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Articles & Ideas


Helping clients by using "Meta Programs"

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

I have often emphasized the usefulness of NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) because of its diversity and intelligent approach. Fortunately for us Rehana Webster from New Zealand is a Master Practitioner at both EFT and NLP. In this 2 part series she shows us how to combine the two by introducing the NLP feature known as Meta Programs.

Hugs, Gary

By Rehana Webster, EFT Master

Part 1 of 2 - Dealing with a resistant client
Part 2 of 2 – How to Motivate Your Clients

Part 1 of 2 - Dealing with a resistant client

We’ve all heard the phrase “resistant client.”  What does that really mean?  Could it be the client is “resisting” help, or the client is “resisting” this particular practitioner’s help, or maybe it’s something completely different! 

Sometimes a person is “resistant” to using EFT and we as people helpers are left wondering what to do.  We know EFT is extremely effective in helping people but we’re blocked right at the starting gate.

We’ve introduced EFT, explained how it works and now want to start helping the person.  Instead of tapping away, we’re stopped dead in our tracks.  Would you like to learn a technique that will get you past the resistance and get you tapping as soon as possible?

One way is to learn about Meta Programs.  Meta programs is an NLP technique that when used with EFT can bring about the changes your client is seeking, and you as the practitioner can start tapping on the issues presented far faster and helps get amazing results with EFT.

In my practice, I use my knowledge of NLP Meta Programs to build deep rapport with my clients through gaining an in-depth knowledge of their main mental processes.  I call these processes the invisible characteristics that affect people’s lives; they are mental processes, which manage, guide and direct our behaviors, and produce significant differences in behavior from one person to the next.

Meta Programs are neither good nor bad.  Each has positive and negative aspects.  If you want to have a meaningful relationship with other people who have different Meta Programs, you need to understand their model of the world, be flexible and speak to them in their language.  You can identify a person’s Meta Programs from the language they use and/or their behaviors. We tend to like people who are like us (similar Meta Programs) and have difficulty getting on with people who are dissimilar to us.  Meta Programs may change over time as you learn new information or experience significant events in your life.

An example of one Meta Program is:

Toward : These people are focused on their goals. They are motivated to have, and get what they want.  You can identify this type of person by the words they use such as: goals, accomplish, attain, obtain, get, achieve, rewards, etc.

The opposite end of the continuum for this program is:

Away From : People in this group are good at trouble shooting, solving problems and pinpointing possible obstacles because they automatically pick up what is wrong.  You can identify this type of person by the words they use: avoid, steer clear of, prevent, eliminate, solve, fix, get rid of, prohibit, etc.

Now that you have some examples of the Meta Programs ‘Toward’ and ‘Away From,’ let’s use this information with our application of EFT.

I recently had a client who was at the far end of the ‘Away From’ Meta Program.  How did I know?  His language was loaded with the ‘Away From’ words.  No matter what I was about to suggest he already had the answer of how it was not going to work for him.  Realizing his internal processing, I switched into matching his program. I needed to match and satisfy all the criteria of this program so I could lead him into a position from where he could change his perspective, which would then allow me to use EFT effectively.

We tapped on the issue thus:

Client:  “Nothing works for me”

Me:  “Nothing works for you?”

Client:   “I’ve tried everything and it’s useless.”

Me:  “Tried everything and it’s useless.”

Client:   Silence

Me:  (Time to move in and satisfy all the criteria)

“There is no tool or therapy around that will help you and even if it does, it will be temporary.  After all, you know because you’ve tried most every thing.  No matter what tools might become available in the future; they wont work either because nothing works for you.  In fact I don’t think there is anything or anyone in the whole universe who can help you.”

Client:  “You’re right…except this tapping is relaxing me and maybe it might work but I don’t want to get my hopes up.”

Me:   “No, you certainly don’t want to do that!”

Until I matched and met him at his level within his Meta Program and in fact ‘spoke the unspeakable’ which he was already thinking, he was not ready to move into accepting that EFT might work for him.

The issue we were tapping for was his inability to see and be positive about anything in his life.  His wife was giving up on him because he was so ‘negative’.  His work colleagues avoided him for the same reason.  He was most unpopular.  His resistance is part of the Away characteristics.  It is a mistake to label someone in this category as ‘negative’, because they are in fact keeping themselves safe by thinking out all the possibilities for potential danger, harm and failure.  Just like good chess players, they unconsciously go through all the moves before being satisfied that the outcome will be the best one.  Therefore this is not resistance at all, but well though out conditions and can appear as ‘negativity’ for the untrained ear.

Once the client arrives at the point of having their ‘safe keeping’ criteria satisfied, then the use of EFT is enhanced a hundred-fold.  They are open to accept the tapping and removing of blocked energies.

In part 2 of this article other important Meta Programs will be examined.  This will give the readers further insights into building rapport with their clients by meeting them in their model of reality.

Rehana Webster, EFT Master

Part 2 of 2 – How to Motivate Your Clients

In Part 1 of my article on the NLP technique called Meta Programs I explained how we could deal with what some people may call a “resistant” client.  In this article (Part 2 learning about Meta Programs) I’d like to talk about one of the possible reasons why a person may “forget to use EFT” or doesn’t do the “homework” I have asked them to do.  Sometimes it’s very useful to have the client do homework between their sessions as it speeds up the process of healing and also helps to integrate EFT into their daily lives, which is always a good thing!

The Meta Program I want to introduce you to in this article is: 


People who have the same language profile generally have the same behaviour patterns. Based on the words a person uses, we can make reasonable assumptions about their behaviour. Also, once we determine a person’s behaviour patterns, we can choose specific words that will have the most influence on that person.   This is especially true when assigning EFT “homework.”

The question to ask to determine whether a person is options or procedures oriented is:  Does the person look for alternatives, like to keep their options open, or do they prefer to follow established procedures?

Options: This group is motivated by the possibility of doing something in another way.  Exploring new ideas and possibilities is of great interest. They may start a new project and not necessarily feel compelled to finish it. To motivate/influence these people, use words such as: opportunity, alternatives, break the rules, flexibility, variety, and unlimited possibilities, expand your choices, options... Listen and identify this type of person, as they will use these groups of words.  Offer them situations that require solutions or alternatives.

Procedures: These people are most comfortable following set rules/processes. Once they understand a procedure they tend to repeat it over and over again.  Without a clearly defined procedure they feel lost or stuck. They are more concerned about how to do something than why they should do it. They are motivated by words such as: correct way, tried and true,   proven path, and will follow the procedure to the letter.   You can therefore learn to listen, identify and motivate this type of person by using their type of language.

My client, I’ll call her “Sally” is a strongly Options oriented person.  I asked Sally to do some EFT homework before the next session and explained that, “I’d like you to do some regular tapping daily on your list of negative events.  You can use the short cut method and please remember to record the ‘rating’ for each event before and after tapping.”

Sally: “Why do I have to use the short cut method?  What about the long method and when can I use the gamut?  What are my options?”

I responded: “I’ve assigned the short cut method because it will be the easiest way for you to get through your list of events.”

Sally:  "What about the ratings?  Why do I have to write it down each time?  Can I have a choice on whether I write down the ratings or not?” 

My response:

“So you’d like some flexibility in how and when you do your homework?”  (At this point if I had failed to recognize Sally’s Options Meta Program, I would have lost rapport with her and perhaps she would have not done her homework at all and not gained the results she desired when using EFT.)  “Let’s see… how about you figure out how best you want to do the assigned homework.  Perhaps you can choose to mix and match and make up a new procedure for yourself.  You could test it out on your list and share it with me.” 


“Yes!  There as so many possibilities… and I could even come up with a better system altogether.”

My response:

“OK.  The ball is in your court.   Work through the list and I’ll see you next week.”

People in the Options group need to explore, create and then have flexibility.  This met with Sally’s model of thinking and she was motivated to go away and do her homework in the manner that excited her most.  She had choices!

Now, let’s contrast Sally with another client, a Procedures oriented typology.  At the beginning of our session I asked “Jim” if he had been doing his “homework,” that is tapping on issues as they presented themselves.”

Jim’s response was “No, I forgot.”

A little more questioning revealed he wasn’t sure he was doing “it” right, and vague references to “getting the word patterns right” also came up.

I responded:

“You’re correct, Jim, there is a tried and true way of doing EFT that yields excellent results, and all we have to do is make sure we have developed the correct procedure for you.  Let’s look at the issues you want to work on, and I’ll teach you the specific word patterns you will need to use in sequence.  Best you write them down, so you have the procedure down correctly.”

By re-introducing EFT in this manner, Jim was motivated, as he now had a procedure to follow.  He later reported great progress, and was now tapping daily between sessions.

The point to remember is the word patterns I recommended were generated by my listening to Jim’s description of different issues he was dealing with.  The motivations to self apply EFT came about by matching his mental strategies and processes, that is matching his Meta Program.  Quite often a little knowledge of NLP can enhance the outcome of an EFT session tremendously, if for no other reason than helping the client to “make sense” of how to proceed.  By matching Meta Programs, it is much easier to trigger motivation and desire for the client, so the information now makes more sense!

Rehana Webster, EFT Master


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