Understanding “Reminder Phrases” in EFT

Increasing your effectiveness with EFT, part 115.

In today’s article, I’d like to talk about the purpose of the “Reminder Phrase” in EFT, and two main options we can choose from, depending on each of our client’s needs and preferences. Before we do that, let’s do a brief recap.

As discussed in previous articles, EFT Tapping helps diminish and release unpleasant emotional reactions in various aspects of life, such as public speaking or flying.

The basic structure of a setup statement is simple: “Even though I feel (unpleasant emotion) when I think about (the issue), this is just where I’m at right now.” Additionally, you can specify where you feel the emotion in your body.

EFT works best when we focus on something specific. Therefore, it’s very useful to work with specific events, like recent memories or imagined scenarios related to the issue we’re addressing. This specificity ensures we don’t overwhelm ourselves with too much at once.

A typical setup statement might sound something like: “Even though I’m feeling nervous, thinking about the work meeting with John later today, what if he asks me a question that I don’t know how to respond to? and I feel this nervousness in my chest, this is just where I’m at right now”.

Notice how that setup statement contains:

  • The emotion.
  • Where we feel it in our body (if anywhere).
  • The specific event we are focusing on.
  • What about that specific event is making us feel this way?

The purpose of the setup statement, that we say as we tap on the side of the hand, is to help us ‘activate’ and ‘tune in’ to the unpleasant emotional charge about the issue we are addressing, and to do so hopefully in a specific, focused, “bite-sized” way.

So, what is a “Reminder Phrase”? That’s the shorter phrase we tend to use as we tap through the rest of the points of an EFT round. The purpose of the Reminder Phrase is to help us remain “activated” and “tuned in to the unpleasant emotional charge” enough, so that the tapping can then help us process it, and hopefully diminish or release it. Or, at least, bring forth “the next layer of the onion” for the next round of tapping, as it often does.

Now let’s explore the two main options for choosing Reminder Phrases. The first one is to just use the same phrase throughout each of the points, which is usually the emotion we are feeling, or the emotion + where we are feeling it in our body. Using the example above, the Reminder Phrase would be “this nervousness” or “this nervousness in my chest”.

The main advantage of using this kind of “Reminder Phrase” is that it helps us keep it very simple and, especially if we are tapping with someone who is relatively new to EFT, it helps simplify the process for them as well in case they’d like to try tapping on their own in between sessions.

However, some people find repeating “this nervousness in my chest” at each tapping point a bit monotonous, and their mind might get distracted with other things. Thus, it becomes a bit difficult to remain “tuned in”, which is the main purpose of the Reminder Phrase.

In such cases, it might be more useful to alternate between the emotion and any other emotionally charged phrase already contained in the setup statement, usually: “what about this specific event is making me feel this way?”.

Using the same example as before, we could alternate on each tapping point between “this nervousness in my chest” and “what if John asks me a question that I don’t know how to respond to?”.

Some of my clients find this helps them remain “tuned in” to what we are tapping on more easily, and diminishes the chances of their minds getting too distracted (a bit of distraction is normal and doesn’t affect the process).

When using this second option or approach, it’s important to keep in mind that using phrases not already contained in the setup statement, such as “and this reminds me of my sister”“and I’m also nervous about another meeting I have next week”, etc., can scatter our focus, reducing the tapping’s effectiveness.

I simply ask my clients which of the two options they prefer: to use the same reminder phrase throughout all the tapping points or to alternate between different phrases already contained in the setup statement. Whatever preference they have, it’s completely valid.

To recap, the purpose of the Reminder Phrases is to help us remain “activated” and “tuned in” while we tap through the rest of the points of the tapping sequence. And there are two main options when choosing them: using the same phrase throughout all the points, such as the emotion we are tapping on and where we feel it in our body (which tends to keep it very simple, especially for newcomers to EFT). Or to alternate between two or three different phrases already contained in the setup statement, which might help some people avoid getting too distracted with other non-related thoughts.

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.

I’m eager to know which option for Reminder Phrases you find more helpful, or if you have other strategies that work well. Your feedback is invaluable in shaping our discussions here. Please share your thoughts below or message me directly.

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