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Q: How do I find the right words for tapping?

Answer 1 (from The EFT Manual, by Dawson Church): One of the most common worries of newcomers to EFT is that they’ll select the wrong words for the Setup Statement. How can you be sure you’ve phrased it correctly, especially if you’re in a situation where you don’t have the instructions in front of you?

The answer to this question is to start tapping the side of the hand point and say the first thing that pops into your head. It’s more important to tap than it is to formulate the Setup Statement perfectly. You say the Setup three times, and you can change it on the second or third rounds if a more descriptive phrase occurs to you.

Keep it simple. If you’ve hurt your thumb, and you’re tapping for that, you can simply say, “My thumb hurts.” If you’ve been emotionally triggered by a bad experience, you can say, “This bad experience.” If you’re feeling annoyed, you can say, “Even though I’m feeling annoyed” while you tap. Start tapping, say any words that keep you focused on the problem, whether they’re the perfect words or not, and complete a round or two of EFT. You don’t need to go into elaborate explanations of why you feel the way you do, such as, “I’m annoyed at Sally. She told me to mind my own business, and she’s always saying things like that. She’s such a pain that I don’t know why I ever talk to her…” and so on. Just keep it simple: “I’m annoyed at Sally.”

With experience, you’ll find yourself easily selecting the words that have the most emotional impact, but at the beginning, it’s fine to use any words that come to mind. What’s important is to stay focused on the problem and tap, and avoid getting into mental considerations about the relative merits of this or that Setup Statement.

Answer 2 by Certified EFT Practitioner and Trainer Jenny Johnston: If you are tapping with clients, it’s important to use their exact words. For example, if they say “solar plexus” and you change it to “stomach” for tapping, they will not feel heard and may not fully tune in to the body part where they are feeling their emotion.

If you are tapping for yourself, I suggest that you sit in front of a mirror and imagine that you are telling your best friend all about an issue/emotion/event that’s going on for you.

Notice what you are feeling and where you are feeling it in your body until a specific event/memory comes up for you. Then tap on all of the aspects you remember, speaking out loud to yourself in the mirror. Tap on what you heard, saw, felt, smelled, and tasted and be as specific as possible as to where you feel it in your body. As long as you are saying out loud how you are feeling and where in the body you are feeling it and also putting a SUD score to it (0-10), then you will be able to see if your reactions are reducing as you tap. The more specific you are about an event and the feelings in your body and use the exact words of how you feel, the better your results will be.


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