Increasing your effectiveness with EFT, part 92.
Last week, I discussed the Tell The Story Technique, an EFT method specifically designed for traumatic memories, especially those where the body’s physical integrity was at risk. Today, I’d like to delve deeper into its methodology by comparing it to two other EFT techniques: Basic EFT and Sneaking Up.
The Tell The Story Technique is both more detailed than Basic EFT and also offers a gentler distancing. It’s more detailed because the practitioner asks the client to narrate the memory from start to finish, pausing at each peak of emotional intensity. In contrast, Basic EFT poses the question, “What aspect of this memory are you focusing on now?” This typically brings forth the aspect within the memory that holds the highest emotional charge.
However, the Tell The Story Technique allows for gentler distancing by never naming any current emotion or body sensation associated with the memory. We simply identify the aspect of the memory that the client is focusing on, like, “Even though I turned around and heard a loud sound, right here, right now, I’m okay.”
Basic EFT, however, names both the aspect of the memory and the associated emotion and physical sensation that are evoked now when thinking about it. For instance, “Even though I feel anxious remembering last Thursday, when I turned around and heard that loud sound, and I sense this anxiety as a tightness in my chest, I accept this is where I’m at right now.”
By omitting the emotion or body sensation, we reduce the chance of the client becoming emotionally overwhelmed — which is very useful when addressing traumatic memories.
That’s why Basic EFT is recommended when working on a non-traumatic memory that brings up an emotional intensity of no more than 7 out of 10. For intensities greater than 7, the Sneaking Up technique is preferable. Here, only the emotion is mentioned, excluding any memory detail or body sensation. For example, “Even though I feel sad just thinking about this memory, this is where I’m at right now.”
When faced with memories that might bring up intense emotional responses, Sneaking Up concentrates solely on the emotion, leaving out the details of the memory. In contrast, Tell the Story hones in on a single aspect of the memory, omitting the emotions and physical sensations. Basic EFT, however, encompasses all of these components, making it best suited for memories that bring up a lower emotional charge.
Another distinction is that, with Tell the Story, after reducing the intensity of each “peak”, clients are asked to rewind and narrate from the beginning. This repetition might seem monotonous but is beneficial for traumatic memories. Using the comfort zone analogy, we are expanding the client’s “nervous system regulation zone” by gradually narrating the story without stepping outside their “window of tolerance.” This ensures that when they recount the story’s most distressing part, it’s less intense due to the previous peaks being addressed (because of the “Generalization Effect”).
However, using Tell The Story for non-traumatic memories might be overkill, making the process seem unnecessarily repetitive. In such situations, Basic EFT tends to be the best option. Instead of having clients retell the story repeatedly, we prompt them to hone in on the most noticeable emotion or sensation associated with the memory and to identify which part of the memory they’re focusing on. After each round of tapping, “shifting aspects” might cause these elements to change, and we adjust our language to match the client’s current experience.
And that’s it for today! I’m Bruno Sade, a compassionate, open-minded clinical psychologist, and certified EFT practitioner. My approach is tailored to your individual needs and preferences, always respecting your experiences, beliefs, and background.
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