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Articles & Ideas


Problems that are difficult to assess in the here and now. (Several responses follow)

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Member Mark Van Ommeren from Nepal asks this question regarding the handling of problems where the EFT results do not lend themselves to immediate evaluation. My response follows his post, and I have included some input from a few other members as well.

Hugs, Gary


Dear Gary

Last week I was training some of our counsellors in EFT. They wanted me to demonstrate EFT to them. They identified a volunteer to work with as a client. I asked the volunteer what she wanted to work on. She said: sleep disturbances. I said that I could not show the effect of EFT on sleep disturbances right there and then as there was no way to assess right away if the treatment worked. So we decided to work on another issue. But my question is how do you usually work with clients who have issues that are difficult to assess in the here and now? Examples of such issues are concentration difficulties, constipation, waking-up in the middle of the night. Do you do one round of EFT? Three rounds of EFT? Do you teach them EFT to use by themselves? Do you do EFT with them in front of a crowd? In our context, it is most common for clients to come to our clinic once for medical treatment. Then, they go back to their village and as they have no phone we cannot do any further follow-up. Any suggestions?

Thanks for your support to our program.

Greetings, Mark Van Ommeren

From Gary Craig

Many issues do not lend themselves to immediate evaluation of EFT's results. Other examples are self image, weight problems, generalized anger (actually, generalized anything) and procrastination. Often, the issues involved have many aspects to them and you will not be completely finished until all the aspects are handled. That doesn't mean you won't make progress in a single session. Indeed, missing a few aspects isn't the end of the world because you most likely will take care of a material part of the problem with what you are able to do.

So what to do? I find impressive results with clients after they consistently tap several times a day for whatever problems come up. Even if no particular problem raises its head at a given time they can tap for, "even though I have all these problems." Subtle, but very useful, results are usually generated by this process. In my not very humble opinion, persistent use of EFT in this regard should be a staple in every therapist's tool box. A glowing example of this is Stephanie Rothman's work with Lori which is one of the Case Histories written up on our web site. It is entitled: "EFT and self image." Look it up. You may find some guidance there.

Persistent tapping on their own may not be practical for your clientele because they may not have developed enough "belief" in EFT to religiously do what you ask. This is probable for many of them even though they may have experienced remarkable relief in a session with you. As I think you know, this phenomenon has been labeled the APEX problem.

I would be inclined to tap for as many aspects as I could think of while they were in your presence. If necessary, I would do it in groups and tap over and over again for "these nightmares", "this tightness in my stomach", "this bad thought", "those screams", "the sight of...", etc. I would keep going, always asking for some type of SUDs evaluation, until they exhibit a lot of relaxation and are able to talk about any trauma/torture they have experienced as though it was a walk around the block. You may or may not be complete but, chances are, you will have accomplished a lot.

God bless you for all the good work you are doing.


From Susan Parker


I have worked with several clients with sleep disturbances. I would agree with everything Gary said and at the end the last thing I would use EFT on would be "my inability to get to sleep". They won't go to sleep in your office, at least my clients haven't so far. However it finishes the session, and focuses them for when they do want to sleep. During the session, I pay particular attention to what would keep them from sleeping. Fears, nightmares, sounds, etc. I also use NLP language patterns when I'm talking with them to loosen up their hold on not sleeping. Eg. "What will happen if you do fall asleep tonight?", "What won't happen if you fall asleep tonight?", "What will happen if you don't fall asleep tonight?" and "What won't happen if you don't fall asleep tonight?" This last one is unanswerable, but it shakes loose your mental grip on a negative thought, and often just by itself can allow someone to change their mind about something on which they've fixated. I don't know how all of this will translate into whatever language you're using in Nepal, but it's an idea. When I'm using this language I pay attention to what the first three questions bring up...and then have the person Tap on that issue. Finally, these questions seem to work best if they come out as normal chatty conversation rather than "test" questions. If they will self tap just before they go to sleep that is best, but if not, this line of question and tapping has brought relief to the few clients I've had with sleep disturbances.

Good luck,


Susan Parker MA

From Jeff Bakely

Dear Friends,

I am writing in regard to the question raised by Mark Van Ommeren regarding problems that are difficult to assess in the here and now. As to sleep problems, I usually assess the belief that the client will get a good night's or nights' sleep with a reverse SUDS [0-10 intensity] or a Validity of Cognition (VOC). Reverse SUDS: 0 is no belief; 10 is maximum belief. VOC: I make a statement, "I will get a good night's sleep tonight." Then I have the client assess the truth of the statement. 1 is completely false; 7 is completely true. Credit my EMDR training and Greg Nicosia for these concepts.

If I only had one session, I suppose I would attempt to treat the why of the sleep difficulty, rather than sleep itself.

I hope this adds to the discussion.


Jeff Bakely

From Anthony T. Smith

A similar sort of example [Re: Jeff Bakely's response above]:

I was treating a dental phobic last week. She could not get in touch with her fear that she knew she would experience when she attempted to go to the dentist and so there was really nothing to work on. She could however focus on her belief about her ability to get to the dentist (she has a history of last minute cancellations). We used the VOC from EMDR as Jeff did was able to move from a 2 to a 7 on this scale.

I also taught her what to tap when her anxiety started to rise.

And she made it to the dentist!

Anthony Smith


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