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Articles & Ideas


Are you getting the most out of EFT?

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Hi Everyone,

This 4 part series by EFT Master Patricia Carrington is designed to help you squeeze yet more benefits from EFT.

Hugs, Gary

Part 1 of 4:  Using the “Rule of  5” To Get Maximum Benefits From EFT
Part 2 of 4: Using EFT to Create Desirable Behaviors in Yourself
Part 3 of 4:   How To Use EFT To Alter Long-Term Negative Attitudes
Part 4 of 4:  Using EFT to Change a Basic Perception of Life

By Patricia Carrington PhD, EFT Master

Part 1 of 4:  Using the “Rule of  5” To Get Maximum Benefits From EFT

It is all too easy to walk away too soon from an EFT tapping session just because you feel “a little better".  This is done all the time and it results in many people failing to get full benefit from EFT.

How can you make sure that you will keep going with EFT when you feel that you want to pull back from doing it for some reason, even when continuing might bring you a much greater benefit?

One solution is to address your own reluctance to continue with EFT, by addressing this reluctance right within an EFT statement.  An example of this could be the use of wording such as the following:

"Even though I want to stop doing EFT now because I feel so much better (“somewhat better” etc.), I choose to benefit from continuing with EFT until my Intensity Rating is way, way down. " etc. 

The above strategy can work best, however, if you are working with an EFT practitioner or another person who can REMIND you to do this.  It takes an unusual amount of objectivity to recognize the necessity to deal with your own resistance to doing more EFT unless someone else reminds you to do so.

I find it an excellent idea if you are doing EFT alone, to adopt what I call “The Rule of Five”.  This is an agreement with yourself to keep on tapping for at least 5 consecutive rounds of EFT, even if you are now "feeling better" –– unless your Intensity Rating has already come down to a “1” or a “0”.

Adopting this simple rule helps you avoid the excuse that people doing EFT so often give to themselves (without realizing it of course), that since they “feel better”, they don't need to continue doing EFT in that session.  They decide they’ve gotten enough out of the session if their Intensity Level has come down, say, to a “4” from a “9” or “10”), or whatever.  They don’t “go for the jackpot”, and by not doing so they can miss much of the value that EFT has to offer.

In my clinical work I have found that people who stop doing EFT prematurely often do this when there is a core issue at stake that they are somehow reluctant to face. Often this core issue is hiding beneath a less threatening issue on which they are consciously tapping. They simply don't want to "open up a can of worms" as the old saying goes.  They don’t want to deal with the deeper issue and would rather settle for modest gains, so they stop doing EFT at this point. This can be an insidious trap because we can easily fool ourselves with it.

How can you ensure that you will keep doing a sufficient number of rounds of EFT if you feel that you are “so much better” that you want to stop now, at a time when it would actually benefit you most to continue?

One solution is to address your own reluctance to continue by addressing it right within the EFT statement.  An example of this might be the sentence:

“Even though I want to stop doing EFT now because I’m feeling so much better, I choose to benefit enormously from continuing for 5 more rounds."

(or similar wording).

This strategy will work best of course if you are working with an EFT practitioner or someone else who can remind you to do this.  It takes an unusual amount of objectivity to recognize the necessity to deal with your own resistance to continuing unless another person reminds you.

A relative of mine adopted the “Rule of 5” because she tended to run into resistance when doing EFT and was often stopping as soon as she noticed any good results.  She finds that she benefits from EFT much more if she forces herself to keep going despite her resistance, and tap on the issue at hand for at least 5 more consecutive rounds. She tells me that she has achieved some of her most impressive EFT breakthroughs using this approach.  What has happened is that she has learned to simply ignore the little voice in her head that persuasively tells her, "I feel better now so that’s enough", and this is paying off beautifully for her.

Does this mean that when you find yourself "stuck" at a certain intensity level –– that is, not able to move down at all –– that you should just keep tapping on the same issue, using the same wording for 5 sequences in a row?

Of course not.  That would not be useful since success with EFT often depends upon inventiveness with the wording.  Here is the best way to use this valuable strategy:

Tell yourself that you will not settle for just “feeling better” when doing EFT  and that, unless you have come down to a “0” or “1” in your Intensity Rating, you will not stop doing EFT until you have completed 5 additional rounds of it. 

You can tap on your reluctance to continue if you like, as described earlier, but the main thing is to DO the 5 rounds!  You may be amazed at what will happen at this point.  If you make a commitment to yourself not to settle for anything less than 5 rounds of EFT (or coming down to a “0” or “1”, whichever comes first) you can often break through a resistance that was stopping you in your tracks.  When you do this, EFT will be much more productive for you.  You will have pushed through the excuses that were blocking you, and can find yourself coasting easily through subsequent rounds of EFT.  The results will certainly be both better and more long lasting.

Pat Carrington

Part 2 of 4: Using EFT to Create Desirable Behaviors in Yourself

In addition to its use for handling specific problems (by far its most common use) EFT can be extremely effective in helping you rid yourself of repetitive behaviors that don’t serve you, and in replacing them with new behaviors that you’d love to have.

In essence, you make these new desirable ways of acting into habits, so that without even thinking of what you are doing you just naturally find yourself doing the things you want to do.  Actually, the only way to change behavior that you don’t want is to replace self-defeating habits with self-enhancing ones, and this is exactly what EFT does if you let it.

An example of this is my client “Emily”, who had not addressed a certain annoying tendency of hers in her therapy sessions because she considered it too trivial.  During one of our meetings, however, she spontaneously commented to me that she was “sick and tired” of misplacing her many pairs of reading glasses and repeatedly having to buy replacements at her local pharmacy.

I understood her dilemma only too well because, like so many other people who started using glasses as an adult and therefore were not trained as a child to consider glasses as “part of them”, I too had misplaced my glasses all too frequently, much to my annoyance.

Because this is not the kind of problem that one goes to an EFT practitioner for help in correcting, Emily only mentioned it in passing to me, and with an embarrassed laugh. However, I took her seriously, and asked, “How would you like EFT to take away your tendency to misplace your glasses?”

“What an idea!” she said, and we embarked upon an interesting journey of changing this habit of hers.  A simple everyday undesirable behavior can have many aspects to it, just as a serious life problem can, and we addressed these aspects one by one.

Emily started by exploring possible solutions to her difficulty in locating her glasses, such as wearing a necklace with her glasses attached to it, but the latter had not worked in the past for Emily for various reasons, as it doesn’t for many people.  She finally came up with what she thought would be a “real solution”, although she was quick to say that she didn’t want to use it.  The solution was to create designated “parking places” for her glasses in her house, and never place them down anywhere but in those designated places.

She thought this would work “if only I would do it, but of course I won’t!”

I then asked her this pointed question, “What would be the downside of this plan if you put it into effect?  What would you find unpleasant about it?”

Emily knew the answer right away.  “It would make me feel imposed upon.” She said. “I would resent being forced to place my glasses in a particular spot.  When I’m in my own house I want to feel free!”

Emily had hit upon an important reason why many people refuse to change undesirable ways of doing things even when a part of them recognizes a distinct advantage in doing these things differently.  Nobody likes feeling pushed or forced to do something, even if that something is for their own good!

The trouble with most attempts to change behavior is the fact that most people tend to treat themselves in an authoritarian and over-severe manner when they go about changing one of their habits.  They are all too apt to adopt a stern “Do it or else!” attitude toward themselves.  Their inner dialogue resembles that of a severe teacher chastising a recalcitrant child, rather than that of one adult talking to another with understanding and respect.

Adopting a harsh and unfriendly attitude toward oneself when trying to change your own behavior is guaranteed to create rebellion in you against any new regimen, so this is often the first issue that needs to be addressed by EFT.

For this issue, Emily chose the EFT statement, “Even though I don’t want to be forced to put my glasses in any one place, I choose to be flexible and understanding with myself in this.”

Tapping on this statement made a great deal of difference in Emily’s attitude toward her proposed plan and she was soon ready for the next step ––introducing s sense of real pleasure into the process of change.

The EFT statement she used for this was:

“Even though it‘s a big bother to walk over and put my glasses in the right place each time, I choose to find it interesting and satisfying to do.”

This rather surprising statement had a strong effect on Emily.  She soon began to take satisfaction in the neatness and accuracy with which she could now place her glasses in “the right place’, and she found herself applauding her own efforts.  She felt competent and mature as she complied with her new self-made rules.

Once she had made the new behavior she had chosen into an enjoyable one in her mind, Emily was on the road to “recovery”.  The truth that she realized was that we never really abandon any former behavior until the new one becomes enjoyable, until it draws us to it like a magnet.  The enjoyment we experience may be a deep sense of satisfaction, or a sense of triumph, or an esthetic appreciation of the neatness of positioning the glasses correctly, or some other aspect of the new behavior that pleases us.  Whatever it is, to take real pleasure in the new behavior is an essential component of successful change, and EFT can be used with wonderful effect to instill this pleasure component into the process.

The upshot of her use of EFT to effect a desirable change was that Emily eventually came to enjoy her new way of handling her glasses so much that she adopted her plan permanently, and she began to experience the relief of being able to put her hands on her glasses whenever she needed them - this was an immense relief.

You too can follow this protocol for behavior change and I highly recommend you do.  Here it is in a nutshell:

1.      Look for the downside to changing your habitual behavior, and address this first when you start doing EFT.  More often than not this downside will be a feeling of having capitulated to enforced discipline, so it is up to you to create EFT statements to counteract this self imposed coercion and replace it with self understanding and encouragement.

2.      Once your initial resistance is lessened, then find something distinctly pleasant in the new behavior and use EFT to instill a positive attitude toward your new plan.  This will ensure the behavior’s acceptance and make it permanent.

 I highly recommend that you try using EFT in this way.  It will greatly expand the usefulness of the technique for you.

Pat Carrington

Part 3 of 4:   How To Use EFT To Alter Long-Term Negative Attitudes

EFT is a powerful instrument.  It can even be used to effect a radical change in the way you approach life.

However, as we all know, it is not easy to change the way we react to certain aspects of life because our attitudes seem to us to be carved in stone, unalterable.  I have found, however, that we can alter even fundamental views by using Personal Resource States in EFT.  I have written extensively about the power of these inner resources that we all have within our memory banks, in my EFT Choices Manual, but I cannot emphasize strongly enough how important they are if we want to effect a basic change in our life.

The concept of Resource States comes from NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming).  It refers to a memory of our own or someone else's successful handling of a difficult situation.  Basically it is a reminder that we possess a great many powerful coping strategies of which we are often unaware.

Most of us do not realize anything like all of the personal resources we actually have within us.  One reason is that we may have experienced a particular Resource State only momentarily, perhaps only once during our whole lifetime.  However, if we have a memory of even one moment of outstanding competence, or love, or safety, or satisfaction, or whatever the desired state may be (even if it that state occurred in a more or less trivial context) this can be extremely valuable in helping us make fundamental changes in ourselves.

What is important for our purposes here is that Resource States can be used to create highly effective EFT statements.  There are two kinds of personal Resource States that you can use in this way:

1.  Resource States derived from your own experience.  This means that you have experienced this desired state at least once in your life, firsthand.

2.  Resource states derived from observing others.  This means that you have watched another person (in person, or in the media) cope effectively with the situation you are addressing, and that this observation is alive in your memory.

In changing deeply held attitudes, the kind of resource state that I find to be particularly effective is Type 1, that derived from your own experience.

You will need to do a little detective work to change an attitude that you have held for a long time, but it’s well worth the effort. Here’s an example of using a Resource State to change an attitude that may be deeply entrenched:

Let’s imagine that you are someone who cannot imagine how anyone can cope with financial challenges without alarm when things are not going exactly the way they want.. If you asked yourself a question designed to elicit a personal resource state for this condition, it might be “How do I cope with situations in my life that have nothing to do with finances?  Can I think of some situations (of any kind) that I have handled pretty well?"

Most people can think of at least some areas of their lives that they handle pretty well (or they wouldn’t have survived outside of an institution where others would care for them!) and they generally respond by recalling some situation where they were at least reasonably capable.

At this point a further a question you could ask yourself could be: "Can I think of anything that's happened to me in the last three months that was troublesome -- something having nothing to do with finances -- which I coped with pretty well?”

Most people can come up with some example of having coped well with at least one situation that was difficult for them.  If you don't think of one right away, you can help matters along by asking yourself, "Can I think of any little thing that I handled to my satisfaction this whole year?  For example, when my toaster-oven went on the blink and I was able to fix it easily?  Or some other incident like that …?"

Few of us are unable to think of at least one small thing that they coped with well in the past year, and one example is all you need.

Now ask yourself how well you coped.  Did the situation turn out okay? Is this ability to handle things satisfactorily something you would like to experience at other times in your life?

Let’s invent an example.  Suppose you were presently alarmed by some financial reverses you were experiencing and yet you remember that you coped well with the flooding in your house when the main water pipe burst.  In this case you might formulate an EFT statement that went, "Even though I fear facing financial disaster, I choose to be as resourceful as I was when the water pipe burst."

When tapping on this Resource State, you would be using your own positive experience of coping well with the broken water pipe as a representation of the way in which, ideally, you would like to be able to cope with your financial problems.  Doing this would enable you to transfer those behaviors and attitudes that worked for you in one area of your life, to another area where they are not yet instilled.

To sum up, Resource States can be remarkably helpful in changing attitudes because they are so real and compelling.  They make use of an experience that has actually happened to you, one that is familiar and therefore cannot be denied.  What you are doing here is transferring a positive attitude and capability in one area of your life to another area where it is presently lacking.  You are thereby expanding your coping ability and applying it in an area where before it was absent.

I suggest you try this highly effective strategy whenever you feel that some way that you are feeling, thinking, or acting is “impossible to change”.  You may well find, to your surprise, that profound change is easy and natural if you approach it this way.

Best regards, Pat Carrington

Part 4 of 4:  Using EFT to Change a Basic Perception of Life

I find that even very experienced EFT'ers often fail to use EFT to change the basic ways they view life.  This is probably because most of us have difficulty seeing the forest for the trees.  We can recognize the details of our lives and we know how we respond to them, but we can be quite unaware of the underlying assumptions about life and people that are actually running our lives.

An important extension of EFT is to address the hidden underlying assumptions in our lives and change them in ways that can serve us better.

An example of this might be a person who believes that he or she shouldn't make others around them “feel uncomfortable", or pained, or upset because they are more successful than this other person in some area.  This is a common erroneous belief that can all too easily feel as though it were a fundamental truth, although it is actually only one way of perceiving the reactions of others to one’s own success.

My client "John" is an example of this.  He was clearly aware of the difficulty he had in realizing anything like his full potential in his career as a physicist, but somehow the blockages he faced seemed to him to be inevitable.  They made sense to him and he had many a practical reason for explaining away his inability to use his true potential. 

When he came to me for counseling about this it became evident that John’s underlying belief (which he had thought was the only "reality”) was a conviction that if he advanced further than his present plateau in his career he would deeply distress others who were important to him, particularly members of his original family, and most importantly, his father who was a distinguished physicist in his own right.  It was therefore extremely important for John to use EFT to address this underlying assumption.

Since he initially didn’t think that there was any point in tapping on such an established “fact of life” as this belief, we commenced by softening the edges of the issue and as Gary Craig puts it "sneaking up on the problem".

I suggested to John that he start by using the EFT statement:

“Even though I may hurt my Dad if I surpass him as a physicist, I choose to see this possibility from a new perspective."

This EFT Choice was not asking too big of a jump for John with respect to his belief system.  It just suggested that he begin to see the situation from a “new perspective”.

After several rounds of tapping with this EFT statement, John said, "Actually, I’m wondering why my family should be so upset if a family member distinguishes himself …this never occurred to me before."  John was already beginning to change his perspective.  He was now questioning his assumptions about academic success and its possible effects on his family members.

He then went on to use EFT for various aspects of his belief:

"Even though I’m afraid that Dad will be threatened if I succeed in areas where he hasn’t done as well, I choose to see that there are other possible outcomes from my success."  After a round of tapping on this statement, he commented, "Of course he might want to boast about me to his friends, he always does like to boast about things, so I guess it might be a mixed bag for him.”

John continued to tap on this aspect of his problem and then came up with this EFT statement,

“Even though Dad might be upset by my promotion, I choose to let him handle his own problems about this.”

Tapping on this brought John to a place where he no longer felt he had to be responsible for his father’s reactions to his achievements.  At this point I suggested that he might want to return to the first statement he had tapped on, “Even though I may hurt my Dad if I surpass him as a physicist, I choose to see this possibility from a new perspective." and tap on that again.  I have found that returning to a former EFT statement as a person advances through an EFT session is often very useful –– what couldn’t be handled easily before can often be productively tapped on when essential blockages have been cleared out of the way.  I guessed that John might be ready to formally shift his perspective now, something that would have been too threatening for him before.

In fact, when he tapped on his original statement again, he now began to see many different possibilities in terms of his family’s reactions and we were then able to help him generalize this new perspective to other areas of his life.  He began to feel much less responsible for other people’s (his colleagues’ etc.) reactions to his own success, and thus more able to focus on his own goals.

My point is that EFT can be used brilliantly to change your deep-seated attitudes towards life and even your most entrenched beliefs, provided you realize that most attitudes you have held for any length of time are probably embedded deep within your psyche.  They may even have been there since early childhood, and it may therefore take quite a bit of patience and persistence to change them.

I suggest that you begin, as I did here with John, by first addressing the resistance to changing the attitude.  If you know you fear changing it, or despair of changing it, or whatever your reaction may be to changing it, when you tap on that resistance you are preparing yourself to work on the attitude itself, and your EFT work will go much faster.

Patricia Carrington, PhD


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