Answer 1 (from The EFT Manual, by Dawson Church): You might feel bad emotionally or physically and be unable to tie it to any specific event. There are several options in such cases. One is to create an imaginary event in your mind. Perhaps your parents fought when you were a child and you can’t remember the specifics of even one of those fights.
If you use your imagination to fill in the blanks and just create a likely scenario in your mind, you have a starting point for your EFT session. This method is usually very effective. The reason it works so well is that the elements of the imaginary situation are being retrieved from our own memory banks. They might be fictional, but the only reason you can imagine them at all is that they resemble an actual event you once saw or heard. To create any imaginary event, you have to draw from reality. So while your fictional event might not have actually happened, it has a high affinity for literal events.
You can also start tapping without an event. You might have an uneasy emotional feeling, for instance. Though it’s helpful to trace that uneasiness to an event, you might not be able to remember one, no matter how hard you try. In that case, simply tap on the uneasy feeling.
Interesting directions for an EFT session often appear when you experiment with tapping on the inability to remember an event. You incorporate this situation into your Setup Statement, for example, “Even though I can’t remember a specific event, I deeply and completely accept myself.” I’ve done this many times with clients and found that it often sparks the recall of an event. Tapping seems to lower the barriers to remembering events, and tapping on accepting the inability to recall them removes the pressure to come up with one. That act of relaxation then opens the doors of memory and specific events pop out.
Answer 2 by Certified EFT Practitioner and Trainer Jenny Johnston: Sometimes it is best to tap on generalities first and tap for several rounds so that your subconscious mind can be engaged. I often ask my clients just to keep tapping and notice what their subconscious brings up for them to work on. I ask clients to tune in even more specifically to the aspects that we are tapping on, being sure to use their exact words. Tapping on the specific feelings that they are feeling and tuning in to the specifics of where they feel that in their body lets the body or subconscious know that it’s safe to go to a specific memory now, in order to process and release it.
If there are so many memories that it’s difficult to find just one, then I will ask the subconscious mind to give me just one to start with, even though there are so many, and allow the body to bring up just one memory to tap on. State this for a couple of rounds until a memory emerges to be tapped on. If a memory still doesn’t emerge, I ask clients to imagine or guess a time when they felt whatever they are feeling. I will sometimes ask them to guess how old they were and the body and subconscious will usually answer with an age. Then I ask them to imagine being that age and guess what is happening. This usually helps to find a specific memory and event.