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How do I choose the phrases to use while doing 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Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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,

The EFT Basic Recipe provides a standard language format to use for both the "Setup" and the "Reminder Phrase." This is covered clearly in The EFT Manual and The EFT Course.

While this format has been employed for many stellar results, there are still occasions when it might be more elegant to customize the language to fit certain circumstances.

Also, those who have studied our video set Steps Toward Becoming The Ultimate Therapist (and later) have watched me evolve this language opportunity into a useful form of reframing. To me, this injects extra "art" into the delivery. It is fun to do and anyone who is willing to practice it can develop their own elegant version of it.

Ultimately, you will want to develop your own ability to create customized wording. This is useful because people manifest their issues differently...AND...the number of issues that beset human beings have filled many books. Acquiring this skill is not hard to do. After a little practice it should become second nature...something like riding a bicycle.

Some Newcomers, however, find this customization challenging and want a list of suggested language or a step-by-step process to assist them in their early stages of learning. The two articles below should provide the necessary assist.

John Freedom from Arizona and Carol Tuttle from Utah are both quality EFT workshop presenters. As such they are thoroughly familiar with students' needs in this regard. Accordingly, they have prepared the two articles below. John provides a method by which you can custom-design your own language patterns while Carol gives suggested wording and offers a 150 page book filled with language possibilities.

Hugs, Gary


By John Freedom

Creating Your Own Custom-Designed Setup Phrases

The Setup Phrase is often an under-valued part of EFT. Many of us have used (and taken for granted) the generic setup phrase that says "Even though I have this ________, I deeply and completely love and accept myself." This does work --- much of the time --- but not always.

The Setup is intended to be the built-in antidote for psychological reversal (PR). A PR is an objection to healing. It is a form of subtle self-sabotage, and includes any limiting belief or consideration a person is holding, that prevents them from healing and changing now. Often this takes the form of implicit self-hatred.

The person may believe, consciously or unconsciously, "Because I have this issue, I am a bad person, and therefore unloveable." The generic Setup phrase confronts this possibility, acknowledges that "even though I have this issue," and antidotes the PR with "I deeply and completely love and accept myself."

But there are problems with the generic Setup. Some people balk at the idea (or even possibility!) of accepting or loving themselves. I worked with one woman with Multiple Personality Disorder; she objected, saying, "But I don't see myself as a 'self'." And then for others, self-acceptance is NOT the issue; and thus not the antidote. There may be other forms of PR (lurking beneath the surface!) that need antidoting.

PR can take many forms, and these have been catalogued by (among others) Fred Gallo, David Grudermeyer, and Asha Clinton. These include:

Possibility: "I can't get over this issue."

Worthiness: "I don't deserve to get over this issue."

Safety: "It's not safe for me to get over this issue."

Secondary gain or loss: "I will lose _______, if I get over this issue."

Authority: "My doctor says I will always have this issue."

Identity: "I can't release this issue, but the issue is part of who I am." Etc.

I recently attended Gary Craig's Borrowing Benefits seminar in May in Flagstaff, and noticed that he was being very "loose" and creative with his Setups, and doing a lot of reframing. In my own work I have found it to be more effective, creative and FUN! to custom-design my own setup-phrases. Just as one of the keys to successful EFT is to "chunk down" and get very specific, so also designing a very SPECIFIC SETUP PHRASE greatly enhances the effectiveness of the whole treatment.

A simple yet elegantly powerful way to design your own Setups is to use the following "template." I call this the "Parts Setup," and it has three parts. It goes like this:

"Even though A PART OF ME thinks that______

The REST OF ME KNOWS that______ and


After the first phrase, insert the limiting belief, the objection to healing (PR). After the second, insert a POSITIVE TRUTHFUL FACT, which confronts and antidotes the limiting belief. What is more powerful than, and effectively "neutralizes" a limiting belief? A truthful, Unlimiting fact!

After the third phrase, insert a POSITIVE ACTION you are WILLING/CHOOSING to take. CHOOSING (following Dr. Pat Carrington's model) is a powerful word; WILLING is more gentle. But it is important to say that you are CHOOSING to DO something, ONLY IF you are truly going to follow through and DO IT!

An example. I once had a student who believed that she "could not do anything right." This is NOT true, of course; but that was her belief. And IF she cannot do "anything right," then of course, she cannot do EFT right! This limiting belief will sabotage her results.

So I had her custom-design her Setup phrases like this:

"Even though A PART OF ME thinks that I can't do anything right,

THE REST OF ME KNOWS that I do some things very well ((POSITIVE TRUTHFUL FACT)), and

I'M WILLING to love and accept myself, (POSITIVE ACTION), whether I do things well, or not."

"Even though A PART OF ME THINKS that I can't do anything right,

THE REST OF ME KNOWS that I've held a responsible job for many years, and

I'M CHOOSING to focus on what I do well, rather than on what I don't."

"Even though A PART OF ME THINKS that I can't do anything right,

THE REST OF ME KNOWS that I am intelligent, competent and capable, and

I'M WILLING to learn to tap on myself, and get the results I want."

I will have my clients repeat the Setup three or four times, using the same PR/objection but with different "antidotes" and choices in the 2nd & 3rd phrases. I find that a well-designed Setup, followed by tapping, is like a "one-two punch" that will effectively knock out many issues easily. By openly acknowledging, confronting and disabling the specific PR, the "real issue" is tapped away much more easily. Often the client's 0-10 intensity level will decrease by 50% or more, just by using this Setup alone.

The Parts Setup is one of several Setup Variations. Please feel free to "play" and experiment with it, and let me know what you experience!

John Freedom, M.C., NLP.

By Carol Tuttle

Suggested statements while doing EFT

One of the most common challenges and frustrations individuals have with EFT is "what am I supposed to say while I am tapping." I have had many a student and client share with me, "my mind goes blank when I start to tap."

Once we have zeroed in on a specific event that represents a core issue, it is common to get hung-up on the words that represent that core issue and we get tongue tied and feel we are interfering with the process of EFT. Thus we think it is less effective for us.

There are no exact words, phrases or statements that fit every individual situation that is out there. That is why Gary urges students to develop creativity in this area. It is a trial and error process that, one mastered, produces rich rewards. In the meantime, however, there are common themes we can explore in most traumas, core issues, limiting beliefs, and dysfunctions.

I have found in working with literally 100's of clients that there are some common statements that can be used with a variety of different people to help them clear more effectively using EFT.

The resource that has been very helpful to me that I can now offer to you is the "Suggested Statements for Trauma and Stress Release" Book.

This handy 150 page spiral bound book has over 50 suggested menus of statements for every core issue and dysfunction you can imagine.....just to name a few:

Low Self-Esteem
Weight Issues
and many more.

As well as suggested clearing statements, each issue has a page of reframes of positive "I am" statements to anchor in new beliefs and a more vibrant energy.

For example if you wanted to clear a core issue and pattern of People Pleasing, these are the suggested statements for this dysfunction. While tapping up and down the EFT points say the following statements:

Releasing: Scared / I'm in the way / I'm a bother / Need to do it right / have to appear blameless to survive / have to appear perfect to survive / letting it go...

Releasing: I am not okay as I am / I am not as good as another / I don't fit in / I don't belong / If they really knew me they would not like me / Don't speak it will ruin the program / don't be forgetful or people won't like me / there is no room for people who don't have it all together / releasing, letting it go.....

Releasing: scared if I am myself / I won't be accepted / I will be put down / I need love so I do what others want me to for love / angry / never good enough / I alter my truth to fit in / I deny my truth to get my needs met / let down / disappointed / I expect others to tell me I am okay / I don't trust myself / if someone else is unhappy it must be my fault / letting these distortions go......

Releasing: I expect others to validate me / to get my needs met I must change others / jumping through hoops for love / afraid of being wrong / letting these distortions go....

After tapping out the suggested limiting beliefs and core issues you can tap on the following reframes:

I am okay as I am
I validate myself
stand for truth at all times
I am worthy of love
I am okay with myself
I am worthy of love
I am open to new freedom and joy
I am true to myself
I take care of myself
I end relationships that cannot be healthy
I change only myself
I am living my life fully
I am wanted
I speak my truth
I am myself and I enjoy it

I have found this statement book to be extremely helpful in my practice and have encouraged my clients to refer to it to assist them while using EFT to clear their blocks and distortions in between sessions.

The suggested statements also help in opening people up so that other hidden issues and beliefs start to come up and clear with more spontaneity and ease.


Carol Tuttle


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