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Articles & Ideas


The Emotional Scale in EFT Practice

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Christine Sutton and Philip Davis from the UK have designed an "Emotional Scale" that readers may find useful. They say, "We thought you might be interested in our recent experiences with applying the Emotional Scale to EFT practice. We have found that it is a really great way of highlighting to clients just how far they have come along the healing pathway during one healing session or over the course of several healing sessions."

Hugs, Gary

By Christine Sutton and Philip Davis

Hi Gary,

We thought you might be interested in our recent experiences with applying the Emotional Scale to EFT practice. We have found that it is a really great way of highlighting to clients just how far they have come along the healing pathway during one healing session or over the course of several healing sessions. It has become a regular, extra method of testing in our practice. It is also a great tool to aid empowerment of the client.


In our work with clients and students we have often found ourselves trying to summarise what EFT does in a general sense. These are some of the phrases that we have come up with:

  • EFT identifies the place(s) in a lifetime where the love is perceived to have gone missing and offers the possibility of alternative perceptions.
  • EFT identifies the “writing on the walls” which is responsible for the emergence of an issue and re-evaluates it for current truth and acceptability.
  • EFT works with both the emotional and physical manifestations of problems.
  • EFT neutralises over-reactions at both the emotional and physical levels.
  • EFT helps people to recognise the significance of their emotional and physical reactions.
  • EFT helps people to respond more consciously to the emotional and physical manifestations of their issues, rather than experiencing an unreasoned reaction.
  • EFT guides people towards acknowledgment, acceptance, understanding and eventually forgiveness of the circumstances and people involved in setting up their issues - including themselves.
  • EFT helps people to move towards their place of personal peace.
  • Another and much simpler way of saying all of this is that we are aiming to help our clients and ourselves to “feel better”.

“Feeling Better”:
Usually after treatment a client recognises easily that they have shifted to a better place either emotionally or physically.  However sometimes, even with frequent testing, clients find it difficult to recognise consciously all that they have achieved.

This is particularly true for complex issues because once a particular issue or aspect is cleared they shift immediately onto the next one in line.  The emotions associated with that one can mask the resolution already attained.  From their perspective they still feel “Bad” – albeit a different bad from when they walked in the door.  Sometimes no amount of reassurance helps and the client can become disillusioned and may refuse further treatment.

Also, sometimes after applying EFT treatment to an issue, clients will literally forget that it was ever a problem.  This is the Apex Effect and it can be frustrating for the EFT practitioner because the client does not seem to realise what has happened.  They may have begun the session in deep emotional distress and by the end cannot even think about the issue and may say that it was never a problem at all.  Despite the practitioner’s best efforts at reminding them of the clearance that has occurred the client may go away thinking that EFT is ok but it didn’t really do much.

What is needed in both of these cases is a way of highlighting the progress made by the client and helping them to register the shifts which have occurred at the conscious level.  We have found that introducing the client to the Emotional Scale can be a way of achieving this.  It also helps clients to see the state that they are ultimately aiming for – the state of Personal Peace.  Realisation that this state is attainable by everyone  tends to encourage people to continue with the healing journey.

Please note that the Emotional Scale is not an original idea. We have found various versions of it in many spiritual development and self-help books. All we have done is to apply it to our work with clients and students with interesting results.

The Emotional Scale:
Please note that the scale is not used in the same way as the SUDS or level of intensity scale. The purpose of the SUDS or level of intensity scale is to assess the current intensity of an emotion during emotional processing.  The Emotional scale is used to identify the particular emotional state being experienced at any time and its relationship to how we want to feel. 

The version of the Emotional scale that we have adopted is this:

The Emotional Scale


Joy  Passion   Empowerment  Freedom   Love   Appreciation


Enthusiasm  Eagerness   Happiness  Positive Expectation   Belief


Trust  Optimism   Hopefulness  Contentment


Boredom   Pessimism    Frustration   Irritation  Impatience


Disappointment  Doubt  Worry  Blame  Discouragement  Sadness


Anger  Rage   Revenge  Hatred


Jealousy  Insecurity  Guilt  Unworthiness


Fear  Grief  Depression   Despair   Powerlessness

To simplify matters we have grouped the emotional states into coloured zones with which people seem to identify very easily. Though this is a visual representation of emotional status we have found it to be equally useful to clients no matter what their favourite sensory modality (Visual, Audio or Kinaesthetic.) Most people seem to accept the scale with instant recognition and are able to tell you easily in which zone or range of zones they are currently living.

The number and colour of each zone links to the “Feel” of the emotions in each band. The higher frequency colours (green, blue, violet) relate to emotions that feel good and seem to carry a higher energy. The lower frequency colours relate to emotions which feel progressively worse as we move down the scale. These carry a lower energy. If you are familiar with the idea of energetic vibrations you could say that the upper level emotions carry a higher vibration than the lower level emotions.

Try it Out: Try this simple test out for yourself - close your eyes and think, “Depression, Despair, Depression, Despair” over and over again.  Notice how you feel.  It is actually very difficult to maintain a smile on your face while you do this - the energy just seems to leach away and your smile gradually droops and flows downwards.  Anyone who has experienced depression will recognise this feeling and will already understand what low energy states depression and despair are.  They feel paralysing!

Now try the opposite, close your eyes and think, “Joy, Passion, Joy, Passion” over and over again. This time it is difficult to keep the smile off your face!  These words and their respective emotions carry a much higher energy level or vibration and you will feel your energy lift as you think the words.

What you have just done is to experience the two extreme ends of the Emotional Scale.  As Gary comments in one of the DVD sets, each time we think the words related to each emotion our mind briefly samples that emotion for a fraction of a second, just enough to identify it.  We feel and recognise the response as our energy system aligns with that thought or emotion.  Similarly any event or memory which triggers a particular emotion will produce the related and recognisable energetic shift. This is happening all the time as we continually access different thoughts or memories or we are affected by events and the people around us. We are constantly shifting into different levels of the Emotional Scale.

Have a look at the scale again and decide for yourself in which zone you spend most of your time.

For example, you may find that spend most of your time in the Red zone (Disappointment, Doubt, Worry,  Blame) but that you bounce around from time to time down to Brown (Jealousy, Insecurity, Guilt, Unworthiness) and sometimes on a good day you can get up to Orange (Boredom, Pessimism, Frustration, Irritation, Impatience)  Does life in your zone feel good?

Now imagine how much better you would feel if you were living mostly in the green, blue or violet zones which are the home of Personal Peace. Where would you rather be? 

Most people are very good at distinguishing the different energetic feel of their various emotions and there has to be a reason why we all have this innate skill.  The reason suggested by several authors is that we are meant to use this skill to “feel” how we are in any particular moment so that we may then respond by choosing a thought or activity that gives us a slightly better “feel” than the one that we started with.  The sense of relief felt as we access an emotion at a higher level tells us that we are travelling in the right direction - Up the Emotional Scale.

One of the things that EFT does so well, by clearing out the negative and limiting thought patterns, is help our clients and ourselves to move towards the upper part of the scale.  As the layers of emotional garbage are cleared we feel better and find that we gradually spend more and more time near the top with frequent excursions right to the topmost level.  This is the zone that feels ecstatic, where our peak experiences happen, where we are completely in tune with who we really are and we align completely with the flow of well-being in our lives.  Conversely, the lower down the scale we slip then the worse we feel as we move out of alignment with the flow.

If this idea is accepted then it follows that the emotions can be used as a direct barometer for the degree of alignment with the flow of well-being at any point in time.

Once we have recognised from the feel of our emotions that we have moved out of alignment all that is needed to move back into alignment is to choose a thought or activity that produces a better feeling.  We can simply change our mind and “feel” our way back into the flow.  This takes practice but can give real benefits.  There is often resistance to the change desired (one definition of psychological reversal is resistance to change).  All that is needed is more EFT until the resistance crumbles and the change is implemented.

We have consistently found that introducing clients to the Emotional Scale can aid a real understanding of where they are in the healing process and it also acts to empower them by allowing control of the thoughts and emotions they accept into their experience.  This is just another application of the Law of Attraction.  When we consistently choose thoughts and activities that make us feel better (rise up the scale) then we automatically attract events and people that reinforce that better feeling.

Using the Emotional Scale in therapy:
Typical Case study:

M: A male client aged 34. Issues with feelings of failure, anger and resentment about a failed marriage which he could not seem to let go of. These were carrying him down towards depression.

 1st session:
At the beginning of the session he was asked to look at the Emotional scale and estimate where he thought he was emotionally at that time (this is the Emotional Set Point).  He estimated that he was bouncing between zones Black and Red but settled on Brown as his current Emotional set point.

We worked in the normal way using his levels of intensity for testing on his feelings of guilt and being unloved.  As these cleared he shifted upwards on the scale to anger and thoughts of revenge (Red zone on the scale).  Initially this was directed at his ex-wife but as he vented these feelings other targets emerged including his father.  It seems that both of these people (and probably others too) had contributed in some way to his feelings of failure, insecurity and worthlessness.

Ten minutes and a good rant later he started laughing and said he felt so much better after letting all that out.  He apologised for his colourful language and we ended the session with him settling into a set point in the Green zone (optimism).

2nd Session:
His emotional set point at the start was in the Orange zone (feeling discouraged and sad because he thought he was going backwards after the progress in the first session).

What had happened was that memories of specific events in his childhood and in his marriage had emerged and had been bothering him for 2 to 3 days.  These had a common theme of him being put-down, criticised unfairly or being cast in the role of scapegoat.  We dealt with these in the order of importance that he rated them using a mix of Tell the Story and Movie techniques and cleared them fairly easily but interestingly he still rated his set point as in the Orange Zone indicating that there was something else we needed to work with.

Conversation and questioning led towards his realisation that he felt “useless” and “could not ever get anything right for dad”.  We worked in depth on this and reframed towards understanding of his Dad’s reasons for the way he behaved (“he did the best he could given his background and awful childhood”) and eventually moved towards forgiveness.  He could not or would not forgive his dad at that time (“I cant let Dad off the hook just yet”) but was left feeling much lighter and brighter and as if a load had shifted from his back.  He finished this session with his emotional set point in the Green zone.

3rd session:
A tidy- up session.  Initial set-point in the Orange zone - he was sad that he still could not let the “Dad” issues go completely.  We worked with a few more “Dad” events, then switched back to the failed marriage and worked with events in the marriage, reframing towards understanding and possibly forgiveness of his ex-wife and himself for what they had created together.  At the end of the session he said that he was really bored with the whole thing (Yellow zone) and just wanted it all to go away.  We did a few rounds of “feel good” tapping, bringing in possibilities for his future and the advantages of his freedom from his ex-wife and the marriage.  This made him laugh and we finished the session with him estimating his emotional set point as in the Blue zone .

Follow up:

By phone, a week later – he said that he felt great, his energy levels were much higher than before and that he was planning a change of job and a holiday.  He commented on how much sunnier he felt and also that other people had noticed too.


  • Generally we have noticed that overall progress is up the scale.  Though a client may temporarily slip down the scale during a session or between sessions as they access deeper levels of their problems the slippage is rarely right back down to where they were before treatment.  Whenever slippage does happen we work with whatever has emerged for attention and clear it, then overall progress upwards is resumed.
  • Some clients are concerned because they suddenly find themselves expressing hatred or rage as we work, or may start blaming other people for whatever has happened.  They see this as wrong so it is important to explain that rage, hatred or blame are simply higher on the emotional scale than despair and depression and represent a temporary state en-route to healing.  Once they realise that actually it “feels” better (i.e. gives a sense of relief) to be angry or to blame someone than to be depressed they accept that it is a necessary phase of the healing.  Acceptance of all of the emotions being felt is real progress!
  • We give out copies of the Emotional scale to our clients so that they can practise assessing their own Emotional Set Point before and after homework tapping.  With practice at conscious observation of their emotions people get much better at spotting when they slip into a negative feeling and so can identify what event or thought pattern has caused it to happen.  This realisation can then form the basis for more rounds of tapping and so encourage further releases and shifts upwards. In our experience this really accelerates the self- healing process.
  •  In practice the stepwise progress up the scale seems to be necessary.  It would be very difficult for anyone to move upwards directly from despair to joy without steps in between.  This would represent a huge energetic shift which would probably be unstable.  We know that it takes time to process various aspects of an issue.  They are only released at the right rate for that person and in the right order.  The progression upwards through the levels with stepwise release of all aspects and issues along the way seems to stabilise the energetic shift and it becomes a permanent change.
  • Use of humour to produce laughter or deliberately stimulating release of anger can produce dramatic upward shifts but the release of aspects and issues must still happen in the right order and at the right time.

We already know that EFT is a superb tool for helping us to reach for the place of personal peace by allowing us to deal with the events and issues which mar our lives.  Using the Emotional Scale deliberately can help to reinforce the shifts which occur with EFT and can give direction to the whole process.  As a person learns to consciously notice their emotions, and practices choosing ones that feel better, or chooses actions which lead to a better feeling they inevitably rise up the Emotional Scale and achieve a calmer, happier way of living.  Life becomes easier, more joyful and seems to flow better.

Somewhere along the way as we release issues and practice ways of thought that take us upwards rather than downwards on the scale we shift from life being an exercise in damage limitation to life being a joyful adventure in creativity. It all comes down to choice!

“Feeling will get you closer to the truth of who you are than thinking.” Ekhart Tolle


Christine Sutton and Philip Davis


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