Increasing your effectiveness with EFT, part 27.
If you are an EFT practitioner going through certification, you are probably required to learn how to help your clients reach S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) goals. Sometimes it can be hard to know how to come up with these goals, so this is what I’ll talk about in today’s article.
The first important consideration is that a goal has to be client-centered. This means not only that it’s something chosen by them, but also that it is something within their control, as opposed to someone else’s behavior or feelings such as “my goal is that my boss likes me”.
So here’s the main tip of this article: How can you make sure that the goal your client chooses is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound and also within their sphere of control? Make it behavioral. In other words, think in terms of “a behavior”. So, any one of these options:
- What behavior would they like to do?
- What behavior would they like to do more of?
- What behavior would they like to not do anymore?
- What behavior would they like to not do so much?
Thinking in terms of a behavior (such as writing a blog post, running 2 miles, asking their girlfriend to go have dinner at a nice restaurant) on the one hand allows you to come up with something that is client-centered and within the client’s control (as opposed to “my goal is that my boss likes me”, which isn’t something they can control). And it also makes it specific and measurable/concrete (as opposed to “my goal is to be an athletic person”, or “my goal is to feel better”).
It also gives you a great starting point to come up with a specific event to tap on (e.g. “how do you feel as you think about sitting down to write your first blog article tomorrow morning?”).
Now, obviously clients don’t necessarily speak in terms of behavior. They might say things like “I just want to get over my ex”, “I just want to feel better about this situation”, “I just want to be able to connect more with my spouse”, “I would like to be an athletic person”, etcetera. So how can we turn these phrases into behavior-based goals?
Let’s take that first example: “I just want to get over my ex”. How can we turn it into a behavior-based goal? Perhaps with the question: “How does not being over your ex play out in your life? What do you find yourself doing that you wish you weren’t doing (e.g checking his Facebook profile all the time)? And/or what don’t you find yourself doing that you wish you were (e.g. opening an online dating profile)? So, one way to begin tapping would be for them to notice what unpleasant feeling, emotion or sensation comes up for them as they imagine doing the new behavior or not doing the “old” behavior they want to change.
What about “I just want to feel better about this situation”? Well, maybe you could ask: “What would you be doing differently if you were already feeling better about the situation? Or what wouldn’t you be doing/doing so much if you were already feeling better?”. Another option could be: “How does not feeling better about this situation show up in your life?”. For example, “I wouldn’t be crying myself to bed every night”. So, a great starting point to tap on would be: “As you think about last night, crying yourself to bed, or as you imagine tonight crying yourself to bed, what feeling, emotion or sensation do you notice coming up for you now?”.
Let’s now take the “I just want to be able to connect more with my spouse” example. Ok, so what would that look like? e.g. “Well, whenever she asks me if I’d like to help her cook dinner while we talk about our day, I wouldn’t feel such a strong resistance to do that, thinking I’d rather stay working some more, and I would gladly join her in the kitchen”. “Ok, so as you think about a recent time when that happened, or the next time it might happen, what feeling, emotion or sensation do you notice coming up for you now?”.
And now, the last example I mentioned above: “I would like to become an athletic person”. Ok, so what would that look like? “Well, I would run a 10 mile marathon”. Have you ever run a marathon before? “No, I haven’t”. What would be then a first step towards your goal? “Well, a very first step would be to hire a fitness coach, but I feel a lot of anxiety about that, because what if I fail and I wasted all that money for nothing?”. So how about we set the goal of being able to hire a fitness coach (clearing any fears or uncomfortable feelings or beliefs that might be in the way of that) within the next… (X amount of time the client chooses), and then once you reach that first step goal we can move on to the next?
Finally, keep in mind also that when it comes to goal setting, it’s important to also evaluate and re-adjust as needed. This is why EFT trainers Craig Weiner and Alina Frank talk about S.M.A.R.T.E.R goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound, ongoing evaluation and re-adjustment). More information about that is available here:
https://www.efttappingtraining.com/product/smarter-goal-setting/ (this is not an affiliate link by the way).
EFT Trainer Jules Vandermaat is also offering a class on Trauma Sensitive Goal Setting, which I’ll be taking next month. You can find out more about that here:
https://tappingwithjules.com/events/trauma-sensitive-goal-setting-with-jules-2 (again, not an affiliate link).
That’s it for today! My name is Bruno Sade, a compassionate, open-minded clinical psychologist and certified EFT practitioner. I’m dedicated to helping you break free from negative emotional reactions and cultivate a balanced, resilient mindset. My approach is flexible and tailored to your individual needs and preferences. Your experiences, beliefs, and background are always honored and respected in our work together.
And, I’d love to know: Do you tend to set goals with clients? What are some helpful strategies you’ve found for that? Do you have any questions or comments about what I wrote? I’d love to know in the comments below.