Increasing your effectiveness with EFT, part 2.
Do you sometimes feel that you have an issue you’d like to tap on but don’t know where to start? Maybe it seems like there are so many related memories and “secondary gains” (when a part of you feels something bad might happen if you make progress in resolving an issue) that it can feel overwhelming. So, where do you start?
In this “Increase your effectiveness with EFT” series of articles, I’ll provide some tips as to how you can make your tapping more effective.
My name is Bruno Sade, and I’m a certified EFT practitioner with a mental health background as a clinical psychologist licensed in Argentina. I use EFT as a tool to help people change their emotional reactions and also to help them overcome their fear of rejection.
Let’s get to it then.
Sometimes when we are aware that the issue we want to work on has a lot of aspects it can feel overwhelming and might make us feel paralyzed and unable to tap at all.
One way to deal with this is called “Sneaking up”, where you tap on how you feel about working on this issue. So, for example, tapping on the side of the hand saying “Even though this issue is sooo complex and there are so many aspects that I don’t know where to start, it’s just so overwhelming, I accept how I feel anyway”.
But today I want to talk about another strategy that you can use, which is to focus on future events.
As we discussed in Part 1 of this series, tapping on specific events, such as a memory, like “the time when…(fill in the blanks) happened” is going to make your tapping more effective. This is because the negative emotional intensity is going to drop faster and you’ll feel more motivated noticing the progress you are making.
And this can be enhanced even more if you pay attention to what specific aspect of that event you are focusing on that makes you feel the highest emotional intensity, such as “the way he looked at me when he said that”. That is what we call “The Gold Nugget” of the event.
So, today I’m gonna suggest applying this to working on future events. In other words, we are not talking about tapping on past events, but instead coming up with a negative future scenario that you are going to make up in your mind. By doing this, you can elicit and release whatever negative expectations are lurking in the back (or front) of your mind.
Why is this useful? Because this is going to bring up the negative expectations that are already in your mind and are holding you back from moving forward in that area of your life. And if there’s a relevant memory that needs to be tapped on, it’s going to show up naturally as your mind begins to “shift aspects” after each tapping round. Therefore, you won’t need to “figure it out” intellectually, because your subconscious mind will just show you what needs to be tapped on next.
So, let me give you an example. I was recently working with a client who would like to reduce her fear of rejection, because it was holding her back, among other things, from reaching out to someone (we’ll call her “Susan”) who might be a good referral source for her business. So I asked her “what comes up for you when you imagine reaching out to her?”
Usually, the answer to this question might either be something that is somewhat likely to happen, or it might be a not-so-likely-to-happen-but-scary-anyway worst case scenario. Either way is fine, and we work with whatever shows up.
In my client’s case, her response was: “well, I imagine she’s going to be so busy that she’ll think I’m just wasting her time”.
So, after inquiring about how she feels now in response to it, and what aspect of it she is focusing on, the setup statement we used with Basic EFT was:
“Even though when I think about making a phone call to Susan, she is probably going to be so busy she’ll think I’m just wasting her time, the tension in her tone of voice will show me that she doesn’t care about me and my business, and that makes me feel hurt, in my chest, I accept myself and how I’m feeling”.
After one or two rounds the intensity of this aspect (“feeling hurt imagining the tension in Susan’s tone of voice showing me she probably doesn’t care about me and my business”) dropped, but now another aspect arose.
“I’m afraid I’m going to be so nervous that my voice will be shaking”. As we can see, this next aspect was still part of this future event we were tapping on. So the setup statement we used was:
“Even though when I think about making a phone call to this person, I’m afraid I’m going to be so nervous that my voice will be shaking and she will notice that, and I feel this fear in my stomach, I accept myself and how I feel anyway”.
Again, after this round the intensity of the fear dropped but now a different aspect came up.
Now her mind was no longer focusing on that future made-up event, but instead a memory had spontaneously come up. It was about the time she called her dad to ask for some advice about something, and he was so busy that he dismissed her right away, without paying any attention to her.
You see how after tapping a few rounds on that future event, her mind is now shifting its focus towards this relevant memory with her dad.
So now we know exactly what memory (out of the many memories that might be connected to her fear of rejection) we could tap on next. On the side of the hand, we tapped on: “Even though when I remember the time when I called my dad to ask him for some advice and he dismissed me right away, I really needed his advice, but he didn’t pay any attention to me, and now I feel all this sadness in my throat, I accept myself anyway”.
Long story short, at the end of the session, after releasing all those stuck emotions from that memory that had taken place all those years ago, when we shifted our focus back to that future event of calling that potential referral source for her business, she now felt ok about it. And there were some “cognitive shifts” as well.
Cognitive shifts are when you spontaneously see things from a new, more empowering perspective after releasing the negative emotional intensity around an issue. In this case, she expressed “actually, now that I think about it, yes, she is very busy, but what I offer might be of assistance to her students and might complement what she has to offer. So she might be interested in hearing me out. And I can always check in with her before making the phone call to make sure she has a few minutes to listen to what I have to say”.
So, to recap, starting your EFT sessions by focusing on future events can be a great way to leverage your sessions. It gives you an easy starting point, and it can also allow for relevant memories to emerge spontaneously.
A caveat to that last sentence is that if you are tapping by yourself and a very intense or traumatic memory shows up, it’s recommended that you work on it with a skilled EFT practitioner who can hold the space for you to process that memory in a gentle, safe and effective way.
The other great advantage of working on future events is that any progress you make on diminishing their intensity, will allow you to start taking some of the actions you’d been previously unable to, even if you haven’t completely released the intensity of all the aspects yet. This is because you’ll notice there’s going to be less resistance for you to try to ignore or “push through”.
Once again, I’d like to thank Alina Frank and Craig Weiner for teaching me this approach during their awesome EFT training and certification process.
And, I’d love to know: have you ever tapped on future events? Do you have any other tips or questions around this? Please share in the comments below.