The Tea and Soup Analogy: Finding the Right Temperature with EFT

Increasing your effectiveness with EFT, part 68.

Think about a bowl of soup or a cup of tea for a moment. We don’t want them too hot or too cold, right? This analogy can help us understand when we might need to use Gentle Techniques in Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). It can also help our clients understand the process.

If the “tea” or “soup” (what we focus on while tapping) is too cold, it means that it’s not bringing up any emotional intensity. This might be because it doesn’t have any (in which case no tapping is needed), or because for some reason we are finding it difficult to “tune in”. As a client, sometimes I struggle with the latter.

Being too hot, on the contrary, is when the emotional intensity becomes overwhelming or “too uncomfortable to sit with” for our clients. We don’t want to scorch our tongues with a steaming cup of tea or bowl of soup.

As EFT practitioners, our goal is to guide our clients in adding hot or cold water as needed. We aim to help them bring up the emotions they want to decrease and let go, but without it getting too intense. 

Depending on the situation, we can add hot or cold water in different ways. For instance, we can ask our clients to either close or open their eyes. Closing our eyes can be like adding “hot water” to the “tea” or “soup”, as it allows us to tune out distractions. 

On the contrary, keeping our eyes open can be like “adding cold water” because, while we are recalling a certain memory, we are simultaneously noticing (with our eyes) the present moment environment we are in, which helps us “keep a foot in the present moment”.

When using basic EFT, focusing on specific details of a memory, especially the most emotionally charged part, is like adding “hot water”. But when emotions are already running high and the client might become overwhelmed, we may need to “add some cold water” by using less specific language.

For example, saying, “Even though thinking about that memory makes me feel upset, I accept myself” (without referencing any details about the memory or any body sensations we might feel about it) is like adding cold water to a too-hot cup of tea. This is especially helpful when a client is feeling emotionally overwhelmed.

But a phrase like, “Even though just thinking about the awful argument I had with my wife, remembering her face when she told me she doesn’t love me anymore, makes me really sad, and I feel the sadness like a weight in my chest, I accept myself” can work well when the client is in a more balanced emotional state.

This analogy can help us better understand and manage emotional intensity during EFT. It’s all about finding the right balance, just like a good cup of tea or bowl of soup.

Lastly, as I usually say, if you suspect that a memory might be too emotionally intense (“the cup of tea is too hot”) and/or traumatic to work on your own, or you’d like help implementing these tips, feel free to enlist the aid of a certified practitioner with a mental health background, 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 you enjoyed this article and found it helpful. My name is Bruno Sade, a compassionate and open-minded clinical psychologist from Argentina. I’m also a certified EFT practitioner and love helping people, whether they speak English or Spanish, break free from their negative emotional reactions. I always maintain a non-judgmental attitude and remain flexible in my approach to ensure it fits your needs and respects what’s already working for you. I genuinely honor and respect each client’s experiences, beliefs, religion, race, sexual orientation, and personal background. By using EFT, we can work together to shift negative emotions and triggers, cultivating a more balanced and resilient mindset.

And, I’d love to know: What do you think about this analogy? 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, or feel free to send me a private message.

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