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Articles & Ideas


EFT and Reframing using Counter-Examples

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

EFT Master Tania Prince from the UK gives us another article on the art of reframing. This is a sophisticated technique used by seasoned EFT'ers to help clients see issues differently. It is an essential skill if you want to use EFT to its maximum potential.

Hugs, Gary

By Tania A Prince, EFT Master 

Following on from my previous articles on EFT and reframing, this particular article concentrates on a very simple yet stunningly effective reframe. This type of reframe often creates an instant result. I have found it particularly effective with addictions. As with all reframes there is an art and skill to using it. 

Smoking and the Counter-Example Reframe

One of the things I generally address when I deal with a smoking issue is what caused the person to smoke in the first place. What was their original motivation? For many people the first time they smoke is not a comfortable experience, something powerful has to be happening at an emotional level for the person to persevere. People often assume because they are older and that the original circumstances of when they started smoking are no longer relevant to them that these programmes are no longer running, however that may not be the case.

When I work with an issue such as smoking the objective of the session is to eliminate ALL emotions around cigarettes so that the person no longer loves or hates cigarettes. The objective is to help the client become indifferent to them.

The case I used in this article took place a couple of years ago. It involves a woman who had smoked since her early teens.

Finding the Initial Motivation Event 

The question I asked to find out what had originally motivated the client to start smoking was: 

“What would you guess the initial event was that led to you wanting to smoke, you might not have smoked at the time however it set the scene for that?”

The client immediately said that it was an event very early in her life when she had watched her aunty smoke. The aunty had used a cigarette holder and in the client’s words looked really, “glamorous”. She remembered thinking that she wanted to be like that.

As the client recited this story it was obvious from her body language that she was still accessing the feelings that she had had as the child, her whole face lit up at the recollection.

This provided useful information as regard to testing the work we were about to do. The client’s face should no longer light up. 


Karate Point: “So even though aunty looked really glamorous and I decided Smoking makes you glamorous, I completely and totally love and accept myself”. 

Karate Point: “So even though Smoking made aunty look really glamorous and I wanted to be like that, I completely and totally accept myself”. 

Karate Point: “So even though I wanted to be look glamorous like aunty smoking, I completely and totally love and approve of myself”.

Eyebrow: “Smoking made aunty look glamorous and I wanted to be like aunty”.

Side of the Eye: “Smoking makes you look glamorous, because aunty looked glamorous”.

Under the Eye: “Yes, smoking makes you look glamorous”.

Under the nose: “Do you watch the show, Coronation Street?” “Yes”, she replied. “Have you seen Bet Lynch in the show?” Yes, again she replied.

Chin: “Bet Lynch smokes” (This is a statement of fact, she even used cigarette holders. I could see the client acknowledging the point), “Yes, I’m really glamorous just like Bet Lynch”.

Collar bone: “Oh yeah, I love being really glamorous just like Bet”

Under the arm: “I’m really glamorous just like Bet” 

This caused a complete shift in the client’s body language and upon testing, when asked to think about her aunty smoking, the client’s face no longer lit up. She was no longer associating smoking with being glamorous.

Factors Important to this Reframe

  • The counter example used MUST be immediately recognisable to the client. When you use counter-examples who are not immediately recognisable you lose the impact. With this particular case I checked out with the client whilst still tapping whether she was familiar with the character. To the client this would have come across as just a casual conversation.
  • Extreme counter examples can have the most effect. If I had just used a character that was neither here nor there regarding being glamorous, it would in all probability not have worked. The fact the counter example was in effect the anti-glamour was much more powerful. The character of Bet Lynch is brash, loud mouthed and wears thick make-up and has a very “loud” sense of style when it comes to the clothes she wears. For most people this is the type of image they would avoid at all costs.
  • Rapport is crucial to the effective delivery of reframes, without sufficient rapport the client may feel that you are making fun of them, this is counter productive as it lessens the chance of the reframe landing.  Instead the client would be focussed on their negative emotions.
  • Calibrating to the client’s body language and being able to notice shifts and changes in it are also important facts. Many people intuitively do this. This is what helps you know when to deliver the reframe. I know personally when to deliver it because I sense it intuitively. This comes with practice and taking out any blocks you have to allowing yourself to be open to your own intuitions.

Bet Lynch was a counter-example that I used to find very useful with many smokers. Here I have high-lighted how to use her with “Smoking makes me glamorous”, I have also used her for, “Smoking makes me a rebel”. Unfortunately as with all good soap characters, they move on and Bet is no longer in the show, thus her value as an instantly recognisable counter-example has dropped dramatically. Since I watch very little conventional TV, I am a bit lacking on counter-examples, however I watched Borat (the film) the other day (at my kids insistence), I’m sure he will come in very useful at some point, don’t know just where as yet as reframes tend to spring forth in the moment (For anyone who has watched it, I think that film is going to haunt me for a long time).

I never plan my reframes however they just spring to mind in the moment. You might be pleasantly surprised at what reframes might just spring into your mind at just the right time. I hope you have a lot of fun when that happens.

All the best,


Please note: using the fictional character of Bet Lynch is meant as no reflection on the wonderful actress who plays Bet.

Thanks to my husband and to Chrissie for proof reading.


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