By Patricia Carrington, PhD, EFT Master
I’m always surprised when people tell me, in effect, that “It’s so hard to tell others about EFT without them becoming skeptical and thinking I’ve lost my mind!” This surprises me because while I’ve been using tapping techniques in my practice as a clinical psychologist since 1987, and have used EFT exclusively since 1995, I have practically never had any such experience when I presented EFT to people who knew nothing, or very little, about it.
Others don’t express skepticism to me about EFT when I tell them about it. A few are hesitant to try it, but they are in the minority, and not wanting to use EFT is a valid personal choice. Of the literally thousands of people to whom I have introduced the concept of EFT, practically none have thought what I was describing was ridiculous, nor indicated that they didn’t believe me.
Is this because these people respected me as a professional in the field of energy psychology? This cannot be the case because for the most part I was introducing EFT to people whom I encountered casually in a store, on the telephone, in an airport, etc., who had never heard of me or my work yet who responded with deep interest to the concept of stress reduction with energy psychology and to EFT in particular. The bulk of people I have told about EFT over the years have been strangers to me, and if anything, it has been my colleagues in psychology who have been more hesitant to accept all I was saying, although they didn’t entirely dismiss my conclusions.
Why then do people in the EFT world so often meet with skepticism when they introduce EFT to others? And why are my words accepted with great interest, or at the very least with genuine respect, while many other people report that theirs are not?
I will let you in on my “secret.” It is one of attitude. I clearly come across as certain that EFT is truly a “state-of-the-art” discovery when it comes to stress management, and my genuine confidence in it is unmistakable.
Here is the kind of thing I typically say to those who know nothing (or very little) about EFT. The dialogue below could have been with anyone who has just learned my full professional name (Dr. Patricia Carrington). This could be someone who is helping me with an order on the phone or in person, a stranger I am talking to on the bus, someone in a hair salon, a person whose services I am seeking–anyone who doesn’t know me or what I do. When they first hear my name, an amazing number of people, I would estimate close to 80% of them, ask, “What kind of doctor are you?”
ME (responding to them): I’m a psychologist, I specialize in stress management.
PERSON (emphatically): “That’s what I need–stress management!”
ME: Don’t we all?
The person then begins to tell me all about the stress they face in their own life and seems clearly to want a magic solution to it.
ME (casually sharing information): We have some remarkable new techniques that can bring down stress MUCH more quickly than we could in the past. They’re really state-of-the-art. It’s unbelievable.”
The person now tells tell me more about the stress in their life. People are almost always eager to share this information because others rarely listen to them when they talk about it. Then they usually wait for me to tell them more about this “remarkable technique.”
ME: The method we use (notice that I use the pronoun “we” because it’s a true way of representing the situation and also is more impressive as a recommendation) is based on light tapping of acupuncture points, only you don’t use needles, you just use tapping and you say out loud certain phrases while you do that. It’s so easy that just about anyone can learn it quickly and we’re using it (note that I use the plural “we” again) with people who have been through disasters or other traumas, with amazing success. For example, some of us used it for victims of the 9/11 tragedy and it was the only thing that really worked to bring them out of shock.” (This is absolutely true and notice that I am not claiming that any research studies prove this or that it brings EVERYONE out of shock, only that SOME of us did obtain rather amazing results, an accurate statement.)
Now the person will usually do one of two things: They will not ask any more about the subject and I won’t push because truly I don’t care what they do (I am only doing my duty by informing them of EFT) or they will ask for more information, in which case I will give it to them roughly as follows:
ME: The method I use is called EFT, that’s short for Emotional Freedom Techniques. It’s so easy to learn that almost anyone can use it and it’s wonderful.
You will notice that I mentioned the use of EFT for disasters or other severe traumas, before I talked about its use for anxiety or anything else, although later I may mention more everyday uses. Hearing about this is far more impressive to newcomers than learning about its everyday more common uses and it links the technique to history. EFT now becomes connected in their minds with the impact of certain historical events.
For example, instead of referring to the 9/11 tragedy, I may say something like, “It’s been used with Vietnam veterans who had flashbacks of the war that were so severe that they couldn’t sleep at night because of horrible nightmares and this was the only thing that really helped them.” (This is a clinically established fact, yet I don’t invoke any research findings because there are none in this particular area.)
As a researcher in the field of psychology, I have had many articles published in peer=reviewed journals and in order to get them published I had to be super-cautious in the way I stated the findings. These professional publications require that you understate positive findings, qualify them meticulously when used, and back every statement you make with a reference from the research. I am prepared to do that for EFT in my presentations to scientific audiences, but I have found that people in general aren’t interested in those details, and the last thing they want to hear is anything about the theories of energy psychology or the metaphysics that are implied in energy psychology. These matters just don’t interest the majority of the population who simply want to know that the method has been used in a responsible manner under conditions that are familiar to them.
You should also know that I make no attempt to sell my own training materials, or anyone else’s, when I introduce EFT to people. I don’t mention my beginners’ DVDs that could teach them EFT so easily or give my or another website address unless they specifically ask how they can learn EFT. If they don’t ask for such information, I just share my enthusiasm and my certainty about the value of EFT. I throw this information out into the air, as it were, and they can pick up on it and ask more, or not, as they choose. Noting my casualness, people sense that I’m not attached to having them respond and this serves to make them trust me more, although I am not trying for that effect.
Interestingly, the number of people who follow up by purchasing one of my products or someone else’s or both is considerable after I have presented EFT to them this way. Much curiosity seems to be generated by what I have said. Last week, for example, I was telling a technical support person over the phone about energy psychology and EFT, as we were both waiting for something to load on my computer, and she ended up ordering my Introduction to EFT videotapes and was planning to immediately download The EFT Manual and explore EFT more–she couldn’t wait to get there!
My favorite occasion though, where there was what I call a “transfer of enthusiasm” from me to a stranger, surprised even myself. I had arrived in Canada to conduct a workshop as part of the Annual Toronto Energy Psychology Conference that is put on by Sharon Toole each year. This is one of my very favorite Energy Psychology conferences and it happened that the customs official at the Toronto airport routinely asked me where I was going to stay in the city, what I was doing there, and how I would distribute the free handouts I had in my luggage. I told him that I was attending an energy psychology conference and that I would be teaching people there about EFT.
He wanted to know what that was, so I told him quite a bit about it because I love to talk about EFT. We got into a chat about the stress involved in his occupation, and he ended up asking for details on the conference and writing down all the information I gave him such as where it would be held and the times. He even asked me how much it would cost to attend a session. He insisted that he wanted to go to the conference, but of course I have no idea whether he actually did. My point is that you never know who may be interested in reducing the stress in their life with EFT and you should never conclude that a given person may not be interested. The fact is that often they will be!
Actually, the potential public interest in EFT is overwhelming as long as you don’t push too hard to get the other person to agree with you but simply share your genuine excitement about the method. However, because it doesn’t seem to be easy for many EFT users to do this, I will be suggesting in Part 2 of this series some ways that you can become more at ease and confident when introducing people to EFT.
In Part 1 of this series, I pointed out that although what you tell people about EFT is certainly important, what really matters–it’s the bottom line–is your own confidence in EFT, your genuine and believable enthusiasm about it when you describe it to others.
In the first article, I shared with you my own remarkably successful approach to telling people about EFT. In this one, I’m going to suggest some ways you can use EFT to increase your own confidence and surefootedness when telling others about it. If you tap in the way I will suggest, it can do wonders for you when you decide to introduce the method to others.
Here are some of the issues that many people face when telling others about EFT.
Many people tell themselves some very negative things in their minds when they contemplate sharing EFT with others, and this can negatively and dramatically affect the outcome. Some of the negative thoughts and phrases that may come to mind when you think of telling another person about it, and some EFT antidotes you can use to successfully counteract them, are:
1. Fear that telling someone else about EFT will reflect badly on you in some way.
EFT statements to counteract this:
“Even though I’m afraid they’ll think I’m crazy (unprofessional, gullible, etc.), I choose to be so aware of my good feelings about EFT that I don’t even notice their reactions!”
Or (for the last part of the statement):
“…I choose to remember the wonderful things I’ve seen EFT do and let my enthusiasm absorb my attention.”
“…I choose to let my confidence in EFT come across so strongly that no one can doubt it.”
2. Fear that the other person will ask questions about EFT that you can’t answer.
Some suggested EFT statements to counteract this:
“Even though I’m scared they’ll ask me questions I can’t answer, I choose to answer them truthfully and let my enthusiasm about EFT shine through.”
3. Fear of loss of professional status or economic security if you endorse EFT.
Some suggested EFT statements for this:
“Even though I’m afraid my practice (reputation, business contacts, etc.) will be harmed if I endorse such a far-out theory, I choose to present it in such an easy casual manner that they will want to know more.”
“…I choose to get myself out of the way and forget trying to convince them of anything–just tell them the truth about EFT.”
“…I choose to let my genuine enthusiasm about EFT shine through and let the chips fall where they may as far as their reactions go.”
You will notice that in the above EFT statements I use a positive “Choices” phrase in place of the EFT default statement, “I deeply and completely accept myself.” The Choices Method is an important variant of EFT
However, you can certainly use the EFT default phrase, “I deeply and completely accept myself” in place of the positive phrases I suggest here, or use the default phrase of the Choices Method which is, “I choose to be calm and confident.” Whatever the exact wording you use, these are vital issues that will apply to many people when presenting EFT to another person.
I suggest that if you find yourself uncomfortable at the prospect of telling someone else about EFT, use EFT with these or similar phrases before speaking with them. This can be done even on short notice if you excuse yourself from the room to tap your anxiety down and then return to tell the person about EFT, or it can be done ahead of time if you anticipate meeting with them in advance. Doing EFT beforehand can make a dramatic difference in the effectiveness of your presentation and allow the other person to feel unpressured and impressed by your enthusiasm. Given a free choice (no pressure), they will often want to learn more about EFT.
Good luck with your description of our wonderful method!
In the first two articles in this series, I described my own success in telling others about EFT, and then suggested ways that you can use EFT on yourself to increase your confidence when doing this. Now I will go a step further and talk about some ways that your previous experiences, particularly those from childhood, might be undermining your confidence when presenting EFT, and suggest what you can do to counteract such a problem.
There are a number of experiences in childhood that can create fears about presenting new ideas to others. Here are some of them:
Unfortunately, we can learn some “lessons” that are better not learned at school, along with all the essential knowledge that this institution imparts. One of these can be a deep insecurity about presenting new and different ideas to others.
Even if you have had a number of encouraging and open-minded teachers in your school years, it takes only one disparaging teacher who may have ridiculed or chastised you for not giving the “right” answers, or for suggesting an idea that was outside the accepted classroom curriculum, for you to shudder at the idea of risking such criticism again.
If you have had unfortunate school experiences when presenting new ideas, you will benefit greatly from using EFT to counteract them. To do so, you may want to use a phrase such as:
“Even though I was blamed (criticized, ridiculed, etc.) by (name of teacher) for not giving the answers she/he wanted (or, for presenting ideas that were off the beaten path, etc.), I choose to remember how well some of my new ideas have been accepted today.”
This EFT statement makes use of what is known as a “Personal Resource State” to counteract an unfortunate memory. Personal Resource States consist of remembered moments of success or excellence in one’s own life and they can make very powerful Choices to use with EFT.
Many people by the way like to use the EFT Choices Method to counteract negative attitudes and beliefs because it works by substituting positive attitudes for them. Try to think of a specific instance in which you told someone about EFT (or, in fact, any other new and unusual method) and your ideas were accepted with enthusiasm. Then create a vivid picture in your mind of this positive incident as you repeat the EFT statement suggested above. Doing so can help enormously to counteract the negative conditioning of a school experience.
Quite obviously our families of origin were the source of many attitudes, both positive and negative, that we experience today. One of the ways that family members can inadvertently contribute to a child’s insecurity about presenting new and different ideas is by verbally pinning the child down and demanding that they justify every bit of what they are saying (that they give examples of what they are saying, prove that it is so, etc.). Older family members can be expert at demanding such “justification” from a child rather than allowing him or her to simply express their ideas with enthusiasm. If this applies to you, you might try tapping on the following EFT statement:
“Even though I had to be RIGHT (prove what I was saying, etc.) or (name of person) would criticize me, I choose the freedom to be wrong or indefinite at times today and be effective anyway.”
This is an essential freedom, and tapping using this or similar phrase can make a great difference in your level of confidence when presenting EFT to those whom you are afraid may demand “proof” of its value. It will leave you free to let your genuine enthusiasm express itself.
Family members can also undermine a child’s ability to express new ideas in many other ways. Try to remember for a moment if any family members did this with you (however well intentioned they might have been) and then create a positive Choice to counteract it, or use the EFT default phrase “I deeply and completely accept myself” to neutralize this unfortunate conditioning. It will work.
Children can be very cruel in their dismissal of other children’s ideas and they typically mince no words in saying so:
“That’s a silly idea!”
“My Mommy (Daddy, or whoever) says that’s not true!”
These and similar put-downs can hurt deeply when you are a child longing for the acceptance of your peers–and what child doesn’t?
Do you recall times when other children laughed at you or made fun of you or ridiculed you for expressing new and different ideas? If so, then try tapping on an EFT statement such as:
“Even though they made fun of me for my ideas, I choose to remember the time(s) that (name of person) was so impressed with what I had to say that he/she really began to think differently.”
Here again I am asking you to make use of a Personal Resource State, some memory of an extremely positive response to a time that you expressed a new and different idea. If you have such a memory, put a brief phrase describing that positive memory into your EFT Choices phrase and it can powerfully counteract the sense of defeat and humiliation that stem from childhood ridicule.
These are, of course, only some of the ways that your past experiences may be impacting on your present level of confidence when presenting EFT to others. There are many more possibilities. I suggest you explore some of your memories along these lines–the negative ones that may have caused the problem, and the positive exceptions to this response that can be used as Personal Resources. Then do some tapping! This will help more than any “formula” when telling others about EFT. If you are confident when you talk to others about it, those others are much more likely to believe you and express interest in the technique. As I explained in my first article in this series, that has been my experience when describing EFT and I believe the reason for the success of my presentation of it.