Mastering Self-Tapping: A Guide to Creating Effective EFT Phrases

Increasing your effectiveness with EFT, part 79.

Recently, someone asked me for tips on creating “effective phrases for self-tapping”. Drawing from my experience as a psychologist and EFT practitioner, here are some guidelines.

Don’t worry about coming up with “positive phrases or reframes”; instead, focus on being able to detect and tap on your actual thoughts and feelings about the issue you want to address.

First, define the issue. For example, let’s consider “fear of public speaking”. In order to tap on this effectively, we now need a way to make it more specific. If we were to use a “banana bread analogy”, we could say that the issue “fear of public speaking” is like the whole loaf of banana bread. If we were to “cut a slice” of the issue, I would then invite you to think of a recent or future time when this fear of public speaking might show up. This is so that we don’t try to bite more than we can chew, which is why it’s useful to try to come up with a specific event, whether past or future. Let’s say that next week you have to give a presentation at work.

So, now we have: 

– The issue you are working on: the whole loaf of banana bread “fear of public speaking”

– A slice of the issue: the presentation I have to give next week at work.

Next, understand that EFT’s core purpose is to reduce and release our unpleasant emotional reactions. The structure of the most effective phrases we can use is: “Even though, when I think about… I feel… and this is just where I’m at right now”

In other words, when you think about next week’s presentation at work, what thoughts and feelings do you notice coming up right now in the present moment? And could you choose one thought and one feeling to focus on for the round of tapping you are about to do? In this way, we are now cutting an even smaller (and more manageable) piece from that slice of banana bread.

So, the first round of tapping might go like this:

Tapping on the side of the hand: “Even though, when I think about the presentation at work next week, right now I’m feeling anxious because my boss will be there and I can’t screw it up, this is just where I’m at right now”

On the other points you could just say: “I’m feeling anxious” and/or “my boss will be there and I can’t screw it up” (in this case you would be alternating between the feeling and the thought).

After you are done with that first round of tapping, ask yourself again: As I think about next week’s presentation at work: what thoughts and feelings do I notice coming up right now? This is the question you are going to keep coming back to.

There are basically 4 different things that are likely to happen as you do this:

1) You can either notice the next layer of the onion, as in, for example, “now I’m feeling frustrated that my boss assigned this to me, even though I asked him not to”This would be a different piece (or aspect) of the same slice (specific event) of the banana bread (the issue of public speaking). In this case, the next round you could use this phrase: 

“Even though, when I think about next week’s presentation, I feel frustrated, because my boss assigned this to me even though I asked him not to, this is just where I’m at right now”. And as a reminder phrase throughout the points you could say “this frustration”“he assigned this to me even though I asked him not to”.

 2) Maybe what you are noticing coming up now is actually a different memory that’s showing up, like the last time you tried to give a presentation, and couldn’t do it because you were so nervous. This would be a different slice (specific event) of the same banana bread loaf (the issue of public speaking)

This can also be thought of as “the next layer of the onion”. In this case, provided it’s not a traumatic and/or very emotionally intense memory, in which case you might want to tap on it with the help of an EFT practitioner, you could ask yourself “what thought or feeling do I notice coming up for me now in the present moment as I think about this memory?”.

An example of a setup statement could be: “Even though, when I think about the last time I tried to give a presentation, I feel really embarrassed that I couldn’t do it because I was so nervous, this is just where I’m at right now”. And then, for the other points you could say “I feel really embarrassed”.

3) You might notice a more empowering thought and feeling coming up, as in: “Actually, now I’m feeling a bit of relief thinking that it might not be as bad as I thought, I really know the subject I’m going to be talking about and all the people there will probably be rooting for me”This is known as a “cognitive shift” and it’s a sign of progress. You can either stop here or, if you want to be more thorough, ask yourself: “Besides feeling more relieved thinking about this upcoming presentation, is there any other ‘negative’ thought or feeling that I’m aware of?”. And if there is, you can target it for your next round of tapping.

4) This one is less likely to happen, in my experience, but perhaps you notice that as you think about the upcoming presentation at work, what seems to be most noticeable is the same thought and feeling as the ones you tapped on before (“I feel anxious because my boss will be there and I can’t screw up”). In that case, you can do another round using the same words as before. Usually, after one or two rounds there tends to be some kind of shift and the next layer of the onion presents itself (as in the examples above).

Lastly, when it comes to “the most effective tapping phrases”, it’s important to use the words that are genuinely going through your mind. In other words, don’t use euphemisms. If the actual thought coming up is: “My boss is such a jerk for assigning this to me”, use that phrase, as opposed to a more polite: “that wasn’t so nice of him, was it?”Because the actual thought is likely the one to be most emotionally charged, which is what you are seeking to diminish and release through the tapping.

And 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.

What are your thoughts on this? Any questions or comments about this article, or suggestions for future topics? I’d love to hear from you, either in the comments below or by sending a private message. Remember to follow my profile to stay updated with my latest posts!

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