I recently had the pleasure of presenting an Introduction to EFT workshop in a day-long workshop on Complementary Care techniques. I shared the day with four colleagues who practice three other complementary or integrative care modalities. Our audience consisted of “traditional” Western-therapy clinicians, who for the most part were unfamiliar with these techniques.
In addition to EFT, our workshop included Healing Touch, a method of transferring healing energy through the hands; Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy, using groundwork with horses to help clients see and change their own patterns of behavior; and Meditation, to achieve balance and mindfulness. Each presentation, except the Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy, included an experiential practice session.
As a practitioner, my favorite part of the day was learning ideas and concepts from these other practitioners that I could relate to EFT.
From Diane’s Healing Touch presentation, I was reminded about the need to ground and center ourselves before attempting to help another. Every interaction between people includes an exchange of energy. To assure that interaction can be healing, we must be centered, mindful and grounded as practitioners.
Diane, an RN and Ph.D. certified as an instructor in Healing Touch, also shared a concept from Native American healing, of becoming the “hollow bone”. This means to allow healing, and Spirit, to flow through you without impedance. The Hollow Bone is an excellent way for us to visualize “through me, not by me," an important precept of EFT.
Laurie and Beverly, both conventionally-trained psychotherapists also certified for Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy, explained how they use horses, exquisitely sensitive prey animals, to help clients realize how our own energy is played out in relationship. In EAP the therapists closely watch the horse to see what signals it is giving, as well as watching the client react to or try to influence the horse. In addition to my own interest in working with horses and riders, I resonated with this concept from an EFT perspective, as it is similar to the close noticing that EFT practitioners need to practice.
Our clients always signal, at some level, when something big is going on. Regardless of how they may try to downplay a memory or occurrence, they give us clues; an eye movement, a tensing of the voice, or a significant word choice. It’s our job to notice that something’s beneath the surface.
From Alejandro, a Ph.D. and meditation master, we learned how to be mindful of our own internal dialog and attempt to still it through breath and attention, relaxing the tension we uncover as we go along. In administering EFT, we also need to still our own internal dialog while relaxing our own levels of tension, to get out of our own way. As in meditation, this mindfulness needs to be repeated throughout a session, so that we remain responsible for remaining balanced as we work with others.
I often notice, especially with new clients, that I have to consciously relax my body and my ego-chatter. Once I do, I sometimes feel sensations in my body that I hadn’t noticed while I was tied up in myself. I must then ask myself, “Is this feeling mine, or the client’s?” Humans resonate with the feelings and energy patterns of others, like tuning forks. Only if we are centered enough, sensitive enough, and mindful enough, can we then determine whether we are getting some physical information from our clients in our own bodies.
When I objectively notice a feeling, sensation or emotion in my body, I ask my client what they are feeling in their own body. Even if we were already working on one physical sensation, I may be picking up a shift of the blocked energy. I don’t tell the client what I’m feeling; it’s not about me. Instead, I let my somatic sensations remind me to ask them what they’re feeling.
I have two tenets of my own that I pass on in every presentation.
Hold the space, don’t fill it
As energy practitioners, we hold the space for people to do their inner work — we don’t fill the space. It’s not up to me to guide someone where I think he needs to go. If I hold the space and stay true to the core EFT skills, the person comes to the realization they need—even if it’s not the one I thought they needed. In practice, this means using reframes very gingerly, if at all. Many times I’ve had clients experience profound cognitive shifts simply by adding “I forgive myself (or, ‘my body’)” to the set up phrase. I don’t tell them what the “right answer” is; I try to nudge them a degree or two so that they begin to see the issue from a slightly different perspective.
Be the most attentive person there.
When I work with someone, I don’t need to be the smartest person in the room; I only need to be the most attentive person in the room. Doing EFT as a practitioner is not about having vast knowledge of what can be wrong with human beings, and how to fix them all. It is about practicing (and modeling) the focus and attention necessary to help a person find her way. This relieves me of the pressure of finding answers, and it helps the person in the session begin to notice for themselves. When they can begin to notice, they can begin to choose. Sometimes people comment on “how good” I am at what I do. But here’s my little secret: all I really am good at is noticing. EFT and the client do the rest.
I believe everyone is good at learning to ride their own bike (resolve their own issues) when they’re ready to. I don’t have to teach them how to ride the bike; I just have to hold the bike steady and run along behind, giving encouragement.
Ange Dickson Finn is an EFT International Accredited Certified EFT Advanced Practitioner. She is based in Houston, Texas, USA, and works with clients over the phone and via Skype. Ange has helped clients with issues including physical pain, health and well-being, work-related stress, equestrian sports and relationships. Visit her on the web at www.TapIntoYourself.com or www.RideWithoutFear.com.
From the EFTfree Archives, which are now a part of EFT International .
Originally published on October 22, 2011.