Using EFT for the "Grey Life Syndrome"


By Chip Engelmann, MA CNC

When a client comes to an EFT session, what they may be looking for and paying for is the transition from a state of being “not okay” to being “okay.”  We tap on their issues, and pain is relieved.  The client is satisfied with going back to their “normal” life.

This “okayness” is what people are conditioned to expect.  You go to a professional when you are not okay, to receive a treatment or a pill to make you okay.  Everyone knows that’s what you do.

However, holistic health practitioners prefer to look beyond the pharmaceutical sick-okay dichotomy, and view health as a sliding scale, with death and disease on one end and optimal health and well-being on the other.

Death Optimal Health and Well-being

The goal of Western medicine’s disease-state paradigm is to bring the client one step toward okayness.  If someone is in a disease state, the physician can cut it out and/or cover it up – that is, “manage” it – with medications that will get the client from disease to dis-ease or, hopefully, to okayness.  On the other hand, a holistic health practitioner realizes that the same steps that take you from disease to okayness, can take you from okayness to optimal health.  In fact, the goal of a holistic practitioner is to help their client achieve optimal health rather than to settle for feeling okay.

Now, if we take the same approach for emotional health, we might see a sliding scale that looks like this:

Powerlessness Spiritual Abundance and Enthusiasm

Clients typically come to me to get their unmanageable, suppressed emotions to the point where they are manageable.  The client is ready to settle for just-about-okay.

This is the state I call Grey Life Syndrome–not good, not bad, but bearable.  While the sufferer may at times feel happiness, self-esteem, joy and love, these qualities are considered transient and likely to return to the okay state.  We don’t have to be happy with our job; it can be okay or irritating if it feeds us.  Television will get us through to the weekend.  Relationships start well, but regress to a comfortable support structure to make us feel like we are okay.

Grey Life Syndrome.  Let’s give it an acronym – a pharmaceutical ploy to make a disease state sound familiar and acceptable.  Ahem. GLS is a state where we rehash what has happened in the past, lowering our self-esteem and fearing what the future will bring.  We don’t believe life can get better, so we strive to make it tolerable.  We have plenty of dreams, but our fear that they are not possible (or practical) stops us from making plans to achieve them.  Being happy here and now is impossible because we are constantly thinking about what went on before and what will happen next.

The heartbreak of GLS is that we never get to feel good.  In fact, there is no reason that we cannot be healthy, be happy, enjoy life, have good relationships, enjoy our family time, have abundance and beauty around us, enjoy our work, and live in joy.  Except that we don’t.

What I am discovering with EFT clients who are willing to go the distance, is that the same process that can take them from unmanageable, suppressed emotions to feeling okay, is the very process that can take them from feeling okay to feeling happy.  To make this process work, we have to impress upon our client the need to stop looking at what is wrong with themselves and start acknowledging what is perfect with who they are.

When we use EFT to relieve emotional pain, we look to the experience that triggered the pain reaction.  Using the trigger as a guide, we can trace it back to events in the past, like a detective, looking for the core issue.  Then we release the core issue with EFT and, chances are, the trigger collapses as well.

Likewise, if we want to deal with GLS, we examine how we are feeling, and trace those feelings back to core events that made us feel unsafe or less-than.  These feelings have caused us to create a “safety net” of stability.  We don’t want our expectations to be dashed like they were in the past, so we don’t try, or at least not very hard.  Somewhere in our past we made a decision, like “I can’t have what I want,” so we avoid situations that might get our hopes up.

By releasing the emotions that led to our decision, we come to a place where we can reverse that decision.  At this point, I have found Dr. Patricia Carrington’s Choices Technique to be very effective.  Here are some examples of setup phrases I’ve used to help clients make this transition. Obviously, the set-up phrase is tailored to the individual.

Even though I believed as a child that no one wanted to hear me, I now choose to believe that what I have to say is important.

Even though I want to eat when I feel anxious, I now choose to see myself as the kind, loving person I am.

Even though I decided that I have an incurable disease, I now choose to see it as a perfect expression of my repressed emotions.

Even though I believed my father when he told me I would have to struggle to just get by, I now open myself up to receive the abundance of the universe.

Even though I decided I was worthless because my mother didn’t love me, I now choose to see myself as a perfect spark of God.

Each case involves a transformation of thought.  The client makes a transition from what is wrong with them to what is right with them.  Ultimately, my goal as a practitioner is to help the client make that transition.

In my first session with a client, we establish their goals for the consultation so that we both know when the goals have been achieved.  Part of the negotiation, for me, is to establish that we will replace what detracts from their joy with something that enhances it.  The client is usually surprised and delighted at the concept.

Chip Engelmann