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Articles & Ideas


Do you have emotional difficulty with the standard EFT phrasing?

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Some clients have some emotional difficulty saying the standard language that accompanies the EFT Setup statement. Kiya Immergluck provides us with some useful approaches for this issue. She says, "...we must meet people “where they live” and communicate with them in their own emotional language."

Hugs, Gary

By Dr. Kiya Immergluck, EFT-ADV

Recently, at a EFT training I was facilitating in Chicago, I got very interesting feedback from a highly intelligent woman with a wonderful vocabulary.  “Betty” was clearly enjoying the workshop but she was struggling with certain language.

Betty said, “I am a great lover of words, and very sensitive to their meaning.  I’m having a very hard time with the nicknames Karate Chop point and Sore Spot.”  To her, both phrases conjured up negative and/or aggressive images.

She said that she was willing to tap on her discomfort with those words, but she also pointed out that the very phrases we were using to dissipate psychological reversal were triggering PR in her!

Right at that moment, I felt a wave of gratitude for Gary Craig’s generous and creative attitudes about EFT.  Unlike many other disciplines I have studied where every part of the process had to be done in a precise way, I knew that I had a great deal of leeway in my approach to Betty’s dilemma.

If I was dealing with a process that had a lot of rigidity, I would have had no choice but to support this woman to get past her resistance to the names of the two setup points.  Although it might be useful for her to tap on her triggered response, to explore if some core issues were coming up in relation to those words, it seemed far easier and more efficient to substitute words that she liked better!

In the same way that we learn to build bridges by describing EFT in language that is comfortable for particular audiences, we may also need to tailor our descriptions of the points themselves!  The participant decided to say “the friendly spot” instead of Karate Chop and “thymus point” instead of Sore Spot.

Another instance I have found where the choice of words is crucial is in the setup phrase itself.  I have people repeat after me:  Even though I have xxx problem, I totally and completely LOVE, ACCEPT and FORGIVE myself anyway.  I like encouraging people to repeat that powerful PR affirmation many times during the sequence (even past the setup).

For some people, repeating that phrase is very useful.  Not only does it alleviate psychological reversal, it also reinforces and boosts self-esteem and empowerment.  What I have discovered recently is that it doesn’t work at all for other people whose guilt or shame or self-loathing is still deeply entrenched.

Now, I still begin a session with ", accept and forgive myself anyway..." in the initial setup, but then I ask the person:  “Are you comfortable saying I love, accept and forgive myself?”

Most of the time, the person not only says yes, but it is clear they enjoy repeating the statements.  Others may report:  “I do love and accept myself, but I just can’t forgive myself for this incident.”  In those cases, I usually simply drop the unacceptable word and stick with “love and accept myself.”

But when a person reports that they just can’t seem to love, accept, OR forgive themselves, I usually add so many qualifiers to the setup that the person often laughs at the absurdity of it all!  For example, I may have the person say, Even though I have this problem, I am willing to accept the possibility that some day in the very distant future I just MIGHT learn to love, accept and forgive myself anyway!

The lessons I have learned from these encounters is a reinforcement of the idea that we must meet people “where they live” and communicate with them in their own emotional language.  If we, as practitioners,  pay closer attention to our clients’ own comfort level with words, we are sure to witness more and more successes with EFT!



Explore our newest advancement, Optimal EFT™, by reading my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™. More efficient. More powerful.