Increasing your effectiveness with EFT, part 50.
Today’s article is a continuation of the one I wrote last week on: “What are ‘shifting aspects’ in EFT?”.
Today’s article is my attempt to respond to a very common question that people have: “If I notice another aspect coming up before I’m fully done with the one I was previously tapping on, should I then switch to tap on this new aspect or do I continue tapping on the previous one until it’s completely gone?”
So, those are the two options and I would say that both are ok. Each of them has different pros and cons. Let’s use an example to think this through:
Let’s say you are tapping on the recent memory of an argument you had with a friend of yours. She spoke very harshly to you because you were 10 minutes late. As you think about this memory, the first aspect you notice that has an emotional charge is that you are feeling angry that “I was only 10 minutes late, it shouldn’t have been a big deal”. So you start tapping on that anger and, after one round of tapping, you notice the anger has diminished but it’s not fully gone, and at the same time you notice there’s some sadness coming up for you connected to another aspect within this memory: when you tried to explain why you were late, she didn’t make any effort to listen.
So, the question is, what should you tap on next? Should you tap on the remaining anger (the first aspect you were tapping on) or should you tap on the new aspect of sadness about your friend not listening to your explanation that just came up? Here’s what I recommend:
If we were to think about these two options in terms of “Plan A” and “Plan B”, I would say that if you are able to still measure and tap on that remaining anger (the first emotion you were tapping on) until it’s fully released, that’s great, go ahead and do that. This would be Plan A.
The advantage of Plan A is that it’s a more systematic and structured approach: you don’t move on to the next aspect and/or emotion until you are fully done with the previous one. It then makes it easier to keep track of the different aspects that come up and it can feel like walking on more solid ground, because “the previous steps I stepped on are fully cleared”.
That being said, sometimes Plan A feels very difficult and/or it feels very stressful having to force yourself to measure and continue tapping on the previous aspect when now this other aspect that just came up (e.g. sadness) is feeling more intense by comparison and almost “screaming for your attention”. In other words, this new aspect is really distracting you from being able to reassess and/or work on the previous one. It’s like your mind doesn’t want to revisit the previous aspect, it wants to move on to the next layer of the onion.
In that case, with Plan B, you can simply choose to follow this new thread, as the next “layer of the onion” and simply tap on this next aspect (the feeling of sadness about your friend not listening to your explanation), even though the previous anger didn’t fully drop to a 0. Maybe this approach feels a bit more like you are “meeting your system where it’s at”, even if it isn’t quite as systematic and structured as Plan A.
Let’s say that you tap on that sadness, and after that round you notice the sadness isn’t fully gone, but now there’s another aspect coming up: guilt that you could have tried to prevent the whole situation in the first place by not being late. Again, you could decide to tap on this new aspect, even though the previous one (sadness) isn’t fully cleared yet.
Let’s say that after one or more rounds, you notice there doesn’t seem to be any feeling of guilt left when thinking about this event. In that case, you could go back and check on those previous unresolved aspects. If, for whatever reason, you didn’t keep track of them, you could simply ask yourself: “As I think about this memory, what emotions or feelings do I notice coming up for me now?”
Maybe you notice there are no emotions or feelings coming up for you now, which means that those previous aspects of anger and sadness were resolved as you kept tapping on the “next layers of the onion”, thanks to what is known in EFT as “the Generalization Effect”. Or you might notice there is still some emotional charge left when thinking about this memory, in which case you can simply try to identify: What is the emotion you are feeling and what about this memory is making you feel that way? Maybe it’s one of the previous aspects that you had already tapped on but not fully resolved or maybe it’s something else. Whichever it is, you can construct a setup statement to reflect what you are feeling, and continue tapping.
Both Plan A (not moving on to the next aspect until the current one is fully resolved) and Plan B (following the thread of “what’s coming up for me now” as the next layer of the onion) can potentially end at the same place: When you think about this memory now, there are no aspects within it that hold any unpleasant emotional charge. So you see that’s why I said both options are ok, and it’s a matter of personal preference.
I would go with Plan A if possible and if not, no worries, you can do Plan B.
Now, I’m thinking, a follow up question to this article could be: “Ok, but what if the new aspect that comes up after a round of tapping, before the current one is fully resolved, is about a whole new memory, and not the one I was tapping on?”.
I would then give you the same response as above: if possible, make a note of the new memory that showed up, and stick with the current memory you were tapping on until it’s fully resolved (whether you deal with the different aspects of that memory by using “Plan A” or by using “Plan B”) before moving on to the next memory.
If that feels too difficult because the other memory is drawing your attention a lot more, and it’s difficult to shift your focus to the previous memory you were just tapping on, then in that case you can decide to tap on the new memory that just came up (as long as it feels safe to do so, and like it’s not something that would overwhelm your system).
Then, whenever you have the chance, go back to check on the previous memory you were working on. You might notice that now this previous memory is fully resolved (thanks to the Generalization Effect) or perhaps it requires a few more rounds of tapping.
By the way, if you suspect that a memory might be too emotionally intense and/or traumatic to work on your own, feel free to enlist the aid of a certified trauma informed practitioner, such as myself, to help you with that. The same applies if you feel like it might be too hard to keep track of all the different memories and aspects at play. Feel free to get in touch with me, even if only to ask me for some free advice or guidance on how to tap on something by yourself.
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 do you tend to deal with “shifting aspects” when a new one emerges before the current one is fully resolved? 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.
You can sign up for it here: