Official EFT Tutorial

PART III - Advanced: Additional Tapping Tools & Refinements

Testing The Tabletop

Now that you are equipped with an assortment of powerful Testing Methods, we can explore ways to apply those to Tabletops, which are the global or presenting issues that the clients really want to resolve.

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Clients rarely appear in the office wanting resolution on a Specific Event. Instead, they have a more global issue that needs attention, like a relationship, a performance issue, a challenge losing weight, or social discomfort, just as a few examples. While EFT is most effective when we can resolve the contributing events, we also want to show the clients (and ourselves) whether or not the event we chose to address made a difference for the issue they presented.

The challenge

The challenge with a more global issue, as you may already know, is that there are so many events and aspects involved in the issue that it is hard to know what a 0-10 report is actually measuring. If it starts at an 8, then you do some tapping, go back to the presenting issue and it’s still an 8, what does that mean? To a client, it means that this unusual tapping method doesn’t seem to work at all. To us, it means that you probably made a small difference in a very big pile of aspects that will be difficult to see with the measurements you used. The solution is to find better ways to measure the presenting issue.

The main goal is to be sure you are measuring
the SAME thing before and after your tapping session.

Truly effective EFT is quite methodical in nature, so even though we are dealing with humans and very slippery emotional issues, there are ways to be more objective with the measurements.

The first step is to recognize how slippery global issues can be. Imagine the enormous pile of childhood events, high school humiliations, and other social rejections that might be contributing to a current marriage problem. There may be a handful of different behaviors that might leave one spouse upset with the other, like she’s always late, she likes to keep piles of paper in the kitchen, and she doesn’t listen when he’s talking.

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Usually, the client will lump it
all into one basket

Usually, the client will lump it all into one basket and say something like “my wife drives me nuts.” If you ask for a 0-10 rating, to which he reports a current level of 6, we have no idea if all of those parts are currently triggered. Maybe he is only reporting on the most recent problem, or the most important problem, or some combination of them all. Let’s say that you accept the 6 as the “intensity of his issue” and proceed by tapping through an event from high school when kids were ignoring him, which is clearly related to his complaint about her failure to listen. The intensity from the one event is gone, and you ask how intense the “issue” now feels to him. If he reports another 6, it will be hard to argue that you have made any progress at all. If he reports an 8, the original 6 may have been on the listening complaint, but the 8 is now based on her habit of being late, but all you have at this point is the 6 and the 8. If he reports a 3 or 4 which suggests some relief, but then gets home and the issue skyrockets because she’s late again, how do we convince him that the process is working? With so many aspects in the pile, the 0-10 report is simply not enough on its own.

Obviously, a little extra conversation will go a long way toward being more specific and identifying some individual pieces of the issue, so start there. Once you can identify 3-5 more specific elements of the issue or ways it is usually triggered, getting a 0-10 on each of those is a logical next step. It may also be helpful to ask if there is a physical sensation or a particular emotion connected to each of those specific parts. Continuing with the relationship example:

  • “She’s always late” may bring up anger and some tension in the forehead with an intensity of 6 for both.
  • “She likes to keep piles of paper in the kitchen” may bring up a feeling of being crowded and some nausea in the stomach at a 5.
  • “She doesn’t listen when I’m talking” might trigger fear and a pounding in the chest at an 8.

The EFT Personal Peace Procedure

From there you can start The EFT Personal Peace Procedure list on events from the past that might be contributing to his responses. When you choose to address the event in which the kids were ignoring him, you will both be aware that this is connected to the listening complaint. Once you have cleared the intensity from that event, you would expect to see some progress on the listening complaint, but you may also see progress on the others as a bonus, so re-measure them all before and after each session.

Keep in mind that even when the emotional intensity isn’t moving, the related physical sensation can change or move which indicates some progress that you might not otherwise recognize. You might also notice that if the “piles of paper in the kitchen” somehow vanish as a concern, a new trigger might show up, also indicating some shift on the issue overall. Add the new one to the list but keep measuring the “piles of paper” for continued reference. Any change is good in this process, and the more ways you have to recognize change, the better.

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Can you see that by taking these extra steps it is quite easy to monitor progress on an issue in a fairly objective way? And if you had not, how the issue can be overwhelming and seem elusive?

If so, let’s move on!

Incorporating Testing Methods

When evaluating your success on a presenting issue, using a real situation is ideal because it tends to trigger any remaining Aspects most effectively. However, there will be plenty of cases in which using a real situation is not realistic, so approximating that real situation as closely as possible will be helpful when you have to stay in the office. In fact, that’s what the Testing Methods are designed to do – re-create a real situation as accurately as possible.

We have already discussed breaking the issue into several parts and then measuring each one in a few different ways. However, there is one more factor to consider. The intensity for each part may be at some polite or detached lower level as they describe it to you, but then become quite a bit higher as you tap through an event or peel layers away from the issue. These fluctuations in intensity would not accurately represent the process, so it would be better to trigger the issue, or parts thereof, and then take your measurements.

Again, continuing with the example, when you are getting your before measurement on “she’s always late” you could trigger it by asking your client to remember the most recent time or maybe the most upsetting time that she was late. Be sure he has only one scene in his mind so that when you ask him to do the same at the end of the session, he can visualize the same scene, not a different one. This should connect him solidly to his intensity so from there ask for the emotion, the physical sensation and the 0-10 rating. If you can trigger it the same way before and after the session then the 0-10 intensities will be more meaningful.

It’s a good practice to ask the client what it would take to get wound up about the issue while they’re sitting in your office. What would it take to trigger the issue or that part of the issue?

You may find that using a visual is also effective in triggering the intensity on the “piles of paper in the kitchen.” However, for the listening issue, maybe there is a phrase that she says like “not now” that really gets him upset.  You could try a "Say This..." phrase where he says “not now” to trigger additional intensity, or you could Role Play it as though you are the wife. Once the issue is triggered, then you can move on to the measuring the emotion and physical sensation for that element.

There are plenty of ways to use the Testing Methods in this capacity. The most important feature is that you create the ability to test the issue exactly the same way after the session and obtain an objective reading on progress.

Obviously if you are a mental health professional dealing with highly traumatic issues or events, you would want to use caution with additional triggers. We do have tools for minimizing emotional pain and when those are appropriate, additional testing methods generally are not. In those cases, we suggest waiting until the issue seems resolved before breaking out the big testing guns. On the other hand, these skills will come in handy with the clients who have a hard time feeling their intensity.  In any case, it is still useful to break the presenting issue into different parts for more objective measurement.

Other Common Examples

For performance issues, the problem is usually related to an upcoming event in the future in which the client wants to perform well. New EFT Practitioners might hear “event” and say “let’s tap on the future event” but it’s actually more effective to use that as a test and then work with an actual experience in the past that led to the current response. Once the upcoming performance arrives that will be a great real situation test to see if there are additional aspects to address.

Meanwhile, have the client imagine the future performance and identify a few, more specific parts of it to measure as described above. Then address related events from the past as usual, and test your work by going back to that same visualization of the future to see if the responses are subsiding.

Something like depression or anxiety would be more difficult because those terms are so vague. Using depression as an example, have some more discussion about what triggers it, what more specific emotions come up, or what are a few things that the client is depressed about? Maybe criticism is especially difficult, or being in a crowd, or watching a particular kind of movie. Maybe depression feels like rejection, defeat, and disconnection, and maybe each of those feelings are triggered differently. If you can identify any current situations that seem to trigger parts of the depression, you can test those with visualizations, role play, props or whatever you can for a more objective measurement. Then address related events from the past, and re-trigger and re-measure the parts of the issue for progress as you clear the events.

Claustrophobia or other related fears can usually be tested with a real situation. In the office, you can use a visualization (like a recent airplane ride), or prop (like wrapping them in a blanket), or you might ask them to try sitting in a closet or the elevator. Address new Aspects as they come up and when the intensity seems to be gone, try it with their real life triggers.

For smoking or other cravings, it’s helpful to have the “substance” on hand at the office and test the strength of the craving in between events that you address. For the record we are not endorsing the possession of illegal drugs for the sake of testing and if the client has moved from craving to addiction, they will probably need more than EFT for proper care.

For any kind of social discomfort, it is also valuable to identify situations that tend to be troublesome, like crowded bars, dinner parties, the office lunchroom, or talking to strangers. Ask the client to create a visual of each uncomfortable situation to trigger the issue and then measure emotions and physical sensations.

Many people coming in for help with an issue will have a current event that they want resolved, like a fight with a spouse, frustration with a teenager, or some confrontation at the office. As a skilled EFT professional, you know in advance that this event is likely to be connected to decades of history, so use the current event as the trigger for the issue. Find a handful of ways to measure it, and then find a related event in the past by asking the client, “have you ever felt this way before? Or does this remind you of anything that happened in the past?“

Once you have chosen and cleared an event from the past, re-measure all the parts of the current event and expect the intensity to be more manageable. Chances are that you will have to address a few events from the past before this current event is no longer a problem, but the results will be more permanent and the client will be less likely to have a reaction like this in the future.

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Ask the question, “How will you
know if we made progress?”

If all of these wonderful Testing Methods are failing you, one final question that can be useful is “how will you know if we made progress?” 

Usually, the client knows what progress will look like or feel like but may never have considered it in these terms before. The answer will be something like “well, if I no longer had this issue I would be able to _________” and there is your test. Ask them to visualize doing __________ and see what kind of resistance comes up. Address related events and keep testing until they can actually do __________ in a real situation.

If that question stumps your client, then flip it upside down and ask “how do you know there is an issue?”

When they say something like “well, I can’t do _________ or I feel really uncomfortable with ___________”, whatever they say should connect to situations in their life that trigger the issue.  Once you have those you’ll be off and running.

Remember, failing to test the issue properly is one of the biggest mistakes made by EFT practitioners. Aspects get missed, results are temporary, and issues come back. Gold Standard EFT requires diligence in finding and clearing Aspects, so solid testing is a must. Your clients will thank you for the extra effort.


In this article, you learned how to apply Testing Methods to your clients' tabletops or presenting issues.

  • Testing the Tabletop is a valuable part of the EFT process. It helps ensures issue is improving.
  • It is difficult to test emotional issues in an objective way because they can be very slippery.
  • The main goal is to measure the same thing before and after each session.
  • Tabletops are global so break them into smaller parts for testing.
  • Use Testing Methods to trigger the parts of the issue before measuring them.
  • For each part, measure an emotional response as well as a physical sensation.
  • Address a related event from the past, then remeasure the parts of the issue in the same way.


© Gary and Tina Craig
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