There's so much more to EFT than just the tapping
Imagine the scene:
Dave is at home,
slumped on his sofa in front of the TV watching a boxed set of ER. He starts to feel a little unwell, his chest hurts and he has a pain in his left arm. He has seen enough episodes of ER to know that this is not a good sign. He therefore decides to phone the emergency services and five minutes later, sirens flashing, a response vehicle from "Instant Paramedics" arrives. Cautiously, Dave gets to the door and lets in the bright-eyed and enthusiastic paramedic.
The paramedic introduces himself as Tim
and shows Dave his "Instant Paramedic Certificate". Dave is too scared to pay much attention and gingerly lowers himself back onto the sofa.
"So, what happened?" says Tim. Dave replies:
"I was watching a rerun of ER and I got this pain in my chest and down my arm"
"Oh that sounds bad", says Tim, "maybe a cup of tea will help"
"A cup of tea?!"
"Yes, I find it helps my patients feel at ease while I sort things out" says Tim (looking a bit uneasy himself).
"But my chest hurts, it feels like I'm in a vice."
Tim looks like he's struggling to know what to do
"This looks as though it could be serious..."
He pulls out his smart phone
and logs into the Facebook group "Paramedics R Us", he quickly types:
"Hi it's me, I need help again 😉 My guy says has pains in his chest and down his arm and he's funny shade of grey LOL. Any ideas?"
While Tim is waiting,
he makes Dave a cup of tea and does his best to look sympathetic, rather than out of his depth. He looks at his phone, smiles and looks hopeful.
"Hey I've got some suggestions, I'm going to ask you some questions to see if we can narrow this down"
"Go ahead" winces Dave without much hope.
Tim: "OK, have you been shot recently?"
Tim: "OK, next one ... erm ... is it food poisoning?"
Dave: "No, that's not it"
Tim: "OK, have you ever had the MMR vaccine?"
Dave: "What? No! I've never had the MMR vaccine, I had the measles when I was a kid and it nearly killed me ... I think I'm getting deja vu"
Tim: "OK ... er ... fluoride in the water?"
Tim: "OK, just asking ... Oh look! Here's a picture of Ellie's cat!"
Tim: "I just thought you might like to look at Ellie's cat, she's very soothing. Looking at Ellie's cat might help you feel more relaxed."
Dave: "No I don't want to look at Ellie's cat, I just want you to help me."
Tim: "I'm trying, I'm trying ... OK here's another suggestion ... oh .... that's bad ... that's very bad!"
Tim: "Mercury is in retrograde!"
Dave: "Just a minute, are you sure you are a paramedic?"
Tim: "Yes, I showed you my certificate."
Dave: "Well, aren't you trained for these kind of things"
Tim: "Yes, of course. I attended the two day Intensive Quantum Paramedics Course. We had lectures, role plays and two real problems to deal with"
Dave: "What were they?"
Tim: "A paper cut and a bruised elbow, it was intense! After the training we had to watch 4 YouTube videos and write an essay about why we wanted to be a paramedic."
Dave's mouth is hanging open.
Tim: "I passed with flying colours and here I am, ready to help ..."
Dave picks up the phone.
Tim: "Who are you calling Dave?"
Dave: "A taxi, to take me to a hospital. They might know what they are doing!"
Tim is mystified and a little hurt
He was only trying to help. It wasn't like this on the weekend training. He decides that Dave must be one of those difficult patients he has heard about.
Nobody needs the help of a paramedic like Tim, he means well, but he really doesn't know what he's doing.
Which brings us to EFT
If you search the internet for tapping success stories, you will be inundated with extraordinary stories of intractable problems being resolved in just one or two sessions. It is consequently all too easy to be fooled into thinking, "If someone else can change lives like that then why can't I?"
There are three main reasons why it's not as easy as it seems on the internet.
1. While tapping is simple, people are complicated
- as EFT Master Ann Adams points out. While the technique is very simple, the people and the problems you might use it with are not. Some problems are deep and tangled, and it takes a lot of skill, patience and flexibility to untangle them. It takes much more skill, patience and flexibility than you can possibly learn on a weekend course.
2. There's more to helping people than the technique you use.
With so many new powerful techniques such as EFT, NLP, (insert favourite three letter acronym here), it's easy to think that the changes you make are the result of the technique you use. But working with people who are suffering requires so many other skills, such as rapport, integrity, good judgement, respect for safety, communication skills, etc.. Your favourite technique is therefore only a part of the healing process; maybe even a small part. You can't possibly learn all those other skills in a weekend.
3. The training room is not real life.
When you are learning the techniques, you are in a controlled environment. The trainer provides demonstrations and exercises that simplify situations to provide material for each specific technique. In this situation, your training partner is a willing and tapping-savvy partner - he/she knows what is expected, and they are usually eager to help. In this contrived situation, if things get difficult, there is a trainer on hand to help you out. In real life situations, your client may (or may not) be willing. He/she probably doesn't know about tapping or what is expected of them, and there is no trainer to ask in the session if things start to go wrong!
This is why there is now an extended certification and accreditation process for people who want to learn to use EFT with other people.
When I explain the certification requirements for the EFT International EFT Level 2 and 3 trainings, people often pull faces and say things like: "It didn't used to be like that" or "That's a lot of work".
Things have changed
They are right, it didn't used to be like that. Because you could become an EFT Practitioner after completing just three days of training - no case studies, no supervision requirements. And you could start working with clients with who had complex difficulties right away.
If you already had some therapy and counselling training, you could integrate the EFT you had learned into the skills and experience you already had, and make use of the techniques in ways that benefited your clients. However, if you had no previous experience of therapeutic or counselling work with other people, you might have struggled to deal with some of the deep pain that clients can bring to you.
The certification process is designed to help you round out your skills over time so that you can work safely with whatever the client brings you. When the potential trainees say the certification process is a 'lot of work' I have to ask, "compared to what?"
The training times and requirements for recognised therapies, counselling or coaching skills are usually far more extensive than any EFT training.
To become a CBT Accredited Therapist (in the UK) takes 2 years. It is only available to people with undergraduate degrees and previous core people skills including: rapport, client safety, handling difficult emotions, handling difficult clients, the ethics and legalities of working with people on a professional basis. Amongst other requirements you have to complete 400 hours training and a minimum of 8 clients must have been treated (several sessions each) under close supervision (audio/video recording and evaluation).
Against that, the EFT certification requirements are quite modest
There is a lot of work afoot to get EFT accepted into mainstream therapy work through acceptance into the APA (American Psychological Association) in the USA or NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) in the UK. Acceptance by these organisations will make it much more likely for EFT to spread and do even more good, and there are recent positive signs from NICE.
It is understandably very easy for a conventionally trained therapist - who spent at least two years gaining their accreditation - to reject any 'three day therapist' out of hand.
In an advanced NLP training I attended years ago, we did a weekend workshop on working with hypnosis and trance. At the end of the second day the trainer told us that we knew everything we needed to know about hypnotherapy. One of my fellow trainees looked at me and said
"I just spent one whole year becoming certified as a clinical hypnotherapist and this was all I needed?!"
Needless to say she didn't look convinced.
Do you want to be good at the work you do?
If, as I do, you want to be very good at the work you do and help people achieve the healing they need, then we need to be highly skilled. This clearly takes practice and supervision. The end of the training therefore is just the start of the real-world learning, and that learning takes time and effort.
If, as I do, you want EFT to be adopted as one of the 'go-to' therapeutic approaches in health and wellbeing, officially recognised and sanctioned by government agencies and health services, the quality of EFT therapists/coaches/counsellors needs to be very high. As a result, we have a lot to prove to people who have grave doubts and vested interests to defend.
If you want to be taken seriously in this work, you need to take this work seriously.
Andy Hunt is an EFT Advanced Practitioner and Master Trainer, an NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer and the creator of the Identity Healing advanced EFT techniques. He specialises in Complex Issues, Inner Child work, and Self Esteem.