Ethics in your practice is not something you learn about once and then forget about. Rather, it is a skill that changes and evolves as you mature. In this discussion, we're going to take a look at one of the ethical considerations that can be the least obvious – power differentials. Power differentials are involved when one individual is acting in the role of teacher, providing insight, supervising, advising, coaching, counselling and/or evaluating another person.
In my EFT business I have the title of trainer and mentor. My business partner, as well as being a trainer and mentor, is also a practitioner. Here’s how these different hats we wear can be fraught problems lest we be mindful of the power differentials.
What to bear in mind as a Practitioner
In the role of facilitating a session, even asking direct questions can lead to your client feeling judged. The more vulnerable the subject matter, the more sensitive you have to be to maintain a non-judgmental countenance. Self-disclosure is also not recommended as doing so gives the appearance that your way of dealing with a situation was the best way. If you are qualified to give specific types of advice, the paperwork you have sent your clients ahead of time should clearly state this. An example of this would be giving recommendations about nutritional supplements.
What to bear in mind as a Mentor
When you are acting as a mentor (either to those going through certification or post certification as required by EFTi), then power differentials might show up as you are clearly the authority figure. A certification mentor has the authority to evaluate a mentee's competency and can determine whether they can move ahead. If you find yourself talking and teaching but not regularly encouraging discussion and reflection, then you may be less empowering than you could be.
What to bear in mind as a Trainer
In a classroom or learning space all of us can revert to childhood. Navigating this can be tricky as we have to balance the discussion of ideas with the delivery of information needed for our students to be able to learn new skills. One way to minimize power differentials here is to make sure you give your students plenty of time to practise techniques, ask questions, and offer drills where they think for themselves.
What can you do to make sure you are creating the best environment for your clients, students, and mentees?
- Recognise your own triggers and actively work to resolve them.
- Know your conflict and communication style. Do you shut down? Do you cut off communication? Do others perceive you as bossy, pushy, combative?
- Ask for genuine feedback and be ready to listen. This isn’t always easy and power differentials can play a part in the inability of someone you are mentoring to give you honest, concrete feedback.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with some of ways we have worked to address power differentials in our business:
- We no longer tap with our mentees. Instead, we’ve set up systems to encourage them to tap with each other to avoid a dual-role, power imbalance relationship.
- We do not have our students tap with us as practice “clients”
- We discourage a significant amount of personal information to be disclosed in their personal case study work as we are their mentors, not their practitioners.
- We do not act as both mentor and practitioner with the same person.
- We encourage self-evaluation whenever we can.
- We teach our students to refrain from giving advice to their clients. Instead, they are encouraged to use tapping to allow clients to come to the answers themselves.
- We only give feedback on sessions privately rather than in the presence of other mentees.
We hope that we offer some reflections and considerations that might be helpful for you to ponder and consider.
Next month we'll be looking at racial power differentials.
EFT Master Trainer of Trainers training and mentoring practitioners since 2006. Contributing author of 8 EFT books . Author of How to Want Sex: Using EFT to Rekindle Your Passion. Co-director of EFT MBA: Marketing and Business Academy for EFT Coaches www.eftmba.com Organizer of annual NW Tappers Gathering, raising over thousands of dollar for continuing EFT research. Matrix Reimprinting trainer since 2011. Producer of the Science of Tapping documentary. Director of EFT Relationship Coach Certification www.eftrelationshipcoach.com EFT and Matrix Training website www.efttappingtraining.com Member of Training and Accreditation Board at EFT International