By removing emotional trauma, EFT helps heal physical symptoms too.
Norm Shealy, MD
Author of Soul Medicine.
When to Use Global Approaches in the EFT Tapping Process
Taking The Edge Off in a Tapping Session and
Managing Meltdowns When You're Tapping
Clearly, the focus of this Part II has been to aim at specifics.
Specifics, specifics, specifics.
The more specific we are, the more quality we get, and working with a short Specific Event is the ultimate EFT approach. However, it is sometimes too painful to dive right into the specifics of an event, so we can use a more global approach at first to take the edge off.
Similarly, even when you are working with specifics, a highly intense aspect or new event can be triggered, and backing away from specifics can be useful then as well. Global approaches do carry some risk as we have mentioned, but if you know how to use them properly, they can go a long way toward minimizing emotional pain in the EFT Tapping process.
The Event as a Whole
As presented in The EFT Tell the Story Technique - The Workhorse Tapping Method, when you suspect that the intensity of a Specific Event is likely to be high, it is wise to take the edge off with a few global rounds of EFT Tapping. Those rounds would be targeting the event as a whole rather than any of the individual parts of the story, so we will use the language in a different way to avoid jumping in to the details too soon.
Remember that the Setup and Reminder phrases are designed to manage your focus, and there are ways to use the language to accomplish a variety of goals. In many cases, we can use the “movie title’ assigned to the event as a representation of the event as a whole, like this:
“Even though I have this “in the basement” movie and I know it will be uncomfortable, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
If your title “in the basement” represents only one event for you, then this is a good start. On the other hand, if you experienced trauma in the basement a number of times, then using this title in your language may open them all up at once instead of isolating one at a time, Triggering a collection of really intense events with one Setup is a recipe for overwhelming distress, so if you suspect your title will draw on too many events, then it would be a good idea to change it from “in the basement” to something like “the argument in the basement” or something more specific to that event.
Notice that we have not suggested a title like “Jake said I was a loser” or “I found that picture.” When giving a movie a title, we will often choose a few words that describe the hardest moment in the event, because that’s the gist of what happened.
However, using words like that in your tapping language will send your focus straight to the intensity we are trying to stay out of at first. For your EFT Personal Peace Procedure list it is fine to use titles like that, but when you sit down to address those events and feel like taking the edge off is the best way to start, use language that keeps the event contained as a unit, rather than targeting the one big crescendo.
Here are some other options for taking the edge off of an intense event:
- Even though I feel nervous about this event ....
- Even though I'm feeling uncomfortable about getting into this story....
- Even though thinking about this story is really hard for me…....
- If you have physical symptoms when you think about the event you are about to address, you can use these ideas as well:
- Even though my heart is pounding....
- Even though my palms are sweaty....
- Even though I have a headache....
- Even though my stomach is tight....
You can pick one option and use that until the intensity comes down, or you can try a few. Just be sure that whatever you are tapping on represents the event in front of you rather than a wide range of other issues. It should only take a few rounds to get the intensity down to 3 or below. Then you can proceed through the specifics with Tell the Story Technique.
If it takes longer then you may be focused on more events or issues than you thought, so adjust your language accordingly or enlist the help of an EFT Practitioner.
Anticipating a Crescendo
When you are using The EFT Tell the Story Technique to address an event, you will be moving slowly through the memory in chronological order. Near the beginning of the event, you may feel some anticipation about a bigger crescendo that is coming later in the story. At that point you can take the edge off of the anticipation you feel by using language like this:
“Even though I’m anticipating something later in this story, I deeply and completely accept myself”
Your Reminder Phrase can be something like “what’s coming up in the story.”
Do a round or so like this until the intensity of the anticipation comes down to a 3 or below. By doing so, that upcoming crescendo is less distracting and you can focus on the Aspects as they come. Once you get to the crescendo you were anticipating, find the individual Aspects and tap them all down to zero at that point.
An EFT Tapping Tabletop Issue
Trying to address an entire Tabletop with continuous rounds of tapping is like pounding that Tabletop with your fist, and expecting it to collapse. (See the Table Top/Table Legs Metaphor in the Uncovering Specific Events - An Essential Concept Within the EFT Tapping Process article). This would be considered a global approach because supporting the Tabletop Issue are numerous Specific Events, or Table Legs, all with aspects of their own. By including multiple events and all those aspects in your tapping round, quick success is not likely. A Setup that targets a whole Tabletop looks something like this:
Even though I feel like a failure, I deeply and completely accept myself” or
Even though I’m uncomfortable in social situations, I deeply and completely accept myself”
After studying the Tutorial to this point, you should be able to see that each of these issues would have individual events supporting it. Using the first example, every one of those events will have “failure” as a primary aspect, so using language like “I feel like a failure” will be triggering parts of each of those events. At the very least, it will be hard to know where progress has been made and the intensity you are measuring may not move. However, if the big crescendos in each of those events all come to the surface at once, you may end up with more intensity than you can handle.
It is possible to use an approach like this to take the edge off of your intensity in the moment. For example, you are in your car about to go into a party and you feel anxious about it, you could tap on “Even though I feel anxious about going in there…” and you may be able to take a higher intensity down to something more manageable. We would not expect the intensity to clear completely or vanish forever, but if that can help you get through individual situations, then give it a try.
If you are also working on the contributing Specific Events at other times, then this can be a nice compliment to your process. However, if using that approach makes you feel worse, or you aren’t getting anywhere at all, then you have probably started triggering new intensity and will need to get down to Specific Events and/or enlist the help of a quality EFT Practitioner for better results.
You may see in the Art of Delivery Videos that I do use global approaches on Tabletop Issues. Please note that I do so as an experienced professional with complete awareness of the risks I am taking, and with an expertise in more advanced language skills. When I tap on a Tabletop Issue, I am not expecting to clear the issue with that process. Rather, I am expecting to take the edge off, possibly bring relevant events to the surface, and see what avenues are available to me. With experience and professional training, this approach can be valuable, but we do not recommend it for addressing your own issues.
An EFT Tapping Overall Issue
It can be hard to distinguish between a Tabletop Issue and an Overall Issue, but the difference lies in how many Tabletops there are to address. Any issue can involve more than one Tabletop, so that will vary from one person to the next. Targeting issues like this is an approach that we do not recommend for professional or do-it-yourself use. Unless I have an unusual reason to do so, you will never see me on a video saying “Even though I have PTSD…”, “Even though I have Depression…”, or “Even though I have Fibromyalgia…” because, for reasons discussed above, there are way too many Aspects involved to make good progress, and the risk is simply too high.
By using the The EFT Personal Peace Procedure, you should be able to recognize a variety of Tabletops in your background and how they relate to each other. Following our concept of breaking issues into smaller parts, addressing one Tabletop and its related Legs would be a more specific and more effective approach than trying to tackle a whole assortment of them at once.
Guideline for Taking the Edge Off
Just to reiterate, when the goal is to take the edge off of an event or issue, we generally look for the intensity rating to come down to a three or lower. We do not push for zeroes because first, with a global approach there are usually too many Aspects involved for that to be a reasonable expectation, and second, we will be clearing Aspects all the way to zero once we get down to the specifics.
This guideline applies in all of the scenarios we have discussed above:
- Taking the edge off of a global issue.
- Managing current symptoms as they come up.
- Taking the edge off of a highly intense event before getting started with Tell the Story Technique.
- Tapping on the anticipation of a crescendo that you have not yet reached in an event.
When using a global approach, you may indeed get down to a zero and that’s fine. The point we’re making here is that it is not necessary, assuming you will be getting to specifics eventually. With this in mind, you may notice that we are not as concerned about definite intensity measurements when we’re trying to take the edge off. Once we have the specifics to address we become much more diligent about measurements.
Below is a video featuring Kiya, Betty and Sarah (in that order). It displays 3 examples of Taking the Edge Off at the beginning of an EFT Tapping session and gives you a solid exposure to the challenges you might expect. In the first two examples, Taking the Edge Off occurs rather quickly. In the last example, with Sarah, the issue is much more stubborn and it takes quite a bit longer. Note that the example with Betty includes "tap along" messages. That is because it is from the self-help Borrowing Benefits video set.
Managing a Meltdown or Abreaction in The EFT Tapping Process
One reason we emphasized Finding Aspects within the EFT Tapping Process so strongly in previous articles is because it is possible to be tapping on one thing and switch aspects to something else that is far more intense than you expected.
Most of the time this just means tears, anger, or some other emotion that is so strong you can’t switch your focus back to the event. In extreme cases you might start trembling, stammering, or showing other signs of major distress. In addition, you might shut down and be unable to speak.
The professional term for a response of this kind is “abreaction”, but that term is usually reserved for the most extreme examples. We use the term “meltdown” to include the less severe reactions that can also benefit from the adjusted EFT approach that follows.
When you experience intensity of this kind, follow these tips:
- Continue tapping the Basic Recipe points over and over, up and down the body until the intensity subsides.
- Keep your eyes open, focus on something in the room, and try to bring yourself back to the present moment.
- Use more neutral language like “this emotion”, “this discomfort”, or “this reaction.” If you cannot speak then skip the language. You are already tuned into the issue.
- Do not use language that points to whatever triggered this level of intensity, as your reaction might start to get worse. When your reaction is this strong, getting some distance is the better plan.
- Once the intensity comes down to a manageable level you can decide for yourself whether or not it is safe to continue addressing the event.
- If the intensity won’t come down then you should seek appropriate medical help.
The good news about meltdowns is that something is definitely triggered. Energy meridians are disrupted and you are tuned into something big time. By tapping through it you are likely to make some progress on whatever it is, so we usually see that as a healing opportunity. If this happens as a result of too many Aspects being triggered at once, then we wouldn’t expect resolution on all of them just from the one episode, but we may have been able to take a significant edge off of them. The best approach is still to work with specifics rather than try to generate meltdowns, but when they happen, we can usually make some kind of progress.
This process is clearly demonstrated in the following video with Pamela. The issue here is rape and, while she holds herself together reasonably well during most of this episode, she would be far more intense if I wasn't tapping her all the while. The video comes from our Art of Delivery videos and, for perspective, begins with one of my typical narratives.
EFT, by the way, is not the likely cause of such reactions, although it may seem that way to newcomers. Rather, these issues were already there, and EFT simply opened up your awareness to them the same way a movie or a stressful conversation might.
Maintaining your focus on specifics and using language that helps with that focus is the best way to keep this from happening. However, some people are dealing with issues so pervasive that meltdowns like this are more likely. If you have been diagnosed with a mental health condition or are aware of significant trauma in your past, then we would urge you to consult a qualified health professional regarding your use of EFT. If you experience anything like the meltdowns described herein and it does not subside with the tips we have provided, get help immediately.
Also, let me emphasize again that difficult cases like these are impossible to predict and require appropriate training. Untrained people should remember my earlier caveat: "Don't go where you don't belong."
In this article you learned how Global Approaches fit into the EFT process.
- A Global Approach is used when you are addressing a target that contains a collection of Aspects, and has not been broken down into specific parts.
- Using Global Approaches is generally appropriate for minimizing emotional pain before diving into specifics.
Appropriate global targets for this kind of approach are:
- The Event as a Whole
- Anticipating a Crescendo
- The Tabletop Issue
- Managing a Meltdown
- Using Global Approaches on The Overall Issue is not recommended.
- When using Global Approaches, once the intensity falls to a three or below, we move forward with a more specific approach.
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