In my experience as an EFT professional, there is a theme that keeps coming back in my work: Being present. When someone I am working with is stuck in struggle or seemingly unable to make any headway, it is important that I be very mindful of where that person stands. In other words, it is easy to overlook "the energy of what is really going on here" in some way, perhaps because I might not be reflecting back exactly what the person is saying, or I am not quite hearing their most present concern. I liken it to standing too close to a large painting: We literally cannot see the forest for the trees and might need to step back and get a broader perspective.
Stepping back and being more present is also important when we are attempting to help ourselves with EFT. For those times when relief is slow to come, despite all the strategies (or scripts) we may be employing in our quest, we are likely missing something more present in our own experience that is crying out for acknowledgment. For whatever reason, maybe because we either don't want to or have developed a habit of not looking - we are not quite seeing it. My EFT colleague Jess Mor calls this "the courage to be present." Presence takes courage because allowing ourselves to be open to the energy of "what is really going on with us," might be a little uncomfortable. Afterall, what might happen if we are not running away? Have you ever wanted to be anywhere else but where you are? If you have ever experienced difficulty meditating, for example, some of this discomfort might be familiar to you.
Being absolutely "in the moment" with yourself or with someone with whom you are working is a skill worth learning, sometimes over and over again. A lot of beginning practitioners stub their toes here, either because they think they know what the Core Issue is (having an agenda or "getting in our own way") or they skip blindly over something important that the person has said. A practice of being present for ourselves and others can build trust that the "core" or heart of the matter will be revealed the more present we allow ourselves to be. And the relief we feel as we tap moment-by-moment can be palpable.
"A Problem With The Problem"
A good example of the benefits of presence is the case of a person struggling with many years of depression. If we begin by acknowledging the struggle part, including the frustration and all the related feelings (guilt, shame, self-blame, etc) as well as the negative self-talk about the situation, we are probably practicing presence. EFT is great for acknowledging "the problem we have with our problem," which is often more present than the issue itself. In my experience, being present is where we have to start if we are going to make any lasting headway around complex issues like allergies, anxiety, trauma, or chronic physical or financial issues.
I have developed a very simple tapping protocol I call "Follow the Trail" EFT. This practice is more fully explored in The EFT Workbook, but I am happy to share the essentials below. It can be used for ourselves or offered as homework for clients and students. Let's go through it together:
Part 1 - The Original Issue:
When you sit down to do EFT with yourself or someone else, usually this involves asking something akin to, "What would you like to work on?" Anyone who has studied EFT or practiced it for a while has also heard about the power of being specific. Yet, for our purposes today, let's set this aside, because our "presence" practice will be all about getting VERY specific in just a moment. For now, write down whatever predicament you happen to be in next to the number 1. We will call this your "original issue." Here are some examples:
I can't finish my book
I have social anxiety
Can't Stop Eating
Pain in my _________
This terrible stomach upset
Something's not right
Part 2 - Measuring the Intensity Level:
When you have settled on an area to explore and put some words around it, how intense or true is this big, bad global (or specific) issue you've just written down? Measure the intensity on a scale of 0-lowest to 10-highest:
(1) Something's Not Right and (2) it's an 8 in intensity.
Part 3 - Negative Emotions, Self-Talk, Mental Chatter, etc.:
Part 3 is where the magic of presence can happen. Under Part 3, write down one negative feeling you have about your issue or the fact that this is going on for you. For example:
(3) I'm tired of this
Next, Tap that One Word or Phrase Through the 9-Point EFT Sequence:
Eyebrow Point (EB): I'm tired of this
Side of Eye (SE): I'm tired of this
Under Eye (UE): I'm tired of this
Under Nose (UN): I'm tired of this
Chin (EB): I'm tired of this
Collar Bone (CB): I'm tired of this
Under Arm (UA): I'm tired of this
Gamut Point: I'm tired of this
Top of Head (ToH): I'm tired of this
What about the EFT Setup or Psychological Reversal, you might ask? I leave this out quite intentionally. In my experience, when we are being present, there is no Psychological Reversal, because nothing we are going to say or write or tap is off limits. In other words, we are not resisting anything in our present experience. Of course there are many benefits to the EFT Setup, but for this protocol it is not necessary.
My friend Paul (from the Communion of Light) describes "resistance" as when we are afraid to feel something because of what we think it means. This is why being present disarms resistance so easily. Courageously acknowledging our true feelings and thoughts, regardless of the meaning we have attached to them, can allow them to face the light of day and more naturally evolve away. In my experience, tapping helps facilitate this beautifully.
Keep Going: Revisit Part 3 Again And Again
What is the next word or phrase that comes to mind? Write it down as well, then speak the one word or phrase you have just written over the nine points. Stay as present with this one word or phrase as possible. Trust that all the rest of whatever is going on can wait until your are done - and you will get to it. For example:
I'm tired of this, I want to cry
Eyebrow Point (EB): I want to cry
Side of Eye (SE): I want to cry
Under Eye (UE): I want to cry
Under Nose (UN): I want to cry
Chin (EB): I want to cry
Collar Bone (CB): I want to cry
Under Arm (UA): I want to cry
Gamut Point: I want to cry
Top of Head (ToH): I want to cry
While you are tapping, other words or phrases will become insistent, vying for your attention. Wait until you are done with a full round before writing down the next word or phrase, then tapping it over the nine points. Remember: Any words or phrases that come to mind are important - especially if they do not seem important. Tapping through any of them could help loosen things up and open a path to a Core Issue. If there are several words or phrases, pick the one that is most intense or seemingly important for now. Let you intuition be your guide. Tap on as many as 10-12 words or phrases until you begin to connect with new insights, perspective shifts or measurable relief.
Use the word because... as often as needed to help you get more specific - and unearth your present (yet quite unaccounted for) thoughts, feelings and underlying beliefs. For example:
I'm tired of this, I want to cry, because... I'm in this situation again,
Now tap through, "because I'm in this situation again," or whatever happens to come up for you. After this round, notice what kind of relief you are beginning to feel. Are you yawning, tearing up or feeling better? Or have you not quite put your finger on the heart of the matter yet? There are more skills you can learn to help you "circle-in" to Core Issues during this process, but for now see how your intention to be present and your body's wisdom serve you as you write, speak and tap.
Part 4 - Being Present to Positive Insights and Ideas:
As you move along and begin experiencing relief, positive thoughts and ideas will likely enter your mind. Students of Law of Attraction will notice that when we feel better, we begin to attract more positive thoughts quite naturally, which then attracts better feelings as well. Any time you notice a "better feeling" thought or positive idea, write it under Part 4. Nothing is off limits. You might be having a thought of something that you'd like to do or a compassionate thought about your journey with your issue at this time. Write it down, then return to Part 3 again and continue writing, speaking and tapping.
Part 5 - Check-In:
Check in with the Intensity Level of your original issue. What is it like to speak those words? What can be different now? If you have tried this process, congratulations are in order: You are learning (or reminding yourself) of an important Art of Delivery skill - being more present with the fullness of your current experience and using tapping to handle what comes up.
Please Note: If you find yourself frightened of working on your own or suffer from extreme anxiety, you can still keep these skills in mind, but you may not want to do this practice on your own. It is always useful to consult your "healing team" whenever working on your own - especially for serious life trauma of any kind. Always do what feels safe and right for you and seek the help of a qualified professional where appropriate.
Acknowledging and "tapping through" how we feel or what we think about our problem, issue or challenge can make a big difference in our results. Personally, it's empowering to know that if I sit down, tap and allow myself to be fully present with myself, I can consistently find my way towards relief, regardless of how tough things have been.
Jade Barbee is an EFT International Accredited Certified EFT Master Trainer of Trainers and Advanced Practitioner in Southern Vermont, US. He offers mentoring, coaching and supervision to practitioners and healthcare providers. He also offers EFT sessions in person or by phone or Skype. Jade is always learning new ways of tapping - helping himself and others integrate artful practice into daily life. Visit him online at www.emotionalengine.com.
From the EFTfree Archives, which are now a part of EFT International .
Originally published on February 25, 2012.