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EFT Box Technique When Clients Don’t Want to Reveal Trauma Details

EFT Box Technique When Clients Don’t Want to Reveal Trauma Details

By Michelle A. Hardwick

Often intuitively, we get a feeling that a client does not wish to share the details with us, whether that client is an adult, teenager, or child. They may be unwilling to discuss their issues or challenges for many reasons: fear of judgment, fear of being hijacked by overwhelming emotions, or feelings of guilt or shame over the specific details of the issue, especially in abuse cases.

Reassure the client that you have a technique that you can use alongside EFT, which can help to clear emotions connected to their current situation/ issue/challenge without the details having to be shared with you. It’s called the Box Technique.

I was at the EFT Gathering in Ilkley, UK, and in a group discussion I offered to share this protocol with the group. I thought perhaps more people using EFT would like to try this on themselves and with others. There are many creative people doing EFT in the world and I am sure that you can add your “flavor” to this basic procedure.

Here is a basic outline of the technique:

1. Ask the client to put all their issues or “stuff” into an imaginary box. Get them to describe their box:
Is it old or new, covered in cobwebs, does it have a lock on it? A padlock? What color is it? Does it have a smell? What does it sound like? How big is it? Where is it stored?

  • Remember if the box gets too full with “stuff” they can always make the box bigger.
  • Make sure the box is not within the client or their body–get detachment from the box if and when possible.
  • If it’s too overwhelming for the client to visualize the box in front of them, put the box in another room, in the garage, another country, etc.
  • Give the client permission to share details as/when their box, the contents, or the feelings around it changes
  • Note that during tapping on the box and its contents there may be different stages that the client experiences. For example, they might see the lid slightly open … then open more fully … then the lid or padlock might come off and then the box becomes empty. Alternatively, depending on the client’s representational systems, the box may change color, smell, feeling, taste, touch, for instance, from black to white, heavy to light, musky to fresh.

2. Ask the client what level/rating from 0-10 would there be if they were to open the box and look at the “stuff.” Note rating. Reassure client you will not be opening the box. Ask if there were emotions in the box, what would they be? Note these. Reassure the client that you won’t abandon the box.

3. Then create Setup Statements with the information shared and tap together:

Even though I have this box and it’s full of____ [emotions], it looks like___, smells like____, it’s stored____, and it would be a rating of ___  if I were to open it, I really don’t want to look at it, open it, I accept that I have this box, I’m okay/ I’m a good person/ kid/ boy/ girl.

EB – This box that looks like…
SE – This box that smells/sounds like…
UE – This box filled with emotions of…
UN – This box that’s stored…
CH – This box with a rating of…
CB – I’m not ready to look at this box or what’s inside it…
UA – It’s time for a change

Take a breath, and a sip of water for integration of the change. Wait for them to share what it is that they feel, see.

4. Keep tapping with the information they share with you about their box as the rating drops.

Note there may be a number of associated emotions within/alongside the box such as sadness, fear, shame, hurt, regret, disappointment, possibly betrayal, humiliation, abandonment, injustice, rejection, grief about having the box, concern about opening their box. If so, check and ask if this is the case and include this information in your Setup Statements. Sometimes I have observed that clients feel the box is a part of them. I have then created Setup Statements to reflect this:

Even though I still have this box, and it’s a part of me, it’s my identity, it’s who I am, and if I let this go, then who am I?

Then tapping on each of the points…

EB – This box is my identity.
SE – This box is who I am.
UE – This box is part of me and I am part of it.
UN – If I let this box go, that would be a little scary.
CH – If I let this box go, that would be a little exciting.
CB – Who am I with the box, who am I without the box.
UA – Maybe I could be free, free to be me.

Take a breath, and a sip of water. Wait for them to share what it is that they feel, see after this round. Whatever percolates up becomes part of your next round of tapping.

5. Once the identification with the box has been cleared, I check what it would be like to really be themselves without this box that they have had with them perhaps for years… Use their thoughts and then add them to your Setup Statements:

Even though I still have this remaining box, that was a part of me, it was my identity, I now empower myself to let it go, I am ready for a change, maybe I could reinvent myself.

Then tapping on each of the points…

EB – Without this box I could reinvent myself, I could be (whatever they have shared with you, e.g., confident, happy, peaceful)
SE – I empower myself to let this box go now.
UE – This box was part of me for many years.
UN – I am ready for a change, it IS time for a change.
CH – I choose to let this box and its contents go now.
CB – I am open to discovering who am I in this moment now, without that old, boring box.
UA – I am open to now being free, free to be ALL of me.

6. After each round, check in: “What’s happening with the box?” And let this information be part of your Setup, too. When the client reaches 0, decide how they wish to recycle the box in an “environmentally friendly way.” For example, putting it in the sea/ocean might cause pollution; then again, it could feed fish.

Perhaps they would like to create a bonfire that could add to air pollution, or create potash, which is invaluable for gardens and plants. The aim is to allow the client, when they are at 0, to see something good come from the box. One 8-year-old I used it with while living and working in New Zealand literally picked up his imaginary box and happily put it into the family’s’ recycling container!

7. For completion, I like to check: What skills did you/do you have as a result of having the experience that was the box? Some answers have been: an ability to speak out, not allowing themselves to be in the same situation or attract the same situation/people or experience, making different life choices as a result. Then I would tap this as part of a round too, to end on a positive:

Even though in the past I had that box, I have empowered myself to let it go, I am taking the best out of that situation, those skills now serve me well

Then tapping on each of the points…

EB – I am confident.
SE – I speak up for myself.
UE – I am free.
UN – I forgive myself.
CH – I am compassionate with myself and others.
CB – I attract positive experiences that help me grow and evolve.
UA – I am free, and empowered to be me.

I have noticed in most situations when I have used the Box Technique that when the contents of the box and intensity level go down to about a rating of 1-2, the client is actually quite eager to share the details as all negativity has been tapped away and they are feeling so peaceful, liberated, and free!