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Frequently Asked Questions

Can we do EFT surrogately or through intention? If so do we need permission?

EFt Tapping Outdated ImageNote: This is one of 3,000 articles written prior to the updated Gold Standard (Official) EFT Tapping Tutorial™. As a result, it is likely outdated. It provides practical uses for EFT Tapping but you should also explore our newest advancement, Optimal EFT, by reading our free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™, and/or get help from a Certified EFT Practitioner.

Can we do EFT surrogately or through intention? If so, do we need permission?

Many practitioners report impressive successes through applying EFT in this manner. Go to our Search Engineand enter "surrogate" (without the quotes) for a list of case histories on this subject. Then enter "intention" for still more. In my experience, the results are not as consistent as physically tapping but the reports are well beyond mere coincidence.

The question of needing permission is an interesting one. Here is an article I wrote to our email list on this subject.


Hi Everyone,

Our web site contains a growing number of successes using EFT surrogately and/or with intention. It would take a master of denial to read them and not be intrigued by the anecdotal evidence. The common question that arises about this regards asking permission to do this sort of healing work. Shouldn't we ask the client first? If for some reason that's not feasible, then shouldn't we ask a Higher Power for permission to proceed? And if neither of those is done, shouldn't we at least first recite some permission generating statement like, "I offer this healing work only if it is in the highest and best good of the person receiving it."

Good thoughts. All of them. They come from a caring place and, whether or not you agree with the necessity for doing this, the individuals choosing to go this route should be honored for their loving commitment. I don't know what's right here but I've been a party to this conversation on many occasions and thus offer below some interesting viewpoints I've run across (as well as some of my own).

First, some people (a minority) have given me detailed procedures for getting permission. These procedures are put forward as MUSTs for everyone to follow. Otherwise, it seems, you will surely damage someone. When I asked where these procedures came from, they responded that they came from "personal understandings." When I asked for a list of specific damages that people had encountered as a result of well intentioned surrogate/intentional tapping (done without permission), there was not a single incident offered. Interestingly, these varying procedures each contained a DIFFERENT list of MUSTs. Therein lies a weakness, I think. To me, a MUST is a MUST. Thus if list #1 contains a true MUST then it must be on list #2 and list #3, mustn't it? Otherwise, how can it be a MUST? I didn't find this method very compelling.

Other people believe that you must always ask permission of the client unless they are unable to grant it. Examples of those who are "unable" might be infants, animals, elderly people suffering from dementia, mentally retarded people, people who speak other languages, etc. This way, you can get direct permission most of the time. For those people unable to grant permission, it can still be obtained by asking a Higher Power. The permission asking questions I have heard go pretty much like this, "Is it in the highest and best interest of this client for me to do this work surrogately?" This technique is used by some practitioners for ALL their surrogate/intentional work. They never ask direct permission of the client. Instead they ask a Higher Power and proceed accordingly.

Many people have found this meritorious and I'm always in favor of procedures that work. However, the logic of this bothers my left brain a bit. Why? Because I don't know anyone (myself included) who is able to get 100% pure Guidance. No one, in my experience, is able to consistently (always) discern whether a given "answer" comes from a Higher Power or is just their own internal chatter. Yet they assume the answer is accurate and proceed (or don't proceed) accordingly. Do they have "real permission"--or not? Or do they have it a good percentage of the time and that is good enough? Interestingly, those who do this report good results.

You know what's interesting about all this? I have never heard of anyone being damaged by well intentioned surrogate/intentional work of any kind--EFT or otherwise. That doesn't mean it hasn't happened. I know there are stories regarding negative forms of Voodoo (hardly well intentioned, by the way) and stuff like that and so maybe it's possible. But I know a lot of people in the healing professions and over 1,000 clients and I have never heard of a single case where someone was disadvantaged in any way by well intentioned surrogate/intentional work. I have, however, heard many reports of successes by using this "way out" procedure. From all I can tell, these surrogate attempts either provide worthwhile benefits or fall on their face. But they don't cause harm. It's as though our efforts are stopped if, indeed, we are treading in areas which are not for the client's highest good.

This is not to suggest, however, that getting permission isn't a good idea. I get permission myself but I don't do it in a formal way. Rather, I just get an intuitive notion regarding whether or not to proceed. This is my form of asking for Guidance. I lean on this intuitive notion even when I'm in a one-on-one session (and obviously have client permission). It is continually guiding me as to which avenue to pursue with the client. In our advanced tapes I consistently put forward the notion that effective healing is done THROUGH US rather than BY US and the major skill involved is to GET OURSELVES OUT OF THE WAY. I find this much more useful and efficient than formally asking permission. True Guidance, some would argue, is better than permission because it is much more informed than both client and practitioner.

Another issue along these lines is the potential intrusion into one's privacy if we try to "fix" them without their permission. It's also a big rapport breaker if they have beliefs against this sort of thing and discover later that you were doing this.

This brings me to a related question that has been sitting within my psyche ever since this permission debate came to my attention (several years ago). It's an obvious question but I've never heard anyone voice it. Here it is.

If it is important to get permission for our well intentioned healing work then shouldn't it be just as important, if not more so, to get permission for our negative intentions? For our angers at others? For our wishes that someone loses while someone else wins? For the mental rejections we might level at others?

Yet how often do we do get permission for such thoughts? Does anyone EVER get such permission? Or do we just have the thought/intention without regard to the highest good of our "target?" Have you ever stopped yourself before having an angry thought/intention about someone and asked their permission to have it? I wonder what would happen if each of us did this. My guess is that we would have a lot fewer angry thoughts and a bit more peace in this world.

So where do we land with all this? Have we come up with a conclusion about asking permission? I think the consensus is that it's a good idea. However, how it should be done--and when--and under what circumstances is up to debate or personal decision.

I wish you Peace (which, by the way, is intentional and without your permission).

Smiles, Gary


Permission, The Guiding Hand and the Love Letter

Hi Everyone,

I'll get to the ideas of the Guiding Hand and the Love Letter at the end of this message. But first, we have some foundational background to cover.

Many thanks to all those list members who wrote me about their experiences and philosophies regarding surrogate/intentional healing efforts done WITHOUT permission. Even though I didn't have the time to properly respond to most of you directly, please know that I read everything you wrote. I printed out many of your insightful messages for further study (over 100 pages) and spent some quality telephone time with some of you.

As it turns out, this is a hot topic. The input I received was varied and many held "dig-in-their-heels" beliefs about what is right or wrong regarding this question. Some warned of dark consequences for "going where you are not wanted" and some thought I would be totally irresponsible if I mentioned anything positive about such "intrusive efforts." Others queried, "What's the big deal? How can well intentioned healing efforts do anything but good?" At times I felt like I was at the center of a theological tornado where people fervently debate and defend their cherished beliefs. There's a question I sometimes ask in my seminars that goes like this. "What weighs nothing, yet is powerful enough to start a war?" The answer??? Beliefs.

I'm going to trace through some of the thinking I received (both pro and con) but the bottom line is that asking permission from either the client or from a Higher Source is a personal decision. So there you have the conclusion--up front and tidy. Thus there's no need to read further unless, of course, you are curious about some of the thinking (and non-thinking) that showed up on this perplexing journey "through the healer's looking glass."

First, perhaps the most interesting fact in this entire debate was that, despite two requests, I was not presented with a single specific, verifiable example of a negative result experienced by a client due to someone's well meant non-permissioned surrogate/intentional healing effort.

Not one.

That doesn't mean that there were no such negative effects. Perhaps there were. Perhaps people just don't want to talk about them or admit them. Perhaps the clients didn't want to report them or maybe they didn't know to report them because they didn't realize what the causes were. All that's possible.

However, even though I promised confidentiality to anyone who could provide me with such specific instances, no one did so. At last count there were 2,153 members on this list. Surely, if there were negative results out there someone would be reporting such an instance. This is especially perplexing since people have a built in attraction to negative things. There is something interesting about them and people tend to get enjoyment out of exposing them, reading about them, etc. That is why our newspapers are loaded with stories about what's wrong in this world. That stuff sells. Yet, despite that, not one verifiable instance of client harm was offered.

About the closest we got to a negative example were 2 reports that surrogate/intentional healing was efforted by a practitioner who later noticed that the client appeared to have some down or depressive emotions. There was no direct evidence, however, that the surrogate/intentional healing effort was at fault. This sort of result can have many causes. It may have, indeed, been caused by the surrogate attempt but a statistician would be unimpressed by the evidence. By contrast, we have an imposing list of positive results on our web site which, although anecdotal, are so numerous that they go well beyond being merely coincidental. It is easy to find specific positive reports but the negative ones seem to be hiding.

I did receive philosophy and thoughts about ethical issues and their negative possibilities. But no specific examples of actual harm to a client. In some cases, people asked permission of a Higher Source and received a "No." Assuming the "No" was a correct transmission, this leaves us without any input regarding the consequences (if any) had the practitioner proceeded anyway. I also received 3 examples where the practitioners assumed they were the client and "took on" the client's issues as part of the surrogate healing efforts. These resulted in emphatic reports of the PRACTITIONERS having problems afterward--but NOT the client.

A point often made by those opposing this form of healing work is that we have no business intruding into someone else's psyche without first getting permission. How arrogant for a practitioner to assume they know what needs to be done and thus wade into someone's emotional make up and unilaterally "fix" things that the practitioner, in their presumed wisdom, thinks need fixing. How wrong? Who do they think they are? God? If not God, then are they even higher up on the wisdom scale? Does God ask advice of *them*?

This is a point well made. Who am I, for example, to truly know all the consequences of a healing effort. If a fear, trauma or nightmare is neutralized, for example, how do I know if that client is going to have trouble coping without their "old friend?" This argument, of course, is not limited to well meant surrogate/intentional healing efforts. The same thing applies in one-on-one sessions where the client is obviously giving permission. In such a case, not even the client knows what the consequences will be if their anger subsides regarding their father, mother, the world, etc.

So now what? Do we simply cease our healing efforts just because we now have tools that are truly effective? Should we not attempt surrogate/intentional healing work just because we don't know all the ramifications? We are just beginning to learn here. Perfection is not ours yet. We are, as I have often said, on the ground floor of a Healing High Rise. To me, the possibility of applying these procedures remotely is a possible centerpiece of the spiritual awareness that I think these processes point toward. It may well be the next level in proficiency.

This is not to suggest that there are no caveats or ethical issues. No indeed! There may be many such issues that need attention. But how are we going to understand them if we just sit on the sidelines and speculate about their features? We have to roll up our sleeves and prudently give these new levels a try. Otherwise, we can speculate forever on all the harm that can be done by non-permissioned surrogate/intentional healing work even though the evidence for such harm is skimpy at best.

There are some interesting questions involved in this topic. When, for example, do we need permission and under what circumstances can we dispense with the formality? Do I need permission to pray for you? Do I need permission to think a good thought about you? Do I need permission to wish you well or, more importantly, do I need permission to have angry thoughts about you? Further, what constitutes valid permission? Who's to say your permission from a Higher Source is the same as mine? Who's to say that such permission is even from a Higher Source and not just our personal internal chatter? Is there an accepted permission phrase that everyone should use? Or will just simple intuition do the job?

Further, even if permission is directly obtained from the client, who is to say that the client knows what is in their own best interest? Maybe they give you permission even though, unbeknownst to them, they need their ulcer or their headaches or their nightmares for some karmic purpose. If they give you such "faulty permission" aren't you unknowingly violating them by your healing efforts? Since we never know whether or not permission is validly given, shouldn't we just forego all these healing efforts? Or should we proceed only when we are absolutely certain that permission is validly given? If so, then who among us has absolute certainty in these matters? Who deserves the right to participate in healing and who doesn't? And who decides who has that right?

Sometimes getting permission from the client is awkward. If I notice someone in distress on an airplane should I go up to them first and say, "Pardon me, I notice you are in distress and I would like your permission to mentally tap on your energy system while sitting in my seat." If I did this, I fear the flight attendants would give me a parachute and show me to the door. Perhaps I should just mind my own business while someone unnecessarily "white knuckles" it through the flight. Is this being respectful of the person's privacy--or am I being irresponsible by withholding healing relief? Looked at in this way, I am in a lose-lose position.

I'm the last one to encourage harmful measures. On the other hand, there appears to be a greater risk of harm to others (statistically speaking) when we drive our cars. Further, surgical procedures and certain medicines (all of them applied with noble healing intention) carry far greater statistical risk than what has been reported for surrogate/intentional healing (with or without permission). Yet such healing interventions are undertaken every day. Many of them are even heralded as miracles. More harm has been reported from the use of sugar, pesticides, second hand smoke and dental mercury than from well meant surrogate/intentional healing efforts. Even aspirin has more reported negative effects. There are very long lists of known harmful influences on people. However, our topic at hand has not made any of those lists. I've never seen well intentioned healing efforts listed anywhere as hazardous to one's health.

Everyone needs to weigh the pros and cons of all this and make their own decision. Personally speaking, this debate has caused me to interrogate my own efforts in this regard. I went back through all my experiences with non-permissioned healing work and assessed the results. I am aware of some delightful successes but unaware of any harm that may have been done. I also remember some apparent duds where nothing seemed to happen. It's as though a Guiding Hand monitored my efforts, letting through that which was useful while deflecting the errant tries.

I recalled that my successes were accompanied by a loving, but detached effort where I was making the attempt WITHOUT ANY INVESTMENT IN THE OUTCOME. It was a sort of unconditional Love Letter where I put my loving intention "out there" (augmented by EFT) and just noticed what happened. It was like I was offering the healing effort in a loving manner and trusting the Guiding Hand to do with it what it will. It was healing done THROUGH ME rather than BY ME. I know that's not very scientific, but that's what it was like.

There was a positive side benefit to this, irrespective of the degree of the client's healing improvement. When I put myself in a loving mood the one person who was sure to benefit was me. That is the meaning of the spiritual idea that "To give is to receive." When I genuinely give love I am receiving (experiencing) that which I am giving. This provides an environment for mutual healing.

I like this idea of a Love Letter. To me, all healing should come from this place. Guidance is better when we are in the midst of a loving space. So are our insights and rapport. So is our health. Write a Love Letter someday and see how it feels.

I've never seen genuine love harm anyone. Have you?

Love, Gary

P.S. Let's do an experiment on this topic. In the interest of science, I will be a guinea pig for your Love Letters. Pick out any issue(s) you think I might have and then send me your surrogate/intentional Love Letter. I mean a mental Love Letter, not a literal one. Make up some issues if need be. Speculate and guess as to whatever negatives I might be dealing with. Use EFT or any other healing technique you choose. Since I have no idea what issue(s) you might pick out, I cannot give or withhold specific permission. So do it without asking. Don't ask formal permission from a Higher Source either. Just do it from a well meant loving place. I'll take my chances on any negative effects. If I notice any, I'll be sure to let you know.


Follow up letter from Kalie Marino

Dear Gary,

Your article on getting permission to heal is beautiful! Years ago I was warned about getting permission to heal so that I didn't violate a person's freewill. I carefully followed that advice until my 5 year old child lay dying of a terminal illness.

The question of permission became much more complex. Not only was he too young to consent, because he obviously didn't know what was in his best interest, but, as his mother, I didn't know what was best for him either. Let me explain that statement.

The day after we received my son's death sentence from the doctor, I had an experience of dying and coming back. I had a heart attack. My heart stopped beating. I saw my angel, the light, etc., and I made the difficult decision to come back, to evolve, to be here now. This experience forever changed me. I saw both life and death in a new light. I now knew that death isn't a problem; only fear of death is a problem. I knew my child would be just fine if he died. I wouldn't even want to deny him the beautiful experience of being in the loving arms of God that I had just had.

I no longer even thought I knew what would be best for him. I remember crying as I prayed, asking God, "What should I do? Should I be using the healing gifts you gave me to heal him or should I be helping him make the transition? What should I even be praying for? I only want what is best for my child, no matter what that is."

God answered my prayers very simply by saying, "Just love him. If he is to die, your love will help him make the transition, and if he is to live, your love will heal him."

God's answer cut through all the complexity of the question. It made it easy to know what to do. So I went back to the hospital that day with the joyful job of loving my child with all my heart and soul, knowing that my love would make a difference, no matter what the outcome.

As I entered his hospital room, my son was playing soldiers in his crib in spite of his high fever. His soldier had just been shot, and he had picked it up and was holding it in his arms very lovingly. I said, "That's right, honey. Love him. Love heals."

He looked puzzled by my statement as he replied, "It doesn't matter, Mommy. He'll just be born again." I was shocked. I didn't even know he understood that concept. The innocence of a child's wisdom is a powerful teacher.

From his reply, I thought he was probably leaving us, so I joyfully talked to him about letting his soldier follow the light. He said, "What light, Mommy?" I pointed up into the air and said, "The light of God" His pupils dilated as he looked up into the air with eyes wide open in a fixed stare, saying, "It's booootiful, Mommy." He was so fixated on what he was seeing that I thought he was leaving right then.

Just then the nurses arrived to take him for a lengthy bone marrow test. However, they returned in less than an hour to announce that his blood platelets had miraculously returned to normal, so they didn't do the test. The doctor said he had only gone into remission and warned me not to get my hopes up. He said we would be back within the month for my son to die.

My son, David, is now 34 years old, has 2 children of his own and is almost never sick.

Love heals. We never need permission to love, because it is our true nature to love. Love is never conditional, but we do have conditions under which we are willing to love. Our only job is letting go of any conditions we might have on loving; blocks that stop us from loving, anyone, anytime, anywhere. For me, one of those conditions I had to let go of was "getting permission."

Love & Blessings,

Kalie Marino

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