EFT foundation series: part 2 - the basic recipe
The basics of Tapping are very easy to learn. And once learnt, you have a tool that you can use for the rest of your life, that requires no equipment or floor space, and can help with the emotional and psychological elements of just about any situation in life.
There are 6 steps to this process. Heads up, you’re probably going to think you look bat-shit-crazy doing this, but the results are worth it. It may feel a bit overwhelming or weird at the beginning as you’re trying to put all the pieces together, but if you just go through the process a few times, you’ll very quickly get the hang of it. After that it may start to seem deceptively simple.
Step 1: Identify something (past, present or future) that is causing you some distress. Generally speaking, the more specific you are, the better your results will be. A good way to see if what you’re tapping on is specific enough, is to ask yourself “can I take a mental picture of the moment this happened / will happen?” Or see if you can say “that one time when______”, and fill in the blank with a specific memory, future scenario or present situation. “John is annoying” isn’t specific enough. “John yelled at me when I walked into the meeting room today and I feel angry about that” is much better. There may be several components that are distressing when you think of a situation, simply tap on each one individually.
Step 2: Identify the level of intensity you feel when you bring the situation to mind on a 0-10 scale. 0 being no intensity at all, 10 being maximum intensity. This is a subjective measurement. There’s no right or wrong. It simply allows you to see if you’ve made progress at the end.
You can also see where in your body you feel the emotional intensity. Another way of putting this is: “how do you know it’s causing you distress?” For example, you might know you’re distressed because you feel a tightness in your chest or a pit in your stomach. Tuning into this sensation can be very useful, though it’s not essential. It allows you to be more specific and see changes that may otherwise go unnoticed. For example, you might go through the process once and still feel angry at something at the same level of intensity, but the sensation has moved from a tightness in your chest to a pit in your stomach. This is a good indication that you’re on the right track, you just need to keep going.
One key understanding here is that we’re focusing on changing how we feel about something now, in the present. Let’s say you remember a time when you got bullied at school. Back then you might have felt sad. However, when you think about it now, you feel angry. With EFT we’re addressing that anger because that’s what you feel now, that’s what we can change and let go of.
Step 3: The setup statement. Much like a battery, your body has polarity. If you put a battery in a torch the wrong way, it doesn’t work. Similarly, if your polarity is “reversed” your energy won’t flow and this impedes healing. The setup statement helps get your energy flowing in the right direction. Taken from a psychological perspective, this step allows you to fully acknowledge the problem, yet place it in a frame where you can recognise you’re able to accept yourself despite it being there. This removes a lot of the pressure we often put on ourselves (or that others put on us). And it’s in this space where tremendous change can take place without needing so much effort.
To do this, repeat the statement below three times while continuously tapping the fleshy part of the side of your hand below the little finger with the four fingers of your other hand (see diagram). You can use either hand. It’s best to tap firmly but gently, applying about the same amount of pressure you might use to tap a friend on the shoulder to get their attention or when drumming your fingers on a table.
“Even though __________(insert problem), I deeply and completely accept myself”
Here are some examples:
Even though John said “you’re no good”, I deeply and completely accept myself
Even though I can’t solve this problem and I feel this tightness in my shoulders just thinking about it, I deeply and completely accept myself
Even though I’m so embarrassed because I fumbled on my words when I gave my presentation, I deeply and completely accept myself
Even though Alice walked out the front door instead of talking to me and I feel heartbroken about it, I deeply and completely accept myself
Even though I wish I didn’t have to make this decision, I deeply and completely accept myself
Even though this project feels overwhelming, I deeply and completely accept myself
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”
You’re not ignoring the problem. You’re acknowledging the truth of what’s there and how you feel and working with your mind and body to process the distress. By going inwards, you go through and are liberated on the other side. Another way of putting this is that you’re cleaning out the dirt in a wound. If you have a cut on your hand, you want to wash out anything that might be in that cut that could get infected (in this case “negative” emotions), before putting on a bandaid for it to heal.
Step 4: The reminder phrase. Tap with your finger tips about 7 times on each point below (also shown in diagram) while repeating a brief phrase at each point that reminds you of the problem. It is generally good to address both the external thing that happened / will happen as well as the internal experience of it. For example “John yelled at me” is a reminder phrase focusing on the external event. “Feeling angry” is a reminder phrase focused on your internal experience.
Here are the 8 points to tap and how to locate them on your body:
Top of the head: imagine drawing a line from the top of your ears directly up to the top of your head. Tap the spot where both lines would meet. (Using four fingers of one hand: index, middle, ring and little).
Eyebrow point: Where your nose meets your eyebrow, (using index and middle finger).
Side of the eye: Not the temple, but closer to your eye on the bone, (using index and middle finger).
Under the eye: On the bony part of the eye socket, inline with the pupil (using index and middle finger).
Under the nose: Between your top lip and your nose (using index and middle finger).
Chin point: Not on your chin, but on the crease between your lower lip and your chin (using index and middle finger).
Collarbone point: Find the “U” at the base of your neck where the knot of a tie would be, go down about an inch and to either side about an inch. I recommend you use your whole hand to tap both points at the same time.
Under the arm: About 4 inches below the armpit (using four fingers: index, middle, ring and little).
With the points that are on both sides of the body (ie: the points around the eyes, collarbone and under the arm, you can tap on either side with either hand or do both at the same time. You can even switch sides halfway through.
Step 5: Test your level of distress/intensity on the 0-10 scale you used at the beginning. Here’s what to do depending on your results:
If the intensity has gone down: Great! If it’s not down to a 0, you can do another round, adjusting your setup statement and reminder phrase for any changes you may have experienced. (eg: you may have felt overwhelmed at the beginning when you thought about having to make a decision, but now you only feel a little stressed. Therefore, your setup statement could be “even though I feel a little stressed when I think about making this decision, I deeply and completely accept myself”).
Sometimes emotions are layered, and you need to peel off each layer one at a time. For example, you might start out feeling angry about something, but then once you’ve tapped on the anger, beneath that there is sadness. You tap through the sadness and find regret, and only once you’ve tapped through the regret does it feel completely resolved. So be open and curious throughout the whole process.
If the intensity has gone up: This can happen as you tune into the situation. We’re so used to trying to push stuff away and resist feeling “negative” emotions that when we acknowledge what’s really there by engaging the mind-body, it can be unexpected. What happens in most cases is that it then subsides as you keep tapping, much like a wave that rises then falls. However, there may be something below the surface that needs resolving (I cover this a little in the next section as well as in an article further along in this series). You may require skills beyond this introduction. Use your own judgement as to whether you should keep tapping or seek a professional.
If nothing changed:
There are many things that could be checked, but here are the easiest and most common ones to look at:
See if you can be even more specific (see next section for more details on this).
Try different wording eg: “I feel completely lost” instead of “I’m confused”.
Drink some water (being dehydrated can impede your bodies ability to process emotional intensity through the nervous system)
Does this issue remind you of anything? Have you ever felt this way before? If so, try tapping on that earlier incident/situation.
Try tapping on what it means eg: “If my speech goes wrong it means I’m a failure”.
6) Repeat until intensity is 0, adjusting statements to reflect any changes you experience.
Here’s a video where I show you the basic tapping points and take you through a single round of Tapping:
One of the most important things to your success with EFT is understanding and clearing “aspects”. This is one of the defining characteristics that seperate people who are OK with EFT and find it occasionally works a little, and professionals who can consistently get significant results. So listen up!
We perceive the world through our senses. It is through these scenes that experiences are generally encoded. For example, you smell home cooking and immediately get flooded with childhood memories, or you keep reliving the same car crash, remembering seeing the oncoming car or hearing the tires screech. Addressing each of the senses with EFT is one of the best ways to clear out all the “stuff” and create lasting change.
You have your five main senses (what you saw, heard, smelt, tasted and touched). These are the first things to check. You also have what you thought and emotionally felt at the time, plus, what you think and emotionally feel about it now. All of these details are known as “aspects” in Tapping.
Here’s an example: Let’s say we take the incident of being bullied one time at school. When you think about it, you remember seeing the bullies approach you, that’s an aspect. You remember them saying “what are you doing?”, that’s an aspect. You remember one of them getting close to you and you could smell the sweat on him, that’s an aspect. You remember the physical impact and pain when you got punched in the left arm, that’s an aspect. You remember the emotional shock that you had at the time because you had just gotten hit, that’s an aspect (but remember, tap on how you feel now, remembering that you felt shocked at the time. You may still feel shock, but it may be a different emotion). You remember falling and getting some dirt in your mouth, and you remember the taste of the dirt, that’s an aspect. You remember thinking “I hate their guts”, that’s an aspect.
You will generally find you get the best results when you tap on each aspect individually. For example, think about seeing the bullies, rate your intensity and tap just on that aspect until your intensity is a 0 when you bring that image to mind. Then think about them saying “what are you doing”, rate your intensity and tap until your intensity is a 0 when remembering them saying that ect.
You can get even more specific if needed. For example, rather than tapping on seeing the bullies approach you all together, you could do a seperate round of tapping while focusing on each bully individually. Even more specific, you could tap on the look on the face of just one of the bullies. Even more specific, you could tap on how the eyes of one of the bullies scrunched together.
A great question to ask yourself when you’re tapping and things don’t seem to be reducing in intensity is “how can I be even more specific?”
Find the details, that’s where the treasures lie, that’s how to make this lasting.
Getting to the details is where you want to end up, but it’s not always the place to start. If you’ve been assaulted, going straight to these details can actually harm instead of heal. That’s why in the next several articles, I’ll show you how to get to this stage in a smooth and gentle way.
The EFT manual 3rd edition by Dawson Church
Side of hand photo adapted from Andrik Langfield on Unsplash
Tapping points photo adapted from Albert Dera on Unsplash