Presenting EFT – Being Specific

I have presented EFT many, many times in various public forums, conferences, and agency groups.  I am a serious proselytizer for EFT. Most of these presentations were only brief introductions to EFT, from 20 minutes to 2 hours. Because of the short time frames I utilize group tapping instead of Borrowing Benefits with a demo . Even in such a short time using only group tapping, the percentage of success gained by the audience is surprisingly high and continues to amaze me.

I start these presentation by discussing how common it is to touch parts of our body for comfort and I demonstrate several examples: scratching our head, rubbing around our eyes, placing our hands on our chin, using two fingers – one above and one below the lips, we put out hand on our chest, we scratch under our arm or fold our arms with one hand under the arm.

I ask the audience why they think people use these touches. Someone invariably says because it makes them feel better. “Right! And let’s learn another quick exercise that makes us feel maybe even better.”

I tell them that the amazing part of what they are about to learn is not that it works—we already know that touching spots on our body makes us feel better—but that we can consciously focus on an issue we would like to resolve and consciously using a sequence of touches or taps we can feel better about that issue.

The question is posed to the group about what would constitute success in resolving their issues in the time frame allotted. We have a discussion of what would be a “reasonable” percentage of success, e.g., half the group decreases their discomfort by half. I write the agreed upon “measurement of success” on the board.  (Gary Craig’s editorial comment: Excellent idea! Audiences almost always display expectations well below the levels you will probably achieve. Thus, the contrast between their written expectations and what is actually produced provides an impressive comparison.)

I talk about problems being like a puzzle (in trainings I have an slide with puzzle pieces with one piece of the puzzle colored in) and for this exercise it will be important for them to just pick one piece of the puzzle. I warn them to pick a smaller event to address in their introduction to EFT, no more than a 5 on a scale of 0 to 10.

(Gary’s editorial comment: This is a good metaphor for “being specific,” which is very important in EFT.)

While I have never yet had anyone get really upset in my classes, I feel a responsibility to limit their “exposure” initially. However, they do not always follow this instruction!

I tell them that negative events that happen to us can be repetitive, such as being upset by parents’ constant fighting, or one time, like a traffic accident (the examples used vary according to the group). For this exercise, it is important to pick a specific incident, even if the same thing happened in different variations over and over. That what we are going to do is run this specific incident as a movie in our heads. Realize that the part where we first got upset in the incident is actually a very short movie. I sometimes give examples like: how they looked at you, the tone of their voice, the smell of burning, the sick to your stomach feeling.

(Gary’s editorial comment: For many people, reducing their specific events down to a few-second movie provides great benefits. If you can pick out the crescendo of a specific event, such as the look in an abuser’s eye, you can often collapse the whole issue by simply using EFT on that mini-movie.)

Now close your eyes and run the movie of your puzzle piece. If the movie is longer than two minutes, you still have too big a piece of the puzzle; select a smaller part of the movie. Got it? When all say okay, I ask them to write down their 0-10 intensity.

Using the little poem “For results that are terrific, you have to be specific,” I tell them to freeze-frame the movie at one scene and really go back to that scene and: “See what you saw, feel what you felt, hear what you heard, smell what you smelled (more common an issue than you would think) and taste what you tasted. Make the picture as clear as you can. AND recognize where you feel this upset in your body.”

(Gary’s editorial comment: Involving freeze frames and body sensations like this is another innovative and quality method for Being Specific.)

We then run through the tapping sequence twice, sometimes more if I sense the group needs to. Depending on the setting and the group, I may not even use a Setup phrase. Generally though, I use a generic: “Even though I have this problem, I chose to be calm and confident.” (Trying to be mindful of the old social worker mantra “Start with where the client is!” Everybody wants to be confident; most everybody wants to be calm. Not everybody in my resident population (severely emotionally disturbed children) accepts that they can deeply and completely accept themselves. For the most part, our residents hate themselves! For the purpose of demonstration, I bypass that problem.

The instructions are repeated to hear, see, feel, taste, smell what you were aware of and pay attention to where you feel it in your body. AND if you are aware that you are watching yourself in the movie, try to put yourself behind your own eyes. (This is again a safety precaution. It is less painful to watch than to be there. In addition, my population is frequently very out of touch with their bodies and tends toward disassociation anyway. The initial tapping relaxes and seems to make them feel safe to “associate” once more. I do warn that if being “associated” increases their upset to go back to watching themselves.)

I also give the instruction that if they were fortunate enough to have already resolved that scene, just pick another scene to work on. We then tap through the sequence at least twice again before I ask for a new 0-10 intensity rating. I warn that sometimes people “cheat” and shift scenes and to make sure they go back to the original scene they chose!

We get the overall scores and compare our results with the measure of success established at the beginning of the training. It is, of course, inevitably superior to what they anticipated possible!

I remind them that they have just experienced EFT, one of the most powerful change agents available. I talk about how they can use it on everything. That some situations are very quick “one-minute wonders” and others take persistent tapping to resolve. I mention that toxins can get in the way.

Note: Let me make a few more “oversimplified” comments about the associated versus disassociated issue. One of my tests when a client is getting no resolution in the first couple of rounds is to ask about their movie—not the incident details but the see-hear-feel features of the movie. I ask them to change these features to assess the difference in feeling. I pay particular attention to whether or not they were looking at the movie as a movie (disassociated) or if they were in the movie and seeing it through their own eyes (associated). Inevitably, the person is not seeing it through their own eyes. I ask them if they are willing to try to be actually in the scene. We then tap again while they are actually looking at the scene through their own eyes. So far this has always resulted in reducing the 0-10 intensity to at least half.

(Gary’s editorial comment: Try the above for clients who are repressing or otherwise “unable to tune into the incident.” It could make a breakthrough difference.)

With individual clients who may get upset by looking at a scene from their own eyes, I instruct them to avoid doing so by picturing themselves watching the scene from a movie theater seat. We tap in this much less painful way, and often when they go back to the behind-the-eyes version, the upset is significantly reduced or gone.

Many times our residents just aren’t “there.” I have them practice looking at a scene through their eyes by describing what they are looking at currently in the room. We then move to a pleasant scene from their memory to describe from behind their own eyes before we tackle the behind-the-eyes experience again.

NOTE: This article was first published on  under the title
ANN ADAMS ON BEING SPECIFIC. It has been edited slightly for use here.

I am on a mission to help every counselor, therapist, coach and other helping professional learn how to effectively integrate EFT into their toolkit. If you are interested in learning to be the most effective in using EFT  in your practice check my Training Schedule.  All EFT training workshops can lead to certification.

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Ann Adams