The Tapping Process
Tapping is easy; it takes only a few minutes to learn but like any new technique, it might feel out of your comfort zone to begin with.
When using EFT, we tap with our fingertips – generally people feel most comfortable using their index and middle fingers. You should tap firmly but lightly; the pressure you might use when drumming fingertips on a table.
You may have seen people tapping on one side, with one hand only, but most modern practitioners advise using both hands. The energy meridians on both sides of your body are the same.
Each tapping point is tapped on at least 7 times before moving onto the next one. The pace is usually quite fast, although you can take it slower when first getting started.
Before tapping, remove eyeglasses, headgear, earbuds, bracelets, watches, and anything else that will get in the way.
Ensure you’re in a calm, comfortable space where you won’t be disturbed. Have a glass of water nearby as tapping can make you feel dehydrated, along with a notepad and pen in case anything comes up you wish to tap on later.
The Setup Phrase
The set-up phrase is the first thing you say when tapping on the side of the hand point and is repeated 3 times before moving on to the other points.
- The first purpose of the setup phase “Even though” is to acknowledge that you’re showing up with your problem or issue (target).
- The second purpose of the set-up phrase “I have this ________?” is to expose yourself to the target which you’ve been avoiding or suppressing. You “put it in its place” by identifying it.
- Thirdly, you accept yourself “I deeply and completely accept myself”. This is a cognitive acceptance of self. If you feel like you can’t yet accept yourself, you could say “I’m doing okay”, “I’m learning to accept myself” or “I accept my emotions”.
The Reminder Phrase
For each tapping session, you’re going to choose a reminder phrase. This is a statement you believe to be true about yourself and your situation. When you’re first starting out, keep it simple and just use your target problem or issue as your reminder phrase.
Here’s an example:
SET-UP PHRASE (side of the hand): “Even though I have this anxiety about going to my best friends party on Friday, I deeply and completely love and accept myself”
REMINDER PHRASES (tap through the points): “This party”…“I feel so anxious”…”I’m worried about making a fool of myself” (keep repeating as necessary)
The most important thing about the reminder phrase is that it addresses the negative emotions and feelings associated with the target you’re tapping on, so as you increase your EFT confidence, begin to include whatever else is coming up, ensuring it’s associated with your target.
Some examples of reminder phrases associated with the target:
“I feel so frustrated with myself”
“I feel like the only person who worries about going to a party”
“I’ll never feel confident at social events”
“I feel sick to my stomach when I think about going to this party”
“I feel ashamed that I’m even worrying about this”
“I always seem to say the wrong thing when I feel anxious”
“I worry people are going to think badly of me”
Saying and feeling all this negative stuff may be a bit painful. But the truth is that we have to draw the negative feelings like fear, anxiety, or anger out, in order to let go of them.
The point of the reminder phrase is that it gets right to the crux of your emotions around the target. When you say this phrase, it will probably give you a physical sensation of discomfort which might manifest as a feeling of heat in your chest, a tightness in your throat, or the feeling of your stomach being in knots. As you continue your tapping sessions, you’ll notice this discomfort gradually dissipate. The tapping signals to your brain and body that you’re safe and associates these new calming signals with the original target.
There are variations on this sequence but here is the standard way it’s done (The Basic Recipe):
- Identify the target problem or issue you want to go after.
- Rate the intensity of the emotion you feel from 0 to 10 using the SUDS (subjective units of distress) scale above. This is done so that you can chart your progress. As you perform EFT, you’ll gradually see the intensity of this emotion decrease. This means you’re making progress. You’ll also rate your SUDS again at the end of each round or session to see if the sequence is working or if you need to change it. Bear in mind that a target can have more than one aspect, meaning that each aspect must be cleared before you are done.
- Think about your target problem or issue and connect with the emotions. If it’s related to a trauma which is too upsetting to bring to mind, proceed carefully. You could use the words “that time when XYZ happened” or similar wording; you want it to be specific but not too emotionally triggering.
IMPORTANT: If the emotions feel too big to manage on your own, please consider working with a certified EFT Tapping Coach who can use a range of techniques to support you. Remember that by using the tapping technique, you agree to take full responsibility for your own health and well-being.
- Start by tapping the side of the hand point and repeating your set-up phrase out loud or in your mind if that feels more comfortable. The reason we start with the side of the hand point is that it’s associated with psychological reversals, and that’s what we’re doing here – reversing a negative thought or belief about yourself. Say the set-up phrase three times while tapping continuously on this point.
- Continue tapping through the points starting at the eyebrow and work your way down your face and body, ending with the top of the head point. When you start each new point, repeat the reminder phrase out loud or in your mind.
- Pause tapping and take a deep breath. Repeat the reminder phrase and again rate it on a scale of 0 to 10. You’re aiming to get the SUDS to below 3 at a minimum.
- Continue again with the process, starting at the set-up phrase on the side of the hand point and repeating the reminder phrases as you move through the points. If you feel like there are other things you want to say, go ahead and say them until you feel like you’ve expressed everything you wish to. You want to get all the negative stuff out but try to stay on track with your target.
- Keep checking in after every round or two to see if your SUDS score is coming down.
- Once your score is 3 or below, stop tapping and take some time to reflect. It can be helpful to keep a tapping journal to record your insights and progress. Ensure to take some sips of water too.