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How do I know the right words to say when I'm tapping?

Hi Everyone,
David Lake, MD (from Australia) takes us on an insightful and creative journey into the language
possibilities within EFT. Please note his innovative method of magnifying the issue (from both
positive and negative directions) while tapping. I've done this myself many times (you will see it on
our tapes) and it often produces substantial cognitive shifts, belief changes, new perspectives and
the like. Those who want to master the fine points of EFT will find David's message invaluable.
Hugs, Gary

by David Lake, MD
This question is perennial. To me it indicates that the mind is concerned about getting the
instructions correct (and worried about getting them 'wrong'...). You might not need too many
words at all! While EFT is robust and forgiving as a technique, it's easy to forget that it's a bodyenergy technique and not strictly a psychological one.
Thus, the emotion of the issue fills your system regardless of how the mind processes the problem,
and this might be why focus and persistent tapping bring so many positive and varied results. I find
it better to tap on body sensations and reactions than to get over-concerned about labelling every
feeling. I am also interested in bringing the maximum leverage to the use of EFT by concentrating
its effect on the most intense aspects of the dysfunction.
One of the best ways to do this is to emphasise and exaggerate the negative. This is important if
you believe that EFT works its wonders by harmonizing the disruptions in our reactive emotional
system. I have also found that a light-hearted therapeutic focus on the dark side of personality and
life can bring disproportionate relief, ironic acceptance, laughter, and compassion--and EFT will
facilitate the unique alchemy of transformation. Steve Wells, another EFT Contributing Editor, and I
have been investigating this approach toward the negative over recent years in our Energy work (it
is not fair to assume that his therapeutic imagination is more bizarre or surreal than mine).
This is a composite example of how I would do this in treating a relationship issue. The presenting
problem is the frustration of a wife who 'can't trust' her husband, as a result of repeated broken
promises. The couple sits together in a counselling session, both have learned EFT, and it is her
turn to talk about her grievance. I ask her to tap on facial points whenever she feels intense about
the situation, as it is important to take up every opportunity to treat as you go, and to end such a
session with as many sequences of tapping completed as comfortably possible. I also ask the
husband, this time, to tap for relief, if he needs to, while she talks--but to be silent.
She says: "He's always saying one thing and doing another...I get my hopes up but he never
follows through. He lies! I'm sick of it!". Now I ask permission to go further with this, and request
that she look into her husband's eyes while she follows my actions and repeats my words.
I say, for the three set-up statements:
"Even though you lie to me...and let me down...and dash my hopes...part of me still loves you."
"Even though you say one thing and do another, I do my best to handle you."
"Even though you never follow through...and I'm really sick of it...and maybe there is no answer to
this... I'm going to find an answer if I can."
Now she taps on the 7 basic shortcut points while saying: "You lie. You let me down. I can't stand
it. I can't stand you. I have no hope. Maybe we can't make it. I don't know what to do."
While these statements are intuitive, they also pace the wife's experience, and she knows from my
inquiries after the sequences that she can adjust their accuracy if she wants to (instant feedback). I
find that all such statements have come up at one time in the mind of a distressed spouse
(speaking the unspeakable according to Frank Farrelly, originator of Provocative Therapy).
Typically by using the paradox of worsening the situation, strong emotion surfaces and releases.
She would typically cry or get angry.


I now say: "Keep on tapping around the points" (Very important to keep tapping with strong
feelings, as this is the antidote). Now I switch to the body: "If you had to name a place in your
body where these feelings might collect, where would it be?" The answer might be over the heart. I
say: "Put one hand over that place and focus all your attention underneath--as if those feelings
have a shape and you could connect with that shape, and touch it". We keep tapping in silence so
as not to interrupt the process with words, and to give some time and space to the obvious hurt.
Sometimes this can take a few minutes. Often I will ask if I can help by doing some of the tapping
for her, and if the answer is 'yes', I will use the hand points (and wrist yin/yang meeting points);
Gary has done this tapping for the client consistently in all his EFT trainings and it is a beautiful
gesture and assistance in the right hands.
When things settle down I check the body sensations and their intensity, and repeat some
sequences on 'chest emotion' or 'heart feeling' if necessary. It's not vital to get such intensities
down to zero as they represent a big picture which is unfolding, so aspects of the problem pop up in
many guises, and you deal with them naturalistically (if not logically).
I like to emphasise the bizarre aspects of loving and hating someone simultaneously (the 'good'
partner and the 'bad' partner), and making molehills into mountains so that eventually even the
client finds it hard to agree that they have teamed up with the 'worst person in the world', or that
their 'shocking bad judgement' in saying 'yes' to him means that they are a 'very slow learner'!
A healthy disputing commences, which I can humorously refute, as if I am on the side of her
nightmare and as if I agree that its really too hard or hopeless (or whatever she said when she was
steamed up). I would tap on either side of the belief system, emphasizing the good or the bad, but
I would exaggerate that polarity to an uncomfortable degree, using a cartooning or lampooning
irony if possible. This is a slippery situation for the client to respond to.
For maximum effect she can follow a sequence of tapping where the good and the bad are
presented alternately with each point! The good news will usually have an echo in the clients
belief structure, which is a disbelieving or cynical opposite response, while the bad news is treated
anyway in the usual manner. A lot of negativity is processed very quickly with such accelerated
confusion. That confusion exists anyway in the love/hate dichotomy but, after EFT, it settles to
tolerable levels.
While doing the setup, I would have the wife say (looking at her partner): Although part of me
hates what you do, I dont hate youbut I do sometimes, and I hate feeling like that; and even if
all that is true, I accept myself deeply and completely I accept myself, even though its very hard
to accept myself as a wife when I have these hateful feelings I love and forgive myself even
though it might be a very long time before Ill do that for you, considering your track record.
Now she taps on the 7 points, moving to the next point with each phrase: I love you. I dont love
you. I hate you. Part of me loves you. Part of me hates you. I only love the good you. I really hate
the bad you.
We progress in the session by testing the original propositions and complaints for emotional
intensity. If things have shifted to positive and life-affirming directions, a guaranteed way to further
the work required is to get the husband to proffer some of his favourite excuses or rationalizations.
With the wifes response you will find more work to be done! Later in therapy the husband has a
turn, and the couple can do all of the above strategies together, simultaneously or sequentially,
straight or paradoxically. Are we having fun yet?
Of course as the therapist you need excellent rapport and loving kindness in your empathic
resonance. I also think you need to be able to tolerate the ambiguity and ambivalence involved in
making the problem worse in a creative and loving way. For some, this emphasis would go against
the grain of positive thinking (or the pursuit of happiness in some countries). It might even be
Flash: This works! You can even do it yourself for your own private reactive problems.
With my best intentions,
David Lake