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The Importance of EFT Practitioners Clearing Their Own Problems

The following is an article written by Israeli EFT Practitioner Jenny Eshed. Even though this was originally submitted to Gary Craig’s old website in 2009 we’ve asked the author for permission to repost it here as we still come across these issues especially amongst those who aren’t formally trained, certified or accredited.

By Jenny Eshed

When I first heard about emotional freedom techniques, I immediately read the EFT Manual, began EFT tapping, and sought out a skilled EFT practitioner.  Even though I’d been engaged in a healing process for 15 years effectively using a broad spectrum of holistic methods, ONLY since using EFT and connecting the dots has my life truly begun to make sense!

Fully submitting myself to an EFT tapping process accessing early life conditions with a trained practitioner has released gruesome infancy trauma, unproductive emotional patterns and physical discomfort, offering me a new lease on life and perhaps the rights of passage to the Wounded Healer.

EFT practitioners who have addressed and overcome the bulk of their emotional pain are a source of wisdom and healing power for others.  

These EFT practitioners can genuinely understand and empathize with clients who in turn sense this on a subconscious level and are naturally confident that their process is safely contained and in the right hands.  Trust, respect and commitment are fundamental to healing relationships

Over the years, I’ve been gaining insights from the wide range of EFT sites; though I have not yet come across sufficient material emphasizing the risks of EFT in hands of the Lay Person who has not adequately engaged in their own healing process.  

In general, the material relating to the Newbie’s responsibility as lay EFT practitioners, does not adequately stress the call for personal development.  The detriment of EFT in the hands of a skilled technician producing results without having taken responsibility for their own inner work is a topic that a sound EFT community cannot afford to ignore.

Properly done, but in the right hands, “EFT can frequently reduce the therapeutic process from months or years down to hours or minutes.”  

What indeed is the literal meaning of “the right hands”?  

The use of EFT is encouraged and available to Licensed Professionals and Lay Persons alike with few requirements, other than acquiring the necessary technical skills.  “Why deny the lay public access to these procedures? Even in the hands of relatively proficient newcomers, The Basic Recipe produces effective results about 80% of the time.” (EFT Manual)  Due to EFT’s good nature just about anyone can acquire the skills and produce rapid or even impressive results.

Herein lies the lure.

These impressive results provided by a lay person without substantial personal development, self-introspection and needed supervision run certain risks and can lead to confusion, opportunism and possible client abuse:

Emotionally immature or technically proficient practitioners can overestimate their power and competence leading to unhealthy consequences and the misrepresentation of both themselves and the true powers of EFT.  They can avoid resolving their own problems because of the “feel good effect” and self inflation these seductive and sometimes easily attainable results can produce, not to mention monetary gains for these services.  

They may also be facilitating incomplete processes misleading both themselves and the vulnerable paying client who is unable to make the distinction between an improvement and the true healing a sound EFT practitioner can offer. To guide a quality and integrative EFT procedure, a practitioner requires a high degree of emotional presence, integrity and self care.  

Perhaps more so with EFT than other holistic modalities:

We are NEVER done with our own issues. 

As an EFT practitioner, unhealed parts, or unresolved emotional issues are often triggered when working with clients.  At times this is not even recognized by a lay practitioner who lacks introspection and can project their triggered unresolved emotions onto a vulnerable client.

For example, I once annoyingly objected to a practitioner’s continuous re-scheduling of appointments.I was then bombarded by a series of emails venting anger regarding the implied fact that her boundaries were collapsed.  She justified the re-scheduling with “I have to help as many people as I can.”  During the next session she told meshe felt my intense fear of her.  Other than my discomfort from the July heat in a “clinic” without A.C., I had none of the mentioned fear.  Part-way through the session she coercively silenced me and proceeded to dominate the session while I repeated her imposed thoughts and feelings.

When reframing and effecting cognitive shifts, can a skilled, though emotionally immature, lay person actually get themselves out of the way? – guiding a client into a shift of consciousness and reprogramming a beneficial perception, without the risk of the practitioner entrenching their own personal, emotional, cultural or religious world views.  This can imply conditioning, brainwashing or client manipulation.  

Here I add that fully-fledged licensed EFT professionals who adhere to the lore of metaphysical & esoteric teachings and use these teachings in their EFT practices to produce cognitive shifts, reframes or identity changes, without the client’s informed consent and awareness of the practitioner’s spiritual persuasion, are dabbling in a subtle form of indoctrination to these beliefs and teachings.

In my unfortunate experience, an un-evolved lay EFT’er afflicted with compulsive helping, rescuing and co-dependency issues, can damage clients who suffer, by indulging in their “good intentions” and actually compound the specific emotional issue that clients come to them to resolve.

After several sessions, the practitioner skillfully helped me release severe knee pain saving me a total knee operation.  I was ecstatic.  The practitioner then engaged in the exact same invasive relationship which was the initial cause of my knee pain.  I was overwhelmed by her overtures; her request for my friendship, numerous phone calls, she broke another client’s confidentiality, provided unsolicited advice and requested that I write an article on her successful outcomes, “to help her find her place in the EFT community.”  Not only did such familiarity breed contempt, but the underlying emotional pattern of exposing myself to the will of deceptive and intrusive individuals was consolidated rather than resolved – The operation was successful but the patient died.

Results are not to be confused with healing, personality integration and transformational processes that a well integrated and emotionally-present EFT practitioner can facilitate.

Client abuse is the misuse of power or the betrayal of trust or respect in a would-be therapeutic relationship.  Clients seldom report abusive therapists – as it is strangely difficult to identify the relevant professional body.  Many abused clients blame themselves, and the practitioner lacking self introspection can project their shame for lack of ethics onto the client.

5 months after I had dismissed and no longer interacted with this questionable practitioner, I received a long email telling me how “cruel and undeveloped” I was and by considering the process a failure, I was belittling myself not her.  She then blamed me for abusing her “kindness and love” by rationalizing her collapsed boundaries, with that she’d successfully applied EFT on her friends and somehow I fell into that category.  Nonetheless, I was a paying client.  The guilt trip and attempt to shame me confused me initially until I clearly recognized that it is a practitioner’s ethical obligation and responsibility to set the tone and establish safe boundaries, not create undue dependence or professional co-dependence nor blame clients for their shortcomings.

What didn’t kill me certainly made me stronger and I fortunately found a responsible EFT practitioner who is able to facilitate a genuine integrative healing process.  Quality EFT depends on the inner qualities of the practitioner more than his or her technical skills – “the medium is the message.”  

It is imperative for Lay practitioners to recognize the ethical obligation and uncompromising responsibility when trying it on everything, to try EFT first and foremost on ourselves with a responsible practitioner to reach a measure of emotional freedom.  

Only then, can we be of genuine service to clients, since we cannot guide another to emotional freedom if we ourselves have not yet tread that path.  We can’t offer what we don’t have and yes, we ultimately teach and heal by personal example.