Why It's Important to Be Specific When Using EFT
By A. Adams
In each of my introductory EFT tapping sessions, individual or group, I discuss how common it is to touch parts of our body for comfort and I demonstrate several examples.
I ask the individual or group why they think people use these touches. Someone inevitably says because it makes them feel better. "Right!" I say. "And let's learn another quick exercise also using our hands that makes us feel better."
I tell them that the amazing part of what they are about to learn is not that it works—we already know that touching our body makes us feel better—but that we can consciously focus on an issue we would like to resolve and consciously use a sequence of touches or taps to make us feel better about that issue.
The question is posed to the group about what would constitute success in resolving their issues in the time frame allotted. We have a discussion of what would be a "reasonable" percentage of success, e.g., half the group decreasing their discomfort in half concerning their issue. I write the agreed upon "measurement of success" on the board or overhead.
I talk about problems being like a puzzle (in EFT Workshops I have an overhead with puzzle pieces with one piece of the puzzle colored in) and for this exercise it will be important for them to just pick one piece of the puzzle. I warn them to pick a trauma with a little t for their introduction to EFT, no more than a SUD level of Intensity number of 5 on a scale of 0 to 10.
While I have never yet had anyone get really upset in my classes, I feel a responsibility to limit their "exposure" initially. However, they do not always follow this instruction!
I tell them that traumas can be repetitive, such as being upset by parents' constant fighting, or one time, like a traffic accident (the examples used vary according to the group).
For this exercise, it is important to pick a specific incident, even if the same thing happened in different variations over and over.
That what we are going to do is run this specific incident as a movie in our heads. Realize that the part where we first got upset in the incident is actually a very short movie.
I sometimes give examples like: how they looked at you, the tone of their voice, the smell of burning, the sick to your stomach feeling.
Now close your eyes and run the movie of your puzzle piece. If the movie is longer than two minutes, you still have too big a piece of the puzzle; select a smaller part of the movie. Got it? When all say okay, I ask them to write down their 0-5 SUD level of intensity number.
Using the little poem "For results that are terrific, you have to be specific," I tell them to freeze-frame the movie at one scene and really go back to that scene and: "See what you saw, feel what you felt, hear what you heard, smell what you smelled (more common an issue than you would think) and taste what you tasted. Make the picture as clear as you can. AND recognize where you feel this upset in your body."
We then run through the tapping sequence twice, sometimes more if I sense the group needs to. Depending on the setting and the group, I may not even use a Setup phrase.
Generally though, I use a generic:
"Even though I have this problem, I choose to be calm and confident."
Trying to be mindful of the old social worker mantra "Start with where the client is!" Everybody wants to be confident; most everybody wants to be calm. Not everybody in my resident population (severely emotionally disturbed children) accepts that they can deeply and completely accept themselves.
For the most part, our residents hate themselves. For the purpose of demonstration, I bypass that problem.
The instructions are repeated to hear, see, feel, taste, smell what you were aware of and pay attention to where you feel it in your body. AND if you are aware that you are watching yourself in the movie, try to put yourself behind your own eyes. This is again a safety precaution. It is less painful to watch than to be there. In addition, my population is frequently very out of touch with their bodies and tends toward disassociation anyway. The initial tapping relaxes and seems to make them feel safe to "associate" once more. I do warn that if being "associated" increases their upset to go back to watching themselves.
I also give the instruction that if they were fortunate enough to have already resolved that scene, just pick another scene to work on. We then tap through the sequence at least twice again before I ask for a new 0-10 intensity rating. I warn that sometimes people "cheat" and shift scenes and to make sure they go back to the original scene they chose.
We get the overall scores and compare our results with the measure of success established at the beginning of the training. It is, of course, inevitably superior to what they anticipated possible.
I remind them that they have just experienced EFT, one of the most powerful change agents available.
Some situations seem quick to move past and others take persistent tapping to resolve. I mention that toxins/allergies can also get in the way.
Note: I'd like to make further "oversimplified" comments about the associated versus disassociated issue. If time permits, I may ask if there was anyone who got no resolution of their scene. If so, I ask about their movie—not the incident details but the see-hear-feel features of the movie. I ask them to change these features to assess the difference in feeling. I pay particular attention to whether or not they were looking at the movie as a movie (disassociated) or if they were in the movie and seeing it through their own eyes (associated). Inevitably, the person is not seeing it through their own eyes. I ask them if they are willing to try to be actually in the scene. We then tap again while they are actually looking at the scene through their own eyes. So far this has always resulted in reducing the 0-10 intensity to at least half.
With individual clients who may get upset by looking at a scene from their own eyes, I instruct them to avoid doing so by picturing themselves watching the scene from a movie theater seat. We tap in this much less painful way, and often when they go back to the behind-the-eyes version, the upset is significantly reduced or gone.
Many times our residents just aren't "there." I have them practice looking at a scene through their eyes by describing what they are looking at currently in the room. We then move to a pleasant scene from their memory to describe from behind their own eyes before we tackle the behind-the-eyes experience again.