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Articles & Ideas

Being Specific

Two cases: (1) Being Specific and (2) Being General

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Note: This article assumes you have a working knowledge of EFT. Newcomers can still learn from it but are advised to peruse our Free Gold Standard (Official) EFT Tutorial™ for a more complete understanding.

Hi Everyone,

While I typically aim EFT at specific events underlying the client's issue, there are times when being general does the job nicely. Helen Bressler of the UK displays each approach in her article and gives her perspectives on the process.

Hugs, Gary

By Helen P Bressler

Many of us know the benefit of using specifics with EFT. In my own practice swift resolution of the problem and even revelation and dissolution of core issues have been frequent occurrences when getting specific. However, there are exceptions to every precept. To illustrate this point I have written two examples. The first is an example of using specifics to get specific and how this can lead very quickly to the discovery and dissolution of core issues.

The second is an illustration of relief by using a generality.

Ultimately these examples (1) demonstrate the versatility of EFT, (2) are a reminder that the more we know, the more there is to discover (as Gary has himself said 'we are on the ground floor of a healing high rise'), and (3) exemplify the tenet 'use it on everything'.

Example 1: Using specifics to get specific:

One of my clients had come to me with depression linked to the workplace. 'Susie' is a support worker with adults who have various learning disabilities. She had recently been feeling sad and despondent about going to a job she had once loved. Susie explained that she no longer enjoyed going into work as she felt she was not experiencing the satisfaction and enjoyment she once had. She was wondering whether it was time to move on.

We first talked about this last consideration and whilst I explained that we would look at the issues around Susie's job, I was explicit that the release of the work related issues were in no way an indication that she would have to stay there. I want to make a point here that there appears to be a popular belief that if an issue is resolved within a situation (the work place or a relationship for example) that it means the person(s) involved should stay within the situation as it no longer causes distress. My perception is that once the stressor is removed the person involved is more able to have clarity. Inherently the individual knows if they want to remain or whether it is right for them to move on.

Susie explained that she had been feeling frustrated by other members of the staff. Her explanation was quickly flitting from one member to another and between situations. As she was speaking I was making note of her language, intonations and body language and stopped her at one particularly charged event (her voice at this point had become emotional, her hands more expressive). I asked Susie to recall the event in detail.

She reported that one evening she had been giving care to a young man with a PEG (a device that goes into the stomach by which a person can then be fed directly). She states that she had taken down the dressing which had covered the new device only to find the area in need of attention. Susie was not a nurse and in the work area there were no nurses to call upon for advice.

Susie was visibly agitated when recalling the situation and so I asked her to stop at this point. Susie reported a level of intensity of 4 on a scale of 0 to 10. When I asked Susie to recall what she was feeling as she took down at the dressing she replied 'anxious at not knowing what to do'. We tapped on Susie's anxiety at being faced with a situation outside of her usual remit. We tapped:

Even though I did not know what to do when I removed (client's name) dressing, I deeply and completed love and accept myself. I forgive myself for not knowing what to do. 

This anxiety … feeling flustered … not knowing what to do … not knowing how to deal with this … feeling like a failure for not knowing how to deal with this … just wanting to have a nice shift … not wanting to have to deal with this … annoyance at having to deal with this … not feeling able to deal with this

We tapped for three rounds using the above. Susie's level of intensity dropped to 0 out of 10 when suddenly I intuitively felt a rise to about an 8 with the last statement. I asked Susie if there had been an event where she had felt unable to do something, that particularly stood out. Susie abruptly stated 'Yes! An interview I had recently.'

Susie divulged that she had been to an interview for part-time work with children with learning needs and she had thought this would be an enjoyable adjunct to her current employment. When in the interview she learned that she would have to sit in a classroom with children and to aid them with their schooling. She stated she had realised then and there that she would never be able to do that. She believed that she was not bright enough to aid the children in this way.

Even though I didn't feel bright enough to do the job…

We tapped on the same points, omitting the under arm and adding the top of the head at the end of the round (this was intuitive and the session was moving at a rapid pace).

Phrases: not being bright enough … feeling stupid … not feeling good enough … not being bright enough … feeling stupid … not being good enough … I couldn't do that job … I am too stupid to do that job … having nothing to offer those kids

Susie's level of intensity was a zero by the end of the third round. We then used a positive statement as used with the Choices Method:

I choose to recognise and accept that I am a smart and able woman.

I choose to recognise I am smart

I choose to accept I am smart

I choose to recognise I have the skills to do whatever work I choose

I choose to accept I have the skills to do whatever work I choose

I choose to recognise I am able to assist others whether at home or in the classroom

I choose to accept I am able to assist others whether at home or in the classroom

I choose to recognise that I am a smart and able woman

I choose to accept my old ideas about myself no longer serve me and to move on

I choose believe in my abilities and intelligence

After one round I considered leading Susie through the third stage of the Choices Method, yet intuitively knew release of the issues raised at the interview had been completed; the shift in energy had been tangible.

Susie continued relating her story and again we stopped at a charged scene. Susie had decided to call her superior, 'Heather', to ask for advice. Heather had tersely told Susie to 'just clean and redress the area'. I asked Susie to describe how she had felt immediately before making the call. Susie felt she had no choice than to ask for help. When asked how Susie felt during the call, her reply was that she was shocked by Heather's manner. This had left Susie feeling unsupported; 'I was left alone to get on with a job I did not feel too comfortable about'. Her level of intensity was at a 6 on a scale of 0 to 10.

Even though I did not feel supported…

This lack of support … feeling abandoned … not feeling supported … no one was prepared to help me … left alone to get on with the situation … total lack of support … not being supported … being left alone … no one prepared to help me

Second round:  Being left alone … this anger for being unsupported … This anger at Heather (her level of intensity rose to 8 or 9) … I am furious at Heather … Heather could have helped but she chose not to … perhaps Heather had no idea what to do either … perhaps Heather had no idea what to tell me … perhaps Heather was so brusque because she felt helpless (level of intensity now at 2-3) … I forgive myself for feeling the way I did (back to karate chop point) I forgive Heather for acting the way she did (level of intensity drop to 0)

Intuitively I asked Susie to perform another set-up: 

Even though I felt total lack of control with the situation... And I forgive myself and any other involved.

This lack of control … having no control over the situation … I did not feel in control over the situation … I did not feel in control of (client's name) needs … not being in control of the situation … not feeling in control … feeling I needed to be in control … needing to control the situation so it is not stressful … needing to be in control to deal effectively with (client's name) situation … needing to control other's responses and actions … I forgive myself and any other involved

'That's it', she exclaimed, 'it's all gone'. Susie now reported that she had no anger at Heather, nor disappointment in herself. At my request she reviewed the scene. There was no charge. Susie had called the one other colleague in the building to aid her with the dressing. She was given help and the client's needs had been addressed. Although the other members of staff had been on a break, Susie had no reaction to this fact; she said her feelings of being unsupported had vanished. Susie finished up by reporting that she had felt she had needed to control the environment at work; that she had felt she needed to do 'everything by herself to get the work done'.

She was now laughing at the ridiculous task she had set herself and was relishing the lightness about the workplace that she was now feeling. I finished by asking Susie when the control issue at work first began.

Apparently this had been soon after the interview! Interestingly Susie told me that she had actually had control issues for years and had also felt unsupported for as long as she could remember. When I asked her to take me to any specific examples in her past regarding the need to control or when she had felt abandoned or unsupported, she literally could not remember any.

She sat in front of me with a huge smile. 'It's like I've gone blank', she said 'I just have no recollection'. She reported that she felt 'as light as a feather'.

A few days later I received a text from Susie on her way to work: 'I feel great about going in and am enjoying the work and people again.'

So by using the Movie Technique to replay the event and stop and tap when her level of intensity increased, we were able to address Susie's feelings of helplessness with the specific situation at work. This then lead to the (causative?) issue, illustrated by the interview scenario, of low self-esteem (not feeling good enough, not believing in herself, not feeling bright nor able enough). By carrying on with the 'Movie', we then were able to address the frustration and anger felt with the idea of being unsupported. Finally we were able to deal with a control issue, which Susie had been struggling with in general at work since the interview. Core issues of feeling unsupported and having to have control (often closely linked) appear to have been resolved in the process.

This session increased its momentum exponentially and I found myself intuitively tapping out of sequence. I also intuitively knew when her 0-10 intensity was raised and when it had dropped. I also found that I had known what to say. There was definitely a crucial point when my intuition was linked with Susie's and we had literally stepped out of the way to get the job done. It felt to both of us that some big old trees were felled in that one session, perhaps without our conscious awareness.

Example Two: Relief using a generalisation.

About a year ago I met 'Joelle' at my local university who, during a casual conversation a group of us were having, mentioned she had suffered for years from severe headaches. Her headaches were disabling and averaged about once a week. As I was about to head back into the lecture theatre and Joelle was not someone I bumped into frequently, if at all, I decided to spend the minute or so I had remaining in addressing her issue. Joelle was skeptical but willing to give EFT a try (I must mention here that she was not experiencing any discomfort at this moment in time).

Following my direction Joelle rubbed on her sore spot whilst saying: Even though I suffer from headaches...

We then tapped on all the points stating only 'these headaches'. Joelle also followed my direction in going through the 9-gamut sequence. As it was now time for me to go I gave Joelle my card telling her to feel free to contact me should she wish to. We had completed one full round including the 9-gamut.

I had completely forgotten about the incident when about 3-4 months ago I received an email from Joelle stating she had not experienced any headaches since our chance meeting and the very brief introduction to EFT. She stated she had done 'nothing differently' and was not on any prophylactic medications; neither had she attempted any EFT since that one time in the university cafe. She also stated that she had not experienced any significant changes to lifestyle or situation; thus she could think of no reason for the absence of headaches other than the EFT.

In my first example I highlighted the issues that can occur with getting specific, namely the revelation and release of core issues which are usually responsible for the distress. From my experience and that reported by many fellow EFT practitioners, including Gary, specifics are often key in finding and addressing these core issues.

Yet in this example the most brief and general EFT session seems to have been the curative factor for an individual's frequent and longstanding discomfort. Whilst I remain appreciative of the value of specifics, the versatility and effectiveness of EFT reminds me that we are, as Gary would say 'on the ground floor of a healing high rise'; an exciting prospect indeed.


Helen P Bressler


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