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Q: Why is it important to identify a specific event?

A: Focusing on specific events is critical to success in EFT. In order to release old patterns of emotion and behavior, it’s vital to identify and correct the specific events that gave rise to those problems. When you hear people say, “I tried EFT and it didn’t work,” the chances are good that they were tapping on generalities, instead of specifics. An example of a generality is “self-esteem” or “depression” or “performance problems.” These aren’t specific events. Beneath these generalities is a collection of specific events. The person with low self-esteem might have been coloring a picture at the age of 4 when her mother walked in and criticized her for drawing outside the lines. She might have had another experience of a schoolteacher scolding her for playing with her hair during class in second grade, and a third experience of her first boyfriend deciding to ask another girl to the school dance. Together, those specific events contribute to the global pattern of low self-esteem. The way EFT works is that when the emotional trauma of those individual events is resolved, the whole pattern of low self-esteem can shift. If you tap on the big pattern and omit the specific events, you’re likely to have limited success.

–from The EFT Manual, by Dawson Church