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EFT Tapping: Frequently Asked Questions


EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique and it is used to shift you from a negative feeling state into a positive one. Tapping refers to the use of touching points on your meridians in the form of gentle tapping with your fingers.

How does EFT work?

EFT tapping activates your meridians and in doing so shifts you from a sympathetic fight or flight nervous system response to a parasympathetic rest and digest state of being.

What should I say?

Whilst tapping you use your stream of consciousness. In other words, just say what comes to mind about what is challenging you. You can include what you feel and think and where you experience it physiologically or even how the problem shows up metaphorically. You can use anything that has meaning for you and that you associate with your current challenge. If emotions well up, you can continue to tap without speaking until they subside.

Do I need to tap on the exact point?

When you tap with several fingers you are likely to hit the point. If you miss it, on occasion, it is okay. Tap in the area that you remember from the basic recipe and even if you miss some points evidence suggests you will experience relief. With experience, you will likely be able to distinguish the difference between tapping the point and the area around it.

What happens if I miss the meridian point or go in the wrong order?

Tapping is very forgiving. You can just pick it up on the next round or if there is a reason why one point does not work just skip it. The basis recipe is designed to capture all the meridians and some people do use it in a different order or even add additional meridian points.

Why does EFT Tapping appear to focus on the negative?

You might be concerned that putting all your attention on the ‘bad’ will magnify it. Part of the application of the basic recipe is to tap on the challenge itself before addressing a more positive outcome. One reason for this is to fully acknowledge and own the problem. Another is that the higher SUD scores need to be brought down before we can effectively problem solve. When our fight or flight sympathetic response is activated as indicated by a higher SUD score, our resources are directed to safety rather than the full range of possibilities available to us.

Practitioners track the SUD score and shift the framing of the stream of consciousness to positive once distress has become more moderate. it is often the case that perceived difficulties miraculously resolve at this point.

Do I measure my SUD score now or from the time it happened?

You measure the Subjective units of distress score as you experience it right now. It is not necessary to recollect what you were feeling then. You do not need to tap on aspects that you may have already integrated.

What if I can’t identify a SUD score?

With some traumatic events, you may not be able to easily connect to how you feel. You have options to continue tapping without identifying a subjective units of distress score or to use your intuition to guide you as to an appropriate score. The SUD score is useful for quantifying your experience as a measure of the effectiveness of your tapping. However, you can also do this qualitatively by just checking in as to whether you feel better following a few rounds of tapping.

What if my SUD score doesn’t change?

If your subjective units of distress score does not go down, you could consider whether the issue that you are tapping on is peripheral. There may be a layer underneath which reveals an aspect that is more core that would provide for a greater impact. Another possibility is that you may have some resistance to the tapping process. There are many reasons why you may not find it immediately effective. Sometimes you may experience a delayed effect and find the score has reduced when you check back later. Do not feel discouraged. Pay attention to what comes up as you tap and include these ideas in the next round of tapping.

What if my SUD score doesn’t go down to zero?

Sometimes tapping scores go down but are not completely eliminated. This maybe because there are other aspects that remain to tap on. There could also be a delayed effect and the score goes down to zero after some time has passed for your body to integrate the shift. Do not worry if a low score remains. Celebrate the improvement to a lower score and the relief that this brings.

What are the side effects of tapping?

Overall tapping is extremely safe with none of the side effects associated with pharmaceutical medications. Any discomfort experience is generally a result of opening channels in your body that calm it down and reverse the genetic switches that keep you on high alert.

A very common experience is that of yawning which indicates activation of the parasympathetic response and shifts in energy. Sometime people also report warmth, tingling or brief experience of nausea as the energy moves.

Sometimes when you turn into an emotion that you have been holding back, you initially experience some flooding. This is not an indication that something has gone wrong. In turning your focus towards the emotional experience you are now allowing yourself to confront it. This may feel overwhelming and you may loose connection with your stream of consciousness. Do not panic. Just breath and tap through it without speaking or trying to track your thoughts until the strong feelings subside.

What if I can’t recall a specific event?

When you feel bad but cannot pinpoint any triggering traumatic experience you can just tap on the uncomfortable feelings. It can be also useful to describe it metaphorically or use a ‘for instance’ type of storytelling. Your imagination can guide you into tapping on what is needed.

It is possible that you were too young to encode what happened or may have repressed some aspects of the memory to protect yourself. Whatever the reason, full understanding or knowing what happened is not required for the tapping to be effective.

What if I have too many traumatic events?

If there are many painful possibilities to tap on, just pick one that you feel comfortable starting with. Do not feel overwhelmed by the apparent quantity of traumatic events. Often many similar ones will be addressed by tapping on just a few of them. One possible way to select which one to tap on is the first memory you have of a particular reoccurring issue.

What if an event is too overwhelming to deal with?

Tap on more manageable events first. There are also some special tapping skills called gentle techniques to deal with painful memories that you do not want to relive. You can consider working with a trained EFT Professional to apply these.

What if it is intractable?

Tapping can be effective even if you feel like the suffering has always been part of you. It often produces results on issues that you have been working on it for many years with little relief. The amount of time that you have been dealing with it is not relevant to the tapping process.

What if my issue is physical?

Physical symptoms on average have an emotional component that accounts for about two-thirds of the discomfort. These depend on the circumstances around the injury or onset. It is often due to judgment that is directed to others or the self or to associations that have been made to the illness itself. This means that tapping can also be effectively directed to physical ailments.

Does the relief from tapping last?

The relief from tapping is long-term. This means that the more you do the more relief you will experience. It is worth tapping on everything that you can identify that is painful or constricting in your life. Don’t be tempted to just tap on the challenges that initiate your exploration. Consider how it could become a daily practice rather than an emergency measure.

When is it advisable to work with practitioners?

You can reach out to a trained EFT practitioner when you require additional support. Perhaps you are worried about being overwhelmed or would just like guidance to make the tapping as impactful as possible. They can provide accountability and mentor you in becoming more adept at using the technique. Many training programs are accredited and recognized by EFT International. This oversight body adheres to gold standard competencies.

If I feel better should I stop taking medication?

You should consult with those that prescribed any medications before stepping cold turkey for an appropriate plan of action. If your symptoms have resolved you may not need it, but you want to make any changes in the safest possible way.

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