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Articles & Ideas


7 Step pre-tapping checklist for client work

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Here are some useful guidelines from Maya de Vries (of Germany). She says, "How do you set a frame around an EFT session and at the same time prevent global issue hopping? The 7 step checklist is a great way to achieve this. I advise my students to put the page on their desk next to their writing pad until the steps are set in their minds."

Hugs, Gary

By Maya de Vries

Dear Gary,

7 Step Pre-Tapping Checklist for Client Work

The reason why I designed this checklist is that I noticed that especially newbies sometimes have a hard time structuring their client sessions. EFT can uncover aspects so fast that clients often go all over the place when they are left to freely associate during tapping. How do you set a frame around an EFT session and at the same time prevent global issue hopping? The 7 step checklist is a great way to achieve this. I advise my students to put the page on their desk next to their writing pad until the steps are set in their minds.


1.  Define the problem in the form of core statement – your emotional reference thread

"I have/am/feel … [client's statement about his problem]."

  • Let your client use vivid language, which truly expresses his feelings and associates him emotionally with his problem.
  • You can give a distressed client the option to just hum instead of phrasing a core statement. If he chooses this you are obviously about to face treating a traumatic life experience. In this case it can be necessary to immediately move up to Step 6. This also implies that your choice under Step 7 is narrowed down to the "Tearless Trauma Technique", "Sneaking up on the Problem" or "Chasing the Pain".

2.  Rate the intensity of the problem – your first coordinate to monitor change

  • Use the scale of 0 to 10 to rate the intensity or truth of the statement given under Step 1.
  • Alternatively – especially for work with children: Use the smiley scale or let your client indicate the intensity of his problem by the distance between his outstretched hands.
  • For traumatic experiences: Since direct contact with any emotions this early in the process should be evaded, ask your client to just estimate his intensity ("Tearless Trauma Technique").
  • Questions for "non feeling" clients: "If you could feel the intensity how high would it be?" Or: "If what you experienced had happened to your best friend, how high would his/her intensity be?"

3.  Find the problem in the body – your second coordinate to monitor change

Most emotional problems resonate with a part or region in the body. Questions:

  • "Where in your body can you feel your problem when you think of it?" (determine the locality)
  • "What do you feel there and how does it feel?" (define the quality by descriptive adjectives)
  • "How strong is this sensation?" (rate the quantity on the SUD scale)

4. Reduce a global problem to specific events – your focus

When dealing with global problems you need to find at least one specific event. Gary Craig: "Look for the supporting legs under the table top!" Questions:

  • "How do you know you have this problem?"
  • "What endorses your conviction that you have this problem?"
  • "Can you give me an example of when and how this problem manifested in your life?"
  • Now redo Steps 1 to 3 for each specific event your client comes up with. Pick one to work on.

5. Determine the testing parameters – your treatment and testing frame

Determining your testing parameters prevents "global problem hopping" – a nightmare for therapists.   Associations a client has may or may not be relevant to the original problem. Establishing clear parameters assures you don't get sidetracked. Question:

  • "How can we verify at the end of our session whether your problem has improved or may even have been resolved completely?"
  • Look for tangible parameters:
  • You have already established two testing parameters (client's answers to Step 2 and 3). The testing between rounds and the final testing should always include checking both.
  • Phobias: It is often possible to test the tapping result 'in vivo'.
  • Specific memories: zero intensity while vividly imagining and even exaggerating this memory.
  • When your client's original problem was a global issue you need to reconnect to it at least at the end of the session to find out whether tapping for the specific event(s) has had an influence on the percentage of truth. Question: "How true is this [first statement under Step 1] to you now?"

6. Reduce the client's stress level


  • "How do you feel when you think about telling me about your problem in a few minutes?"
  • If the answer is anything else than "Okay!", you ask: "How high is this feeling on a scale of 0 to 10?"

Treat for all possible fears and reservations. Reduce the intensity to 2 or lower before proceeding.

7. Choose the most appropriate tapping approach – keep it as gentle as possible!

Decide whether you want to use regular, straight EFT or one of the following "Gentle Techniques":

  • Movie Technique
  • Tell the Story Technique
  • Tearless Trauma Technique
  • Chasing the Pain
  • Sneaking Up On the Problem

Maya de Vries


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