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Articles & Ideas

Using EFT

Using EFT with a Skeptic

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Dr. Laura Maciuika lends her considerable EFT experience to help a skeptical client get beyond his doubts. There are many useful ideas here about how to work around a skeptic's objections.

Hugs, Gary

By Dr. Laura Maciuika

Hi Gary,

I'd like to share an experience of using EFT for the first time with a new client in a session that ended up being more complex than I expected.  This was with someone who had sounded open to EFT, but revealed strong skepticism when we got to the tapping itself.  I've described the session in some detail since it may be helpful to folks beginning to use EFT with others and who run into some skepticism.

"Jason" is a successful businessman in his late forties.  He had heard about me through a friend.  We had met once, and I had learned about his background and the different issues he wanted to work on, including losing some extra weight.  We had agreed that during the next session we would discuss EFT as a potentially helpful way to reach his goals.

As we started our second session, I assumed Jason was open to EFT because of our conversation the week before, and because the friend who referred him had experienced transforming success with EFT on long-standing issues of chronic abuse.  When I brought up EFT again and began to describe it, Jason suddenly remarked that he had a scientific background, and needed to see empirical evidence like double-blind studies to believe a technique like that could work.

Okay.  I referred him to the main EFT website, my website, and a few other sites that included research information.  I also mentioned that one root definition of "empirical" is "That which is observed and felt through experience."  I asked Jason, why didn't we give this EFT stuff a shot, and we'd know more soon through his actual experience if it was helpful or not?

Jason agreed.  I continued to describe EFT, relating it to eastern sciences and acupressure points, and going over the setup phrase as the place to begin.  Jason chose stiffness in his neck for his first round of EFT (starting with something simple), which was at a level of intensity of about 3 on the 0-10 subjective scale.  That was pretty low.  However, when I asked, Jason reported the intensity of his belief that this tapping was all "a bunch of mumbo jumbo" was at a 9 out of 10.

I suggested we tap first directly on that belief to see what happened.  Jason chose the setup phrase carefully so it would resonate for him:  Even though this is a bunch of mumbo jumbo pseudo-science…  He laughed some as we tapped using the reminder phrase, "mumbo jumbo pseudo-science."

At the end of the round, Jason was still at a 9 in intensity of the "mumbo jumbo pseudo-science," but his neck stiffness was completely gone.  Jason immediately said to me that he had a way to explain why that had happened: the tapping had distracted him and he had become more relaxed, so the neck stiffness had gone away.  As far as he was concerned, the tapping itself was still a bunch of mumbo jumbo and hadn't done anything.

I thought this was great.  I said I could tell that Jason had a very clear way of fitting or not fitting things into his worldview.  Jason agreed he checked everything against his mental template and discarded what didn't fit.  I suggested that instead of tapping again directly on the 9 intensity, we try one more round on some other sensation just for the heck of it, and Jason agreed.

Jason picked a familiar sensation he could feel on his tongue that he associated with hunger; the sensation was at about a 3.  Since part of his upbringing had been during a spell of poverty and occasional hunger due to lack, I wondered with him whether the sensation might have some underlying emotional intensity that was still held in his body.  Jason didn't know.  I said I didn't either, but suggested we tap on that just to see what happened.

I used a longer setup phrase: Even though I have this tongue sensation that might be connected to my past, or it might not be, we may never know, I deeply and completely accept myself and that little boy then who was hungry.  We used reminder phrases like This tongue sensation … Might be connected to my past … Might not be connected.

At the end of the round the "tongue sensation" was down from a 3 to a 1/2, and Jason said laughingly that he couldn't find a way to explain away that change with his mental template.  I said that I was sure if he gave it some time, he'd find a way to explain it away, which brought more laughter.  We agreed to meet the following week.

Soon after Jason left my office there was a knock on the door.  I opened it and Jason was there, asking "If I try this on my own do I have to say the reminder out loud?"  I said it would probably work for him just repeating the phrase mentally, but that he could try it and see.

The "tongue sensation" never returned.  That sensation had been an old and familiar part of Jason's experience, and he had described it as contributing to his difficulty in controlling his eating between meals.  We continued to use EFT as an integral part of our sessions together without any need to tap further on "mumbo jumbo pseudo-science."




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