Increasing your effectiveness with EFT, part 48.
In today’s short article, I want to share some thoughts about what “holding space” means in an EFT session. You might have heard before about the importance of EFT practitioners being able to “hold space” for their clients, but maybe you don’t know what that means.
The way I see it, an easier way to understand it would be to use the term “give the client space”. Give the client space to do what? For starters, give them space to talk freely without judgment. If a client perceives that we are going to “should” them, meaning, we are going to tell them how they should think, feel and behave, without understanding where they are coming from, chances are they won’t feel very safe talking with us.
There are two things that help me not judge my clients. One is the knowledge that we are all humans, and as humans we are imperfect beings, always doing our best according to the circumstances, beliefs, emotional states, subconscious patterns, values, etcetera, that influence our thoughts, feelings and behaviors at any given time. The other is the ability to notice any unpleasant/uncomfortable emotional reactions that might arise in me when talking with my clients, and then at a later time use EFT to explore what they are about, so they don’t impair my work as a practitioner.
We could also say that “holding space” is about giving our clients space to safely feel and process their emotions. This is why it’s important to know the different EFT techniques, so as to know when it might be important to use the “gentle techniques” to help someone process something in a gentle, “titrated” way, without overwhelming their system (to “titrate” means to do something in little doses).
In addition to that, it’s important to not have an “agenda” to “fix or take away their unpleasant emotions as soon as possible”. Having an agenda tends to get in the way of “holding space”, because it creates pressure for both ourselves and our clients, as if conveying the idea that “they shouldn’t be feeling what they are feeling”. The more we can be in a space of acceptance of whatever thoughts, feelings and sensations arise for the client, the safer and calmer we can then feel, and that in turn further helps our client’s nervous system feel safe with us.
“Co-regulation” is when our nervous system is in a calm, grounded and “regulated” state, which helps us send “cues of safety” to the other person (via our facial expressions, tone of voice, etcetera), which in turn helps co-regulate their nervous system. This encourages a state of acceptance and curiosity, as opposed to a state of “wanting to get rid of something as soon as possible”.
On the other hand, what would “not giving space” look like? It might be something like the practitioner saying “don’t cry” or “calm down” if the client starts crying, as opposed to trusting the process and allowing the tapping to do the work. “Not giving space” could also look like the practitioner jumping into giving unsolicited advice or oversharing their own personal experiences, challenges and opinions. Basically, “not giving space” would be to interfere with the EFT process and/or with the client’s own internal process, making him or her feel rushed or “not met where he or she is at”.
That’s it for today. I hope this article was helpful. 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 (who speak English or Spanish) change their negative emotional reactions.
And, I’d love to know: How would you define “holding space”? Do you have any questions or comments about what I wrote? Is there any particular topic you’d like me to write about? I’d love to know in the comments below. And remember you can click on my profile and then “follow” if you’d like to be notified every time I post a new article.
By the way, I hope you’ll join us at the free 23 Day Tapping Challenge that starts on January 1st, 2023 . I’ll be hosting a Live Tapping Circle on Thursday, January 12th, 2023, at 12pm EST, where I’ll tap with one person while the other attendants tap along to borrow benefits. And another one on Thursday, January 19th, 2023, at the same time.