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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I handle the "Big One?"

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated. Please use my newest advancement, Optimal EFT. It is more efficient, more powerful and clearly explained in my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™.  Best wishes, Gary

How do I handle the "Big One?"

Sometimes a client has an issue that is so overwhelming that, to them, it is beyond help. It's the "Big One" they don't want to touch. It may be a major form of guilt they don't want to face or a trauma they don't want to revisit. Whatever it is, they "don't want to go there" and often won't even mention it to their therapist for fear the therapist will try to drag them through it.

Often they learn to dull the pain or sweep it under the rug. But it seethes under the surface anyway influencing their thoughts, their responses and their everyday lives. It represents pain. It's like walking on thorns. They would rather retain their less-than-truly-functional lives than come face to face with this issue. Their lives would be better, they hope, if they just addressed life's minor irritations and left the "Big One" alone.

Fortunately, we have a method with EFT whereby we can tip toe up to the issue, circle around it, take the edge off and gradually spiral in closer until that festering boil is skillfully lanced. All this with minimal pain. The concept is simple but it may take some practice before the practitioner can claim mastery.

It starts with a very general approach. I suggest asking the client to say....

"The Big One"

and then have them rank their 0-10 intensity regarding the mere mention of the issue. They will probably give a high number. Ask them to also rank their 0-10 intensity regarding any current physical symptoms (such as a pounding heart, sweating, constricted throat, etc.) Then use EFT in a general way to help take the edge off.

"Even though I have discomfort about this issue....."

"Even though this thing seems too big for me....."

"Even though just thinking about it bothers me...."

"Even though my heart is pounding...."

"Even though (other physical symptoms)...."

The details of the issue are ignored for now because the main purpose here is to minimize pain by taking the edge off. We are purposely sneaking up on the problem with gentleness as our goal. Do several rounds of EFT in this more general way until you see signs of relaxation. That tell-tale "sigh" that I point out in our videotapes is a good clue. Then ask them to say again....

"The Big One"

and ask them to re-rank their 0-10 intensities on this statement. Chances are their emotional responses will be lower and their 0-10 ranking of the physical symptoms will likely be down as well. Keep repeating this procedure until it seems appropriate to ask...

"Is there any part of this issue that you could talk about comfortably?"

When they are able to discuss at least a part of the issue, you have opened the door. From there, it is simply a matter of getting more and more detailed. Take some of the edge off, get more detailed. Take some of the edge off, get more detailed. Take some of the edge off, get more detailed.

The client may experience some emotional discomfort in the process. After all, this IS the "Big One." But, in my experience, it is much less than it might have been AND this is probably the last time they will have any such discomfort (if they have any at all). Assuming our usual degree of success, they can now walk on velvet instead of thorns.

There are other procedures you can use to ease into the "Big One." For example, the "6 Days at the VA" tape contained within our EFT Course displays what I call "the movie technique" wherein the client tells the story as though it was a movie and stops at any point of intensity to apply EFT. Another example is described elsewhere on this web site. It is called the Tearless Trauma Technique.

These abilities to apply EFT with minimal pain are among the many features that set it apart from conventional techniques. Why would someone use "Flooding" or other exposure techniques when true relief is so readily accessible on such a relatively gentle basis?


Explore our newest advancement, Optimal EFT™, by reading my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™. More efficient. More powerful.