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Articles & Ideas


Taking the edge off intense emotions--Putting them in a box and tapping on them

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

With EFT, we can often deal with very intense emotions much more gently than with other techniques. In our EFT DVDs, for example, I display many ways to "take the edge off" before delving into the raw centerpiece of the matter. Gillian Wightman from Scotland describes yet another method in her well written article.

Hugs, Gary

By Gillian Wightman


I learned Gywneth Moss’s blue box technique to use with clients with highly intense emotions.  In this technique, the client who has high intensity emotion about some event or trauma imagines putting the problem in a box of their choice.  They tap on the box imagery until it is safe to look in the box and deal with what is there using the Movie Technique or Tell the Story Technique.

I have also found it to be very useful when people do not know what the memory is; they just know that something happened.  It is also useful when they have a belief which seems to span their lifetime and have no clear idea where it came from.  Even if there is not a clear memory of what happened, there can be a strong sense of fear in looking in the box.

Sometimes clients seem a little unsure that they can do this.  They think they can’t imagine a box so I ask them if there WAS a box that could safely hold this feeling or memory what would it be.  I get them to describe it.  Once they do this I ask ‘Is that safe enough now?’ and often they realize the box needs to be inside something else … or padlocked … or sent to another part of the country, another universe, or the bottom of the sea in order for them to feel safe.

Once they’ve established where it is and how it looks, we tap on what they describe.  What will happen is that the box will slowly come back to earth, unlock, or open its lid with the tapping routines until it is safe to look in the box and describe what is there.  This may be in metaphor form at first.  The following case is an illustration of using the technique for that purpose.

My client had fallen and extensively damaged her shoulder.  After surgery and rehabilitation there was no remaining problem to be found physically but 3 1/2 years later she was still in a great deal of permanent pain and on a high amount of painkillers every day to control it.

She started to tell me what happened at the time and could tell me the story.  I asked her to make it into a movie and she called it ‘Not Taking Time’.  Asking how she felt about watching it provoked an emotional intensity of 10 on a scale of 0 to 10.

I asked her to put the movie to one side and got her to imagine her shoulder pain.  She said due to painkillers it was only a 2 but upon being asked to describe it she found she could imagine it quite clearly.

Even though my shoulder is red, jagged and raw…

Even though its lighter now but still not nice…

Even though I have a niggly toothache in my shoulder blade…

Even though my back feels stiff like I have been sitting wrong…  I asked her to check the movie and her level of intensity had gone from a 10 to 7 out of 10.

Even though that happened...

Even though I have this Not Taking Time movie...  She now rated her level of intensity as a 4.

We tapped on the remaining 4 but it did not move from here so I asked for her feelings about wanting to let it go.  She realised she wanted to let it go, but she didn’t deserve to because she felt so guilty about it - guilt was a theme running through her whole life.  She was remembering the guilt of postnatal depression and not feeling she had been a very good mother.

I invited her to take this guilt and all the memories involved in that and put it in a box that would feel safe.  She wanted to put it in a pretty box but was worried people would not realize there was something horrible inside.  I explained this box was only for her; it was her box and she could do whatever she needed to but she was to make it as safe as possible so she would be protected from the pain now.

Even though I have a gold box with a lead lining…

Even though the lead lining is thinner now...

Even though there is no lead now I just feel so sad...

Even though the lining is quilted gold and pink...

I checked in with her feelings about looking in the box and when it felt it was comfortable to do so she looked in.  Even though it is mostly ok but there is a big bit that was just a waste of time...

Now she was aware of a baby in the box and that she was the baby.  I asked her what the baby needed.  She said the baby needed to know she was a good baby and a good person.

Even though I am this baby and I am a good baby, a good person...  and now she added herself..  It wasn’t your fault, you didn’t make it happen…

She realised now she had tuned into her mother’s depression and her feelings as a baby that it was her fault.  The baby felt vulnerable now.  She had a choice for this baby of knowing it was loved just for who the baby was.

Even though I feel vulnerable ,mum and dad loved from for who I am not what I did...

Even though it was hard for her for whatever reason - because of her own experiences in life - for her to show it physically or emotionally my mum did love me and I know it deep, deep down and I choose to know I am loveable…

Even though I felt responsible for my mum’s happiness and I choose to know I was a baby and that wasn’t my job and it wasn’t my fault...

This baby felt contented and at peace so I invited her to let that baby integrate through her life experiences.  She was aware of a strong sense of having been loved now and remarked that she was aware how this feeling of vulnerability showed in many aspects of her life.  She was no longer aware of the box.  We did a final tapping.

Even though I was this baby who felt unsure of being loved I choose to know I was loved and I am loveable just for being me and I let that love feed every cell in my body...

I rechecked the Movie and there was no intensity at all.  She could think of the postnatal depression with compassion and her shoulder and back felt free and loose.

I asked her what she could do now that she couldn’t do before and she realised that she now knew there was no need to absorb everyone’s pain and problems at work and be so affected by how others feel.  She visualizes herself being more relaxed at work without a painful shoulder.

I have just received a phone call to tell me her shoulder is feeling very good and she feels much lighter and freer in herself.  She has not felt the need to take pain killers since.

Best wishes



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