EFT Tapping Tips: The Movie Technique
When you take an EFT workshop, the first key technique you learn is the Movie Technique.
Why do we place such emphasis on the Movie Technique?
The reason for this is that it combines many of the methods that are key to success with EFT.
The first thing the Movie Technique does is focus you on being specific. EFT is great at eliminating the emotional intensity you feel, as long as it’s used on an actual concrete event (“John yelled at me in the meeting”), rather than a general statement (“My procrastination”).
The Movie Technique has you identify a particular incident that has a big emotional charge for you, and systematically reduce that charge to zero.
You picture the event in your mind’s eye just as though it were a movie, and run through the movie scene by scene.
Whenever you reach a part of the movie that carries a big emotional charge, you stop and perform the EFT sequence. In this way, you reduce the intensity of each of the bad parts of the movie.
EFTs related technique, Tell the Story, is done out loud, while the Movie Technique is typically done silently. You can use the Movie Technique with a client without them ever disclosing what the event was.
Try this with one of your own traumatic life events right now.
Think of the event as though it were a scary movie. Make sure it’s an event that lasts just a few minutes; if your movie lasts several hours or days, you’ve probably picked a general pattern. Try again, selecting a different event, till you have a movie that’s just a few minutes long.
One example is a man whose general issue is “Distrust of Strangers.” We trace it to a particular childhood incident that occurred when the man, who we’ll call John, was 7-years-old. His parents moved to a new town, and John found himself walking to a new school through a rough neighborhood. He encountered a group of bullies at school but always managed to avoid them.
One day, walking back from school, he saw the bullies walking toward him. He crossed the street, hoping to avoid their attention. He wasn’t successful, and he saw them point at him, then change course to intercept him. He knew he was due for a beating. They taunted him and shoved him, and he fell into the gutter. His mouth hit the pavement, and he chipped a tooth. Other kids gathered round and laughed at him, and the bullies moved off.
He picked himself up and walked the rest of the way home.
If you were to apply EFT to John’s general pattern, “Distrust of Strangers,” you’d be tapping generally–and ineffectually. When instead you focus on the specific event, you’re homing in on the life events that gave rise to the general pattern. A collection of events like John’s beating can combine to create the general issue.
Now give your movie a title.
John might call his movie “The Bullies.”
Start thinking about the movie at a point before the traumatic part began. For John, that would be when he was walking home from school, unaware of the events in store for him.
Now run your movie through your mind till the end. The end of the movie is usually a place where the bad events come to an end. For John, this might be when he picked himself off the ground, and resumed his walk home.
Now let’s add EFT to your movie. Here’s the way you do this:
1. Think of the title of your movie. Rate the intensity of your emotional distress around just the title, not the movie itself. For instance, on the distress scale of 0 to 10 where 0 is no distress and 10 represents maximum distress, you might be an 8 when you think of the title “The Meeting.” Write down your movie title, and your number.
2. Work the movie title into an EFT “Setup Statement.” It might sound something like this: “Even though [Insert Your Movie Title Here] I deeply and completely accept myself.” Then tap on the side of your hand, known as the “karate chop” point, while repeating the setup statement three times. Then tap through the rest of the EFT tapping points, repeating the title of the movie as you tap each one. Your distress level will typically go down. You may have to do EFT several times on the title for it to reach a low number like 0 or 1 or 2.
3. Once the title reaches a low number, think of the “neutral point” before the bad events in the movie began to take place. For John, the neutral point was when he was walking home from school, before the bullies saw him. Once you’ve identified the neutral point of your own movie, start running the movie through your mind, until you reach a point where the emotional intensity rises. In John’s case, the first emotionally intense point was when he saw the bullies.
4. Stop at this point, and assess your intensity number. It might have risen from a 1 to a 7, for instance. Then perform a round of EFT on that first emotional crescendo. For John, it might be, “Even though I saw the bullies turn toward me, I deeply and completely accept myself.” Use the same kind of statement for your own problem: “Even though [first emotional crescendo], I deeply and completely accept myself.” Keep tapping till your number drops to 0 or near 0, perhaps a 1 or 2.
5. Now rewind your mental movie to the neutral point, and start running it in your mind again. Stop at the first emotional crescendo. If you sail right through the first one you tapped on, you know you’ve really and truly resolved that aspect of the memory with EFT. Go on to the next crescendo. For John, this might have been when they shoved him into the gutter. When you’ve found your second emotional crescendo, then repeat the process. Assess your intensity number, do EFT, and keep tapping till your number is low. Even if your number is only a 3 or 4, stop and do EFT again. Don’t push through low-intensity emotional crescendos; since you have the gift of freedom at your fingertips, use it on each part of the movie.
6. Rewind to the neutral point again, and repeat the process.
7. When you can replay the whole movie in your mind, from the neutral point, to the end of the movie when your feelings are neutral again, you’ll know you’ve resolved the whole event. You’ll have dealt with all the aspects of the traumatic incident.
8. To truly test your work, run through the movie, but exaggerate each sensory channel. Imagine the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and other aspects of the movie as vividly as you possible can. If you’ve been running the movie silently in your mind, speak it out loud. When you cannot possibly make yourself upset, you’re sure to have resolved the lingering emotional impact of the event. The effect is usually permanent.
When you work through enough individual movies in this way, the whole general issue often vanishes.
Perhaps John had 40 events that contributed to his distrust of strangers. He might need to do the Movie Technique on all 40, but experience with EFT suggests that when you resolve just a few key events, perhaps 5 or 10 of them, the rest fade in intensity, and the general pattern itself is neutralized.
The Movie Technique and Tell the Story techniques are very similar; usually the Movie Technique is performed silently while Tell the Story is out loud. One great benefit of the Movie Technique done silently is that the client does not have to disclose the nature of the problem.
An event might be too triggering, or too embarrassing, or too emotionally overwhelming, to be spoken out loud. That’s no problem with the Movie Technique which allows EFT to work its magic without the necessity of disclosure on the part of the client.
The privacy offered by the Movie Technique makes it very useful for clients who would rather not talk openly about troubling events.
After you’ve removed as much intensity as you can from an event using the Movie Technique, it’s wise to also apply the Tell the Story Technique to the event. The Tell the Story Technique takes longer, but it will bring to the surface details and intensity that may have been overlooked when using the Movie Technique.
Examples of the Movie Technique:
Observations on Movie and Tell the Story Techniques by Tam Lewellyn:
The video below features EFT trainer, Jenny Johnston demonstrating The Movie Technique at an EFT Workshop —