photo by The Happy Rower
Often, in advance of working with someone one-on-one, we will have short conversation to see if we will be a good fit to work together. (If you are interested in working with me one-on-one visit WorkWithGene.com.) Recently, during one of these consultations, I was asked this thoughtful question:
“I have never worked with a practitioner before, is there anything I should know or keep in mind as we start to do this work?”
I have a pre-session audio [link] which helps clients to prepare for the mechanics of the session, but I had never given much thought to what should be kept in mind to get the most out of tapping.
Here are the 3 things that I think will help you to be more efficient with your Emotional Freedom Technique(EFT)/tapping sessions.
Be Willing To Let Go Of Your Story
When I first work with a client on an issue I ask them to give me its history. This includes how the issue is impacting their life, what they have tried (tapping or otherwise) to deal with the issue, and how they think it started.
As they are telling their story one thing I always keep in mind is that most people (myself included) are notoriously bad at accurately reporting what is going in their lives. When a client is talking about their life I treat everything they say the same way eyewitness testimony is treated in a court of law.
Eyewitness testimony is helpful, and a great place to start an investigation. Eyewitness testimony is not a record of facts but an interpretation of what happened from one point of view.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t believe my client or that I think they are consciously trying to mislead me (or themselves). It is just a fact that we are biased when it comes to our perceptions of our own lives.
Many times when a client comes to me they have already been working on an issue for years. I have lots of thoughtful clients who have done a great deal of work on understanding how the issue they are addressing has come to be. Because of this they will often have a story of why they are the way they are.
- “When I was a child everyone thought my sister was amazing. Everything she did was perfect. She was good in school, she was popular, and she was a great athlete. I was always compared to her and I never matched up. The reason I have such low self-esteem is because I always feel like I am never going to match up to the people around me.”
There is an interesting phenomenon that happens when someone starts to tell the story of why they are the way the are when they have been telling that same story for a long time. It is like they have hit the play button in their head and the story they have told many times before starts. You can almost feel them not paying attention to the story any more because they have told it so often that they are on autopilot in the telling of it.
I want to be very clear that I am not criticizing this. I do the same thing. What I am pointing out is how it’s possible for us to become attached to a reasonable story for why we are the way we are.
This story can be a useful jumping off point, but just because it is reasonable does not mean that it is true. If we cling to our story as true, then that is the only avenue we will investigate in our tapping and we may never find the root cause and succeed in getting past this issue.
When we are tapping (with a practitioner or alone) we need to be willing to give up our story of why we are the way we are. This can be difficult because the story we have been telling is reasonable. Look at the example above. That is a perfectly logical reason why someone might struggle with self-esteem, but if we are married to that as the reason we may never move on.
One of the ways I like to deal with this is to tap to something like this:
I would like to heal this issue…I know my life will be better when I resolve this…I have spent a lot of time thinking about the issue…And why I have this issue…The reasons I have come up with are reasonable…And they very likely could be the reason why I am experiencing what I am experiencing…But I also know that I might be wrong…There could be a completely different reason for why I am the way I am…Even though I have invested a lot of time and energy into my story…I give myself permission to let my story go…I give myself permission to be open to other possibilities…In the end it doesn’t matter if I am right about why I am the way I am…What is most important is my healing.
If you take just a moment to tap to this idea before you start your session it will help you to see fresh ways of approaching your problem and open you up to new healing possibilities.
Don’t Need To Know Why In Order To Heal
One of the reasons that we come up with a story to why we are experiencing an issue is because it makes it understandable. When understand something it give us more control over the situation. When something is understandable then we are able to prevent it from happening again.
So the desire to understand why something happens is helpful, but at the same time it can be a hinderance to the healing process. If there is a part of us that needs to understand why something happens it can prevent us from healing.
The logic is this:
- I don’t like what is happening.
- I don’t want it to happen again.
- Therefore, I am going to put all my energy into understanding why.
If we find ourselves in this place it will be difficult to move forward. Clear this idea by tapping to this:
I have had this issue for a while…And I really don’t like how it feels…And I don’t want to experience this ever again…There is a part of me that wants to understand how this happened…If I knew how or why this happened then I could prevent it from happening again…As important as it is to understand why this happened…It is more important to heal and move beyond it…There will be times when I understand exactly what the root cause of an issue is…There will be other times when I will have no idea why this happened…As nice as it would be to understand why…It is much more important to heal…I give myself permission to heal this issue without ever knowing why or how it happened…It would nice to know that…but it is not necessary.
It Is A Process
It is easy to be seduced with stories of and personal experience with “one minute miracles.” I have seen people go from total scepticism about tapping, to frustration that tapping isn’t fixing everything in their lives in one session.
It is good to understand the power of tapping, but it is also important that we keep it in perspective. If it took a lifetime for an issue to take root, it also makes sense that will take time to unroot it.
Healing is a process and it is important we bear this in mind or we will miss the progress we are making (see “The 10% Solution”), get frustrated, and quit. To help keep this in mind I like to start (and end) sessions with tapping something like this:
I know that healing is a process…There is a part of me that would like this healing to happen right now…And it is good that I am motivated to have healing happen sooner rather than later…But it is a process…Each time I tap I will make progress…Each time I tap I will get closer to my goal…But I choose to be easy with myself…And be easy with the process…As it unfolds…Healing is happening…At a rate that will help ensure that the effects are lasting.
One of the fastest ways for us to give up on tapping is to experience ineffective tapping sessions. If you give yourself permission to surrender your own story, release the need to know why you are the way you are, and give up the need to heal right now, you will set yourself up for a useful and successful tapping session.
What stumbling blocks have you run into when tapping? I would love to hear about them in the comments below.