How to do EFT
We start from the premise that you have something going on that you want to clear up. So, the first thing to do is ask yourself what negative emotion you are dealing with. Is it anger? Frustration? Maybe sadness. Guilt or shame? Perhaps it is fear. In any case, identify the emotion and assess its intensity.
You determine the intensity according to the Subjective Units of Distress Scale, which runs from 1-10. The cool thing here is that this is your scale. It is, as its name suggests, entirely subjective. A 1 means that the emotion is barely perceptible, whereas a 10 means that it is as intense as it could ever get — in your experience. A fairly reliable way to get your SUDS rating is to use the first number that comes to mind. (That is the Unconscious Mind coming to your assistance.) Remember that number and the begin to clear the issue:
The Set Up Phase – How To Do It
The key thing about EFT is that it is rooted in the truth. Often, people resist saying negative things about themselves (e.g. “I am so afraid of spiders.”) because they have heard about the “power of positive thinking” and they think that speaking this truth out loud will cause them further internalize their negative feelings. EFT doesn’t operate that way.
How is that possible? EFT was created to deal directly with the energy blockages that cause those feelings. By tapping on the designated points while simultaneously holding the negativity in mind, you effectively neutralize the emotion. The negativity doesn’t get “driven in” because it ceases to exist.
The set-up phase consists of continuously tapping the karate chop point of the opposite hand while saying something to the effect of, “Even though I have this , I deeply and completely love and accept myself.” For the notation , substitute your issue. For example, “sadness inside me” or “fear of being alone tonight”, etc.
When we say this we are doing some very important things. One, we are acknowledging the truth to ourselves. (“Yeah, I really hate and fear being alone tonight”.) Two, we are sending a message to our unconscious mind that although it is afraid, the conscious mind “loves and accepts” it. You see, the unconscious mind is the storehouse of emotions and it acts the way a lesser developed “kid brother” or “kid sister” would act. By telling the unconscious that it is loved and accepted by the conscious (older sibling) mind despite it being afraid, a new relationship is set up between the two. The unconscious mind feels great relief and acceptance and things can move very quickly from here on out.
It is true that some people are very uncomfortable saying that they love themselves. Years of being beaten down by others leads them to being very self-critical. If this occurs, try another phrase like, “Even though I can’t love myself, I accept myself.” Or “Even though I can’t say I love myself, I know I’m okay.” Even subtle changes like that can clear up issues dramatically.
EFT is great for dealing with the emotions that arise from specific events in your life. If you have a bad day at work, or if someone cuts you off on the freeway, or if your mother-in-law interferes, you can use very specific language in the Set Up Phase. For example,
Use the first two fingers of your dominant hand and tap repeatedly on the Karate Chop point of the other hand and say:
“Even though that phone call made me so mad, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”
You continue to tap the Karate Chop point while you repeat that phrase (or slight variation) two more times. This should take only a few seconds.
Let’s say you are dealing with a more generalized issue like anxiety or stress. In this case, rather than tap on the Karate Chop point, you will rub the two “sore spots” on your chest, one then the other, while repeating the set up phrase. You can find these “sore spots” by pressing on your chest approximately 2” down from the collarbone and 3” from the center of your sternum (breast bone). Rub around until you find the a spot that is a little bit tender on each side. Then say:
“Even though I feel anxious and I don’t know exactly why, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”
It can be important to use some variation when you re-iterate the set-up phrase. Changing the language can give your unconscious mind the nuances that may help it to deal with a generalized condition. So, mix it up! While you’re saying your phrase each time, switch to the opposite sore spot (Figure #2) and rub continuously with the first two fingers of the opposing hand. Rub the right side first, then the left, and return to the right side.
The wording of the set-up phrase is arguably the most important aspect of the technique. When you get the wording right, the technique works very effectively, profoundly and quickly. If you don’t get the exact right words, you will get some relief, but not quite as well.
But don’t panic. Fortunately, the knack to getting the right wording comes with practice. You can shortcut that practice time by holding two things in mind. First, remember that you’re always coming from your truth. Speak the truth, and you’re halfway there. Second, play with your wording. You’ll discover that some ways of saying something will really resonate with you, and others will fall flat. Notice the difference between “I am afraid of going to the dentist” and “I have a fear of dentists”. One isn’t better than the other, but there are nuances between them that may make a surprising difference to the unconscious mind.
Remembered that in talking to your unconscious mind, you’re talking to your baby brother or sister. Keep the language simple. Avoid complexity. And let yourself ramble. A stream of consciousness ramble may serve you very well.
Interestingly, if you spoke a different language as a 3- or 4-year old, you might benefit from doing your set-up phrase in that language. Emotional issues often have their roots in that time period and the unconscious mind can strongly benefit from using the native tongue — if possible.
And if you tend to throw around a lot of cuss words or harsh language, don’t pull any punches. The point in all of this is to activate the as much of the negative energy that you have so that you can dissolve it. Talking about being angry with feeling like being angry doesn’t get the job done. Sometimes harsh words can get us fully into the feeling so that we can release it.
The Set-Up Phase – Why You Do It
In addition to what was said above, the “set-up” adjusts for what is called a “psychological reversal” before you begin the tapping sequence. You see, sometimes you find that despite your best efforts, your tapping just isn’t working. This often means that you are (more precisely, your “energy” is) “reversed.” For example, have you ever had a day when absolutely nothing goes right? Or a day when you have had the “dropsies”? Perhaps you have experiences a day of total and complete klutzhood. Those are times being “reversed” in your energy channels. The set-up phrase turns that around.
Doing the “set-up” as described above will automatically switch around your energy reversal. It will put your energy in the right direction. Bear in mind that the way this works, you can’t reverse your energy if you’re already okay. It only works if you happen to be reversed.
The Unconscious Mind
The Set Up Phase of EFT initiates a conversation between the conscious and the unconscious mind. In effect, the conscious, rational, “adult” part of you is telling the unconscious, non-linear, emotional part of you that “Even though I feel horrible for something I’ve done wrong, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.” It is sending a signal that despite the horrible feelings (which it judges to be childlike or even infantile) “I will accept and love you anyway.” In response when it hears this, the emotional subconscious mind can sometimes become overjoyed knowing that it is being accepted for what it is and is not being harshly judged by the conscious mind. At that point, it is so happy to finally be freed from the tyranny of the conscious mind that is becomes willing and able to change in short order using the tapping sequence described below.
Please understand that this is just a model or metaphor for what is happening within the tapper. It is meant to help you gain some understanding of how change occurs so quickly in the body-mind. There is no science to support this particular explanation. We use it because this is how it seems to us as we see our clients moving into a place of self-love and self-acceptance no matter how they have been acted in the past.
It surprised me after all these years to find that for many the biggest challenge of EFT is saying out loud that they love and accept themselves. Frankly, many people simply don’t believe that it’s true. So it is very important to understand that you don’t have to believe it when you say it. Which is not to say that the unconscious mind doesn’t need to hear it. Just telling yourself out loud that you love and accept yourself will go a long, long way to making this technique work.
The following sequence is the most obvious part of the process of tapping. And if the Set-up Phase is the most important part, this is a close second. Briefly, you must first concentrate on the problem that you mentioned in the Set-Up phrase during the entire time you are tapping on the specific points.
In recent years this abbreviated sequence of 8 points has become quite popular. This will take care of a very high (I like to say 99.99%) percentage of problems. For the rest, there are advanced (and slightly more complicated) tapping algorithms. For the purposes of this manual, I will set them aside, but I will make a link at the bottom so you can see what is involved.
- It doesn’t matter whether you progress down the right side or the left side of the body. The energy system is bi-lateral. There are times (e.g. the client is becoming excessively emotional) when I actually tap both sides simultaneously.
- We use the index and middle fingers to do the tapping. EFT is a very permissive technique. We are not trying to land with laser precision on a particular nerve ending. We know that in the areas where we tap the meridian will be found.
- We tap typically 5 to 7 times at each area. Again, this is because we don’t require laser precision.
- We say the Reminder Phrase (or a variant of it) as we tap.
THE EYE BROW (EB)
As you tap the eyebrow point (EB), say the words “fear of dentist” or “Fight with Mom” or something that identifies the issue. This reminder phrase keeps your mind focused on the issue at hand. Pay attention to what comes up in your mind while you are tapping because the issue may change as you move from point to point.
SIDE OF EYE (SE)
Using the index- and middle fingers, tap the bony area at the side of either eye while repeating the reminder phrase.
UNDER EYE (UE)
The orbital bone sits under the eye by about ½ an inch. Tap the rim of that bone with your first two fingers 5-7 times saying your reminder phrase. Note that the phrase is not necessarily word-for-word the same. It could be, but it doesn’t have to be.
UNDER NOSE (UN)
Tap the area between the nose and the upper lip 5-7 times. The reminder phrase may have changed. Let yourself feel the emotions that the reminder phrase stirs within you. Remember to use your own language. If you use coarse language, use coarse language. If you don’t, there’s no need to (unless you really feel the need to do so).
UNDER MOUTH (UM)
Move to the crease in the chin below the lower lip. You don’t have to tap hard. We’re really just stimulating the meridians. Remember to tap 5-7 times and say your reminder phrase — anything that calls your “emotional attention” to the situation (“I’m so mad at my boss for making me work late.”) By paying attention to the wording, and simultaneously tapping, you are discharging huge amounts of negative energy.
COLLAR BONE POINTS (CB)
The is a “U-shaped” indentation in the bones at the base of the throat — just below where the know of a man’s necktie would be. You can tap either or both of the collar bones. In fact, rather than using 2 fingers, some people make a fist and lightly tap the area. Again, tap 5-7 times while saying your reminder phrase (“stupid boss. Made me mad.”)
UNDER ARM POINTS (UA)
The next point is on the rib cage about a palm’s breadth down from the arm pit. If you were to stand up straight and let your arm hang straight down from the shoulder, this point would be below your arm. It is typically at bra-strap level. Tap 5-7 times with your finger tips while repeating the phrase that reminds you of the issue.
TOP OF THE HEAD (TH)
When you get to the crown of the head, you can tap with either your fingertips or the flat of your hand. 5-7 times, saying the reminder phrase.
Good job. Now take a deep breath and exhale. Well done! This completes the abbreviated EFT Sequence. As I said above, this “shortcut” is usually more than sufficient to do what needs to be done because all of the major meridians have been stimulated. If you find that you have not quite gotten the results you want, simply do your Set-Up Phrase and tapping sequence until you achieve a SUDS level of 0.
The Apex Effect
EFT is surprisingly effective. Sometimes relief happens so quickly that people’s minds simply cannot accept that the change has happened so fast. Many people need to think that they must take a long time to change so they can justify the amount of time spent suffering. Consequently, they will come up with all kinds of “logical” explanations and rationales for their sudden success.
The strategy when using EFT is to understand that it can be very fast and that they should not be surprised when something positive happens so quickly. I often tell people that I have seen “one minute wonders” and that I allow for them in my practice. I also tell them that for chronic conditions, persistence (of tapping) is one of the best things they can do.
But What About …
From time to time, you may find that the after you finish your round of tapping the SUDS number actually goes up! This is really a good thing — for a number of reasons. First, it probably means that whatever feeling you first started to tap is now completely resolved. Second, that particular issue was blocking the current issue you are now feeling. Third, because tapping was able to make this shift, your unconscious mind can begin to acknowledge the importance of now know of a new and better way of coping with feelings. The more you tap, the more your unconscious mind will offer up tapping targets for you. So just keep tapping until the issue is resolved. It’s truly win/win.