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10 Tips for EFT Tapping Success

Dear EFT Community,

ET Master, Lindsay Kenny, shares the ways in which she uses EFT and offers 10 tips for practitioner success using EFT.

-Dawson Church

By Lindsay Kenny

Tip 1: Consider virtually every issue you deal with as a “symptom.”

Then rather than treating the symptom, look for the cause and eliminate it. Traditional medicine typically treats symptoms, while EFT eradicates the cause of the problem.  For instance, if you have a pain in your finger you could just take a pain pill or a typical painkiller and hope to deaden the pain. Or you might look closer at your finger and discover a tiny splinter is causing the problem. Remove the splinter, the source of the pain, and the finger immediately feels better.

This same principle works as well on emotional issues as physical ailments.  As an example, ,“Joey”, a woman of about 45, was having trouble remembering simple things, like what had just been discussed in a business meeting she was in. She also had trouble remembering the childhoods of her children and many other things.  We could have simply tapped on “this memory problem” and might have eventually gotten results.  Instead I did some detective work and discovered what I believed to be the source of her memory problem.

When she was 18 Joey had an abortion and was very ashamed of it. Whenever she would see children playing together, or mothers snuggling their babies, she would get very upset. Children and babies, and several other things, caused her to think about the abortion, prompting more shame and guilt. This in turn caused more remorse and depression. It seemed apparent to me that Joey had basically “taught” herself not to be very aware of what was happening around her and more importantly taught herself not-to-remember.

After this discovery we tapped on her letting go of the shame, remorse, and guilt from the abortion, using a formula I use with most issues. For Joey the set-up statement went something like this; “Even though I feel guilty and ashamed about having the abortion, I want to love and accept myself.” We used the reminder statements of “this shame, guilt and remorse, or abortion regret.” On the second and third rounds I helped Joey “vent” by saying phrases on each tapping point that gave voice to what she’s been saying to herself for years. For instance; “I shouldn’t have let it happen. I should have raised that child. I’m so ashamed! Why did I do it?  I must be a horrible person!”

After a round or two of that I then gradually shifted to a more forgiving tone saying phrase such as these on each tapping point “I’ve been beating myself up for years about this.” “But I didn’t know any better.” “I was just a kid myself.” “How much longer do I have to punish myself for this?” “I want to let this go.” “I want to forgive myself.” “I’m a good mother and wife now”, etc.  “I want to get over this pain.”

It did the trick. Within seconds after getting the intensity down to a zero Joey starting remembering things about her children’s lives. She was thrilled and so relieved to let go of the guilt she’d carried for all those years.  When I followed up a few days later, Joey said she was remembering all of the things she had been having difficulties with before.

This whole process took less than an hour and was lasting. Going for the cause right away, I feel is a faster, more direct way to deal with most problems.

Tip 2: Tap on both sides of the body

Just about anyone who has done EFT, including me, has had good results tapping on just one side of the body. However, I learned EFT from an acupuncturist who taught me a lot about the meridian system. And with EFT, of course, we’re using the body’s meridian system to release blocked energy.  The meridian system is made up of 14 meridians, branching out into hundreds of tiny energy pathways.

These pathways are bilateral, so when you tap on one side of the body you’re sending tiny little shock waves, or vibrations down through your meridians and up and around to the other side of your body.  By tapping you’re opening the blocked meridian associated with your particular issue, wherever it may be.  With that in mind, if you are tapping on the right side of the body only, and the blockage is behind your left knee, the vibrations have to travel down the right side of your body to the left side of your knee. By then the vibration will have lost some of it’s “muscle.”

The thing is, we never know where the blockage is, and we don’t have to.  Just tap on all the points and you’re bound to hit the one that’s associated with your issue. If you tap on both sides of the body you’ll be sending the maximum amount of energy down through your body on both sides to reach wherever the blockages are.

So what difference does that make? Well if you can increase your efficiency by 15%, with very little extra effort, or cut your tapping time down on an issue to 30 minutes instead of 45, why not do it?  I’m telling you this because over the years I’ve repeatedly tried it both ways. And I believe there is a noted reduction in the time it takes to resolve an issue.

Just to be clear EFT works either way, unilaterally or bilateral tapping, but in my opinion this small change can make a significant difference over time. Try it. I think you’ll experience it yourself.

Tip 3: Tap on all 14 Meridian Points

As with my tip on tapping on both sides of the body, this suggestion is a little controversial. I, and just about everyone else who has tried EFT, has gotten good and even great results just using the shortcut tapping points. These points normally used are the; eyebrow (EB,) side of the eye (SE,) under the eye (UE,) under the nose (UN,) chin (CH,) collarbone (CB,) and under the arm (UA), and they work just great.  So why add more points?  Well, I learned EFT from a great acupuncturist and superb EFT practitioner, Zoe Walton. And she taught me the benefits of using five more meridians, by tapping on just three more points.

I’m an experimenter, so I tried it both ways; the shortcut of stopping under the arms which I used hundreds of times and the slightly longer version of adding the three additional points. I would even try the two techniques with the same client to see if I could tell a distinction. And by golly I did notice a big difference. Not just a slight one, a significant improvement. More on the results in a moment. First let me tell you about these additional points that I feel make sessions more efficient and effective.

1) The Liver Point: (LP) — Liver 14 in acupuncture terms, can be found on the mammilary line, under the nipple, 2 ribs below the nipple, about where a woman’s bra wire would be. For a man it’s about 3 inches under his nipples. Because of it’s “inconvenient positioning” it began to be eliminated in public forums. However, the Liver Point is an important meridian for stress, depression, cravings and anger.

2) Wrist – (WR) – The line at the base of the hand has 3 major meridians (find these points on the inside of the wrist, on the line where the hand bends to meet the arm). These 3 points are: Heart 7, Pericardium 7, and Lung 9. The heart and pericardium points are great for stress and anxiety and the lung point is good for grief, heartache and sadness.

3) Crown of the Head – (CRH) or Du20 – This meridian is the meeting point of all Yang meridians in the body. The crown of the head is a powerful contact point for every issue. 

Just look at the emotions you’re addressing with those three additional points; stress, anxiety, grief, heartache, sadness, depression, cravings and anger.  Those are among the most common negative emotions we practitioners deal with daily.

When I would use just the 7 tapping points, as we were all initially taught, a typical reduction in the intensity would be 10, then 9, then 7, 5, 3, 2, 1, then zero.  The average would be between 7 and 9 rounds. That’s not bad. Traditional therapists would kill for quick results like that.  But what I found by tapping on all 14 meridians was that issues were getting resolved in even fewer rounds, and seldom got stuck at any number. 

By adding 3 more points (and 5 additional meridians) the quicker drop in intensity was dramatic. The progression then would typically be; 10, 6, 3, zero. The average being between 3 and 5 rounds.  And here’s why: By adding these additional points, you now are tapping on all 14 of our meridians instead of a few. More “bang for the buck!” So by investing the additional 30 seconds for the three extra points, I was saving 10, 20 or even 30 minutes on each issue, and with complex issues, much more.

With one issue that may not seem like a big deal, but if you are dealing with multiple challenges or complicated issues the time savings adds up. If you’re a practitioner dealing with several clients a day it means resolving more of their issues during each session. That’s a great benefit for you and the client! Try it yourself and see if you notice a difference.

Tip 4: Deal head-on with reversals(the stubborn subconscious that resists letting go of issues)

Confronting and neutralizing Reversals up front is probably the best way to quickly resolve an issue. In fact, if Reversals are unrecognized and untreated they can stop EFT in its tracks. So what are Reversals and how do I deal with them? I break Reversals down into two basic types, each with sub-categories.

The first type of Reversal is what I call General Polarity Reversal or GPR.  This simply means that the electricity or energy in the body is “agitated”, or “going in the wrong direction”. Therefore the polarity in your body is reversed.

Another way to look at our body’s energy field or polarity is to compare it to batteries in a tape recorder, flashlight, or other battery-operated devices. The batteries that run the gadget must be installed with the positive and negative polarity seated in the correct direction. If not, the device simply won’t work.

Since your body has its own “electrical system” your “batteries” need to be positioned correctly for you to function properly. If your polarity is scrambled up, you have a GPR Reversal.  While uncommon, it does happen, and it is unlikely EFT will work for you until the Reversal is corrected (which we’ll cover in a moment).

Here are some causes of GPR:

  • Negativity – chronic negative thoughts, negative behavior, or negative events
  • Electrical Force Fields – Being around electrical devices for long periods of time (computers, cell phones, MP3 players, Blackberries, TVs etc.)
  • Addictions – addictive personalities or addictive substances in the body
  • Depression — chronic depression causes the body’s energy system to become slow or sluggish.
  • Chronic Pain — the disruption in your entire energy system when you are responding to constant pain or discomfort can put your body in a ‘spin’.
  • Toxins — Any toxic substance, or even an allergy or food sensitivity can cause a Reversal

Performing the standard set-up procedure (rubbing the sore spot or tapping on the karate chop point, while saying the set-up statement) will often fix most types of GPRs. Just doing the set-up statement, however, does not eliminate addictions or toxin-related GPRs. The irritating substance needs to be eliminated from the body in most cases.

Have you ever had one of those days when you “just feel off”? Your timing is out of whack; you’re dropping your keys or pens, bumping into doorframes, fumbling for words or phrases, falling off curbs etc? Chances are your Polarity has become reversed literally causing you to be out of balance. The good news is you don’t need to know why, and it’s very easy to fix.

A simple, effective way to fix a GPR is to simply bump your hands together at the Karate Chop point (both sides of the hands against each other, below the base of the little finger.)  You don’t even have to say anything. Just do the Karate Chop for 15-20 seconds and it generally will rebalance your meridians and fix a simple “general” Reversal.

B) Secondary Benefit Syndrome or SBS: This is the second and more prevalent type of Reversal. The SBS reversal occurs when the subconscious mind perceives that it is better, or safer to keep an issue than to eliminate it.  Charged emotions, like fear, phobias, anxiety, shame guilt, grief, anger, etc. are almost always reversed. Meaning your body, or your subconscious is not willing to let go of the emotion, or the cause of it.

As the movie “What the *#@!# Do We Know” demonstrates, our bodies can actually become addicted to a negative emotion or issue. After a period of time we become so accustomed to being angry, hurt, anxious, victimized, etc. that our body is reluctant to let go of the emotion.  While the negative emotion may be uncomfortable to your conscious mind, it may have begun to feel natural, or familiar, to the subconscious mind. And it’s that little anomaly that most often causes people to think that EFT doesn’t work.

I get hundreds of e-mails a week from strangers lamenting, “EFT isn’t working for me.” They’ve read the many wonderful stories about EFT’s 1-minute-miracles, yet they aren’t getting the results they wanted. SBS Reversals are most likely the cause. These types of Reversals are, in my opinion, the biggest cause of EFT not working.

Since SBS is seldom a conscious choice, most people will initially balk if you tell them that subconsciously they don’t actually want to get rid of their problem or issue.  Of course most people don’t consciously want to stay emotionally upset or in physically pain.  But the subconscious is a powerful entity, usually exhibiting dominance over our conscious desires.

For someone who has carried around a trauma, chronic pain, anxiety, phobia or other issue for many years, the emotion becomes a part of his or her identity. How often have you heard phrases like “He’s an angry young man” or “She’s just such an anxious person”? Or how many times have you said, “Why can’t just I get over this ______?”  Overcoming or losing that “identity” can be very threatening to the non-rational subconscious mind.

For instance, the subconscious might be thinking… “If I get over this issue…”

“…It might be scary.”

“…I may not know who I am anymore.”

“…I won’t have an excuse anymore for my life not working.”

“…It may not be safe to let it go.”

“…I won’t get the attention or sympathy I get now.”

“…I won’t know how to act as a functional, non-victim person.”

“…I’m afraid to let go of this fear.”

If someone has been trying to lose weight for a long time, for instance, and hasn’t been successful, they are almost certainly reversed on it.  Consciously they want to lose weight, but their dominant, stubborn subconscious may be saying, “Wait a minute here. If I lose weight my clothes won’t fit and I’ll be deprived of the foods I love. And what if I lose that 40 pounds and I still don’t get that promotion I need, the guy I’m lusting after, or the friends I want? Maybe if I lose that weight I’ll be so attractive to men that I’ll be abused or harassed again. Or what if I get skinny and my life still sucks?

Once again, remember, this is the subconscious mind wielding control over what we consciously want. It is very difficult, under most circumstances, to consciously override the more powerful subconscious mind. If you doubt that statement, I highly recommend reading the book (or CDs) “The Biology of Belief” by Bruce H. Lipton, PhD.  It’s a powerful documentary about why we are the way we are, the power of perception, and the subconscious mind.

As long as the subconscious is unwilling to let go of a problem (that’s a Reversal) it’s very hard to resolve an issue, with or without EFT.

A good clue as to whether or not a person has a SBS Reversal is if their intensity level remains the same after a couple of rounds of tapping.  The intensity or SUDs level (Subjective Unit of Distress) is a way to gage the emotional charge of an issue on a scale of 0-10.

If you’ve had a problem for a long time (over a month) then you’re likely Reversed on it. If it’s a highly charged issue, such as fear, anger, grief, guilt etc. then you’re likely Reversed. If there’s something you want to accomplish and just can’t seem to get there, then you’re likely Reversed. Or if you consistently do something you know you should do (smoking, drinking, gambling, internet porn, etc.) then you’re likely Reversed on letting it go.  When I hear someone say “I’ve had this ________ for years and have tried everything” the phrase “They’re Reversed” immediately comes to mind.

The good news is it’s very easy to fix an SBS reversal. It’s so easy that people find it hard to believe.  Here’s how it’s done: Simply tap on the karate chop point (KC= base of little finger against base of the other little finger) using a reversal phrase such as “Even though….”

  • “…I don’t want to get over this anger (or trauma, chronic pain, grief, etc.) I deeply and completely accept myself.”
  • “…It may not be safe to get over my issue…. (use your actual problem, not the word ‘issue’)…”
  • “…I may not deserve to get over this issue…”
  • “…I won’t know how to act if I get well…”
  • “…I won’t have an excuse for my life being messed up…”
  • “…I don’t want to forgive the people that ruined my life…”
  • “…I don’t know how to be ‘normal’…”
  • “…I’m afraid I’ll lose my identity…”
  • “…For whatever reason, I don’t want to overcome this problem…”

I almost always use at least the first and last of these phrases, which usually catch everything in between.  “Not deserving” to get over something is also a biggie, so try it if it fits, along with any of the others. They’re free and they can’t hurt. Just pick 3 or 4 and say them while doing the KC.

You’ll know the Reversal neutralization worked when you start doing EFT again and your intensity number starts going down.  Reversals can be a huge stumbling block, but they are so easily remedied that we needn’t let them stand in the way.

Remember, fixing a Reversal does not fix the issue. It only eliminates an impediment to fixing the issue. You still need to do EFT as normal after fixing a Reversal–i.e., set-up and tapping sequences.

Again, Reversals are only one stumbling block to a successful EFT treatment, but it is often the one that causes people to say, “I tried EFT, but it just didn’t work for me”. I hate it when that happens.

Just as a footnote to the subconscious kind of Secondary Benefit Syndrome, there can also be a conscious resistance to letting go of a problem. People with disabilities, for instance, might fear that if they become whole bodied again; more will be expected of them, they will lose their blue handicapped license plate, they will lose their disability income, they won’t get special attention, and so on.  Please don’t misunderstand that I believe everyone feels this way who has a debilitating issue, or that I would judge him or her for it. I’m only mentioning it because I have seen this happen many times. I’ll ask someone “If there was a reason for you keeping this problem, what would it be?” One lady wrote out two full pages of the benefits of her having Multiple Sclerosis.  These are not Reversals, per se, because they are conscious thoughts. However, they are easily dealt with, and in the same way as the subconscious secondary benefits.

Tip 5: Give Your Issues a Voice

Giving your issues a voice resolves issues effectively by vocalizing the different aspects of a problem and addressing both your willingness and unwillingness to let go.

When working with a highly charged emotion, there is often an inner conflict, as a “part” of us wants to get over it while another “part” of us wants to hang on, for various reasons. For instance, if you are angry with someone, there may be a part of you wanting to punish that person by staying mad. If fear is what is keeping you stuck, there is certainly a part of you afraid of releasing the fear.  And those who have anxiety are often “anxious about overcoming the anxiety”, as if remaining hyper vigilant were keeping them safe.

One of the ways you can tell you have probably encountered a resistant part of yourself is when you are tapping and your intensity gets stuck at a particular number (there are also other reasons why your number might remain the same).  As you begin to release a long-held fear for instance, that reluctant part of you is likely to kick in at some point lamenting, “Wait a minute! Who will I be without this fear?” or “I won’t be safe without this fear.”  Similar concerns are likely to occur with any long-standing or charged emotion.  While that “other voice” is seldom rational, it is nonetheless real, and needs to be dealt with.

Using EFT to “give voice” to all sides of an issue allows the resistance to “cohabitate” while you are sneaking up on it to eliminate it. At the same time, giving a voice to the different aspects of an issue allows you to dissipate them all at once.

There’s a simple and effective way to do it. Start with the negative aspects of an issue and at first just tap on the simple and obvious aspects. Here’s an example with “Dana” who was very angry with her sister:

On the sore spot / set-up point or on the KC point, she said:

“Even though I’m furious with “Maggie” for telling everyone my secret, I love and accept myself completely.”

Then on each of the tapping points she repeated the simple phrase “this anger at Maggie”.  The intensity had dropped to a 7 so we started giving a voice to more aspects (her feelings) concerning this issue. Remember that it’s a good idea to dissipate some of the charge on an issue before getting too specific about the emotions.

I had her say different phrases at each point, such as, “I can’t believe she would betray me like that.  I thought I could trust her. I was so humiliated!” I then encouraged her to participate by venting her feelings herself. She started by saying, “How embarrassing! I’ll never trust Maggie again.”  And as she tapped, Dana proceeded to express the numerous emotions that had been triggered, such as hurt and sadness. Clearly her intensity was falling quickly.

When Dana seemed to get stuck with what to say, I would alternate phrases with her, such as: “No one will ever trust me now” and she would add “I feel so ashamed”. I would add “I feel like I’ve lost credibility with everyone”, etc.  For practitioners, tuning into the client with your own intuition is an important aspect of the art of EFT. Also encouraging them to participate ensures that they get to vent all of their feelings or conflicts. When you’re tapping on yourself, you sometimes can’t see around the corners, so to speak, and might miss an important aspect. It’s important that you say whatever is on your mind or in your heart to clear the air (and your meridians) as you tap.

By voicing the different feelings around a conflict, you are also dissipating the different aspects of the experience or issue.  In that way Dana began to alleviate betrayal, embarrassment, humiliation, hurt, and regret, rather than just the anger.

Dana’s intensity had dropped to a 5 (which indicated there was a part in her willing to let go) so we then started “arguing” both her willingness and unwillingness to let go of the issue.

On the set-up point (KC or sore spot) she said,

“Even though there’s a part of me still angry at Maggie for telling people my secret, there’s another part of me that’s letting it go and I love and accept both parts of me.”

This begins a gentle transition into addressing both sides of the conflict.

On the next round, voice the anger as well as other issues such as feeling betrayed, being hurt or disappointed AND include the desire to get over it. 

For example:

EB   I’m still mad at Maggie

SE  She really hurt me

UE  I can’t believe she would betray me like that

UN   But I love her

CH  No, I don’t anymore!

CB  I’m so disappointed in her.

UA  But she’s my best friend. I can’t stay mad at her

Liver Point (under the breasts 2-3 inches) I want to let this go

Wrists  No, I don’t

CH  Yes, I do. I want to let it go

Remember, the actual words you say at each point are not nearly as important as venting what needs to be expressed to address the differing sides. You can get the same effect as well, by just telling the story as you tap, as long as you introduce the possibility and advantages of letting go. Remember you’re giving a voice to both the part of you that sort of wants to get over this, and the still resistant part of yourself.

When working on yourself, keep reassessing your intensity.  Assuming your intensity has dropped below a 5, change your next set-up statement to something similar to what I had Dana say: “Even though a small part of me is still holding on to the anger, a bigger part of me is letting go. I want that part of me to win. I’m ready to get over this and forgive her.”

EB No, I’m not

SE  If she cared for me she wouldn’t have done that

UE  But she’s apologized 30 times

UN  And I do miss her

CH  But she betrayed me

CB  Yeah, and I’m tired of hurting and fretting over it

UA  I think I’m ready to forgive her

LP   I want to forgive her

WR I’m ready to let this go

CH  I give myself permission to put this behind me

By the way, with deep anger there is often an unwillingness to let go, since there’s an opposing belief that staying angry at the person who hurt you will punish them. In fact, anger hurts you, not them. So remember this quote: “Focusing your anger toward someone else, hoping you’ll hurt them, is like drinking poison yourself and hoping the other person dies.”

Change the wording, obviously, depending on the emotions you’re working to alleviate and the obstacles in the way. For instance, if you’re working on fear, you would be alternating phrases such as “It’s not safe to let this go” “Well, I don’t feel safe now anyway.” “But I’m afraid to let go of the fear.”  “And I’m also afraid to hold on to it.” “This fear is keeping me stuck.”  “I want to trust myself to let it go” “Yet I’m not sure I trust myself.” “I’ve screwed up many times.” “I want to feel safe in the world”…

It’s usually our past experiences that both teach us and hinder us. The tough lessons we learn from difficult situations often make us wary of the next encounter. Those lessons then become beliefs or the “proof” we need to justify our limiting behaviors, thus perpetuating the problem. Unfortunately, these beliefs keep us from making clear choices about our lives.

For example, with limiting beliefs such as “love hurts” or “I can’t trust my choices” “I’m not very good with money” (and countless others,) there will likely be a voice within you urging you not to let go of the limiting belief because in some way it is keeping you from making painful mistakes.

These are  the kind of situations where you can argue both sides of the beliefs, “I don’t want to let this go…but I need too…but I’ll feel unsafe…I already feel unsafe…this belief isn’t keeping me from getting hurt, it’s keeping me stuck…no it’s not… yes it is and I want to get over it!” etc.

You’ll likely get results even if you just alternate statements at each point such as “remaining anger”, “I want to get over this” “remaining anger”, “I want to let it go” “remaining anger” “A part of me wants to release this.“ “No, I don’t” “Yes, I do”.  Just allow yourself to speak freely and spontaneously as you tap, addressing both sides.

When your intensity has dropped to a 3 or below, “choose” to let go. See Dr. Pat Carrington’s Choice Method, or find articles on my website, on the “Free Stuff” page about using Choices.

People are always asking “What do I say when I tap?”  Well, this is it.  Simply give a voice to your feelings… all of them. Let your intuition guide you, whether you’re working on yourself or with a client.  You see EFT Masters doing that on his DVDs all the time. You know better than anyone what you’re feeling. So tap while you “vent” and be sure to address the side of you that’s eager to move on.

With EFT there’s no “right or wrong” way to do things, just some ways get better results than others. Each EFT Master, and virtually every EFT practitioner has his or her own style of tapping, and all are effective. So use this example of “Giving a Voice” as a guide. But ultimately do what works best for you.

Tip 6: Be Specific

It’s very important with EFT to be as specific as possible about an issue.  Being vague, general, or global is to deny the body an opportunity to remedy the problem.  By being specific about a problem as you do the set-up or tap on the points you are sending tiny vibrations throughout your system. Naming the issue tells your body where to dislodge the energy disruption. That’s why we must be negative, so to speak, about an issue. It’s a necessary step to unblock the stuck energy.

Here are some examples; If you have low self-esteem, you are unlikely to get anywhere just saying “Even though I have low self esteem…”  You need to discover the reason(s) why you think so poorly of yourself. It could be “Even though my father always belittled me in front of my friends, saying I was worthless,,,”  or, “Even though mother kept telling me I’d never amount to anything…” Babies aren’t born with low self esteem, so look back and discover any and all events or beliefs that set you on your course of low self worth.

Likewise, you can’t fix clutter just by saying “Even though I have this clutter….” You need to find the cause and neutralize it. By the way, clutter is usually a complex issue and usually revolves around wanting to establish or regain control. To eliminate clutter discover when you first felt out of control and deal with that for a start.  Often it will be a childhood where you were dominated or abused. Later on in life a traumatic experience, like a divorce or death of a loved one, will often trigger those old memories of being out of control. Deal specifically for each of those incidences before tackling the clutter issue directly.

If you experience fear, just saying “Even though I’m fearful…” is far too general.  Find the source of the fear, when it started, and how it made you feel. Then be specific about it to neutralize it.  “Even though fear began when dad came home drunk and whipped me for no reason…”  Or, “Even though I’ve never felt safe since my brother pushed me off the cliff” (he probably learned that from my brother.)

Ask yourself probing questions such as “When did this procrastination first start?” When did I first start feeling angry at the world?” “What was going on when I first started to feel uncomfortable around people?” “Where exactly is this pain in my back?”

Then, be specific about dealing with that cause of your problem. Instead of saying “this shame I feel” “ say “the shame I feel about having an abortion…” Or, instead of “my fear of water”, be more specific about the kind of water–i.e., “My fear of the ocean…or deep water…or lakes…or swimming pools, etc.”

To dig even deeper I often ask a client probing questions. Besides asking when an issue first started (probably the most important of the questions) I have them envision the situation or issue, and have them get in touch with smells, sounds, sights, or colors, if necessary.  Notice and name any bodily sensations that come up when you think of an issue. Does your stomach get queasy, do you get a headache, or do your shoulders tighten up? Be sure to name that sensation or pain during your tapping.

Sometimes, although not often, you can dispense with a pain by addressing it directly. Other times you need to find the source of a chronic pain or physical issue and neutralize that.  Either way you must be specific about the pain or discomfort.

For example, instead of saying “This pain in my leg” you might say “This pain in the calf of my right leg.”

Below are a couple of examples of when being specific made the difference –

I recently saw a little 10 year-old girl, named “Terri” who had fallen during a tumbling routine and was suddenly afraid to work out with her gym team. She loved tumbling and was very upset that she might have to give it up because of her new fear of falling.  Yet she was literally terrified of doing gymnastics again.  We started tapping on her general fear of tumbling with “Even though I’m afraid to tumble now after my fall…”  However, that wasn’t reducing her intensity level at all.   I asked her to tell me exactly what had happened, how she fell, and what she saw.  It became clear that it was tumbling backwards that she was afraid of, not just tumbling. So we got more specific in the set-up by saying “Even though I’m afraid to tumble backwards…”.

However, that only helped a little.  I asked her to relive the maneuver in her mind and describe her feelings. She said that in her mind’s eye she could complete the backward flip great if a spotter was there for her, but she couldn’t “see” herself trying it alone.   Therefore, we changed the set-up to “Even though I’m afraid to tumble backwards, without a spotter…”  And low and behold, we started getting results immediately!  In just two or three rounds her fear was gone and she was sure she could tumble again confidently. In fact she wanted to do a back flip right there in my office to prove it. E-gads!  As tempted as I was to see her perform, I had her wait until it was safe to try it…at her gym.  She left a happy little girl, eager to get back at it.

Her mom e-mailed me that night and said that at gym practice that afternoon Terri had done back-flips several times–without a spotter–and did an excellent job. Mom, the coach, and Terri were all jubilant. I was also! Ã‚·   Another client, “Vince” was complaining about his sore right foot. We were able to get his intensity level of 9 down to a 4 fairly quickly, but then the progress stopped.  I asked him to touch the exact spot of the pain, and we changed the focus and statement then to “Even though I have this pain in my right ankle on the outside, under the bone….” and it worked.  His pain stopped completely with one more round.  Had that not worked, I had planned to go to the event that had caused his accident and the pain, but just being specific about the exact location did the trick. I saw him two months later and he was still pain-free.

Sometimes people are reluctant to be too specific about an issue, especially if it might be painful to get too close or specific with it. That’s a good time to see someone else to help with your issue. Or use the Tearless Trauma Technique or the Movie Technique to “sneak up” on a problem or circumvent the pain. After decreasing the sensitivity level to a lower intensity –like under 5–you can then usually be specific without inflicting unnecessary emotional pain.

Getting a different perspective from an experienced EFT practitioner can also help you find where and how to be specific.  Seeing around corners isn’t an easy thing to do on your own. When you have been hurt you may subconsciously avoid being specific as a well of self-protection. Yet being specific is usually critical to resolving an issue.

There is an exception to this rule of having to be specific, however. That is when you have had a series of repetitive or “serial” incidents with the same result.  For instance, if you had been constantly bullied by your older brother, making you feel helpless or worthless, you may not be able isolate any specific incident. You can put them all together (by “bundling” them) and deal with them at once.  That only works, however, if the incidences are so similar you can hardly distinguish one from the other, which is all to frequent during an abusive childhood.

You can actually handle all of those repetitive incidences quite nicely without being specific about any one of them by using my Bundling Baggage technique. Read about how to do that on my website, or listen to an audio of a teleclass about it there, or read my article recently published on this site by that name.

The bottom line, however, is that for most issues you need to be as specific as possible to achieve the best results.

Tip #7: Deal with Shifting Aspects

Shifting aspects are like separate branches on the same tree. The trunk of the tree may represent the core issue, such as a horrific car accident. Different branches on the tree represent the separate aspects, such as the guilt someone might feel for causing the accident, or the anger at the other driver for being intoxicated. Yet another aspect on the same “accident tree” might be the trauma of seeing a loved one injured, or the sounds of people screaming.  All of these aspects need to be dealt with to adequately neutralize the main issue of the car accident.

It’s important in neutralizing your issues (or those of a client,) to address all of the aspects pertaining to that issue.  The more complex an issue, the more aspects or branches there are likely to be. Abuse of any kind, for instance, will surely have multiple aspects. An abused child will often experience fear, betrayal, guilt, distrust of men, resentment, anger, grief, sadness and shame (or more.)  Each of these emotions, and the causal experience need to be dealt with (such as mom should have protected me; I trusted Uncle Ted; I was afraid to open the bedroom door, the smell of beer on dad’s breath.)  Sometimes these issues should be dealt with separately, sometimes collectively.  But every aspect needs to be alleviated in order to completely clear the issue of abuse (or any issue.)

Sometimes, a client (or you) may not notice an underlying issue until a more painful core issue has been reduced in intensity. It would be similar to you falling off your bike and breaking your arm, scraping your knee badly, and cutting your little finger.  You may not even notice the scraped knee until the doctor had numbed the pain in your broken arm and set the bone. Only then would you notice the scraped knee, and when that was fixed, you’d notice the cut finger.

Often, in the same way, when the intensity has dropped considerably on the main issue, a client might say, “You know, the real problem is the resentment toward my sister, not the anger.”  However, the real problem was the one that was most noticeable in the beginning (the anger.)  Almost all complex issues have multiple aspects that become more apparent as the intensity level is lowered on the main issue.

Generally it’s better to get the original issue down to a zero before moving to any other newly noticed aspect. Occasionally however, you need to alleviate shifting aspects as they arise, especially if they are clearly related to the original issue.  In doing this you will often discover that the hidden aspect turns out to be the core issue. Once the new aspect (or core issue) is completely resolved then you can return to the unfinished issue to complete it.

Often when the majority of the supporting aspects are neutralized the original problem will collapse on its own.  My favorite example of dealing with shifting aspects was with “Dr. Dave”:

“Dr. Dave”, a psychologist, came to see me about the grief of his brother’s death twelve years earlier.  His brother had been killed in a tragic avalanche and the trauma still haunted Dave as if it were yesterday.  He was getting stuck on the issue and unable to get it to an intensity level of zero.  When the intensity got to a four, Dave shifted aspects to his mother’s suicide many years before his brother’s death.  It turned out that neither he nor his brother or father knew that the mother was having an affair and that she was so depressed about it she was suicidal.  In this case we left the brother issue and worked on the mother issue. It turned out that Dave had vowed never to be so insensitive to his future wife’s situation or to his children’s feelings as to be unaware that they were hurting.

His father’s insensitivity, he believed, may have contributed to his mother’s death.  So Dave vowed to be ultra-sensitive. As a result Dave’s sensitivity showed up in his over-reaction and long-lasting grief regarding his brother’s death.  Once we dealt with his mother’s suicide (which included guilt, anger, betrayal and grief) we were able to go back to his brother’s death and quickly dispatch the long-term grief on that issue.  We did a Reversal on the grief as well, since Dave’s subconscious didn’t want to let go of the grief.  A combination of these two impediments helped clear Dr. Dave’s long-term issues.  Now, over two years later, he’s completely free of the grief and can speak of his brother without sadness or pain.

Again, with Shifting Aspects you should usually stay with the original problem until it has been completely neutralized before tackling a new aspect. Let judgment, intuition and circumstances be your guide. Part of the art of using EFT is knowing when to swing with the client on a different aspect and when to finish the original issue firstEither way, just make sure you eradicate all aspects of an issue before moving on to another problem.

Tip 8 — Improve your knowledge and skill of EFT

EFT is relatively simple. You pick an issue, do a set up statement, and tap on the meridian points.  That’s pretty basic and easy, right?  Well, yes and no.  There are several different EFT techniques, subtle nuances and multiple components to each element that require study and practice to be proficient.

That said, even when in the hands of a “newbie,” EFT generally produces success rates over 80% with simple issues.  The medical profession would love to have consistent results that high.  Consistently good results, however, are harder to achieve with more complex issues.

That’s because there is so much more to EFT than simple tapping.  As people become more involved with EFT, they are often astounded at the complexity, diversity and power of this remarkable tool.  It can be used for so much more than just alleviating negative emotions.  From allergies to respiratory ailments, from hiccups to heart disease, from low self-esteem to lung cancer, EFT has provided consistently astounding results.

An accomplished practitioner can achieve a success rate of over 90% primarily because he or she has studied and practiced the art of EFT.  Ironically it appears that as the practitioner improves, so does the perception that EFT has improved.  Obviously EFT isn’t what is changing.  Used properly, it consistently provides amazing results.

If you gave a great chicken cacciatore recipe to five people, all the way from a fine chef to a novice cook, you would likely see five very different applications of that same recipe.  And there would likely be five different-looking and tasting results coming out of the oven.  It’s like that with EFT.  EFT is always great.  Discrepancies in the final result lie in the application of the art, not the product.  Even if you’re just working on yourself, with no desire to become a practitioner, the more you know about EFT the better your personal results will be.

There are three primary ways to learn and improve with your EFT skills:

1. By video training or use of the EFT Manual.

2. Attending live workshops.

3. Practicing. 

There are advantages to each and I’ll give my recommendations for the best way to learn EFT at the end.

A great way to start learning EFT is with the EFT manual.  You can learn the basics this way by watching and tapping along with EFT videos. 

An EFT workshop can teach “The Basic Recipe” and but the more fine points you pick up, the more knowledgeable you become.  With videos you can watch in the comfort of your own home or office, replay sections over and over and learn at your own pace.  But with  live workshops you have the opportunity to ask questions, practice your skills with others, be supervised by those who can spot your mistakes and really immerse yourself in EFT.

Additionally, in (most) workshops you have the opportunity to work on your own issues with others.  

If you’re serious about leaning more about this powerful tool then doing a live workshop is highly recommended.   And it’s a must if you plan on becoming a practitioner of EFT.

It’s important to remember that you don’t have to know every single thing about EFT before using it and getting results.  Part of EFT’s magic is in its simplicity to learn and use. But please – take the time to learn it correctly, especially for more complex issues.  The more you learn about and practice with this life-altering tool, the better your results will be and the better person you can become!

Tip 9: Find and Deal with the Core Issue

Finding the core issue of a problem is one of the most important tenements to EFT.  Finding the core issue is like finding the root of a weed and pulling it out.  If you just cut off the part of the weed above ground, then you haven’t killed it at all.  You may appear to have removed it but the results are only temporary.  If you cut the top off of a weed and it will grow back.  Destroy the root and it will wither and die.

The same is true for finding and eradicating core issues, and it’s why traditional talk therapy is often ineffective.  Frequently only the symptoms or the top of the weed are dealt with.  Venting about a subject might be cathartic and temporarily bring relief, but it doesn’t ultimately solve the problem.

In order to find the core issue (or cause) of a problem, you need to do some detective work. Asking questions of yourself (or client,) is important in discovering the underlying cause of any issue.  Here are some basic questions you should explore:

  • When did the problem (or the symptom) start?
  • What was going on about that time or just before then? (Often someone’s pain, disease or other symptoms will have begun about the same time as a divorce, death, or traumatic event.)
  • What do you think caused you to feel (or be) this way?
  • If you had your life to live over, what person or event would you just as soon skip? 
  • What else does this issue remind you of? (Sometimes your overreaction to a boss’s criticism may be a response to how your mom always corrected you.)
  • What was your relationship like with your parents?
  • When did you start feeling bad about yourself?
  • Who really hurt you?
  • What (or whom) are you afraid of?

When you have answers to some of these questions, then you’ll have something tangible to tap on.The answers might lead to your core issue, or be the core issue.

Discovering the cause of emotional issues can be slightly different from discovering the reason for physical issues.  With physical issues we want to discover what was going on during or just before the symptom, pain or disease began.  Physical problems are often the result of a singular trauma or event.

With many emotional issues, such as depression, low self-esteem, chronic anger, we want to uncover the first time the emotion manifested itself.  When did you first start feeling sad, worthless, angry, ashamed or whatever?  Emotional issues are often caused by repetitive, negative events.  Keep in mind that this is not always the case, but rather a rule of thumb.

Emotions can also be triggered by singular events or traumas, of course.  You get mad at your boss for yelling at you.  You’re sad because a loved one died.  You feel ashamed because you had to ask for a loan.  That’s absolutely normal.  But when find yourself being overly sensitive to a particular emotion, that’s when you want to consider deeper roots as the cause.  Look for the first time you felt shamed, abandoned, betrayed, hurt or unloved.  That may be the cause of the over-sensitivity to your current problem.

As an example, “Glenda” came to me with low self-esteem, and said she’d been tapping on it for weeks, without success.  When I asked her what exactly she had been saying when tapping, she said, her set-up statement had been, Even though I have low self-esteem, I love and accept myself completely.

Besides the fact that the last part of her sentence didn’t ring true for her, her phrase of “I have low self-esteem” was far too general.  Being too general or vague is one of the main reasons people get stuck when doing EFT.  By the way, if you can’t say “I love and accept myself” and mean it, then say “I want to love and accept myself.”

The real challenge for Glenda was what actually caused her low self-esteem.  I started asking her questions about when she first started feeling badly about herself.  I found out she had married a man while in college who was very controlling and emotionally abusive.  He criticized every move she made and constantly put her down.

Every day she felt worse about herself as her self-esteem plummeted.  She desperately wanted out of the marriage, but was so emotionally beaten down she couldn’t even see how she could leave.  Then, after 10 years of abuse, “Clarence” told her that he wanted a divorce because he had found a younger, prettier woman.  Instead of feeling relieved, Glenda was crushed.

She believed that if she had just been a more obedient wife and tried harder to please him, Clarence wouldn’t have left her for an 18 year-old girl.  She felt lost, hopeless, and was certain no one would ever love her again.  Well, there was plenty to tap on there (the emotional trauma, her limiting beliefs about herself, the betrayal, guilt, shame, etc.!)  However, I felt we still weren’t at the true core issue.  Her experiences with Clarence were all certainly contributing factors, or what I call “piling on”, but not the fundamental cause.

Note: Besides the core issue, there may often be many “piling-on” incidences throughout your life that replicate the original problem.  The easily made mistake is thinking the most current problem is the core issue.

I then asked Glenda who her ex-husband reminded her of.  “Oh, he was just like my daddy!” she said without hesitation.  This wasn’t a surprise at all, since we often repeat the behavior of our parents, or attract people into our lives (like bosses, friends or spouses) that are just like one of our parents.

Glenda’s father was always sternly correcting her and belittling her, making her believe she could never do anything right.  This made her feel like she wasn’t smart enough or good enough.  That was the core issue of her low self-esteem.  Since there were multiple events and traumas created by dad, with similar results, (feeling shamed, guilty, sad, angry, hurt,) I used my Bundling Baggage Technique to eliminate these traumas and feelings all at once.

Once the “daddy-issues” were cleared, we worked on the issues with Clarence.  We tapped on several traumas and events about his abuses toward her.  When we were at a zero charge on anything Clarence-related, and tested the results, it was clear we had finally neutralized the causes of Glenda’s low self-esteem.  I had asked if there were any other “piling on” events, but there were none.  However, we weren’t done yet.  She felt better about herself, but not great.

To wrap up her session I gave her positive attributes about herself to repeat as she tapped at each point.  I used phrases I knew to be true about her, such as: I’m smart, I’m a gifted musician, I’m creative, I’m funny, I’m loveable, I have a great personality, I’m a good friend, I’m a loving, attentive, mother, etc.  On the second and third rounds I had her contribute more positive statements about herself at each point.  She was genuinely surprised to acknowledge and own all of her skills, talents and attributes.

Glenda left feeling great about herself and optimistic about her life.  Had we just tapped on her low self-esteem or just on the issues with her ex-husband, or even just on her dad-issues, I think Glenda would still be suffering with esteem issues today.  Now, however, six months later, she’s totally happy with herself, confident, self-assured and in a thriving relationship.

It is not a coincidence when someone gets ill, or develops a pain or disease around the time of a traumatic event.  In fact it’s likely!  Many physicians say that 85% or more of our physical maladies are the result of unresolved emotional issues.  Furthermore traumatic events can cause physical ailments without us being aware of any connection.

For instance, I had a client who developed migraines shortly after her twin died from serious injuries incurred in a car accident; yet she hadn’t seen the correlation.  Another client stuttered severely since his father disappeared one night and never returned home.  Initially, he didn’t remember that his stuttering had started at that time.

A more obvious correlation between cause and affect happened in a case with “Nicky’s” severe food sensitivity.  She would get nauseous and break out into hives whenever she ate chicken noodle soup (but not other chicken products.)  The core issue there was that her mother had killed her pet chickens for food when Nicky was seven.  Her mother then made chicken noodle soup out of Cheepy and Peepy and maliciously told Nicky about it just as she was eating the soup. Ewwww! Thank God she didn’t have a pony.

Also, many people subconsciously avoid remembering what was going on during a particularly difficult time in their lives.  Maybe it’s too painful, maybe they’re afraid of where it might take them, or maybe they’re afraid they just can’t handle what they’ll find.

I had a client named “Ellen”, who had a severe memory problem.  Both her long-term and short-term memories were virtually non-existent.  She couldn’t remember her wedding day, her son’s and daughter’s childhood, or what was discussed in an office meeting 10 minutes ago.  Not surprisingly, she couldn’t recall when her memory problem began.

So we simply tapped on the general statement of Even though I can’t remember when I lost my memory… or why… and Maybe there’s something I’m afraid of remembering… In less than two rounds Ellen had an inspiration.  She recalled an event she had completely suppressed for over 25 years.  She had gotten an abortion when she was 19 and it was very traumatic for her, both physically and emotionally.  She was very upset and ashamed over it, and became very ill as a result of it.

We eliminated the shame, embarrassment and guilt of the abortion Even though I have this shame, embarrassment and guilt over the abortion, I want to love and accept myself. We then tapped on the physical trauma of her abortion and her fear of remembering it.  Even though I’ve been afraid of remembering this traumatic time…

Almost immediately her memory began to return.  She started recalling events from her children’s youth, and even an assignment she was supposed to complete for work.  Her lack of memory was just the symptom.  The core issue was the trauma of the abortion.

I’m often asked, “What if I can’t remember any traumatic events or when my problem started?” Then just do what Ellen and I did.  Tap on Even though I don’t remember when or why this began, I love and accept myself anyway.

You can eradicate an issue even if you never remember it.  Your problem could even be pre-memory.  Your energy body knows the reason for the issue, and you don’t always have to be conscious of it yourself.  Nonetheless, do the detective work until all avenues are exhausted or until you find the core.

Once you discover the core or cause of your problems or symptoms, you will be well on the way to eradicating them.  Often people need help in getting to the root of their problem.  Another person’s perspective can be crucial in uncovering core issues.  Even the best surgeon in the world can’t effectively give himself or herself an appendectomy.  So try EFT yourself, but if you stumble, ask for help.  EFT works!

Tip 10: Expand Your EFT Toolbox

EFT is truly a magical tool. Even with the only basic fundamental skills you can achieve amazing results. EFT is simple, effective, and just about anyone can use it effectively. 

As you become more comfortable with the basics of EFT, you can achieve even better results by adding to your repertoire of tools. I can’t help but think of the comparison with a basic Swiss Army Knife. It has three cool little tools; a blade, a file and tiny scissors, and is very handy, simple and effective. However, the more advanced versions have many other implements that greatly enhance the usefulness of this clever little tool.

I was given one as a gift 30 years ago and just loved it. Not until weeks later did I discover it also included clever little gadgets like tweezers, a bottle opener, a toothpick, a screwdriver, a corkscrew and a tiny little saw! My simple little tool suddenly became even more valuable and versatile.  Forgive my comparing EFT to a Swiss Army Knife, but the analogy is true when you consider:

Both are amazing yet simple tools

Both can make life easier

Both are very effective

Both are handy and can be used on some many things

Both can do much more than what appears on the surface

Both can be used by just about anyone

Both are affordable (EFT is basically free!)

And you can try them on anything!

If you want to get even more out of EFT, use it for even more issues, get faster results, and become more effective with it, then discover some of the many hidden tools that you haven’t yet noticed. Expand your knowledge and skills with these tools and watch your results soar. 

Dr. Pat Carrington’s “Choice Method” has been around for many years now and is used by thousands of EFT practitioners. The Choice Method is a simple way to redirect (or reprogram) your mind to choose what you want, rather than just accepting what you have.   The Choice Method of EFT is particularly useful when you have reached an Intensity Level of 3 or less. There, the subconscious seems to be willing to accept positive choices, allowing you to eliminate negative verbiage and substitute desired behaviors or feelings.

Dr. Carrington has been a pioneer in the development of advanced EFT techniques. The Choice Method has come a long way since its inception in the 90s, and Pat continues to introduce other innovative uses of EFT. I’m a big fan of her work.

Becoming familiar with and practicing different EFT techniques can greatly enhance your confidence and effectiveness.

Remember that EFT is your Swiss Army Knife. Really open it up and become proficient with some of these handy tools at your fingertips!