One of the EFT Core Principles is the importance of being specific. Being specific is terrific! Many of you will have heard that endorsement and know that we are always being encouraged to get to specific events with EFT. Well, I also believe in being general at times and I’d like to speak up for some subtle ways of being general.
Whether we are being specific or general, it is not the words that are spoken but what those words generate within the person that the tapping is working on. So even when general words are used, if these access specific memories, thoughts or beliefs, then the effect will be specific. Here are a couple of examples.
Example 1 --- Being Specific with Metaphor
A young woman, Liz, was sent to me by her chiropractor as she had pain across her shoulders that did not respond to treatment. I asked her to describe the pain in as much detail as she could and she said it was like being torn apart. She used the metaphor of the Levis jeans logo with two horses pulling a pair of jeans apart.
We tapped with “torn apart by two horses” and after a couple of rounds she laughed and said, "I know who the horses are." She and her husband were between houses and had moved in with her sister for a few weeks that had become months. She loves her husband and sister and they hate each other. She had felt torn between them and had tried in vain to keep the peace.
So now we got specific and tapped on the fights between her husband and sister till she said “they are grown ups, its up to them, its only temporary, they can sort it out, I’m keeping clear, I don’t have to get in the way,” and with that the pain was completely gone, how ever she moved to try and find it.
This is an example of where getting the specific words that are the metaphor of what the body is holding allows the message of the body to be received and the emotion to be released. Once the message has been received the symptom is no longer necessary. Had we tapped on “this pain in my shoulder,” then it is likely that the pain would have diminished and returned as soon as she got back home to the fights between her sister and husband.
Example 2 – Being General with Reframing
Mick is a great thinker. His recent work is likely to get media attention and he came to me terrified of speaking in groups or in public. I knew that he had seen many therapists and medical specialists and they had worked on his fears and experiences of speaking. So I realized that this called for something more indirect from me.
I asked him when in his life had he most felt fear and he told me that his brother, who he described as a psychopath, had bullied him as a child with extreme violence and that after his father left, his depressed mother was not able to protect him from his brother. He was then, as a child, on a daily basis in real fear for his life but he felt no emotion about that now and was on good terms with his brother (a very successful trial lawyer).
We started tapping and I introduced general truisms about families (something along these lines)
Fathers should stay with mothers, that’s how it should be and it’s wrong when fathers leave and children who only see through the eyes of children can’t understand the emotions and decisions of adults and have to make sense of it somehow...
and mothers should always protect their children, that’s how it should be and mothers should not be depressed and they should always be cheerful whatever happens because children don’t understand that adults are normal fallible, screwed-up human beings who make mistakes and get hi-jacked by their own emotions...
and little boys who lose their fathers should be able to cry and should have an emotion other than anger available to them.
We went on and on like this with general truths tapping round and round.
As we were speaking generalities about families, he was accessing specifics about his childhood, and I could see from his general demeanor that we were clearing a path through the woods. I have since heard that he is much more comfortable speaking and when he wakes up in the morning an old familiar dread is gone.
Isn’t it wonderful the power and subtlety of words? In my workshops, we focus on getting creative with the words in EFT. But with or without a workshop, you have my permission to unleash your amazing creativity. You can do that yourself! Simply trust the words that come to you, or through you.
With love, Gwyneth
From the EFTfree Archives, which are now a part of EFT International .
Originally published on January 26, 2010.