The EFT Process
The EFT process has three main steps: clarification of the issue, including assessment of the intensity of your reaction to it, the Setup statement, and the Tapping Sequence.
EFT begins with clarification of the issue you want to address. Whether the issue originated long ago or recently, if it bothers you now, it is appropriate to use EFT to resolve it. The specific issue can be the memory of an event that triggers a physical reaction, the emotion that arises from the reaction, or a behavior that the emotion inspires. Any of these types of issues will work well as long as you can focus on the specific details of the issue. For example, suppose you are unhappy in a relationship. Trying to work with the issue, “unhappy marriage,” is too general to be effective. As you can easily imagine, just the phrase, “unhappy marriage,” brings with it a flood of memories, physical responses, emotions, and behaviors. For this process, choose one specific to begin with. For example, some specifics around this issue might be an event: The time when my husband said he didn’t want me at his office party, a physical reaction: the hot pressure behind my eyes when I try not to cry in front of him, an emotion: this hard burning anger I can’t let go of, or a behavior: this overwhelming craving for warm, sweet, gooey, fudgy cookies when I’m sad. Identify a specific issue with the details that trigger a response in you. Use the words that trigger the most response to name your issue so that you can refer to it in the next steps. For example, the words that trigger a feeling might be “didn’t want me,” “office party,” “hot pressure,” “trying not to cry,” “burning anger,” “can’t let go,” “warm and gooey,” “craving cookies,” “so sad.”
Now, as a final step to making this issue as specific and as clear as you can, quantify it. Give it a number between 0-10 for how much it bothers you right now. There is no “right” number. Use your instincts, guess, or even just make up a way to measure that works for you. Any measurement you can use to determine how intensely you feel about this issue now is useful, because it will help you mark your progress through the rest of the process. The most common method in EFT is to use a 0-10 scale where 0 means the issue doesn’t bother you at all and 10 means the feeling is as bad as you can imagine. Write down both the name you’ve given the issue and your number. It’s a well-known phenomenon in psychology that once a feeling is gone, people can no longer recall it easily, so tracking your progress by jotting down the name and number is important so that you can judge how EFT works best for you.
In EFT, the second step of the process is called the “Setup.” The Setup is a simple technique that involves making a two-part statement while beginning to make the mind-body connection by stimulating the Setup point.
The Setup Statement is in two parts. The first part is naming the issue that you have already clarified and the second is a statement of acceptance. The Setup is in the form, “Even though, I have ‘this issue,’ I deeply and completely accept myself,” where “this issue” is the name you’ve given your problem. Accepting a problem is the first step toward solving it, and acceptance of yourself, in spite of the problem, helps to circumvent the possibility that you will resist solving the problem. We all, sometimes, hold on to things, even when they are negative for us. The Setup in EFT helps you to clear out that resistance right from the beginning. As I’ve said, there are many ways to modify EFT. If you have trouble saying this basic acceptance statement without feeling resistance, you can change it to a statement that you can accept. I’ll discuss more modifications later in this book, but, for now, if you find this difficult, you can say, “Even though, I have this issue, I will think about accepting myself”? If that still doesn’t feel right, what about “Even though, I have this issue, I will consider the possibility that I might think about accepting myself at some point later on down the road”? I am exaggerating, of course, but even this truly is an acceptable “acceptance statement,” if it works for you. The key, here, is to say what resonates with you. There is no right or wrong way to say what you really feel or mean. When we say what’s true for us, sometimes we might say things we think sound silly, but deep down inside, if it resonates with us, it’s what’s true for us in the moment. So, for our hypothetical case, any of these might be working Setup statements:
“Even though, he didn’t want me, I deeply and completely accept myself.” “Even though, I can’t let go of this burning anger, I can accept that I feel that way.” “Even though, I have this hot pressure behind my eyes and I really just want to break out crying, I love myself anyway.” “Even though, I want warm gooey cookies when I’m sad, maybe I’ll think about accepting myself.”
Making the Mind-Body Connection
The Setup begins to make the mind-body connection by pairing repetition of this statement with tapping or rubbing a point on the body that EFT calls the “Setup point.” The most common Setup point is the fleshy side of the hand near the pinky finger, also called the “Karate Chop point.” This is also the point that our fingers touch when we shake hands with a friend. Alluding to the acceptance portion of the Setup, Ann Adams, a prominent EFT Master and teacher, teaches that this Setup point is the point where we “make friends with our problem.” There are other points that can be used that I will introduce as we go along. For now, the Setup is accomplished by continuously tapping or rubbing the karate chop point, or “friendly spot,” as you repeat your Setup statement three times.
The third step in the EFT process is repeating the name you’ve given your issue as you continue tapping a number of other points on the body. In general, the points correspond to points identified by many healing arts as being significant, but the particular points can vary in order and exact location. I show you the points from the top of the head down the body simply because they are easier to learn that way, but, points can be skipped, repeated, or changed. Many people identify one particular point of their own that seems to work best for them. Some teachers add some points and subtract others. The method shown here is a basic one to get you started that seems to work well for many people. After tapping on the Setup point and saying your Setup statement three times, begin to repeat the name of your issue (for example, “didn’t want me” or “gooey cookies”) once for each point. Tap each point roughly seven times or rub the point for a couple of seconds as you say the issue name, then move on to the next point. Tapping all points as you repeat the name is considered one full round of EFT.
For a visual demonstration of the points, please go to my website, http//www.heartworks4u.com, and click on Soul Tapping/ the EFT Process. Top of the Head (TH): This point is about a finger’s width behind the exact crown of the head. Many people can feel a slight depression or tenderness there. Eyebrow (EB): This point is at the tip of the eyebrow near the nose, on the bone. Both sides of the body are used. Side of Eye (SE): This point is at the outside tip of the eyebrow. Both sides of the body are used. Under the Eye (UE): This point is on the top of the cheekbones underneath and in line with the pupil. Under the Nose (UN): This point is in the indentation between the nose and upper lip. Chin (Ch): This point is in the crease between the bottom lip and the chin. Collarbone (CB): This point is about an inch toward the outside of the body from the hollow V shape at the base of the neck, just below the collar bone. Both sides of the body are used. Under the Arm (UA): This point is about a hand’s-breadth below the armpit. Both sides of the body are used.
After each round of tapping, reassess the intensity of the feeling by once again rating its intensity from 0-10. Compare the intensity to the number you first jotted down. In most cases, the number will have dropped. If you test for the same issue, but the number has not dropped as much as you would like, simply tap another round of EFT. It often takes several rounds. Many EFT practitioners do not repeat the Setup, unless the issue changes, but, I often do. Remember EFT is a technique that you may modify to suit you. Experiment. You may find that repeating the Setup helps you to focus or you might find the repetition unnecessary. If your intensity number has risen, the most likely cause is that you have actually brought up a new feeling while tapping. This is fine and it’s a great sign of progress when you’re working through complex issues, but, in order to assess the progress of EFT, when you retest, be sure to return your thoughts to the exact same issue that you tested the first time. Very often, you will find that the original issue no longer brings up any negative feeling, but a new issue has arisen in its place! You may elect to begin the EFT process again on the new issue, beginning with a new name and Setup, or you may decide to deal with the new issue later.
EFT is designed to help people resolve emotional issues with as little upset as possible. A favorite motto of its creator was “peace without pain.” EFT never urges a user to “be brave” or to “push through.” The next couple of chapters will walk you through some simple EFT exercises so that you will become gradually familiar with the process before you begin your own emotional work. However, if, at any time, an emotion comes up when you do these tapping exercises and you aren’t sure what to do with it, or if you have already done some emotional work for the day and would like to stop, you can always tell yourself that you will deal with more feelings later. A common technique, that is especially helpful when you want to stop for the time being, is to imagine putting the issue in a “safe place,” a box, a jar buried in the back yard, a bowl on a shelf covered with a bread cloth, whatever works for you so that you know you can safely go about your day and leave the issue for a more appropriate time. If you have very complex issues to work through, you may wish to find an EFT practitioner, or to contact me at email@example.com.