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Articles & Ideas


Why do we sometimes avoid tapping?

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Did you ever notice how, under some circumstances, we don't tap EVEN WHEN WE KNOW WE SHOULD? Dr. Catherine Saltzman, an author of several books and an EFT Practitioner with many years experience, provides an insightful look at this problem and points to "Age Capacities" as the cause. This article will expand your understanding of this phenomenon and thus enhance your abilities with EFT.

By Dr. Catherine Saltzman, N.D.

Dear Gary,

I would like to share something that I learned in my professional practice of EFT.

Like other practitioners, I experience times when I am in an emotional response and am unwilling and/or seemingly unable to tap.

Based on another technique that I used years ago for emotional healing, I hit upon what I think is one reason behind the resistance to tapping. I refer to it as "Age Capacities."

As we live our lives and play our various roles, we experience different emotional "Age Capacities." Age Capacity simply means that at any one time we are functioning emotionally at a certain age. A lowered Age Capacity -- that taking over of the mind by a subconscious program -- alters our consciousness and changes our perspective as well as our emotional capabilities and our decision-making process. We find ourselves behaving in ways that are clearly over-reactive, over-emotional, and related to victim/victimizer perspectives.

Most people take it for granted that they are always operating out of present-time Age Capacity. We think we are mature and capable of handling whatever arises out of our present age maturity. However, if a woman experienced trauma at age 5 -- related to father, let's say -- she will still automatically go back to that age emotionally when in relationship with him, especially under circumstances that resonate with the original trauma. The subconscious mind is still trying to get the trauma resolved. The subconscious may also throw her into a lower Age Capacity, perhaps in an intimate relationship that triggers the father issue.

When functioning as a parent, we may be at current emotional Age Capacity, but as a spouse in an intimate relationship, we may be only at Age Capacity 5, especially if our spouse behaves in triggering ways. As an employee, we may be at current Age Capacity, but as the grown child of a parent, we may be at Age Capacity 3 when hearing criticism from them.

As we go through our day, we can experience ourselves as mature beings, capable and in control, and suddenly we can experience ourselves feeling something very different. We may get triggered by a comment, event, or situation and thus feel more helpless than capable ... or we overreact. Later, when thinking about our reaction, we are puzzled. We find ourselves apologizing. This can typically happen when we are with our parents, even as adults. Parents can trigger responses that we thought we had outgrown or that embarrass or frustrate us. This happens because we suddenly go from a current Age Capacity to a much younger Age Capacity.

In this altered and immature state, the concept of tapping is irrelevant or foreign. That 5 year old Age Capacity is not at all interested in tapping. He or she believes that whatever is happening is REAL, it is in real time, even if the triggering event happened 50 years ago. Since it appears REAL and not fixable, the child does not consider tapping it away. We tap on that which no longer serves us, of course but reality is real and can't be tapped away .... at least so we think.

A young child just doesn't have many options. That it is part of what can make childhood such a nightmare. As adults, we have options and choices, but as children we don't. And the younger the child, the more intense this "no choice" position is. And it is real. For example, a 4 year old can't say to Daddy, "You touch me like that again and I'll call the police." Or to mommy, "I broke my favorite toy and if you won't buy me a new one, I'll just run downtown and get another one for myself." The child is stuck with things as they are.

I find a client's Age Capacity through muscle testing using myself as a surrogate. A practitioner could use intuition or whatever tool they use to know what they know. I explain to the client what Age Capacity means and alert them to the possibility that when they are tapping on their own, they might find that they do not want to tap and it might be because they are at a much lower age emotionally, where they can't get the value of tapping. Why would you tap on something where you think, albeit erroneously, that you have no choice to improve?

I teach my clients to recognize the typical feelings of a lowered Age Capacity - shame, grief, helplessness, hopelessness, anger or rage - and to recognize that they will probably resist or forget tapping. By getting into the habit of considering Age Capacity during an emotional incident, they begin to remember tapping and be more willing to do it. Then they might say, "Even though I am at age five emotionally right now, and I feel this shame, I deeply and completely accept myself and my five year old."

Once we have recognized a lowered Age Capacity, we have changed perception. We can suddenly observe the child and understand that a very young child is controlling our view of reality. We can then more easily choose to tap.

We all know that deep traumas often go to childhood, but this Age Capacity concept has really brought it home for me and my clients.

Hope this is helpful.

My best regards,

Dr. Catherine Saltzman


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