Part 3; The 7 Reasons You Need to be Specific with EFT Tapping
Recent neuroscience research supports the skillful targeting of specific memories as a foundational aspect of transformational change.
REASONS #5 and #6 – It’s nearly impossible to thoroughly test results unless you resolve specific events….and…Resolving all the triggering aspects of a trauma requires attention to details of the events. It is also what makes it nearly impossible to thoroughly test your work without specificity.
There are a number of trauma protocols we teach in our trainings. Some involve metaphor in the body (Chasing the Pain) for working with the physical correlates of emotional/energetic disturbances and some involve creative imagery (Tearless Trauma as in the Box/Container Technique). These sorts of distancing techniques collectively known as “the Gentle Techniques” are used to prepare a client to safely approach bigger and more intense memories. They are a very useful set of tools but we often see them used incorrectly and too globally.
With Chasing the Pain for example, new practitioners often mistakenly ask their clients to describe a situation or challenge in their lives and then ask them about the physical details, thinking that if it includes more physical sensation details, that this is Chasing the Pain. For example they might ask how and where they feel about the conflict in their bodies and then create a set-up statement that sounds something like this, “Even though I have this tennis ball sized, dull orange ball of sadness in my heart thinking about my son.” This might sound to you like it’s specific but to the ears of an experienced well-trained EFTer, there are elements that are missing that would make it truly specific i.e. What about the son. What has the son done to make the client feel this way? When was the last time something happened with the son? What proof does the client have that the relationship the son makes her sad? These specific questions will help you get to a point that you can work more directly with the event to uncover the core issue. Chasing the Pain was designed to be a gentle somatic approach of working with detailed body based qualities in order to progress deeper and continue the inquiry with the intention of then getting to a specific event.
In this example, if those questions had been asked and the practitioner had identified a recent event that caused sadness regarding her son, such as the client found her son injured after a fist fight at a bar, then her emotions and feelings regarding the fight would be tapped on. This would amount to resolving this one “table leg” event from a potentially long list of upsetting events that the client is distraught over with regards to her relationship with her son and even perhaps other lifetime events that were connected to sadness about family or loved ones. It may seem more efficient to the beginner to bundle all of this together and tap a few rounds using global statements such as, “this painful relationship” or “I feel so sad or helpless with my son,” however they’d be missing a chance to uncover gold and resolve the problem for good. The problem is by doing it in this generalized grouped way the actual triggers might still remain intact.
Now imagine that this client is in the hands of a great practitioners who identified this as a big T trauma with further questions about details of the event and discovered that she had found her son “covered in blood.” Let’s also suppose that they know how to use the “Tell the Story” technique on the singular event, “finding my son covered in blood”. In the normal course of applying the step-by-step process of telling the story, stopping at each peak of intensity, rewinding and rewiring the brain…after each peak is resolved they come to the biggest aspect of the event – the smell of blood. The process is interrupted by the client who suddenly remembers being 4 years-old and seeing dad outside a local bar covered in blood. The practitioner works through that event as well, using the trauma protocols before completing the work on event with her son. The client is instructed to vividly visualize the events and try to make herself upset as a way of thoroughly testing the work. The client then smiles and says she does not feel any upset or intensity as it was really difficult to even remember the details after the tapping. The practitioner then instructs the client to do more testing at home by noticing how she was reacting around her son and to bring back any remaining triggers she felt were still there.
Weeks later the client reports that her relationship with her son has improved beyond her hopes. The tapping also resolved a lifelong fear she’s had of going to restaurants or bars in the evening. All that results from targeting specific triggers in specific events. This was actually the story of one of my clients who had done “tons” of work on her son, her father, her fear of restaurants/bars but not a single practitioner had ever gotten to that level of specificity on her issues. Now you tell me, how could a global tapping script, tap along or video have addressed this issue and how would it have been tested unless I’d gotten that specific with her?
Reason #7 I’ll admit that the last bullet point in the graphic (that 80% of Tappers Unknowingly Tap Globally) is just a guestimate, but one that is based on our experience of supervising, mentoring, and reviewing the work of hundreds of students going through certification who DID have the benefit of attending 24 hours or more of training in EFT Tapping.
Authors: Alina Frank & Craig Weiner, AAMET Master Trainers
To read Parts 1, 2 and 3 of this article: