Back in June 2009, Betty Moore-Hafter and I began asking, “What makes EFT, EFT?” At this time, there were no agreed-upon training guidelines being used in the United States, and we felt the need to recognize how we consistently rely on essential, tried-and-true or core considerations that form the bedrock of a skillfully guided tapping session. These “Core EFT Principles” represent the skillful application of the simple and effective system that Gary Craig developed, based on the discoveries of Roger Callahan. As time went on and the efficacy of EFT became more and more widely known, Gary encouraged feedback, welcomed personal discoveries and incorporated many of these into the process. We offer that although EFT continues to be shared in many unique ways, there are Core EFT Principles that can be loosely named and even crystallized in an open-ended way that honors the individual approaches, refinements and innovations of each person – the unique Art of Delivery that represents the highly individualized nature of sharing EFT.
While there are many questions as to which of these principles may or may not belong to EFT exclusively, taken together they represent to us the core of a skillfully explored EFT session. In early 2009, when it became clear that EFT was going through the beginnings of a critically important administrative transition, Betty and I felt the need to attempt to delineate the principles that form the systematic, strategic underpinnings of our EFT Practices.
We contacted Gary with our list of principles as we understood them, because we felt that it was important that he outline his definition of EFT in his own words. At the time he did not see the need, but several months later he asked for our input on his own EFT principles document. We spent many hours discussing the history of EFT and how certain key principles were discovered or refined. The outcome of these talks largely became Gary’s Timeless Principles of EFT document published on his blog as a work in progress at the time. We contributed to this document and continue to develop the ideas that are presented below. Keep in mind, our ideas are not necessarily Gary's - and Gary's assertions are not necessarily ours.
In light of EFT's release into the public domain (December 2009), we feel it more important than ever that core common ground EFT principles be discussed, in an effort to answer the question, “What is EFT?” and to help maintain the consistency and integrity of the process. In delineating these principles, we also acknowledge that there is as much diversity as there is unity around agreeing on them. While our document differs structurally from Gary's, we believe that the core considerations illustrated below stay true to his sizable pioneering contributions to the meridian tapping process as well as the history of EFT.
The list below incorporates many of our perspectives and interpretations - as well as expertise from others - around the considerations needed for an optimal EFT session. In fact, we believe many seasoned practitioners will find key elements of their work reflected here. We hope our creative presentation reveals the common ground from which your Art of Delivery surely expands.
Since we wrote this list in 2009, we have connected with the AAMET. We were heartened to discover that EFT International was already utilizing all these core considerations in their training guidelines, and had been since 2010. Not surprisingly, our list has had near-universal agreement among venerable trainers and practitioners.
Core EFT Principles: One Tree, Many Branches
Core EFT Principles are about skillful EFT - the Art of Delivery that takes the mechanical tapping process to a more exploratory level. Below we articulate guidelines intended to illustrate the systematic underpinnings of what is shared as EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) by EFT professionals worldwide. We see this as a "living document" and welcome discussion and feedback. Consider leaving a comment at the bottom of this page.
Core EFT Principles include (but are not limited to):
Recognizing the importance of engaging specific acupressure meridian endpoints while intentionally and vocally*:
- Acknowledging/tuning in to the energy of the problem, negative feeling, thought, challenge or uncomfortable body sensation
- Reaching to affirm (in some form) that you “deeply and completely love and accept yourself” even though you have this negative emotion, problem, challenge, etc.
- Continuing to focus upon specific negative feelings, thoughts or energies as needed to allow resolution of emotional intensity (while simultaneously recognizing the importance of allowing positive reframes to play a major role)
- Repeating variations of the process as needed to completely resolve negative emotional intensity where possible
*These processes are generally known as the Setup and the Sequence
Valuing and demonstrating (in all of your EFT activities) the importance of:
- Listening deeply to your client
- Developing and trusting intuition
- Getting out of your own way (i.e. through me, not by me)
- Trusting the process
- Developing rapport (see below)
- Recognizing that your client (even if the client is you) is always doing the best they can
- Allowing your client to express themselves in whatever way they need
- Developing the ability to appreciate each clients creative coping skills, which helps them appreciate it in themselves, thus allowing the self-acceptance aspect of EFT to become possible
- Setting a healing intention (including preframing a positive vision or goal)
- Taking Intensity Levels
- Using client language and perspective in the Setup and the Sequence
- Identifying and effectively handling aspects as well as shifting aspects
- Identifying and articulating simple vs. complex issues
- Identifying and skillfully addressing the complexities of resistance and/or psychological reversal
- Recognizing global vs. specific issues
- Valuing being specific wherever possible
- Asking skillful questions for the purposes of revealing information about the location, character and amount of negative emotional intensity
- Understanding the role of potentially limiting beliefs (i.e. writings on the wall)
- Asking skillful questions for the purpose of discovering and addressing core issues
- Recognizing and following healing doorways that potentially lead to core issues
But wait, there's more...
- Recognizing and articulating the Apex Effect
- Building bridges of belief
- Skillfully encouraging clients to notice their progress
- Confidently exploring course corrections "when EFT isn't working"
- Developing awareness of "not going where you don’t belong"
- Recognizing and effectively exploring tail-enders
- Learning when and how to reach for options, strategies, applications and refinements (9-Gamut, The Personal Peace Procedure, shortcuts, continuous tapping, touch and breathe, imagining tapping etc.), where appropriate
- Developing and following gentle and effective strategies for Chasing the Pain
- Finding your own relationship to Borrowing Benefits
- Minimizing pain by gently and systematically approaching intense feelings, events or memories by skillful application of Sneaking Up, Tearless Trauma, Movie and Tell the Story Techniques
- Taking appropriate opportunities to allow humor
- Testing appropriately, repeatedly and effectively
- Facilitating bringing intensity levels as low as they will go where appropriate
- Recognizing, understanding and communicating the Generalization Effect
- Checking in with your client
- Cultivating awareness of Surrogate Tapping
- Developing skills for working with visual, auditory, metaphorical and/or body-centered awareness of emotional intensity
- Becoming skilled at artful and effective positive reframing during the tapping process
- Understanding the role of persistence
- Skillfully demonstrating the Basic Recipe and EFT Shortcuts when appropriate
- Coming to your own unique understanding of the Discovery Statement
- Exploring the role hydration may play before, during and after a session
- Actively expanding and refining your personal Art of Delivery (i.e. staying updated with the latest EFT scholarship, coming to your own conclusions, pursuing independent study etc.)
- Cultivating awareness, understanding and appropriate application of a myriad of advanced sequences, strategies, applications and/or related methodologies
We're not done yet...
- Learning the vocabulary and skills behind the Core EFT Principles and systematically applying them as the backbone of your EFT sessions
- Acknowledging and understanding the relationship between Core EFT Principles and your personal Art of Delivery
- Knowing the difference between doing EFT mechanically and The Art of Delivery
- Coming to your own refinements around Core EFT Principles
- Actively doing your own work
- Taking complete responsibility for your use of EFT and for your emotional and physical well being during the EFT process and encouraging others to do so
- Exploring your relationship to the spiritual and/or scientific dimensions of this work, when appropriate
- Experiencing the value of feedback (i.e. supervision, mentoring, users groups, “EFT buddies”, trading sessions etc.)
- Developing a consistent, passionate and compassionate practice of "Trying EFT On Everything"
We hope you will find this list quite comprehensive --- however incomplete. We welcome feedback and discussion. Feel free to post comments below. They may not appear immediately.
Very special thanks to fellow EFTers Lynne Shaner and Carna Zacharias-Miller for ongoing encouragement, editing and support and to Gillian Wightman for her wisdom, input and language around developing rapport.