EFT FAQ

The good news with EFT tapping is that you can’t really make a mistake or  get it wrong.  Some ways work better than others but you don’t need to worry that you are doing something wrong.

Q:  What is EFT?     

A:  EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique or more commonly called Tapping.  It’s a combination of ancient Chinese medicine and modern psychology.  It’s like emotional acupuncture without needles – we use our own fingertips to gently tap on the acupressure points while focusing our thoughts on something stressful or anxiety producing.                                                                                      

Q:  What is EFT used for?                                                                                      

A: EFT has proven successful in thousands of clinical cases.  It applies to just about every emotional, health and personal development issue you can name and often works when nothing else will on things like:

  • Anxiety & Stress

  • Fears and phobias

  • Past traumas (Big T and little t)/ PTSD (military and non-military)

  • Grief, sadness, depression

  • Critical Self Talk, Self Doubt, Self Esteem

  • Self Sabotaging behaviors

  • Childhood wounds (physical, emotional or sexual abuse)

  • Anger and resentment towards self and others

  • Weight loss/ gain

  • Addictions

  • Negative behaviors and habits

  • Finding joy, peace, happiness and empowerment in your life

  • Basically anything in your life that has an emotional component and it keeping you stuck or holding you back from living Your Strongest Life

 Q:  How does EFT work?                                                                                   

A:  We tap with our own fingertips on several acupressure points on our face and upper body while focusing on an anxiety or stress producing or upsetting emotion or thought.

Q.  Which side of the body should I tap on?

A.  You can tap on either side or both as the energy meridians/ acupressure points are mirrored on both sides of the body.

Q.  Which hand do I use to tap? 

A. Typically we use our dominant hand because it’s more comfortable.  However, there are times when we can switch them up (use your left hand to tap if you are right handed) to get deeper results.

Q.  How do I know when to stop?

A.  Stop when you have successfully lowered the intensity of feeling around the issue you are working with.  A good way to gauge it is to stop when the issue you are tapping about just seems silly or boring.

Q: Does one have to believe in EFT in order for it to work?             

A: EFT works whether you believe in it or not. My experience with EFT is that once people start getting results this creates belief in the process, and then this can positively impact the therapeutic process.

Q: What if I don’t know what to focus on when I tap?
A: Then you start exactly where you are.  For the set up statement you would say something like, Even though I don’t know what to focus on and not knowing makes me feel _______.  I completely accept how I feel.

Q: What wording do I use with EFT?
A: This is simpler then people often think. The trick is to keep it simple to begin with and focus on results rather than wording.

Simply:
• use the problem state as the wording used, i.e. “This fear of public speaking…..”
• listen to the “little voice” in your head and verbalize what it is saying.
• Imagine you are complaining to a friend on the telephone – simply verbalize whatever is on your mind.
• think of what you want or your goal and then ask yourself what’s stopping you from achieving it? This barrier signifies the energy block and can be used as the wording.

Q: IS EFT safe?
A: EFT is safe and there are no known negative side effects.

Q.  Will tapping make things worse?

A.  No, although it may seem like it in the short term.  These emotions are stuck in our bodies and the tapping is a way to release it permanently.  Sometimes, when you clear one layer of emotion, another deeper layer that may seem more intense comes to the surface.   You will have uncovered a new, deeper aspect of the original problem and that, ultimately, is a very positive thing, although it may feel a little uncomfortable initially. The trick is to KEEP TAPPING!  The feelings you experience will often quickly subside and you will have done a very important piece of healing.

Q: Will EFT work for children?
A: EFT works wonderfully for children and typically they love it. It is gentle, quick and light hearted.  You can teach very young children how to tap.  They love having their own “magic buttons.”   It is often helpful to let them tap on their favorite toy or stuffed animal.  It’s also helpful to simplify the set up statements to simple phrases like “I am cool”,  “it’s ok” or “Mom loves me” instead of “I deeply and profoundly love and value myself and accept how I feel.”  Tapping helps them to deal with everyday life events that, left untreated, can result in the distorted belief systems that many of us as adults are dealing with.

Q: What if it is too painful to me to talk about my problem?
A: There is no need for you to talk about your problem if you do not want to. EFT is NOT talk therapy.  Talk therapy works with our conscious mind and EFT works with both our conscious and subconscious mind and enables us to bypass the conscious mind and go directly to the core issues, the feelings/ emotions stored in our bodies.

There are specific ways of doing EFT that can be applied in these situations. The avoidance of re-traumatizing the person is a great benefit of these techniques and it is a regular occurrence that relief is achieved without any details being discussed. The “Tearless Trauma Technique”, the “Movie technique” and the  technique”   In my opinion, one of the greatest benefits of EFT.

Q:  What if I can’t remember much of my childhood?

A:  Just begin where you are now and don’t worry about it.  The chances are that memories will show up as you clear your issues in the here and now, but if they don’t it is not a problem.  Another possibility is to use your imagination to create a fictional scenario and tap in the same way that you would for a real memory using the Movie Technique.  Interestingly, this can work equally well to produce positive results.  Check in on how you feel in your body as you tell the fictional story to yourself and tap on any physiological discomfort that you feel as you go through it.

Q: Why use EFT rather than a different form of therapy?
A: EFT often works where others have failed.

  • EFT can often get to the root of the problem very quickly and easily and clear it permanently.

  • EFT is simple to use and can be used as a self help tool, which people find useful to assist them in times of need or to speed up the process when working with a therapist, by doing “homework” between sessions.

  • EFT can be done via the telephone or Skype, which means geographic location ceases to be a problem.

Q: What about medical problems or tapping while taking medication?
A: EFT is considered a complementary therapy and as such does not replace seeking qualified medical advice where needed.  There is no evidence to suggest that there is a problem with tapping while taking medication, if you have any doubts, please seek advice from your medical practitioner before beginning to tap.

Q: Are there any negative side effects to EFT?
A: By comparison to almost any other process, EFT is gentle and rarely has any serious side effects. The biggest side effect that I’ve experienced for myself and that my clients have experienced is feeling tired after a session. However, after a good night’s sleep, people often feel refreshed.

Q: Why are EFT affirmations stated in negatives?
A: Affirmations, in the classical sense, are designed to take you in positive directions. Thus their wording is always of an uplifting nature.
The purpose of EFT, on the other hand, is to eliminate the negative in order to pave the way for the positive. That is a MUCH different goal. One of the critical elements in EFT’s effectiveness is that one must “tune in” to the problem or the “truth”. Otherwise, the energy balancing effect of the tapping for that problem will be of little use. It would be of no value, for example, to try to alleviate a memory of abuse with EFT whilst focusing on what you had to do the following day, the state of the world economy or the workings of a mobile phone! The energy disruptions wouldn’t be there and so the problem could not be addressed.

Q: Are the results long lasting?
A: Emotional healing with EFT is almost always long lasting. If a given emotional problem does appear to “come back,” however, typically the original problem was addressed too generally and only partially neutralized.  What has “come back” is simply a related issue (aspect or another layer of the onion) that wasn’t addressed in the first place.  (ie:  my own personal experience of completely losing my fear of bridges yet felt a bit queasy when “driving to” a bridge.  Tapping on the aspect of the fear of “driving to” the bridge took care of it.  If an when another aspect pops up at some time in the future.  Simply tap on that aspect.)

Q: Is EFT simply a placebo or distraction from the problem?
A: Placebo effects require some belief in the process and this is rarely the case for newcomers to EFT. Also, although EFT may appear to be distracting, it will not work if the client is, in fact, distracted. That is why the client continually repeats a reminder phrase which “tunes in” to the problem.

Q:  Why can’t I just tap along with the many FREE tapping videos on the web?                                                                                                                             

A:  You can, and it’s often effective.  However, if you want to get to the roots of your own personal issues and clear them permanently (see Being Specific, The Subconscious Mind is “Protecting” You and Core Issue Hasn’t Been Found below….)

When EFT Doesn’t Work

Q:  What if EFT works for others but it doesn’t work… for ME?                                                                                                                           

A:  When EFT Doesn’t Work…
In my experience EFT works 99% of the time…if done correctly. Yet some people will try it once, throw up their hands and say, “Well, it just won’t work for me!” If that happens, it is rarely, if ever, any shortcoming of EFT.

The following are some of the reasons, what’s actually happening, when EFT doesn’t seem to be working:

Being Specific  –  The number one reason that EFT isn’t working is because you aren’t being specific enough.  It’s very important with EFT to be as specific as possible about an issue or feelings. For example, instead of saying “This pain in my leg” you might say “This pain in the calf of my right leg.” Or, instead of “my fear of water“, be more specific about the kind of water–i.e., “My fear of the ocean…or deep water…or lakes…or swimming pools, etc

The Subconscious Mind is “Protecting” You: For chronic or long-lasting problems, complex issues, and even serious illnesses sometimes the 0-10 intensity level remains the same after a couple of rounds of tapping.

One common reason is that the subconscious mind perceives that it is better or safer to keep an issue (like negative emotions, chronic pain, extra weight, or a bad habit), than to eliminate it. Since it is seldom a conscious choice, most people will initially disagree with you if you tell them that subconsciously they don’t actually want to get rid of their problem or issue. Of course most people don’t consciously want to stay emotionally upset or physically in pain. But the subconscious is a powerful entity, usually exhibiting dominance over our conscious desires.

For someone who has carried around a trauma, chronic pain, phobia or other issue for many years the emotion becomes a part of his or her personality or even his or her identity. Overcoming or losing that “identity” can be very threatening to the non-rational subconscious mind.

For instance, the subconscious might be programed to believe…
“If I get over this issue…”
• “…I won’t have an excuse anymore for my life not working.”
• “…It might be scary.”
• “…I may not know who I am anymore.”
• “…It may not be safe to let it go.”
• “…I won’t know how to act as a functional, non-victim person.”
• “…I won’t get the attention or sympathy I get now.”

The good news is this is very easy to fix this once discovered — simply by the statements and phrases you use.  Using phrases such as, “Even though…I don’t really want to get over this depression (trauma, chronic pain, etc.) I deeply and completely accept myself.”

Core Issue Hasn’t Been Found – This is an important item and often missed. Sometimes you need to do some detective work with questions and prodding until you discover the main cause or “core issue” for a problem. If you’re stuck, ask questions like “When did the problem start?”, or “What was going on in your life when it started?” Often I’ll discover that someone’s allergy, asthma or migraines started coincidentally about the same time of a divorce, death, or traumatic accident in the family.

Our bodies can find unusual, creative and seemingly ridiculous ways to deal with difficult situations. We can morph an emotional event into a physical problem without being aware at all of the timing or connection. Core issues are different than being specific about an issue in that they are often hidden or not as obvious. Nonetheless, finding a root cause is equally critical to solving tough-to-solve cases. It’s not always easy to do this on your own, since we have a tendency to block out unpleasant events or connections to events. Seeing a qualified practitioner can be very beneficial when you’re stuck on a challenging problem.

Shifting Aspects or “Daisy Chaining” – Shifting aspects are a little like a strawberry plant whose root system runs from plant to plant under the ground. Often when you start tapping on one specific issue it is linked to a number of issues and your subconscious mind will “daisy chain” from one issue to the next. One strawberry plant may represent the core issues, say a horrific car accident. But different plants represent separate issues, such as the guilt someone might feel for causing the accident, or the anger at the other driver for being drunk. Another aspect on the same plant might be the trauma of seeing a loved one die, or hear the screaming of someone in pain.

When Shifting Aspects you should usually stay with the original problem until it’s at an intensity level of zero, before tackling the new aspect. Let judgment, intuition and circumstances be your guide. Part of the art of using EFT is knowing when to swing to the next issue and when to finish the original issue first. Either way, just make sure you get all aspects of an issue to a zero before going on to a different issue.

Being Dehydrated or “Dry Batteries” – Much like a car battery, our bodies’ electrical system doesn’t work so well without water. Often when I’m getting nowhere with a client I ask him/her how much water they’ve had to drink so far that day. I’m still surprised how often this is an impediment to EFT’s progress.   Being dehydrated is fairly common, but so easy to fix. It just takes having the client drink a glass of water before continuing. It’s all part of the “art of EFT”.

Lack of Motivation – Once in a while I’ll come across a person who would rather stay stuck than change their life that is not working. It’s a sad choice, but too often true. Sometimes coaching is the idea of the spouse or family member and not the clients. In that case it almost never works because they don’t want it to.

Sometimes people who have been a victim for so long, the victim mentality becomes such a big part of their identity that they don’t want to change. Often they will respond to my questions with “OK I’ll try, but it won’t work–nothing ever does.” Or, “I’ve been this way so long I don’t think I’d know how to act if things were going right for me.”

You can’t help someone if they really don’t want to be helped. This is different than people who have subconscious blocks or are skeptical about EFT. You don’t have to believe in or understand EFT for it to work. Some of the biggest fans of EFT now were skeptics at first.  As long as someone wants to change, EFT can work for them. If they’re not motivated they will not cooperate. Accordingly, you will have an uphill battle on your hands and you are not likely to get very far.

Energy Toxins – A strong enough toxin or sensitivity, in, on, or around you, can also stop EFT from working. Energy Toxins and Substance sensitivities are the rarest of the stumbling blocks, but they do happen. Sensitivities can be caused by something you just ate, by clothing, by carpeting, by pets, by a watch, by jewelry on your body, or by metal in your body–such as pins, fillings, braces, or metal plates. Sensitivity can even be caused by a cell phone, pager or other electrical device! Toxins can be medications a person has been taking or drugs. In order to eliminate a sensitivity or toxin you need to identify it, which can mean a lot of work and detective duty.

The Bottom Line:

The bottom line is, if we don’t get an immediate result we don’t say to ourselves “EFT just isn’t working”. We simply ask “What’s in the way here?