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Articles & Ideas


EFT for the Sensitive Person -- Awakening the Wild Pony Within

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Rue Hass specializes in the highly sensitive person and gives us her detailed methods. Note that she introduces The Story Map.

Hugs, Gary

by Rue Hass

One of my EFT specialties is in working with the temperament that has been called the highly sensitive person.  Another term for it is the idealist-healer .   We used to just call people who fit this description "shy," or worse, "What's wrong with you?"

I have found that most people who are artistic, spiritually oriented, and/or are in healing, serving work or activity fit the "sensitive" description, even if they are not aware of their sensitivity.  They may have been dismissed or unacknowledged so often that they have developed a hard shell, and no longer even notice how sensitive they are.  I know many people like that!

I have made working with the life challenges of the idealist-healer one of my specialties partly because I am one too, so I understand the temperament.  I have noticed that most people who have chronic pain, physical or emotional, are also highly sensitive.   In most cases these are people for whom it was not possible or safe to express what they felt, and so they had to swallow their true feelings.  I believe that physical pain is actually buried emotional pain.

EFT is a wonderful tool for sensitive people, especially in the hands of a sensitive practitioner.

Here is the story of one woman, in her own words.  She is a member of my EFT Circle, a group that meets as a teleclass every week.  She volunteered to be the tapper one week, and sent me this story before the class met.   

I send all the participants a form to fill out before the class.  I call it a Story Map.  It gives each person an opportunity to tell the story of a representative event in their lives in language that easily translates into a healing tapping session.  It also provides me with lots of words and phrases from the clients' own experience that I can use during the session.  This way I don't have to spend a lot of time gathering information, so I can use the class time for the actual Borrowing Benefits tapping.

These are the Story Map questions:

"I had to __________  or else___________"  

A BELIEF (behavior, outlook on life, self-image...) about this that I got from my family is... 

That has created a problem in my life because (or when - )... 

A good example of that was that (particular, specific) time when...  

The worst part of that particular incident was... 

That made me feel... 

It made me think I was... 

I feel that in my body here: 

Sometimes I even think maybe I don't deserve... 

But deep inside, I yearn for... 

If I had that I would feel... 

So now.... I forgive myself.   I was doing the best I could.   I choose to ___________ instead. 


This volunteer tapper's  story doesn't quite conform to the Story Map format, but the answers to most of the questions are there, along with many useful ideas and phrases that I can use in the session:

I felt a strange cruel energy in my family dynamic, and my strategy was to space out and not feel it.   

It resulted in feeling that I have to be quiet and hide my true self, or I will get in trouble or be attacked by mental cruelty. Here is why: 

My mother is a narcissist; it's all her and no me, so to speak.  

The message I got is that we (the whole family)  must conform and agree with mom. Although I don't have one incident, there were what I call "sarcasm dinners". When I was in school, we all ate dinner together and mom reigned forth like a queen with her "humor" which was sarcasm and mental cruelty (ha, ha).   For years I thought I was boring and not funny enough because I thought humor was sarcasm and I could never do it . 

Mom was a "feminist" who joked about running away from the family. . Us kids got in the way of her brilliant career ... She put down everything and everyone not like her:  traditional women, child care, lawyers, farmers, republicans, her students, her chairman,  men, rich people, anyone!  And we all got to hear it at dinner. She was a history professor. Intellect was king. Feelings were a strange undercurrent of resentment. 

Today I have food allergies and I think it is related!  At the time I thought mom was "funny" but I wanted to eat fast and leave the table. There was no nourishment there; the food was toxic! 

Then later I realized that many of the people she put down were like me--sensitives. She hates gardeners and farmers  ( I grow organics in the country), women who don't work in a high powered career or don't have  lots of education ( I was  forced to go to the college that she chose). She hates cooking  ( i am a whole foods cook).  

She doesn't attack me directly, just all my values. However she continually questions and doubts all my life choices. She wants me to be an extroverted career women, like her.  She is upset that I don't have her values and lifestyle and wants me to change.   There is a constant subtle undercurrent of hate and resentment. Dad backs her up but it generally more quiet, I think he may also be sensitive. 

I often think it's her sharp, left brain intellect with clever words vs. my subtle feelings world. I don't have words to fight back. So I just take it and feel bad energy. She feels like an energy vampire. 

Also during high school she would be mad at dad and tell me all about it, like I was her therapist! Lots of resentment dumped on me. 

I got educated and tried the career route but it's not me, at least not like that... I would rather cook or make art or write about healing. I tried to force myself to be intellectual and a career woman and outgoing, but got chronic fatigue and had to stop. Then I realized I had followed her desires, not mine. There is still shame in me for not working and having a career, shame for having health challenges. In her and dad's mind, career work and higher education are God!   

Since mom is a narcissist, she never asked or cared what I was interested in. I just did whatever she wanted to avoid being "sarcasm ed."  I was made to take piano but I wanted to learn how to do batik. I was told not to ask spiritual questions, so I quit asking. I was interested in art, but so what...No space for me. 

I am afraid to show my true self ( a cook, a sensitive, gardener, spiritual person, home designer, etc). And I have fatigue and food allergies that get in the way of my cooking and living the life I want. 

I have a very different lifestyle than most of my family and I am afraid to show it because there will be mental cruelty and attacks and I'll have to justify my path. I am too scared to speak.  I like ideas and have an interest in natural healing and cooking and spirituality but can't find my voice to express them. I write about them but can't imagine getting them out into the world, which I imagine is full of intellectuals ready to pounce on me and judge me ! Or abandon or ignore me. 

I notice when I get triggered I don't have words. I think I polarize to my right brain. No words. I notice that when I tap on my own, I just think the words and don't say them out loud.  I wonder if the space out strategy comes from an inner infant, preverbal place. 

I feel helpless, quiet, stuck, invisible.  

I want to feel accepted, confident, loved. 

Since this woman's issue was very global—having spent a whole lifetime in this family—I wanted to begin with something quite specific to work with.

We chose her family dinner experiences, the "sarcasm dinners," and when she couldn't think of one specific one, I asked her to create a movie in her mind of a typical example.  We used the title "Sarcasm Dinner."  She chose  a descriptive phrase: "I had to de-Self for my mother's protection." 

As she was not a client that I would be working with regularly, I knew that we probably wouldn't be able to "solve" this issue for her in one session.  In this Borrowing Benefits teleclass session I wanted to help her to open a space inside herself for a different way of experiencing herself that would act as a seed-point for her, and for the others listening to the call and the recording made available afterward.  

In doing EFT,  I am not always looking for the "one minute miracle fix-it wonder." Instead, I am helping the person to establish a generative, evolving force inside herself that, if she nourishes it,  will grow and invite deeper change from within herself over time.

The primary emotions she felt when she thought of those Sarcasm Dinners were anger, shame and fear.  I asked how she experienced these feelings in her body, and she said, "I am bracing myself for the energy that is coming at me, my throat is tight, I can't sit up straight, I am hunched over.  I feel dissociated and spaced out.  My own feelings were not allowed."   The intensity for these feelings was 12-13 out of 10.

We tapped first for the movie title "Sarcasm Dinner," bringing in the feelings of anger and fear, and all these body responses, until she could see the scene and stay relaxed.

I chose some of the charged phrases she used in what she wrote above as set-up statements:

〇.       my mother is a narcissist - it is all her, no me

〇.       she questions and doubts my my life choices

〇.       she feels like an energy vampire

〇.       I am afraid to show my true self

〇.       food became toxic to me

〇.       I followed her desires, not mine

〇.       I can't find my voice to express what I feel and think

〇.       I imagine I will always be pounced on and judged

〇.       I will be ignored, or abandoned

〇.       I feel helpless, silenced, stuck, invisible

We also talked about and did some tapping rounds for the feeling of dissociation, and the "inner, infant, preverbal place" that got triggered when she was in situations that reminded her of being with her mother.

As so often happens in an EFT session, when we have softened the hard, constricted place inside in the heart and the gut and the breathing, where all the repressed feelings have been held - this woman began to be aware of another energy inside her. She described it as a "wild pony energy, that wants to do something outrageous!"  

I love it when a strong new inner current emerges!  It is always an opportunity to use my intuition and my creativity to weave in words and phrases as we tap that describe the positive aspects of this powerful alternative to feeling helplessly victimized. 

We created and anchored the feeling in her body of this wild pony, running free and powerful across the wide open expansive spaces, feeling the wind in her mane and the sun on her back, full of endless energy, exhilarating in choosing her own path, confident in her stride, feeling a part of her community. (You have probably noticed that I am choosing phrases here suggested by the image of the pony, that resonate with an alternative to the words she used about herself.  I just let my own imagination run free as we tapped! )  A Native American figure entered her image, as a friend, guide and companion to the wild pony.  We integrated this figure into the tapping phrases too.

After the session, I encouraged her to work with the symbol of a wild pony in her life:  draw it, sculpt it, look for a figure or a totem of a wild pony, find a picture, write about it, meditate on it, tap on it often.  I believe that when we honor these images that come to us, asleep or awake, we are honoring the energy that they represent in us, and inviting it to grow. Our healing lies in taking actions like this.

Later she wrote to me:

Since my session with you, I have been seeing many horses, on TV, towed in trailers (this is Texas), in picture books.   

I   now have conversations with my wild pony!  She wants me to take art lessons and learn about local herbs. I see her running through a field of goldenrod. And I am the Native American riding and talking with her. Isn't imagination fun? I have been drawing ponies, too, and tapping regularly. 

I am enjoying hearing how EFT works with intuition. It gives me hope that there is a way to use sensitivity, instead of thinking it is a burden. It can be useful and helpful. That is new for me and I love to see it demonstrated. And I am inspired that a person who is sensitive like you can travel to England and present in front of people!    

I thought all sensitives were cowering in a corner somewhere....I want a new vision.

There is a lot more that can be done with this story, and these issues, using EFT.  But the comments above let me know that healing is now awakening in this woman.  Can we say "unbridled?"

Rue Hass


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