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Persistent EFT to help a client quit smoking at her own pace

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Steve Wells from Australia submits this post from psychologist Jacqui Manning. Note how surrounding issues need to be collapsed before addressing the smoking problem.

Hugs, Gary

By Steve Wells and Jacqui Manning

Hi Gary,

I am attaching a wonderful post from Jacqui Manning, a psychologist from Sydney, who reports on some excellent results achieved with her client, Meg.  

Best wishes



I have just completed 6 sessions with a client of mine, Meg, and she has made such tremendous and massive progress with tapping that I just had to sit down and write this post.

Meg made the decision to see me to help her quit smoking, but in the initial conversation she reported intense panic and anxiety and I told her we would be working at lessening the intensity of that before we touched the smoking.  I was also confident that we would be attacking some of her deep-rooted beliefs and fears about smoking while working on her other fears.

Early on in our first session, Meg told me she had a fear of dying and that she would wake up in a panic every night and check that her husband was still breathing.  As you can imagine, this was having an effect on her sleep and mood!  Not to mention her husband!

In exploring her fear she told me she grew up in an insular religion and although she left at the age of 19, the effects were still evident.  One of their core beliefs (as I understand it) is that Armageddon is imminent and members of this religion see themselves as God’s chosen people and remaining faithful guarantees eternal life in paradise.

In the first session, I engaged Meg in some provocative energy techniques (using EFT with Provocative Therapy, founded by Dr David Lake & Steve Wells) and did lots of tapping for:

What if I’ve missed my ticket to eternity?

What if I’ve made a mistake by leaving?

Suppose they were right all along and I’ve missed my chance?

Meg was amazed that she could talk about this and other things she hadn’t spoken of for years (Meg is now 43) and smile and laugh about them.  Some of the religion’s words and terminology held particular intensity for her and so we did lots of tapping for those ‘hot’ ones. I could visibly see how much more relaxed she was getting.

One of Meg’s other behaviors she wanted to change was her coffee drinking, her current intake being 15 cups daily.  This would be enough to affect anyone’s sleep!  I advised Meg to practice a technique that is very helpful for unwanted behaviours especially things such as OCD and bulimia. This is based on a technique I learned from Dr David Lake, which is applying continual finger point tapping to an unwanted behaviour.  My instructions to Meg were not to change any practical part of her coffee drinking practice, simply to tap continually on her finger points while she thought about a coffee, prepared one and drank it.  There was no need to think of specific statements in this exercise, just to continually tap the finger points while she had her coffees.

Meg was not convinced tapping would work for this or any of her problems but she was willing to give it a go.  At our next appointment, she was delighted and amazed to report her coffee intake was down to 5 cups per day and she had achieved this just by continually tapping while preparing it. She also reported her anxiety had dropped significantly and for the first time in years she was able to sleep without waking up her partner to check his breathing to see if he was alive.

Meg is one of these fantastic clients where I can clearly see written exactly on her face how she is going internally.  When I first started seeing her, her anxiety was reflected in the speed she tapped, the way she talked and the terror in her eyes.  I started to notice that at the end of every session she looked more and more calm, she was able to discuss things calmly and fully, her face had changed and she looked softer and more at ease. 

Meg had attempted to quit smoking some years earlier and it was the most terrifying 8 months of her life.  This fear was keeping her from even talking about the idea of quitting in our sessions; I could see it was truly terrifying for her.

I adapted some of Carol Look’s WHAT IF tapping for Meg to allow in the possibility of quitting.  “What if I could allow myself to think about quitting and still be safe?” and instructed her to tap on this one daily.

In discussing her situation I really felt that there was so much anxiety and uncertainty in her life, both when she was in contact with her family and after she was excommunicated, that cigarettes represented a constant for her, like a ‘friend’ and part of her identity so I was mindful of going gently with her.  I talked with her about every step we would be taking ahead of time and used tapping for any anxiety that comes with making plans to quit.

Meg continually gets stronger and more positive with every session and is surprised that finally something has worked for her, and that she’s stuck to it!  She is so committed to the process and I know does regular tapping in between our appointments to supplement what we cover in session.

Recently she came in and told me she had made the wonderful discovery that she wasn’t frightened anymore of her life.  She had woken up the night before and could see that she was in a cold, dark, still room and normally the terror and anxiety would just kick in but it simply did not come.  She couldn’t remember the last time this had happened and was SO excited as she talked about the new her.  She also described how she had experienced anxiety since we’d last met but it felt “so different.”  She said, “The anxiety is something that happens from the outside rather than who I am.  I know it’s not me and it’s so minimal now and that’s just invaluable.”

She also said that throughout her entire life she’s had the feeling that she’s just been hanging on, and her ability to cope was so small that should anything extra happen she would tip over the edge and not be OK, but she didn’t feel like this anymore.  She knows she can cope now.

Meg has now gone from totally avoiding even the idea of talking about quitting smoking because it was completely overwhelming, to keeping regular diaries of her habit and her thought patterns around smoking.  She has now cut down from around 30 per day to 10 and has maintained this for 4 weeks.  We have set a realistic goal for her final quit time - and with Meg using tapping, I know she’ll do it.  I’ll keep you posted!

Jacqui Manning


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