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Articles & Ideas


4 Part Series on Helping Clients with their 0-10 Accuracy

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

by Gary Craig

This series designed to help us with those clients who have difficulty accurately reporting their progress on a 0-10 intensity scale. While this procedure works well with most clients, there are some that report inaccurate numbers and thus handicap the EFT process. There are reasons for this, of course, and those reasons will be explored along with their solutions. The series is in 4 parts, as indicated below.

Helping clients with their 0-10 accuracy--Part 1
Helping clients with their 0-10 accuracy--Part 2
Helping clients with their 0-10 accuracy--Part 3
Helping clients with their 0-10 accuracy--Part 4

Helping clients with their 0-10 accuracy--Part 1

This first article involves "Julie", an attendee at one of my workshops. After doing 2 or 3 minutes of EFT on an intense SPECIFIC EVENT (an unwanted sexual advance), she reported that her intensity on a 0-10 scale went from a 9 to a 2.

That's progress, of course. It's one of our "one minute wonders".

However, she had one of those puzzled looks on her face that new clients often get when a major lifetime issue subsides in moments. Under these circumstances clients usually think things like....

"It's not supposed to happen that way" or

"Something is wrong here. I've been in therapy on this issue for many years with minimal success. It can't disappear that quickly."

These doubts get in the way of accuracy and frequently cause the client to report that "there's still some intensity left" when, in fact, there is none. I've learned this after years of experience and offer the following conversation I had with Julie as a way of generating a more accurate report.

Gary: How do you know you are a 2?

Julie: I don't know. That's just how it seems?

Gary: Do you have any physical sensations regarding that memory? That is, do you have a rapid heartbeat, sweaty hands, tightness in the throat, constriction in the stomach or anything like that?

Julie: I don't notice any.

Gary: Do you usually have physical reactions when that memory comes up?

Julie: Yes, I get a tight knot in my stomach.

Gary: Close your eyes and revisit that memory. Then tell me if you still have that knot.

Julie: (after a few moments) knot. That's interesting.

Gary: Do you have any other physical sensations?

Julie: No.

Gary: Is that unusual?

Julie: Yes.

Gary: How do you know you're not a zero? [Note: this is an important question that I use frequently]

Julie: Well, maybe I am a zero. I've never been at zero on this memory before so I don't really know what that is like.

Gary: Is your current reaction to that memory any different than recalling a time when you fell off your bicycle or stubbed your toe?

Julie: Not really....but it should be. Maybe I'm expecting it to come back in ten minutes and so I reported a 2 just to leave room for that possibility.

Gary: Once we have had success with a SPECIFIC EVENT, it rarely comes back. However, I'm interested RIGHT NOW as to whether or not you are really a 2.

Julie: (smiling) I guess not. I must be at zero because I don't really have any charge on it. In fact, it seems kind of silly that I carried it around for so long.

Sometimes, of course, the client really is at the number they report and thus EFT should be reapplied until the intensity comes down further. However, it is worthwhile to be suspicious when clients report low numbers. Like Julie, they may be actually be at zero.

Hugs, Gary

Helping clients with their 0-10 accuracy--Part 2

Hi Everyone,

In this article I'll be exploring those instances where clients "switch aspects" without realizing it. In cases like these, they almost invariably mis-report their result. There are, of course, ways to handle this.

By way of explanation, It is common for EFT clients to collapse a bothersome SPECIFIC EVENT and then shift "behind the scenes" to (1) a related event and/or (2) a different emotion about that event (e.g. from anger to sadness). In the process they are unaware that the original SPECIFIC EVENT has been resolved because, to them, the related event/emotion is the same as the original one.

A perfect example of this occurred at a Borrowing Benefits workshop I conducted in Sacramento, CA. During the lunch hour I asked a young lady ("Sue") about her progress during the most recent group EFT session. The conversation went like this....

Gary: Did you make any progress on your SPECIFIC EVENT during that last session?

Sue: I went from 9 to 6.

Gary: Well....that's good but I'm wondering why it didn't go to zero.

Sue: I've had it for too long, I guess.

Gary: In my experience that doesn't have much to do with it. Usually, it doesn't seem to matter whether you've been carrying it around for 1 year of 5 decades.

Sue: Well, it's better than it was but I still have a 6 intensity about it.

Gary: Well....OK....but I'm curious. What was the "movie title" of your SPECIFIC EVENT?

Sue: "Rocks and Pants."

Gary: What does that mean?

Sue: When I was 8 years old my brother and his friends threw rocks at me and then pulled down my pants.

Gary: What about that bothers you the most? [Note: This wording is important because it is designed to bring up an important aspect that wasn't addressed--this is how we find out what the "6" is all about]

Sue: When I told my mother about it, she didn't believe me.

Gary: Was that part of the original mental movie?

Sue: No, that came after.

Gary: What was your emotional reaction to the "Rocks and Pants" event before you told your mother.

Sue: Fear. Those boys were much bigger than me. I was helpless. I've been wary of men ever since.

Gary: Please close your eyes and re-visit that "Rocks and Pants" event WITHOUT involving your mother's response.

Sue: (after a few moments) There doesn't seem to be any charge on THAT part.

Gary: So.....are you a zero on just the "Rocks and Pants" event?

Sue: I guess so.

Gary: Close your eyes and re-visit it more intensely and try to get yourself upset. Be sure you stay on that event and not the subsequent event with your mother....or any other event.

Sue: (after a few moments). There is no intensity at all.

Gary: Now say, "My mother didn't believe me."

Sue: "My mother didn't believe me."

Gary: Any intensity there?

Sue: Yes, that's still a 6.

Gary: OK. Here's something for you to consider. It appears to me that your original reaction to the "Rocks and Pants" event went from a 9 to 0 and, once that was resolved, your system switched to the new, but related, aspect of your mother's disbelieving response. That latter event was a 6 and has not yet been resolved. Thus, your original report of going from a 9 to 6 might be restated as going from 9 to 0 and THEN to a 6 on a new aspect. Does that seem accurate?

Sue: Yes, now that you bring it to my attention, I'm sure that's what happened.

Hope this helps.

Hugs, Gary

Helping clients with their 0-10 accuracy--Part 3

Hi Everyone,

This installment addresses 3 issues....

1. When clients are unsure of the 0-10 number to assign to their initial intensity.

2. When the client still cannot come up with an estimate.... OR are part way through an EFT session and realize that you forgot to ask for an initial 0-10 intensity rating.

3. When the client has repressed their emotions so severely that they are unable to access any emotional intensity (and thus no 0-10 intensity rating).

Here they are in order....


1. When clients are unsure of the 0-10 number to assign to their initial intensity.

This sometimes occurs with "perfectionist" clients who have a built-in need for exactness and thus become uncomfortable when attempting numerical precision on what should be a mere estimate. It also occurs when clients have limited mathematical skills and, for others, it happens when they have been conditioned to, "Do it right .... or else!!"

Please note that precision is not critical in a 0-10 intensity rating. All we are looking for is a reasonable benchmark against which we can compare the client's intensity after doing EFT. The rating is subjective in nature and thus is not expected to be precise. In fact, the official name for this rating is known as Subjective Units of Distress (commonly referred to as SUDs).

Also note that it is not mandatory that we have an initial 0-10 intensity rating for EFT to provide its benefits. However, without it the EFT procedure may be hindered because we are missing a convenient benchmark by which we can evaluate our progress.

The solution here is to frame the original request as an estimate. This unloads the clients' self-imposed pressure to perform by removing all "requirements" for precision. For example, you might say...

"Just estimate your intensity on a scale of 0-10."

I have used this phrase many times and it is almost always effective.


2. When the client still cannot come up with an estimate.... OR are part way through an EFT session and realize that you forgot to ask for an initial 0-10 intensity rating.

In these cases you can ask the client to simply "assign a 10" to the initial 0-10 intensity (even though it may not actually be a 10). Remember, all we are looking for is a reasonable benchmark and so an artificially assigned number like this will suffice. After the client assigns a 10 to the initial intensity then, as the EFT session progresses, you can ask....

"How is the intensity now compared to
the 10 you originally assigned to it?"

In most cases, the client is able to come up with a comparative number of 7 or 5 or 2, etc. and thus ease the process along.


3. When the client has repressed their emotions so severely that they are unable to access any emotional intensity (and thus no 0-10 intensity rating).

Repression is a form of self protection and it often suggests very severe emotional issues that seethe under the surface. This important subject has already been addressed on our web site. See How do you help a "non-feeling" client?

Love to all, Gary

Helping clients with their 0-10 accuracy--Part 4

Hi Everyone,

This final installment in our recent series demonstrates a highly sophisticated use of EFT and should be studied in detail by serious students.

It centers around "Jane" who reported making no progress upon using EFT for a SPECIFIC EVENT at a Borrowing Benefits workshop . She said she went from a "10 to a 10" and immediately burst into tears.

I become suspicious when I hear reports like this because of the nearly 100% success we get when we apply EFT to appropriately reduced SPECIFIC EVENTS. "Why", I ask myself, "does this one fall flat when the rest of them resolve so easily?"

Thus, instead of concluding that "EFT doesn't work here", I explored behind the scenes to seek out the details. I started with the logical premise that Jane's SPECIFIC EVENT was either....

1. A SYMPTOM of a much deeper CORE ISSUE


2. It was too broad and/or too long and thus had many pieces to it. This often results in clients shifting from piece to piece (aspect to aspect) without realizing the important relief they are getting along the way. They usually report their 0-10 rating on the most recently accessed UNRESOLVED piece which, of course, is likely to be intense.

To assist with this exploration I submit below a re-creation of my conversation with Jane. Please note that we did some tapping along the way to resolve her problem. However, I'm leaving those details out because the real message in this article involves the detective work that was used to find the real issue.

Gary: What was your SPECIFIC EVENT?

Jane: My brother committed suicide by shooting himself. He didn't die right away and must have suffered for hours. His friends were in the next room and heard a noise but didn't realize it was a gunshot. They didn't try to help him.

Note: While this SPECIFIC EVENT could have had many aspects, I didn't go there because something else jumped out at me .... namely .... that she wasn't involved in this SPECIFIC EVENT.

Gary: Where were you at the time?

Jane: At home.

Gary: So, you weren't present at this event?

Jane: No.

Gary: Well, correct me if I'm wrong but it appears to me that this SPECIFIC EVENT wasn't about you. You weren't even there. True?

Jane: Well....that's right. But, nonetheless, I have strong emotions about it. It's like it happened yesterday.

Gary: How long ago did it happen?

Jane: It's been 3 years and 2 months.

Gary: Wouldn't that normally be enough time for your intensity to have subsided to an easier-to-handle level?

Jane: (crying) You would think so...but this haunts me almost daily.

Note: We now have 2 big clues pointing to an unresolved CORE ISSUE. They are (1) Jane's SPECIFIC EVENT did not reduce at all (even though, typically, it should have) and (2) the normal passage of time did not diminished her intensity. So, I asked my favorite "get to the core issue" question.....

Gary: What does your brother's suicide remind you of?

Jane: (after a pause). My own suffering from a car accident 10 years ago. It was very serious and I was in the hospital for several months.

Gary: It was the suffering after the event that bothers you, rather than the actual accident?

Jane: Yes. It was agonizing pain. Nobody should have to go through that.

Gary: Including your brother?

Jane: Yes, he must have suffered terribly.

Gary: However, you weren't there during your brother's incident. You don't really know how much, if at all, he suffered. True?

Jane: You're right. I guess I'm assuming he had the same kind of pain I had.

Gary: So are you having all this current intensity because of suffering that you are not even sure existed?

Jane: (with a quizzical look) Apparently so. But now that I think about it, the real issue was that he was alone. No one was there to help him. He was abandoned!

Gary: Were you abandoned 10 years ago in the hospital?

Jane: Well my family came from miles around to spend 10 days with me at the hospital.

Gary: Maybe I should ask the question differently. Did you FEEL abandoned in the hospital?

Jane: (with tears) Yes, because after 10 days the doctors said I would recover. So my family, knowing I would eventually be OK, all went home to resume their jobs and home lives. I was left for weeks in the hospital and continued to suffer.

Gary: And you felt abandoned?

Jane: (big tears) Yes.

Gary: And what did THAT remind you of?

Jane: (long pause) The times my mother left me alone as a child. It is an awful feeling.

Note: Her language is important here. She said "It IS an awful feeling", not it WAS an awful feeling. This suggested that she was still carrying around this feeling of abandonment. It also indicates that the real problem here was NOT her brother's suicide. The circumstances of the suicide apparently triggered her feelings of abandonment (which was the real issue).

Final Comment: As it turns out, Jane's feeling of abandonment from childhood experiences were, indeed, overlaid on her brother's suicide. This was the real issue and was the reason why her original tapping on the SPECIFIC EVENT of her brother's suicide wasn't going anywhere. We were tapping on a SYMPTOM and not on the real cause.

How do I know this? Because we spent some time with EFT giving this abandonment issue some relief (ignoring the suicide altogether). Once this CORE ISSUE was out of the way, she was able to discuss her brother's suicide, and other events related to this issue, with no intensity whatsoever.

Hugs to all, Gary


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