Video: What are “table legs” and “tabletops” in EFT?

There’s a very useful concept in EFT that helps guide our tapping which is the metaphor of the “table legs and tabletops”. Today I’ll talk about what that is.

Basically, the concept of “table legs and tabletops” is something that allows us to distinguish between a general/global issue (the “tabletop”) and the emotionally charged memories that help keep it in place (the “table legs”).

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, one of the key questions to ask ourselves when it comes to EFT is: “How can we break this issue down into its smaller parts?”. The reason why this is so is that if we just try tapping “globally”, for example saying: “Even though I have anger issues”, chances are we aren’t going to go very far. It’s like we are trying to “bite more than EFT can chew in just one bite”. Using the tabletop metaphor, we could say it’s like we are trying to collapse the table by just banging on the tabletop with our fist as opposed to cutting down its legs.

On the other hand, “table legs” are usually emotionally charged specific events. They can be memories but sometimes also “future events” that, despite not having taken place in reality, still “hold the energy” of the problem or issue

A “tabletop” can be any kind of problem or issue our clients come to us with, like the “anger issues” I mentioned above. It can also be something like “procrastination”, “being overweight”, “having difficulty making friends”, etcetera. And it can also be a limiting belief, such as “I’m not smart enough”. 

To further clarify, let’s see some examples of “tabletops”:

  • A belief, such as “I’m not intelligent”.
  • A habit we’d like to change, such as procrastination.
  • A physical symptom (or, rather, the emotional contributing factors to a physical symptom).
  • A certain fear or phobia.

And let’s look at some examples of specific events “table legs” for the “tabletops” above:

  • “The time when I was the only kid to fail the math exam in my class” (which contributed to the belief that “I’m not intelligent”).
  • “Imagining my cousin Claudia criticizing the video I create to promote my business, she might say that I don’t know what I’m talking about”. This “future event” might be one of the reasons why I’m procrastinating on creating that video.
  • “The time when I injured my leg while dancing”. This potentially traumatic event (because of the physical harm the body had to go through) might be contributing to the pain in my leg, and is something that might be best worked on with the help of an EFT practitioner.
  • “The time when I watched that movie of an airplane crash as a kid and I was so scared”. This memory might be contributing to my fear of flying.

Each “table leg” might have several emotionally charged aspects that need to be tapped on.

For example, the memory of “the time when I was the only kid to fail the math exam in my class” might include the aspects of “the sadness I feel now when I remember the look of disappointment in my teacher’s face”, and “the embarrassment I feel now when I remember how my friend laughed at me for having failed such an easy exam”.

So, to recap, a “tabletop” is a global or general problem, issue or belief. And the “table legs” are the emotionally charged specific events you might want to tap on in order to make progress on resolving the “tabletop” issue.

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