By S. Wells
The most exciting beliefs to treat are your identity beliefs. These are your beliefs about what type of person you are. When you change an identity belief, you potentially change every aspect of your life–because everywhere you go in your life, there you are!
How do we treat negative beliefs using EFT? First, by applying EFT to the emotionally connected idea itself–the belief statement, or association–we can begin the process of decreasing our emotional attachment to that idea. As soon as you identify a belief, you can tap on it.
How to do this?
Simply insert the belief statement into the Setup Statement as the problem, and then repeat the entire belief statement at each tapping point while you tap. For example, if your belief is “I am stupid,” you would complete rounds of tapping whilst focusing on or even repeating aloud that specific statement, as you tap on each point.
Although it might seem negative to be repeating an idea like this, you need to tune in to the disruption this causes in your energy system so that the tapping can do its work on reducing the negative emotional attachment. Often after just doing this for several rounds of tapping, you can then focus on the belief or even repeat it aloud without it having the same negative emotional effect.
You may also want to tune in to all the related beliefs and ideas–the negative thoughts that go with the “I am stupid” belief–and even state these out loud as you tap on each of the points (e.g., “I’m dumb,” “I am a slow learner,” “I am a bad …”). Dr. David Lake and I have also found that if you can humorously exaggerate statements like these as you tap on them, it can help reduce the emotional intensity, as getting results with EFT does not require maximum intensity.
Note that it isn’t as much the truth of a belief as how intense this belief makes you feel, and the limiting emotional effects of it in your life, that is the real problem. For example a belief like “I can’t swim” may be true in present time, and to treat this won’t make you able to instantly go out and swim the English Channel.
What it will do typically is leave you open to learning how to swim if you want to, and it will remove any blocks to your being able to move forward. It does this by relaxing any negative feelings associated with the issue, for example, helping you feel more comfortable about going in and being around water.
When you can move forward as you wish without being blocked, you are emotionally free on this issue.
Although tapping whilst focusing on the negative belief statement can be very powerful, most people will not get a real shift unless they go further to stage 2.
The second stage to treating beliefs is to identify where you learned those beliefs and apply EFT to those emotionally charged specific events. Good questions to ask here are: Where did you learn this? Who taught you this? Where did you first learn this? And another great question that an EFT practitioner routinely asks: What does this remind you of?*
It is worth mentioning here that some people will not be able to identify specific incidents in which they learned their beliefs. Or their belief may have come about through a composite of different experiences.
In this case, it works just as well to “compose” an event (or series of events) in your mind from those composite experiences, or even to “invent” an event that “might have happened.” As you are often working with your own subconscious associations anyway, tapping on such “fictional” events will usually still give you access to the underlying emotional connections.
This basically involves going through the story, or running the movie, in your mind, identifying any emotionally intense parts of it, and then applying tapping to those emotionally intense aspects until they reduce.
You then follow a similar process with each emotionally intense part of the story until you can go through the entire story or run the movie of what happened without experiencing the same emotional intensity. (Note that if you have several related events, then you may need to treat several of them before the intensity approaches 0.)
If you follow this process systematically with the major life events behind your current negative beliefs, you will almost certainly feel shifts in your attachment to these beliefs, such that they are less strongly held. So, for example, you may tune in to the thought “I am stupid” and instead of feeling negative and contracted, you start to smile. And typically, without even needing to “install” them, positive alternative beliefs–such as “I’m clever,” “I’m worthy,” “I’m perfect the way I am”–arise spontaneously.
* Note: If you are dealing with highly traumatic events and very strongly held negative beliefs about yourself you should consider working through these issues and events with a qualified practitioner and therapist.