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10 Great EFT Tapping Tips for Beginners

By Barbara Smith, Master EFT Practitioner

Have you ever thought “I tried that EFT and it didn’t work” or “How is it that I am tapping all this time and  getting so nowhere?”

If you have temporarily faltered in your EFT journey, these 10 tips are for you.

1.  The One Minute Wonder

Sometimes, when we first learn EFT, we are fortunate enough to experience or watch one of those amazing demonstrations that result in profound, and seemingly instant, change.  

We sometimes refer to this as a One Minute Wonder. This is so exciting and satisfying. It seemed so easy, and so effective. No wonder people talk about EFT as the best thing since sliced bread. This kind of transforming success can build our expectation that every session will be like that. When we try it out at home on our own problem, and the problem does not instantly resolve, we get disappointed.

We may wonder if there is something the matter with us, and sometimes we lose heart and give up.

The one-minute wonder that you are experiencing in the demonstration does happen quite often, but. not all the time. Trainers who work with groups are usually very experienced, and able to employ a range of sophisticated EFT techniques. Good EFT trainers will make intuitive judgements about which issue to address, the language to use, and the best technique for the situation.  You as a Newbie are still learning the basics. Keep tapping until the process becomes second nature, and you will be surprised at how successful you will be.

2.  When EFT hasn’t worked YET

It would be easy to head this paragraph “EFT doesn’t work for me”. This is what the disappointed client would tell me, but when I reframe it as ‘EFT hasn’t worked YET’ I shift our focus away from failure and we can hold the “yet” as a positive intention.

The metaphor that guides me here and the one I use most frequently is the principle of dripping water on a stone. It might take a while for us to see the effect, but every time EFT ‘doesn’t work’ we learn another lesson about ourselves, and about what works and what doesn’t work for each situation.

3.  Do EFT for EFT

When someone tells me that they didn’t use EFT at home, we might discuss the reasons, and the client may promise to “try harder”    I suggest that tapping now would be useful, and we will do EFT for EFT. 

The tapping routine would go something like this:

Even though this tapping stuff isn’t working, I deeeply and completely accept myself.

Even though I forget to do EFT, even when it would be really useful, I deeply and completely accept myself.

Even though I have messed it up, I deeply and completely accept myself.

Even though I give up on EFT before I’m fully over the problem, I deeply and completely accept myself.

When we have lowered our discomfort, frustration or anxiety about the EFT not working, we will be free to address the next layer of presenting issues.

We may even find some specific event about our own beliefs about success, and if so we would tap for those. This meta-level of tapping can be very useful.

4.  The felt experience

One of the ways we know that EFT is really working for us is through “felt” experience. Most adults do not notice the changes in skin temperature, the constant shifts of muscle tension, and the tightness or lack of muscle tone at any moment. When the EFT seems not to be working, you have forgotten to notice what is happening in your body,

It is very useful to stop and notice exactly what has changed.  Has the tension gone out of your chest, are your shoulders tense or relaxed, or has the mental picture changed? Does your body feel lighter, your breath easier?  Has the thought changed?

Teach yourself to notice these changes in all your senses. Later, you can refer back to the specific experience to find what you might be overlooking, or to recapture the feeling of success that you have previously discovered.

5. EFT will never work for me

There are some situations where beginners can give up or feel hopeless. There are many reasons that may stop you from reaching instant success. One reason for this is what, in EFT theory, we know as psychological reversals.   

When we first learn EFT we begin to work on ourselves using the basic skills.  

We don’t have enough experience and confidence to treat some deeper issues. This is the time when you can work one-to-one, or in a group, with an experienced EFT practitioner who is familiar with the more sophisticated applications of EFT, and who will help you to recognise and address core experiences and hidden beliefs that may block you from change.

6. What were the words you were using?

When people tell me that the EFT didn’t work, I will ask for specific information about the issue, any aspects, and the phrases the client was saying.  

This is the way to get specific about what happened, or where the protocol might be improved.  

Write down the issue, the reminder phrase you are using, and the intensity level of distress in relation to this issue. This is especially important if you are working on your own. 

Note every change in aspect, and/or intensity after each round. In this way, you will be able to look back and remind yourself of your progress and previous successes. If you are working with someone else, this record will also ensure you can quickly identify any issues that may have been overlooked.

7. Too much, too fast?

Because EFT is not working at home does not mean that EFT will not work. It just means it has not worked – yet. Sometime the reason is that we have tried to address one of our truly big issues with a distress level that is overwhelming.

We learn in the basic EFT protocol that when we are teaching EFT to choose issues with a SUD Level of intensity of no more than a 5 or 6. Of course, we don’t always know what is going to happen next, and it is easy to escalate to a 10 in an instant. Try some practise sessions on less intense issues, or a less arousing aspect of your problem before going back to the BIG ONE.

8.  The EFT Sceptics’ Society

Most of us have had years of experience of using the thinking-talking-trying harder process of therapeutic change, and in the beginning we may find ourselves drifting back to a talk model, because we find it very difficult to believe that something as strange as EFT will really work.

Find a friend, colleague or professional who knows and uses EFT.  If you don’t know any EFT person near you, arrange some telephone coaching, subscribe to an EFT newsletter and read accounts from others about their success with EFT.  

Once you have achieved a high rate of success with EFT in your own life, other people’s scepticism really does not matter.

You can change your response to others with a little tapping: 

Even though I really hate the way she rolls her eyes when I mention EFT, I deeply and completely accept myself.

9. Testing, testing, testing

Are you tapping at home? What are you testing?

In my practice, tapping and testing is the one thing that new clients find the most difficult to do consistently at home.  Is it possible that you wandered off target, and moved from experiencing fear at a 9, to anger at a 9? Or perhaps you stayed on the same aspect of feeling, but failed to note and record the level of distress.

Before you think EFT is not working for you, do ensure that you write down aspects and distress level for every round. Some issues do take several rounds before they completely clear. I suggest to my clients that if they think there is no change, they should be prepared to do up to five rounds at any one level of intensity before they move to a new aspect or topic. There is a high possibility that if you carefully record your intensity rate and are clear about the aspect you will find yourself making progress.

10.  Back to Basics, Attend a Workshop

Try attending an EFT Workshop near you. Over the course of time, experienced therapists have been integrating EFT with many other psychological and physiological forms of healing, whilst others have been creating variations that seem to fit a wide range of people.

What’s important is not to give up on yourself or your EFT practice. Find a tapping buddy or a tapping Meetup group and surround yourself with people willing to support your healing efforts.