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Articles & Ideas


Addressing the "Why Bother?" syndrome

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Some clients are so weary of "going nowhere" after doing years of conventional therapy that they are hesitant to give EFT a try. Maggie Adkins calls this the "Why Bother" Syndrome and provides useful ideas to handle it.

Hugs, Gary

By Maggie Adkins

What is the “Why Bother” Syndrome?

One of the more subtle challenges that gets in the way of people using EFT is when they have already worked on issues and emotions “ad nauseum” (as one client says) with other therapies over the years,  and yet these issues have not lessened or been released.  Intellectually we may know that EFT is different from other therapies and still we listen to our minds saying, “Why Bother?  Nothing is going to change this.”  “Why Bother” stops many of us from the success we could have if we used EFT to release old issues, drop those cravings, shift that negative belief, etc.

Because EFT is most effective when we are tapping on the correct issue, “Why Bother” can truly sabotage our EFT results.

The first problem is that we may not do EFT at all.  The essence of “Why Bother” is that it isn’t going to make a difference anyway so why would we do EFT?  “It’s just a waste of time,” the mind says, and that’s not much motivation to do the work. 

The second problem is that we may be tapping on what we think is the issue, but the real issue we have to clear first is “Why Bother.”  

“Why Bother” usually takes the form of resistance to “one more therapy that’s supposed to help, ” or uncovering that issue “one more time.”   If you hear your mind saying, “I’m all right.  I can cope,” that is also a form of “Why Bother.”  To say you have to cope is to say that you have given up, that you don’t believe the problem can be released.  I hear many clients say this as we go from a 10 to a 2 or 3 on the Intensity Meter.  I ask them, “If we have gotten this down to a 2 or 3, why not see if we can just get rid of it. I don’t know if we can, but why not go for it?”  It’s a good question. 

Examples of “Why Bother” Thoughts

Here are some typical examples of what you might think if you have “Why Bother.”  Are any of these voices in your head?

For attempting something that didn’t go well in the past:

“Why would I want to try that again?  Look what happened the other times!  It was a disaster………”

For weight loss:

I’ve lost 300 pounds in my life – and gained back 310.  If I drop weight, I’ll just gain it back and hate myself all over again – why bother?”

For relationship issues:

“You want me in a loving relationship with a significant other?  Risk loving again?  I’d rather stay safe and just cope with my own little life.  I refuse to open myself up again just to be hurt.  No way am I going through that one again!”

For Chronic Fatigue, Environmental Illness and other chronic conditions:

“You don’t know how many people have said they could help me and none of them have.  I’m not putting myself through that again.  It’s just too disappointing.”

For business owners (EFT Practitioners included, of course):

“Look, I already sent out all those flyers and newsletters and everyone KNOWS I’m in business.  I’m not going through all that expense and heartache again when people don’t call.  I’m probably just not good enough anyway.”

For Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

“Yeah, right.  Do you know how many people have said they can help these Vietnam memories over the last 40 years?  Well, I used to listen to them but no more.  I am NOT going into that stuff again.  It’s just too hard.”  

If you have any of these voices in your mind, you probably have resistance to doing EFT – and yet - EFT can shift all that. 

How do I Heal This

These negative voices in the mind take away motivation to actually do the EFT that can release the issue/pain/negative belief.  They can also drain self esteem – “I must be a failure because nothing has worked for me.” 

My good friend and skilled EFT practitioner, Mary Ann Michels, makes the excellent suggestion that you first write down all your “Why Bother” thoughts that you are conscious of.  I find that making a list can, indeed, help a great deal when working with this kind of issue.  You can make an initial list and as you tap on one or more of those thoughts, you may find that even more sabotaging thoughts come into your consciousness.  Stop what you’re doing and write them down!  This is one of the miracles of the EFT journey.  It simply seems to take us where we are to go. I would keep paper and pen handy when doing this work.  (And thank you, Mary Ann, for your valuable insights.)

If you do make a list, each time you begin an EFT session with yourself, ask yourself which thought is more powerful right now.  Doing EFT with the issue that is most intense can often provide the greatest healing.

Sample EFT Phrases for Why Bother

Basically, you want to acknowledge ALL the reasons you don’t want to do EFT and tap for those very thoughts – in your own words as much as possible.   Here are just a few examples of how to use EFT for “Why Bother”: 

At the Karate Chop Point or Sore Spot on the Chest, do the Set-Up 3 times.  The sample reminder phrases, you can either say at each of the other EFT points or alternate as shown below:

Sample Set-Up

Even though I have done everything I can think of to heal this before and it didn’t work, and now I don’t believe anything can heal this, I deeply & profoundly accept myself. 

          Sample reminder phrase for all the other EFT points:  Nothing can heal this. Why Bother. 

Either do the Reminder Phrase at each point or alternate.  If you alternate, it might be something like this:

Top of head:          Nothing can heal this.

Eyebrow:               Why Bother

Side of Eye:           Nothing can heal this.

Under Eye:            Why Bother

Under Nose:           Nothing can heal this.

Chin:                     Why Bother

Collarbone:             Nothing can heal this.

Under arm:             Why Bother


Sample Set-Up

Even though I have attempted many times to get rid of these emotions, they’re still here.  I don’t know if they’ll ever go away and, I deeply & profoundly accept myself. 

Sample reminder phrase:  Nothing worked.  Why should this be different?

Again, the reminder phrases can be done at each point or you can alternate. 

Sample Set-Up

Even though I have attempted to get rid of this pain time and time again with much heavier therapies than EFT and it’s still here, I deeply & profoundly accept myself.  I’m terrified (or afraid) that it will never go away. 

          Sample reminder phrase:  Already tried to get rid of it and it’s still here.  Terrified (or afraid) it might NEVER go away. 

Sample Set-Up  (Name what “this” is.  Be as specific as possible.)

Even though I’ve done my best to get rid of this and it’s still here, I deeply & profoundly accept myself.  I’m afraid it will get worse, my body is so out  of control.  I deeply & profoundly accept myself anyway.  And I accept that sometimes I don’t accept myself. 

          Sample reminder phrase:  Done my best and it’s still here.  Body is SOOO out of control and I’m afraid it will get worse. 

Sample Set-Up

Even though I am so afraid to love again, maybe I have learned some things, maybe it doesn’t have to be the same way again – and again – I deeply & profoundly accept myself. 

Sample reminder phrase:  So afraid, so afraid, so afraid to love.

Maybe I’ve learned – maybe it can be better.  Maybe – maybe not. 

Sample Set-Up

Even though I’m terrified to go into this again – nothing else has worked, why would EFT work, I deeply and profoundly accept myself.

          Sample reminder phrase:  Terrified to go into this again. Nothing else has worked, why would EFT work. 

Sample Set-Up

Even though I’m terrified to quit my day job and just go for it, I deeply & profoundly accept myself.  Other people are full time EFTers – why can’t I do it?

          Sample reminder phrase:  Terrified to quit my day job and GO FOR IT.  Others do it, what’s wrong with me?   

This is also a good time to use “parts” EFT.  With this technique, you address both parts of yourself in the same EFT round.  You address the part that wants to heal and the part that is afraid to heal or for some reason doesn’t want to heal.  Instead of separate rounds, you combine them and it is often very powerful.  Please incorporate your own words whenever you can.  Here is a generic example:

Sample Set-Up

Even though a part of me wants to release this, a part of me is terrified to go there again and feel all those feelings. I deeply and profoundly accept myself anyway.

          You might want to alternate this reminder phrase even if you haven’t done so before:  Part of me is terrified.  Part of me wants to heal.

Adding Forgiveness

After doing several rounds of EFT, you might want to introduce forgiveness.  The timing of this is individual and you can use your intuition to know when to add it.  You might say something like,

“I forgive myself for any contribution I may have made to this problem/issue/whatever you want to call it.” 

You can expand forgiveness to include something like the following:

“I forgive whoever may have played a part in this.” 

If you believe in God, you might add: 

“I forgive whoever may have played a part in this, including God.” 

Add the forgiveness phrases wherever you want.  You can add them as a part of the Set Up phrase or at any or all of the rest of the EFT points. 


Specific Traumas/Issues

Doing this work will most probably lead you back to the specific events or traumas that you wanted to heal in the first place.  Remember, attempting to heal them in the past is probably why you have “Why Bother” Syndrome.  Start by working with your “Why Bother” phrases and see where they lead you.  As you release “Why Bother,” you can then do EFT with much more motivation on those issues and problems that you wanted to heal to begin with. 


If you have the “Why Bother” Syndrome, and you are still reading this, it may be time to take the chance and see for yourself if EFT can shift those old conditionings.  Of course we base our truths on past experience.  However, with the arrival of EFT, so much has changed that it is not valid anymore to give up and say, “This is just the way it is.  It is too big for me to change.”

We can now take those issues and problems that we thought we had to “cope” with and simply do EFT.  Chances are we can do a lot more than cope.  Chances are we can release the chains to our past and move toward our Palace of Possibilities.  If you are not familiar with Palace of Possibilities, please see Gary Craig’s website ( for an extensive manuscript on using EFT for positive affirmations, etc.      

As with all issues, there is a time when it is helpful to seek a professional practitioner.  Most EFT practitioners I know use telephone consultations daily so geography does not need to play a role in your choice of a practitioner.  About 95% of my current clients are phone consultations in both the U.S. and Australia and  it is my experience that they work as well as in-person consultations.  One telephone client in the U.S. recently said, “I didn’t know intuition could fly halfway around the world.  This is great!”

Maggie Adkins



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