One of the most appealing features of EFT, besides the fact that it works so well and quickly, is that it is relatively inexpensive, if not free. For a lot of people — the do-it-yourself element is what brings them in the door. Therapy can be a luxury that many people can’t afford. So why pay a professional if it is so simple that anyone can do it?
Good question. And here’s my answer:
EFT is a wonderful self soothing tool and, used in the moment of upset, does calm the body down and give immediate relief. Think of it as fabulous first aid. But first aid is not where you want to stop. It doesn’t mean you don’t go to the doctor or hospital if needed. Scraped knees will heal very well, thank you, with a good cleansing and bandaid. And a kiss.
But most of the problems that bring people to professionals are chronic conditions. Unlike fresh wounds — they have been festering for a while. And (sticking with this metaphor ) many times the wounds are on your backside — where you can’t see or get to them.
The points I’m making are:
- The problem may be (unless you’re an infant) a little bigger/deeper than it’s latest appearance in your life. You want to treat the cause and not just the symptom.
- Many times the distress you’re experiencing is embedded with early inaccessible memories, defenses, denial, limiting beliefs, and years and years of re-enforcement that hold it in place. It’s very hard for the person who’s experiencing this to have the detachment and courage and hope that’s needed to persist.
- Most chronic patterns of distress include feeling helpless and alone. Many include self blame and other unhelpful attitudes towards oneself. Many include a deep down feeling of danger.
What we have learned about trauma is this:
- We are in some way unprepared for what happens — it shocks/surprises/overwhelms us
- We feel unsafe or in danger
- We don’t have the information/ skills/strength/resources to deal with it
- We feel alone or (if with others) unprotected.
This, of course, applies to situations like accidents, abuse, natural disaster, war trauma and other “biggies” that we would label trauma. But now a number of people are saying that there’s a spectrum — there are smaller things that happen to us and have all the elements of the usual things that people think of as traumatic. There’s TRAUMA and then there’s trauma. Some experts are saying (and I agree) that the younger you are — the more vulnerable you are to ordinary events that can indeed traumatize you even if someone older could and would slough that off as nothing to be upset about. Therapists that specialize in working with war veterans have noticed that most of the severely affected men and women are ones that had earlier trauma that predisposed them to the later events in war. It all adds up.
An experienced EFTer can provide the necessary safety to go revisit that trauma or TRAUMA. Having worked diligently on her own stuff for years, she’ll be on land throwing the life preserver, directing you to the nearest shore, showing you how to dog paddle, handing you the towel as you emerge — instead of jumping in the lake and drowning with you. (Forgive me, I do love metaphors.) When you are bogged down in your distress — you need someone to be calm and reassuring. You will get through this.
Specifically (what founder Gary Craig calls “the art of delivery”) — we do detective work — ask questions about earlier events — other feelings attached to the presenting problem. When stuck, we prod and encourage you to look under the hood. If overwhelmed — we bring you back to the safe present. It’s a balancing act of paying attention to the distress but not getting lost in it. And of course, we keep you tapping on whatever is coming up. We are the note-takers. You are free to feel and explore and we record where you’ve been so that at the end of the session you can see how far you’ve come.
And, perhaps most essential of all, we hold you in high regard as you dare to dip into all those bad feelings in (and about) yourself.
Having said all this — am I warning you away from trying out tapping by yourself? Absolutely not! I do it all the time and have ever since I learned it oh so many years ago. Most sessions with practitioners end with tapping homework to do on your own. What I am saying is — consider getting some expert help:
- If you’ve tried tapping and it doesn’t seem to work
- If it’s worked for other things but somehow it doesn’t work on this one particular problem
- If it seems overwhelming and impossible and that’s just how you are (or it is)
- If it’s a relationship problem and #%$&! you’re right!
- If it’s trauma based and it doesn’t feel safe to go it alone — it probably isn’t.
- If you’re perfectly capable and always do it yourself, but, gosh, wouldn’t it be wonderful to get some help for a change.