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EFT Essentials

Using EFT For ...

How to Design Your Own EFT Setup Phrases


EFT Manual by Dawson Church

By J. Freedom

The EFT Basic Recipe provides a standard language format to use for both the Setup and the Reminder Phrase. This is covered in The EFT Manual and in EFT Level 1 and Level 2 workshops.

EFT works fine with this format. By creating your own wording, however, you can customize tapping to your particular needs. With practice, this process becomes second nature.

When you first start using EFT, you might like a bit more guidance. There is a method by which you can design your own language to use in your tapping. 

The Setup Phrase is often an undervalued part of EFT. Many of us have used (and taken for granted) the generic Setup Phrase that says:

“Even though I have this ________, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

This works much of the time, but not always.

The Setup is intended to be the built-in antidote for Psychological Reversal (PR). A PR is an objection to healing. It is a form of subtle self-sabotage, and includes any limiting belief or consideration a person is holding that prevents them from healing and changing now.

Often this takes the form of implicit self-hatred.

The person may believe, consciously or unconsciously, “Because I have this issue, I am a bad person, and therefore unlovable.” The generic Setup Phrase confronts this possibility, acknowledges “Even though I have this issue,” and antidotes the PR with “I deeply and completely accept myself.”

But there are problems with the generic EFT Setup phrase or statement. Some people balk at the idea (or even possibility!) of accepting or loving themselves. I worked with one woman with multiple personality disorder; she objected, saying, “But I don’t see myself as a ‘self’.”

And then for others, self-acceptance is not the issue; and thus not the antidote. There may be other forms of PR (lurking beneath the surface!) that need an antidote.

PR can take many forms, and these have been cataloged by (among others) Fred Gallo, David Grudermeyer, and Asha Clinton.

These include:

Possibility: “I can’t get over this issue.”

Worthiness: “I don’t deserve to get over this issue.”

Safety: “It’s not safe for me to get over this issue.”

Secondary gain or loss: “I will lose [ _______ ], if I get over this issue.”

Authority: “My doctor says I will always have this issue.”

Identity: “I can’t release this issue, but the issue is part of who I am.”

I recently attended a Borrowing Benefits seminar. The seminar leader was being very “loose” and creative with his Setup statements, and doing a lot of re-framing. In my own work I have found it to be more effective, creative, and FUN to custom-design my own Setup Phrases. Just as one of the keys to successful EFT is to “chunk down” and get very specific, so also designing a very specific Setup Phrase greatly enhances the effectiveness of the whole treatment.

A simple yet elegantly powerful way to design your own Setups is to use the following “template.” I call this the Parts Setup and it has three parts.

It goes like this:

“Even though A PART OF ME thinks that [ ______ ], the REST OF ME KNOWS that [ ______ ] and I’m WILLING/CHOOSING to [ ______ ].”

After the first phrase, insert the limiting belief, the objection to healing (PR). After the second, insert a POSITIVE TRUTHFUL FACT, which confronts and antidotes the limiting belief. What is more powerful than, and effectively “neutralizes” a limiting belief? A truthful, unlimiting fact!

After the third phrase, insert a POSITIVE ACTION you are WILLING/CHOOSING to take. Choosing (following Dr. Pat Carrington’s model) is a powerful word; willing is more gentle. But it is important to say that you are choosing to do something only if you are truly going to follow through and do it!

For example, I once had a student who believed that she “could not do anything right.” This is not true, of course, but that was her belief. And if she cannot do “anything right,” then of course, she cannot do EFT right! This limiting belief will sabotage her results.

So I had her custom-design her Setup phrases like this:

“Even though A PART OF ME thinks that I can’t do anything right, THE REST OF ME KNOWS that I do some things very well [POSITIVE TRUTHFUL FACT], and I’M WILLING to love and accept myself [POSITIVE ACTION], whether I do things well, or not.”

“Even though A PART OF ME THINKS that I can’t do anything right, THE REST OF ME KNOWS that I’ve held a responsible job for many years, and I’M CHOOSING to focus on what I do well, rather than on what I don’t.”

“Even though A PART OF ME THINKS that I can’t do anything right, THE REST OF ME KNOWS that I am intelligent, competent, and capable, and I’M WILLING to learn to tap on myself, and get the results I want.”

I have my clients repeat the Setup statement three or four times, using the same PR/objection but with different “antidotes” and choices in the second and third phrases. I find that a well-designed Setup, followed by tapping, is like a “one-two punch” that will effectively knock out many issues easily. By openly acknowledging, confronting, and disabling the specific PR, the “real issue” is tapped away much more easily.

Often the client’s SUD Level of Intensity number between 0-10 will decrease by 50% or more, just by using this Setup alone.

The Parts Setup is one of several Setup Variations. Please feel free to “play” and experiment with it, and let me know what you experience.