We just have to accept that tapping doesn’t always work. Or do we? If it seems like shortcut EFT the way we’ve always done it isn’t helping, it may not be that we need to go to collarbone breathing or the 9-Gamut or other fancier tapping strategies. We may just need to work more creatively on our art of delivery, and recognize the difference between addressing specific events and addressing patterns.
Having full faith in the power of EFT in my life, I knew there couldn’t possibly be a situation that the classic formula of the Setup phrase wouldn’t fit or fix. Until last summer.
A financial crisis with a family member fell on me without warning. While I scrambled to address the problems, take control of the income and start managing the debt that had been run up, I also found myself emotionally confronting a lot of old terrors, old programming and old anger. For several weeks I lived in a fight or flight state. EFT took the edge off, but this was not the time to try to do a lot of deep, emotionally draining work.
Once the immediate emergencies had been addressed, I found myself obsessively thinking about the longer-term, more mundane issues of paying off the debts. I couldn’t seem to stop worrying about how each debt would be resolved, how long it would take to pay it off, what conversations and/or arguments I’d have to have with creditors, how much of my own time it would take. It seemed my mind turned on these things almost constantly.
So every time an issue came up, I turned it into a tapping opportunity with the classic structure:
Even though I can’t figure out how to pay her electricity bill this month, and it’s making me crazy, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
The problem was, relief was only short term. As soon as my mind had a free moment, it would turn to the next obsession opportunity. I started wondering why my old method didn’t seem to be working. I had done a lot of work on the originating events from the past, had much better recognition of my triggers, and ‘should’ be able to use EFT to address the immediate problems.
Eventually it occurred to me that I might have successfully taken the charge out of individual events that had happened between us, but I hadn’t changed the pattern of responding to this person. Because of such deeply rooted family patterns and dynamics, I had actually turned the use of EFT into a sneaky way to keep me stuck in an old, old pattern of using all my emotional energy to try to solve this family member’s problems. I decided I needed to depart a bit from the usual structure to start freeing myself from my habitual response.
The next time a worry came up, I used this formula:
My thoughts and energy are mine to use for my own life. I release myself from having to use all my energy for her. I am free to think about my own work and play, and use my creative energy for me.
I completely ignored any need to fix the presenting problem.
I would repeat this while tapping, whenever I found my mind fixating on problems that I couldn’t tackle immediately. Because of the work I’d already done in past years, I could easily say this and mean it without triggering guilt or fear in myself. If I could not have done so, this new formula would have backfired and I’d have needed to do more work on the past specific events.
At first it would take several rounds and a dogged determination (yes, dogged--who said the change process was easy or elegant?) to go back to this formula every single time the worries took over. Once I had interrupted the thought, I would make sure to spend some time thinking about something important and uplifting to me—my work, my hobbies, my creative endeavors.
Over two weeks’ time, it worked. The worries stopped coming as often, and it was easier to dismiss them when they came. And my anger and panic at being in the situation began to subside.
Although my initial conclusion had been that EFT wasn’t working, it turns out it was doing what it does so well—working underground to produce a cognitive shift. Feeling free to try EFT in a new way for me, I honed my art of delivery. And I also learned how, as a practitioner, to spot another of the many ways in which old negative patterns of co-dependency can creep in even while we’re practicing our healthy coping mechanism.
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 February 20, 2011.
Ange, I am so happy to find this today and I am going to start using this right now. This felt right immediately.
Ange Finn says
Thanks, C.M. and Andy. I agree with you, Andy, that working on the pattern is highly effective as long as stored trauma has been cleared. If it has given others a new approach to try, I’m thrilled, and hope you’ll share your successes here.
As a followup note, it’s been several months since I started this approach, and the positive change has maintained for me.
Andy | Practical Wellbeing says
It seems to me that if you have a choice between working on a problem or working on the pattern beneath a problem. Working on the pattern is likely to be harder in the short term but much more rewarding in the long run.
Unfortunately patterns can be a bit harder to spot.
C. M. Barrett says
Thanks so much for this article. It addressed some issues that are in my life right now and gave me some clear direction for tapping.