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Articles & Ideas

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Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Steve Wells from Australia shares with us a concept for getting to the core of our issues. He calls it our Biggest Problem and develops his idea in detail. Understanding this article should help you get results with otherwise resistant cases.

By Steve Wells

What is the biggest problem you have? And for each of the problems you have (and most of us have quite a few) what is the biggest problem that having that problem causes you?

I contend that the biggest problem our problems cause us is how they make us feel.

Think about it. We don't like presenting in public because it "makes us" feel anxious. We don't like boat rides because they "make us" feel woozy. We don't like certain people at work because they "make us" feel irritated and annoyed.

(Of course, nothing "makes us" feel a certain way, it just seems like it does. But that's good enough for the purposes of our discussion.)

And because we tend to feel in these ways we tend to behave in certain ways - the most common of which is avoidance. How our problems cause us to feel therefore hugely influences (some would say controls) our behaviors and therefore our outcomes in life.

If speaking in public caused us to feel excited, if boat rides caused us to feel exhilarated, if interactions with that person in the office caused us to feel powerful then everything would be different, wouldn't it? The problem would not even be a problem.

If we felt differently then we would act differently then everything would be different.

So you have your problem. Then you have the way(s) the problem makes you feel. And it's treating these feelings where EFT comes in.

When you want to treat a problem with EFT start by asking yourself:

"How do I feel about this problem?"

OR: "How does having this problem make me feel?"

Then ask repeatedly for every answer you get:

"And how does that make me feel?"

"And how does that make me feel?"

And do some EFT on the answers.

"Even though (this problem) makes me feel X..."

OR "Even though I feel X about/because of (this problem)...."

Addressing the feeling association of the problem takes us towards the most important core part of the problem.

To take this further, use the following questions, which Gary taught us in the advanced workshops for identifying core events where you learned those feeling associations:

"What does this (feeling) remind me of?"

OR: "When have I felt this feeling before?"

Search for memories in your past where you had this same feeling and apply EFT to them using the "Tell the story" or "Run the movie" techniques as outlined on Gary Craig's website.

Now let's take this a little further.

I have come to believe that ultimately, perhaps the biggest problem our problems cause us is how they make us feel about ourselves. Every day people are taking drugs, eating themselves silly, diverting themselves from productive work by watching hours of mind-numbing television or Internet surfing, or doing any of a myriad of things because they quite simply don't like the way they feel about themselves. The problems in their life become the reason for their own non-self-acceptance. Non-acceptance of self may also be a key part of the cause.

In recent times, Dr. David Lake and I have been getting excellent results by focusing on this aspect of non-acceptance, the non-acceptance of self that occurs as a consequence or cause of every problem. When we solve this problem then all of our other problems may not have gone away but WE will be different. And when WE are different, then everything is different.

This was the experience I had when I conducted my 30-Day self-acceptance trial using EFT 3 years ago. My problems were still there but now I was no longer the problem. This was a hugely empowering experience and perspective, and it meant I was better able to address my problems because I could look at them from the outside, rather than always living them from the inside. Not only that, my feelings spontaneously changed around a number of matters, I was easily able to do things I'd previously been avoiding, and I began to feel much lighter about life generally.

Back then I decided that for 30 days, every time I found myself engaging in non-acceptance of self (which basically meant every time I identified a problem and every time I felt bad about anything at all!) I would conduct some rounds of EFT on accepting myself despite having that problem and feeling those feelings. The results were tremendous for me as they have been for many people who have written to me about their personal transformations after following this program.

To continue our current progress, let's return to the problem you identified in the beginning of this post (Your "biggest problem").

Now ask yourself the following questions:

How do I feel about myself for having this problem?

How does having this problem make me feel about myself?

What does having this problem mean about me?

Then do tapping on these feelings and associations.

To help you, here are some connections that people typically come up with. If you're still breathing it's almost certain you'll have some or all of them:

I am angry at myself for having this problem - and for whatever I did to contribute towards it.

I judge myself for having this problem...

I am annoyed at myself for having this problem...

I am upset at myself for having this problem...

Having this problem usually means (according to our internal judgment system) that we are a bad person in some way, and the standard statement to describe these associations goes as follows:

"Because I have (this problem) it means I am a bad X (bad X = bad mother, bad father, bad sister, bad brother, bad business person, bad money manager, ... just plain bad!)."

Insert the appropriate label for yourself and treat yourself for being a bad X:

"Even though (having this problem) means I am a bad X, I fully and completely accept myself..."

And treat yourself for the non-acceptance of self that results from having the problem:

"Even though I don't accept myself for having this problem, or for allowing this problem into my life, I fully and completely accept myself..."

Despite the paradoxical nature of this statement it is one of the truest statements you can make.

When you do this tapping on your non-acceptance, you will often find that it is like unwrapping layers that have become overlaid over your problems, and subsequent tapping on the problem itself more easily yields dividends, even with problems that have previously resisted treatment. I tell my clients that anger at yourself for having the problem (which almost everyone has to some degree) is like putting a lid on the problem and tends to hold it to us. Once we treat the self-anger then we can access the underlying problem and treat it more directly.

Of course there's another more distressing level to our non-self-acceptance and that is that there are parts of ourselves which seem to want the problem to exist! This is our dark side, the side of ourselves that we wish didn't exist, that part of ourselves which we will do the most to avoid acknowledging, let alone connecting with. That's because we fear that this part will rule us, that if we acknowledge it or even think about it that it will take us over, and then our world will be hell on earth. This is the part that Dr. David Lake and I most enjoy working with, and it's working with this part that has yielded by far the most dividends in our work with clients and in our self-acceptance workshops.

As illogical as it seems, accepting our dark parts does not empower them at all; not accepting them does! Trying to shy away from them or trying to ignore them often causes them to rise up and bite us (Our fears tend to come upon us. What we resist persists!). That's because avoiding them at best leaves the emotional connection intact and at worst reinforces or even increases it. The ultimate solution is not, as many pop psychology gurus would suggest to just "focus on the positive", the ultimate power comes from being able to think a previously dark thought and realize that it no longer has any power over you.

Shining the light of our awareness - combined with tapping - onto our dark parts causes them to fade away like the figments they are, and leads us to realize that they really do have absolutely no power in and of themselves, their power existed only because of a mental-emotional construct we formed at one time in our lives. Their reality is in fact a non-reality, their truth a lie, their impact borne only by the strength of the feeling we had associated towards them, something that EFT, and good therapy, can transform.

There's much more that can be said about treating the dark and conflicting parts of ourselves, however I shall leave this for a future post.

Steve Wells


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