. As a practitioner, it is not your job to analyze the client and uncover these blocks. Simply listen for these limiting beliefs as they surface. If you try to uncover them, you may miss what is actually operating. If you are working by yourself on your own issues, these blocks can be trickier to notice, but it is possible.
7. Here are some other possibilities and things to consider:
· There may be results and you aren’t seeing them. One aspect may have cleared and been forgotten and you are now noticing a new aspect.
· Tap and verbalize exactly what is going on, that is, being in the stuck place.
· Give special attention to setting up the problem: Set the goal precisely and, if necessary, change it to identify a clear, specific, and attainable goal.
· Be a creative problem solver. Trust that the process works when the target is set up correctly. Be persistent in finding the target to set up. Be a detective. Ask questions.
· Recognize that the client’s belief structure and experience is different from yours. Do not make assumptions. Ask questions. Be curious. Be creative.
· The problem may be rooted in a much earlier event, which needs to be cleared first. Always be on the lookout for specific childhood events.

Q: What should I do if I feel numb, or resistant, or indignant, or disbelief, or ”¦?

A: If you have a feeling such as these (even if you don’t know where it comes from), first rate the feeling’s intensity on the 10-point SUD scale. Then try using a Setup Statement such as: “Even though I feel numb [resistant, indignant, disbelief], I accept this is how I feel right now.” The Reminder Phrase would be “numb.” Tap a few rounds with that Reminder Phrase and notice if anything else comes to mind that might be underneath this. Then you can start the process again with the new feeling.

If you don’t know why you feel a certain way, you can also say that in your Setup Statement: “Even though I feel resistant but I am not sure why, I accept myself.” Your Reminder Phrase might be “resistant” or even “don’t know why” or both. As you tap a few rounds, the underlying source of the resistance/numbness/indignance/disbelief might surface. If so, tap on what emerges. Periodically during this process, reassess your SUD level to check your progress.

–Peta Stapleton, PhD, Certified EFT Practitioner, Trainer, and Mentor