By Tania Prince, EFT Master
“If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.” – Jimmy Buffett
Many years ago in a place far, far, far away…
All right, let’s start again. Many years ago whilst I was still working in the field of show business, I was touring Finland with my sister and colleague. We had just arrived at our hotel having not long gotten off the train. It was at this moment, my sister suddenly discovered that the seam in her trousers had split leaving a gaping hole in the most inappropriate place.
She turned to face the both of us; we were oblivious to her predicament and she said, “Why didn’t you tell me? I have traveled halfway across Finland with my a*se hanging out!”
Our jaws just hit the floor with the shock of her words, and then we promptly nearly fell over laughing. I am still laughing to this day even though that was perhaps 20 years ago (and incidentally, so is my sister, face of an angel, mouth from the gutter).
Humor can be a powerful tool to help us overcome potentially stressful situations. Humor, reframing (the art of helping clients see their issues in a different way, one more conducive to their health), and EFT are each powerful therapeutic tools in their own right. When combined, they can be even more stunningly effective and fast at getting results.
There are many ways to reframe. The method I used in this article is one of the more unusual types in that it basically uses analogy/metaphor combined with EFT to create change in the client’s thinking.
Example of Metaphor and Reframing in EFT
The client attended therapy due to the panic attacks she was experiencing. During questioning, it became evident that her emotions around the death of her father were part of what was causing this problem.
The client’s father had spent the last months of his life in hospital. During this time, he had been highly medicated. Periodically, he would come around and notice his wife and daughter (the client), and upon seeing them he would say, “Are you two still here?” with disdain in his voice. The client had a lot of emotion over this.
As a way to avoid this happening, the mother would watch for him waking and would then say, “Drop down.” Mother and daughter would then both duck down so that he wouldn’t see them. Within moments, he would drift back into his drug-induced sleep.
After the client recited this story to me, I decided to err on the side of caution and use the Movie Technique. Directly addressing this event could have been emotionally painful for the client. Asked what she wanted to call this specific event, she said, “The drop-down movie problem.”
As we started to tap on the side of the hand point, I said, “You know that reminds me of something that happened in my life.” The client’s curiosity stirred as she listened intently to what I was saying.
“When I was 16 years old, a guy of about 90 took a fancy to me and he would call around to our house with flowers for me. Whenever my mother spotted him coming down the pathway to the house, she would shout, ‘Drop down!’ We would all drop to the floor and crawl behind the furniture laughing our heads off.”
At that point, I instantly went into the Movie Technique without stopping for breath.
Side of the hand: “So even though I have the drop-down movie problem, I completely and totally love and approve of myself.”
In the split second it took for the client to process what I had said, she burst into hysterical laughter whilst we continued to tap.
“So even though I have the drop-down movie problem, I completely and totally love and approve of myself.”
“So even though I have the drop-down movie problem, I completely and totally love and approve of myself”.
Eyebrow: “Drop-down movie problem”
Side of the eye: “Drop-down movie problem”
Under the eye: “Drop-down movie problem”
We gave up the tapping at this point. When her laughter subsided, I asked, “And when you think about the drop-down movie problem, what happens?”
She laughed. “It just seems funny now.”
Over a year later, when asked the same question, she replied that the event seemed “like a comedy.” She still found it highly amusing, although it was evident she was watching it as if she was a spectator to the event rather than one who was present at the time. This way of thinking about an event is commonly connected to having resolved it–dissociated in the visual memory rather than looking at it through your own eyes as if still there.
Breakdown of Analogy/Metaphors Reframe
This type of reframe is dependent on identifying and using the commonalities between the client’s story and the one you tell.
In this particular case, the client’s story involves three characters, two women (mother and daughter) and a man.
The story I used contains the same type of characters.
The client’s story has the element of the mother shouting, “Drop down,” and the mother/daughter characters ducking down to the floor. Again my story has the same element.
In both stories this drop-down behaviour is caused by the man coming around and the female characters not wanting to be seen by him.
Here is where the commonality stops. Whereas the client’s story has a sad association, my story is associated with humor.
The metaphor effectively let the client see her own issue in a new way, one which previously she had been unable to see. This effectively broke the association between sadness and the event and at the same time connected humor to it.
Why do metaphors work so powerfully?
- Metaphors are gentle, subtle techniques since they do not directly address the issue.
- They do not try to force the person to take on board the new perspective.
- They bypass the parts of the mind that normally resist taking on board new information.
- Stories engage both the conscious (linear, sequential part of the mind) and the unconscious (emotional and symbolic part of the mind).
- EFT makes the mind even more receptive to accepting the metaphor.
How to Develop the Ability to Use Metaphor
Formulating metaphors requires the ability to think laterally. Technically, the question to ask yourself in order to be able to create instant metaphors is “What is another example of, in this case, ‘dropping down’?”
However, the easiest way to develop this skill is by tapping out your blocks. One method to identifying those blocks is to listen to the internal dialogue whilst reading the part of this article on the reframe. What did your mind say? Was it “I can’t do that” etc.? These are the thoughts you need to tap out. Being good at delivering reframes and metaphors is dependent upon trusting yourself and just going with the ideas that pop into your mind without critiquing them. Anything that gets in the way of doing that is a block so tap it out.
Once you have done that you might just be pleasantly surprised at just how easy it can be.
All stories and cases used in this article were done so with the permission of the people involved.