How long should I use EFT on an issue? Is it important that I tap on an issue until it is 100% clear? How many sessions should I work on the same issue?
There are a number of things to consider when approaching these questions. Let’s take these questions one at a time.
How Much Work In One Session?
When it comes to how long to tap in one session it is good let our bodies be our guide. When tapping we are doing energy work. We’re clearing energetic blocks, causing energy to move around and through the body. This can be draining. Typically people can tap for about an hour before they need to take a break, but if you’re working on something very emotional, you might need to tap for less time to avoid a state of exhaustion.
Each person is going to react to EFT in a different way. I have clients who will have lots of energy one minute and the next minute they are completely exhausted. Other clients will slowly become more and more tired. Listen to your body. It will tell you when you need to stop.
As a side note, if you do find yourself particularly tired after a tapping session, make sure that you keep your system hydrated. When your body is tired you know you’ve moved a lot of energy, and water is essential for your body to re-energizing.
Do I need to get 100% clear?
The amount of time you should spend tapping on an issue is going to depend on your purpose. Let’s look at the examples of killing a craving and getting over the fear of public speaking to examine the different objectives we can have with tapping.
When I deal with a craving my goal is not necessarily to be completely free of the craving, but to be free to make a good choice. My comfort food is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I often crave them at about 9:30 p.m. as I’m getting ready for bed. The craving peaks at about an 8 on the SUDs scale. My goal is to be sure I can make good choices about what I eat. Just one or two rounds of tapping reduces my craving to a 1 or 2. The craving still exists, but I won’t give in to a craving that weak.
Again, my goal was not to eat the candy. Therefore I’ve reached that goal. Because I am going to easily make the choice I want to make, I don’t need to do any more tapping.
In comparison, when I’ll be speaking in public my goal is to be anxiety-free when I speak so I can do my absolute best. It is 10 minutes before I am to step to the microphone and my level of anxiety is at an 8 on the SUDs scale. After a few round of tapping my anxiety is down to a 2, but it’s still there. Since my goal is to be completely free of anxiety and I am still at a 2, I’ll keep tapping until I’m at 0.
Ultimately, the goal of EFT is to feel or act differently. Sometimes this will require us to be completely 100% clear to make that change. There are going to be other times where we don’t need a 100% clearance to change our state or choices.
I’ve been working on pain management with a client. For her it’s enough to get the chronic headache that is a 7 or 8 down to a 2 or 3. At that level it’s a manageable amount of pain because she no longer feels it all the time.
How many sessions do I need to tap on one issue?
Again, this is going to depend on the issue and your goal for that issue.
The rule of thumb I use is, “Keep coming back until you know it’s gone.”
The issue we’re working on can have varied and deep roots. Just because we feel clear on an issue after one session doesn’t mean it’s gone for good. Instead we may have just cleared enough for this moment. When it comes to working on big issues (self-esteem, trauma, chronic pain) it will normally take a number of sessions.
Any issue worth spending time on is also worth coming back to until you’re sure it’s gone. This is one of the reasons I encourage my clients to take notes when they tap. When you have notes on the issues you’ve worked on and the phrases you’ve used, you know you can come back to it and be sure it’s cleared.
I would keep revisiting an issue until you can revisit three separate times with no reaction at all.
Remember, there are no cut and dried rules for how much and how long you should tap on a specific issue. The most important thing to understand is why you want to clear the issue. When you know why you are doing the work, then you can more accurately gauge when you’re ready to move on to something else.