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Some EFT guidelines for working with children

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

EFT works very well with children, although there are unique ways to deliver EFT properly to these youngsters. Gratitude to Deirdre Brocklebank from Australia for providing some useful guidelines in this area.

Hugs, Gary

By Deirdre Brocklebank BA

These notes are suggested as a guide for parents using EFT with their own children as well as for those working with other peoples’ children.  The latter could be those doing the EFT as a friend or practitioner or both.

A working knowledge of the EFT terminology is assumed.  A child is defined as being between 3.5 years to 14 but this could vary depending on the maturity of the child.

The environment

1. Establish a safe, welcoming, comfortable environment which may be inside or outside.

2. Respect the child’s needs, feelings, etc. and ask what they feel good with.

  • Do they want someone with them such as their parent, other relation or friend while they are doing the EFT?
  • If they choose to be on their own doing the EFT, do they want to still be able to see their parent or whoever is with them?
  • If they are very young, do they want a comforter such as a favourite toy with them?
  • Do they want to sit, lie or stand during the EFT?
  • Where do they want to sit, lie or stand?

The process

1. It is essential to quickly establish rapport and trust with the child.  A big part of doing this is to respect but not patronise them.  This can be assisted by doing the following:

When identifying their problem, rather than ask for a level of intensity on a scale of 0 to 10, ask:

  • How big the problem is, and get them to indicate this in their own way.  For example younger children might find it easy to spread their arms apart to indicate the size of the problem (before and after addressing it with EFT).
  • For other physical features of the problem.  For example, what colour, shape, etc. is the problem?
  • What the problem feels like.  For example, can you feel this problem anywhere in your body?  If so, ask them to show you where it is in/on their body.  How does it make them feel?  (sad, unhappy, awful, scared).
  • Does the problem remind them of anything?  For example, they may remember a particular event when they felt a strong emotion and this may have to be addressed with EFT in addition to the original problem they are addressing. 
  • Speak their language in terms that they can understand.  E.g., if doing the Setup statement, for younger children it may more appropriate to use phrases such as “mummy loves me”, I’m a good kid”, “daddy loves me”, rather than the stock phrase of “I deeply and completely love and accept myself”.
  • Do whichever routine is appropriate for the age of the child and their problem.  For example, Tell the Story is an excellent approach developed by Gary Craig.  It is effective for all ages, especially the very young.  They simply tell their story about their problem and when you notice they are feeling an emotion you can then address this appropriately.  This could be by using a routine with a positive choice statement.  Note - It can be very effective to first address all the negatives about an issue such as fear of spiders or being bullied at school.  You could then introduce one or more rounds of positive statements until they feel better.  

2. Tapping on points can be done in several ways but it is important to ask the child which they prefer.  For example you can:

  • Tap on them (while they are not tapping)
  • Tap on yourself while they tap on themselves
  • Tap along with them on yourself and also tap on any points you are drawn to, on them, while they tap for themselves.

Note: All the meridian points allow access into the meridian system and the usual points are generally preferred because they have been shown to be effective.  However, if a child is lying down for instance, they may prefer you to lightly tap along the points either side of their spine in preference to other points.  It is also possible to just touch and/or rub the points rather than tapping them.  It may be appropriate to show the child all the ways and do those which they prefer.

3. Timing of the EFT is very important, as it is most effective when the person is experiencing the emotions, pain, or feelings of their problem.  Therefore, encourage the child to do EFT whenever they feel like doing it.  This can be very helpful, for example if the child is being bullied at school they can do EFT at the time or soon after.

  • If you know or suspect that the child has a problem such as being bullied at school it can very effective to ask them to talk about their day when they are feeling relaxed.  For example, when they are in bed and settling for the night.

4. The length of EFT sessions will depend on many factors including the age of the child, their willingness to co-operate and the nature of their problem.  It is obviously important to work to their level of commitment and interest but short, spontaneous or regular sessions (if working with a professional therapist) may be most effective.  The child could regard the time that you set aside to work with them as being very special, and this in itself can be very rewarding for all those involved.

5. It is very important to clear any issues that a parent has around their child.  For example, while they generally want the best for their child they may have their own beliefs or expectations around this.  These could affect their child.  For example, thinking that “I want my child to be the best in the class” could be putting unnecessary pressure on the child to perform.  This could be creating its own problems such as anger directed to others, both at school and at home.


EFT is a very creative process.  Don’t be bound by rules and methodology.  Relax and explore its amazing possibilities.  Remember, it is a technique for having F.U.N. (Freeing Unwanted Negativity).

Deirdre Brocklebank BA

Dip Reflexology, Certificate IV in Assessment and Workplace Training
EFT Practitioner and teacher.  Member RAA

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