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Articles & Ideas


Tips for when clients have difficulty accessing their feelings

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Note: This article assumes you have a working knowledge of EFT. Newcomers can still learn from it but are advised to peruse our Free Gold Standard (Official) EFT Tutorial™ for a more complete understanding.

Hi Everyone,

Many clients repress their feelings and this can be a hurdle to finding true core issues. Jo Hainsworth from the UK offers some first class suggestions regarding this problem.

Hugs, Gary

By Jo Hainsworth

One of the things I love about EFT is how it’s all ‘through you, not by you’, which means that there are learning opportunities in so many of the sessions we do with other people.  I recently did a session with someone by phone that taught me a lot, and I thought there might be others out there who could benefit from some ideas of how to deal with a client who is not in touch with the feelings associated with their memories.

The client, who I will call Jane, had several physical challenges, but appeared more concerned about her perceived inability to feel.  She believed that it was preventing her really making progress on her issues with EFT – she had been tapping for some months on her own. 

Here are four things that happened that I believe lead to key learning points for those of us working with someone having difficulty accessing their feelings:

  1. Jane was clearly tapping very forcefully on the points (I picked this up because she said it was difficult to hear what I was saying when she was on the karate point, because she was tapping on the hand holding the phone).  When I explained to her that she could approach the tapping in a more nurturing way, I could hear something soften in her as she tapped.
  2. In addition to tapping forcefully, Jane was putting a lot of emphasis on all the words as she said them, all with the same loud tone, whether we were tapping on anger or sadness or something else.  When I suggested to her that she might consider softening her tone a bit, and talking more as if she would to her child if she was upset, I could sense something soften even more as we did the next round of tapping.  Interestingly when I suggested she could be mindful of her tone, she immediately realised herself that the combination of the forceful tapping and loud voice meant that she was using the actual process of tapping to distract herself from any feelings that could potentially make themselves known to her while we were tapping.  This felt like a significant realisation to both of us.
  3. Jane next expressed frustration at not being able to feel, claiming that she was an intellectual person and had been all her life, and it was a lot easier for her to think than to feel.  I asked her if she could recall a time in her life, any time at all, whether negative or positive, where she had strong feelings.  She immediately started to tell me a story of a time when something happened that made her so happy she couldn’t stop jumping for joy, so we tapped a round on
    Even though I was so happy I couldn’t stop jumping up and down…
    After tapping a round through the points with so happy I couldn’t stop jumping up and down, we circled back through the points again, and I started to gently reframe, eventually introducing the thoughts
    I can’t feel my feelings … I was SO happyI can’t feel my feelings  and ending with I CAN feel my feelings.  Again a softening occurred, and it was clear that Jane had had a shift on this issue.
  4. Later on in the session, after exploring quite a bit on the theme of fear, which she had begun to feel physically in her stomach, Jane expressed frustration at not being able to access the memories that were resulting in the fear.  I asked her to stop tapping for a moment, close her eyes, put her hands gently on her stomach, and just quietly, as if talking to a frightened child, ask that place in her stomach what made it so afraid.  A little voice responded with a statement, and immediately an image of an incident earlier in her life came to Jane’s mind, and we proceeded to tap on this event.

If you are having trouble accessing your own feelings while doing EFT, or working with a client who has this difficult, perhaps you could try some of the following, based on learning points from this case:

  1. Watch to see how you or the client is tapping – is it in a nurturing way, or is the tapping being done in a way that is potentially distracting from feeling what is coming up as you or they tap?  Try experimenting with different ways of tapping.  Remember that the aim of EFT is to reset the body’s reaction to difficult experiences – tapping in a gentle and nurturing way, while being tuned into the problem, can often shift something much more quickly.  Think of it as if you are giving yourself a gentle massage on the meridian points, as you tap down the body, rather than banging on a door angrily demanding entry.
  2. Listen for the tone of voice being used during the tapping.  Are you or the client so immersed in the process of repeating the phrases, that all your energy is tied up in the process, protecting you from allowing feelings to surface as you tap?
  3. If you or the client are convinced that you cannot feel, play with tapping on some positive events in your past where you had strong feelings, and gently reframe the idea that you or they can’t feel.
  4. If you reach a point where you are frustrated because you are aware of a feeling, but it seems to be stuck and you can’t find anything else to tap on associated to it, stop tapping for a few moments.  Close your eyes, and gently place your hand on the body part that is holding the feeling, and ask, as if talking with a frightened child, “What makes you feel so ___?”  I have started to incorporate this into the EFT I do since learning a fabulous skill called “Focusing”, originated by Gene Gendlin.  This approach often yields more useful material to tap on.

Happy tapping all,

Jo Hainsworth



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