In early 2021 in an EFT mentoring group for practitioners, our Trainer Andy Hunt recommended if we wanted to try something different we might check out Doodle Tapping (DT). This EFT technique was developed by Masha Bennett when she was an EFTi Master Trainer of Trainers. Masha specialises in trauma, addictions, and spirituality. She had developed Doodle Tapping as an extra EFT approach in her toolbox for complex or intense issues, or occasionally for overwhelmed clients if normal tapping wasn’t lowering the intensity levels.
I read Masha’s article as recommended on the EFTi website, and I liked the concept. So as she recommends, I started experimenting on myself. I then tried it with my family and a few EFT swap partners until I felt confident to try it with two regular clients. I then introduced it as a novel group process at a weekend Self-Discovery Retreat in Adelaide in May 2021 which included some EFT.
In this article, I’m sharing some insights that I’ve had whilst using Doodle Tapping and ways I have found it to be helpful with different types of clients. I hope you will find these useful to try for yourself and your own clients when you feel things might benefit from being approached in a different way.
Summary: The Doodle Tapping Process
(See full explanation in the original EFTi article at https://eftinternational.org/doodle-tapping/)
- ISSUE - Decide on an issue as usual and tune into the feeling about it right now
- DOODLE - Take one sheet of paper, do a quick doodle or squiggle with a pen
- TAP - Do two rounds of tapping whilst looking at the doodle
- TURN - Turn the sheet over, put it aside (doodle-side facing down)
- REPEAT - for up to 8-12 sheets
- REFLECT on your feelings, have they shifted? What do you notice now?
Issue and Intensity
Masha says that she usually doesn’t use the 1-10 SUDS scale, nor have the particular issue of focus written down. However, I prefer to do this as my clients are usually used to me doing that when we tap. I tend to check in every 2-3 rounds to remind the client what we’re focussing on. Depending on how they seem to be reacting, I may also ask how intense the issue still feels to them, or what they’re noticing. I find checking in every few rounds particularly important for clients with busy minds or who are particularly overwhelmed. This is so I know if they have drifted to another issue or are getting distracted (e.g. thinking about the shopping!).
I tell the client in advance that we won’t stop to analyse or talk about changes until the process feels finished to them, or at least sufficiently resolved.
With some clients who are used to DT with me, as the numbers come down I might say “Do you feel there is another doodle still to come, or does it feel finished?”. One client in particular sometimes says “I can already see what the next doodle is going to be”. However, as the intensity subsides, some clients with busy lives or high-demanding jobs get clarity and solutions or tasks pop into their heads while we’re tapping. So one of us will briefly write these down for later. In fact, for one client, getting clarity on actions she needs or wants to take is the main benefit that she gets from Doodle Tapping.
I agree with Masha that clients tend to seem, or report, an increased sense of peace, calm and acceptance after the process. Some clients have a cognitive shift about the issue. Others just seem calmer there and then. However, in the next few days after the session they will report to me a cognitive shift or that new insights have come up.
Masha recommends that speed is of the essence in DT. This is because the aim of the process is to bypass the conscious analytical mind. She recommends no more than one minute per doodle. Whilst I set my phone stopwatch to count 60 seconds, I play this by ear as I don’t want to rudely interrupt if a client looks like they’re going deeper. So some doodles may go for 90 seconds. Either way, I give a warning by saying something like “We’ve got about five seconds to go thanks”. After that, we usually take a deep breath (as they’ve usually been bending forward) and do two rounds of tapping as they look at the shape. We might only do one round of tapping if I know that the client’s SUDs usually fall pretty quickly. Other times, with clients who know the process, I might ask after one or two rounds if they feel another round on this particular doodle would be useful.
Words or No Words?
Masha says to try DT with and without words. I’ve found that clients who are in their head a lot seem to stay more focused if we verbalise a reminder phrase as they look at what they’ve drawn and tap e.g. saying “This pink squiggle”. But I’ve discovered that others seem to go deeper if they just look at the drawing while we tap silently round the points. I recommend you experiment firstly with how each of these feels to yourself, and then see which works for which clients. With a client new to DT, I usually tap with words to start with, observe their body language, and ask them what they noticed. Then I might try one round with words and one without to see if one way seems to suit them better. There isn’t a right or wrong way, you need to experiment with this, it’s all about the art of delivery!
Masha recommends having about 8-10 pens (felt tips/textas) available in a range of colours. Crayons are definitely too messy and go blunt, and pencils will need sharpening. I have doodle-tapped myself when on holiday with just a biro pen as that was all that was available, and that worked fine. Highly anxious clients may find it particularly hard to choose from a selection of pens, so I give some reassurance, such as “Just grab one and you can still use the others later”. I’ve also experimented with using each hand in turn, even if it feels clumsy with the non-dominant hand. Do try it yourself and see how it feels to you.
With my own personal doodle tapping I have found I get different feelings and different body reactions when I draw with my non-dominant hand. Or maybe you’ll discover something completely new about the approach. As you experiment, your clients might also spontaneously develop new ways to do this!
It works for some and not others
The point of Doodle Tapping is to externalise our feelings. One or two clients, for whose issue I thought DT might be useful, said they wouldn’t feel comfortable making their emotions so “external” on hardcopy paper. We therefore approached the issue in a different EFT way. In any case, that response showed us a new tappable issue about how they felt about their feelings, and about sharing their feelings.
On the other hand, I’ve found DT very useful for those who are often too much in their intellectual mind. The doodling takes them into their body and relaxes their mind quicker than with normal tapping. Clients who are particularly artistic or creative may however get distracted by the shapes and colours. They may want to adorn them or finish them off properly, so this may not be the best technique for them.
But I’m Not Good with Art
A few clients have declined to try Doodle Tapping because they said they’re not good with art. Even when I assured them that Doodle Tapping is simply letting your hand/s draw lines or shapes on paper. They felt it would be too triggering for them. Those who have had bad experiences with artistic attempts earlier in life, such as being criticised in school or feeling not as good as the arty kids at kindergarten, can feel that DT could be just another bad experience for them, and so we find another way.
Of course, there is also the Picture Tapping Technique by Philip Davis and Christine Sutton that you might investigate. There are also some other techniques explained in the EFTi article by Jennifer Rahman. But if they seem a little too complicated or somehow not right for your client, then you could give Doodle Tapping a try as it’s straightforward.
Self-care for EFT Practitioners
Apart from when I was experimenting with DT at the start, I still also use Doodle Tapping for my own self-care when I feel like doing something different. I find it particularly useful when I feel not quite right but don’t know why. Or if something is intense but I can’t arrange to tap with an EFT colleague or practitioner. I particularly used DT to process my feelings, confusions and emotional exhaustion after my mum died. I just sat with some paper and pens and started doodling and tapping. I’ve had some amazing insights through doing this, more so than with normal tapping for these complex issues. It really does feel that it lets me access other parts of myself.
I have also had good success using Doodle Tapping with some upper primary girls and have specific tips for Doodle Tapping With Children in another article.
Masha’s original article is at https://eftinternational.org/doodle-tapping
Other non-verbal techniques, by Jennifer Rahman is at https://eftinternational.org/words
Article written by Lareen Newman, an Advanced EFT Practitioner based in Adelaide, Australia
Image by Andrey Novik on Unsplash