EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)

On the reasons why EFT [seemingly] doesn't work and how to remedy them

Introduction by Healing Cancer Naturally Copyright © 2006

The following information contributed by EFT Master Lindsay Kenny should preferably be (carefully) read after studying Gary Craig's EFT Manual.

This article is particularly important for cancer patients and their caregivers who wish to include EFT in their healing journey (highly recommended by Healing Cancer Naturally) since it discusses (among other “EFT impediments”) the major “stumbling block” of Psychological Reversals, their causes and remedies.

Psychological Reversals appear to often be found in persons with a cancer diagnosis as well as other chronic or long-lasting and (seemingly) refractory issues. See the upcoming "Case Study: Psychological Reversal in a Cancer Patient" submitted by a correspondent of Healing Cancer Naturally which illustrates how Psychological Reversal works and, when left unaddressed, can foil attempts made at healing.

Emotional Freedom Techniques: The 9 Stumbling Blocks That Keep EFT From Working and How to Remedy Them--A 9 Part Series

by Lindsay Kenny, EFT Master

Part 1: Reversals

Part 2: Being Dehydrated or "Dry Batteries"

Part 3: Being Specific

Part 4: Core Issues

Part 5: Shifting Aspects

Part 6: The Need for Human Touch

Part 7: Inadequate Knowledge of EFT

Part 8: Lack of Motivation

Part 9: Energy Toxins

Part 1: Reversals

Somehow I've developed the moniker as "an authority on why EFT doesn't work". I don't mind that, except that I believe that EFT works 99% of the time...if done correctly. Yet many will try it once, throw up their hands and say "Well, it just didn't work for me!" If that happens, it is rarely, if ever, any shortcoming of EFT. It's my experience that one of the primary reasons EFT appears not to be working resides in the skill of the practitioner (who is often the person treating him or herself).

EFT is more of an art than a science, and we're still learning how it works. We do know, however, these things for sure:

  • In the right hands EFT can produce miraculous results.
  • Simple issues such as fears, stress, (recent) anger, pain, frustration and hundreds of other non-complex problems can often be eradicated in a few minutes with EFT.
  • More multifaceted issues, such as trauma, chronic anxiety, abuse, serious illnesses, and depression may take longer and more skill than can be delivered by an EFT novice.
  • Even someone new to EFT can often get amazing results 70% of the time--that's an extraordinary percentage that the medical profession would love to have.
  • EFT often works when everything else has failed.
  • In skilled hands EFT can work over 95% of the time.

And here's the most important thing we've learned:

  • There are certain things that can stop EFT in its tracks...which is the basis of this article.

Becoming aware of these stumbling blocks and knowing how to deal with each one will increase EFT's effectiveness significantly, even for a beginner. Not being specific, not finding or resolving the core issue, not being sufficiently hydrated, and missing shifting aspects are just some of the reasons someone applying EFT might not resolve an issue. We'll deal with each of these obstacles and others later on in this article. But let's start with a big one first...

1) Reversals

Reversals, often called Psychological Reversals or Polarity Reversals (PR), are what I believe to be the most overlooked obstruction to successful EFT treatments. There is so much more to this phenomenon than we originally thought. When it appears that EFT is not working, a primary key to rapid and effective treatment often lies in identifying the different types of Reversals and in knowing how to neutralize them.

Dealing with Reversals up front is perhaps more important than any of the other impediments to EFT. In fact, if Reversals are unrecognized and untreated they can stop EFT in its tracks, or at best make it dramatically more difficult and time consuming to resolve an issue.

The good news is, once discovered, the solutions for correcting Reversals are amazingly simple and highly effective. My experience is that with most people dealing with simple issues, Reversals are not a problem. But for chronic or long-lasting problems, complex issues, and even serious illnesses, Reversals are all too common.

For those who have a Reversal, its discovery and elimination are paramount to a successful resolution of their problem. A good clue as to whether or not someone has a Reversal is if their 0-10 intensity level remains the same after a couple of rounds of tapping. There are other reasons why your intensity level may stay the same--other stumbling blocks--which we'll address later on in this article. I break Reversals down into two basic types, each with several sub-categories.

A) General Polarity Reversals

The first type of Reversal is what I consider a General Polarity Reversal, or GPR. GPR can be caused from several factors:

  • Negativity - chronic negative thoughts, negative behavior, or negative events
  • Being around electrical devices for long periods of time
  • Addictions - addictive personalities or addictive substances in the body
  • Depression - chronic depression causing the body's energy system to become slow or sluggish.

Performing the standard set-up procedure (rubbing the sore spot or karate chop point while saying the set-up statement) will often fix negativity or electrical GPRs. Addictions- or depression- caused GPRs, however, are not usually eliminated just by doing the set-up statement and require additional work as detailed in the next section on SBS.

General Polarity Reversal simply means that the electricity or energy in the body is "agitated", or "going in the wrong direction". Therefore the polarity is reversed. Think of the experiment in grade school where you used a magnet to attract tiny particles of metal on a piece of paper.

The positive end of the magnet pulled the particles toward it, aligning them up neatly, all going in the same direction. Then, when the negative end of the magnet was directed toward the metal shavings, it caused the particles to repel from the magnet, scattering and separating them in all different directions.

In a sense, that's what happens to our body's energy when a negative force, like those listed above, is introduced into the system.

Another way to look at our body's energy field or polarity is to compare it to batteries in a tape recorder, flashlight, or other battery-operated devices. The batteries that run the gadget must be installed with the positive and negative polarity seated in the correct direction. If not, the device simply won't work.

Since your body has its own "electrical system" your "batteries" need to be positioned correctly for you to function properly. If your polarity is all scrambled up, you have a GPR Reversal and it's likely EFT will not work for you until the Reversal is corrected (which we'll cover in a moment).

B) Secondary Benefit Syndrome or SBS

This is the second and more common type of Reversal. The SBS reversal occurs when the subconscious mind perceives that it is better or safer to keep an issue (like negative emotions, chronic pain, extra weight, or a bad habit), than to eliminate it. Or, as the movie "What the *#@!# Do We Know?" demonstrates, our bodies can actually becomeaddicted to a negative emotion or issue.

After a period of time we may become so accustomed to being angry, hurt, anxious, victimized, etc. that our body is reluctant to let the emotion go. The negative condition may be uncomfortable, but if we have been in that state for awhile, it begins to feel "natural" to the body and the subconscious mind.

Since SBS is seldom a conscious choice, most people will initially disagree with you if you tell them that subconsciously they don't actually want to get rid of their problem or issue. Of course most people don't consciously want to stay emotionally upset or physically in pain. But the subconscious is a powerful entity, usually exhibiting dominance over our conscious desires.

For someone who has carried around a trauma, chronic pain, phobia or other issue for many years the emotion becomes a part of his or her personality or even his or her identity. How often have you heard phrases like "He's an angry young man" or "She's just such an anxious person"? Overcoming or losing that "identity" can be very threatening to the non-rational subconscious mind.

For instance, the subconscious might be thinking..."If I get over this issue..."

  • "...I won't have an excuse anymore for my life not working."
  • "...It might be scary."
  • "...I may not know who I am anymore."
  • "...It may not be safe to let it go."
  • "...I won't know how to act as a functional, non-victim person."
  • "...I won't get the attention or sympathy I get now."

If someone has been trying to lose weight for a long time, for instance, and hasn't been successful, they are almost certainly reversed on it. Consciously they want to lose weight, but their big, stubborn subconscious may be saying "Wait a minute here. If I lose weight my clothes won't fit and I'll be deprived of the foods I love. And what if I lose that 40 pounds and I still don't get that promotion I need, the guy I'm lusting after or the friends I want? Maybe if I lose that weight I'll be so attractive to men that I'll be abused or harassed again. Or what if my chubby friends abandon me and what if I get skinny but am still not pretty? Geez, losing weight is just not worth it, so I'll just stay fat."

Once again, remember, this is the subconscious mind wielding control over what we consciously want.

Compare On (subconscious) reasons and (conscious) remedies for self-sabotage.

As long as the subconscious is unwilling to let the problem go (that's a Reversal) it's very hard to resolve an issue, with or without EFT. When I hear someone say "I've had this ________ for years and have tried everything" the word Reversal comes to mind immediately.

Personally, I like to use muscle testing to demonstrate this phenomenon. I have the client make a positive statement such as "I really want to let go of this anger at dad." When I muscle test them while they say that their arm will test weak. They protest, of course, saying, "But I really DO want to get over it!" And they do at the conscious level.

We then do the Reversal correction or neutralization, then test them again, and they're strong (see Resolving SBS below). This amazes people almost as much as EFT. It physically demonstrates an otherwise hard-to-grasp notion. People are often skeptical of this concept until we neutralize the Reversal, perform EFT and they see the once stubborn issue miraculously disappear.


The good news is it's very easy to fix an SBS reversal--so easy that people find it hard to believe. Here's how it's done: Simply tap on the karate chop point (KC= base of little finger against base of the other little finger) using a reversal phrase such as "Even though...."

  • "...I don't really want to get over this depression (trauma, chronic pain, etc.) I deeply and completely accept myself."
  • "...It may not be safe to get over my issues.... (use your actual problem, not the word 'issue')..."
  • "...I may not deserve to get over this issue..."
  • "...I won't know how to act if I get well..."
  • "...I won't have an excuse for my life being messed up..."
  • "...I don't want to forgive the people that ruined my life..."
  • "...I don't want to be 'normal'..."
  • "...I'm afraid this won't work and I'll never be well..."
  • "...For whatever reason, I don't want to overcome this problem..."

I almost always use at least the first and last of these choices which usually catches everything in between. "Not deserving" to get over something is also a biggie, so try it if it fits, along with any of the others. They're free and they can't hurt. You'll know the Reversal neutralization worked when you start doing EFT again and begin getting results. Reversals can be a huge stumbling block, but they are so easily remedied that we needn't let them stand in the way.

Remember, fixing a Reversal does not fix the issue. It only gets rid of the impediment to fixing the issue. You still need to do EFT as normal after fixing a Reversal--i.e., set-up and tapping sequences.

As I stated in the beginning, Reversals are only onestumbling block to a successful EFT treatment, but it is often the one that causes people to say, "I tried EFT, but it just didn't work for me". I hate it when that happens.

Part 2: Being Dehydrated or "Dry Batteries"

Often when I'm getting nowhere with a client I ask him/her how much water they've had to drink so far that day. If they say "I've had cup of coffee and some water with my vitamins", then I have them drink at least an 8 oz. glass of water. I'm still surprised how often this is an impediment to EFT's progress. I heard a statistic recently that 70% of our population is dehydrated, so I ask the hydration question frequently and always have drinking water available for clients.

I do pro-bono work for a drug and alcohol rehab center in my area and I'd say dehydration is common with over 90% of the people there. I don't know why but "addicts" seem to drink very little water, by their own admission. Thus, before I start a workshop at the clinic I have everyone drink a big glassful.

  • I once had a workshop where we weren't getting a very good response while doing group tapping and using "Borrowing Benefits". Just offhandedly I asked "How many of you have had more than 16 ounces of water to drink this morning?" No one raised their hand! We stopped for a water break and when we continued we had a 90% success rate on the same issues that had gone nowhere before.
  • When I was new at EFT several years ago, I had a difficult client, "Rueben", who really had me stumped. It was a relatively simple issue yet we just weren't getting anywhere with it. I'd asked a zillion questions and was thinking about getting frustrated (tap-tap-tap). Out of the blue I asked him how much water he'd had that day and he replied "None." Yikes! Being a big water-holic myself I just couldn't imagine not having any all day. I made him drink a big glass before we continued.

Reuben then went from a 0-10 intensity level of 10 on his issue to a 3 on the first round, and collapsed it to a zero on the second. This was my first of many future water-issue problems. I've had cases like Reuben's play out in similar cases hundreds of times in the past several years. Now my clients bring water bottles with them for fear that I'll squirt them with a hose or something!

Being dehydrated is fairly common, but so easy to fix. It just takes thinking of the right question to ask when you get stumped and having the subject drink a glass of water before continuing. It's all part of the "art of EFT".

Part 3: Being Specific

It's very important with EFT to be as specific as possible about an issue or feelings. Frequently beginners are too global with their set-up statements. They may try to fix low self-esteem, for instance, by saying "Even though I don't feel very good about myself." Instead a better approach would be "Even though my father berated me in front of my friends at dinner and told me I'd never amount to anything, I want to love and accept myself."

Being too vague, general, or global about an issue is to deny the body an opportunity to remedy the problem. Gary Craig discovered early on that it's imperative to be as specific as possible about circumstances surrounding any challenge. To dig even deeper I often ask a client probing questions, have them envision the situation or issue, and have them get in touch with smells, sounds, sights, or colors, if necessary.

For example, instead of saying "This pain in my leg" you might say "This pain in the calf of my right leg." Or "...the time my brother embarrassed me at church by burping..." Or, instead of "my fear of water", be more specific about the kind of water--i.e., "My fear of the ocean...or deep water...or lakes...or swimming pools, etc." Below are a couple of examples of when being specific made the difference.

Example #1

I recently saw a little 10 year-old girl, named "Terri" who had fallen during a tumbling routine and was suddenly afraid to work out with her gym team. She loved tumbling and was very upset that she might have to give it up because of her new fear of falling. Yet she was literally terrified of doing gymnastics again. We started tapping on her general fear of tumbling with "Even though I'm afraid to tumble now after my fall..." However, that wouldn't reduce her intensity level at all.

I asked her to tell me exactly what had happened, how she fell, and what she saw. It became clear that it was tumblingbackwards that she was afraid of, not just tumbling. So we got more specific in the set-up by saying "Even though I'm afraid to tumble backwards...". However, that only helped a little. I asked her to relive the maneuver in her mind and describe her feelings. She said that in her mind's eye she could complete the backward flip great if a spotter was there for her, but she couldn't "see" herself trying it alone.

Therefore, we changed the set-up to "Even though I'm afraid to tumble backwards, without a spotter..." And low and behold, we started getting results immediately! In just two or three rounds her fear was gone and she was sure she could tumble again confidently. In fact she wanted to do a back flip right there in my office to prove it. E-gads!

As tempted as I was to see her perform, I had her wait until it was safe to try it...at her gym. She left a happy little girl, eager to get back at it. Her mom e-mailed me that night and said that at gym practice that afternoon Terri had done back-flips several times--without a spotter--and did an excellent job. Mom, the coach, and Terri were all jubilant. I was also!

Example #2

Another client, "Vinnie" was complaining about his sore right foot. We were able to get his 0-10 intensity level of 9 down to a 4 fairly quickly, but then the progress stopped. I asked him to touch the exact spot of the pain, and we changed the focus and statement then to "Even though I have this pain in my right ankle on the outside, under the bone...." and it worked. His pain stopped completely with one more round.

Had that not worked, I had planned to go to the event that had caused his accident and the pain, but just being specific about the exact location did the trick. I saw him two months later and he was still pain-free.

Sometimes people are reluctant to be too specific about an issue, especially if it would be painful to relive. No problem there. Read how to handle sensitive issues using the Tearless Trauma Technique or the Movie Technique to "sneak up" using the Search field at www.emofree.com. After decreasing the sensitivity level to a lower 0-10 intensity--like under 5--you can then usually be specific without inflicting unnecessary emotional pain.

Part 4: Core Issue Hasn't Been Found

This is an important item and often missed. Sometimes you need to do some detective work with questions and prodding until you discover the main cause or "core issue" for a problem. If you're stuck, ask questions like "When did the problem start?", or "What was going on when it started?" Often I'll discover that someone's allergy, asthma or migraines started coincidently about the same time of a divorce, death, or traumatic accident in the family.

This isn't a coincidence, of course, but the core reason for many problems. Our bodies can find unusual, creative and seemingly ridiculous ways to deal with difficult situations. We can morph an emotional event into a physical problem without being aware at all of the timing or connection.

For instance, I had a client who developed migraines shortly after her twin died from serious injuries incurred in a car accident; she hadn't seen the correlation. Another client stuttered severely and had since his father disappeared one night and never returned home. Initially, the client didn't remember that his stuttering had started then.

A more obvious correlation between the core issue and symptoms occurred in a case with "Angie" who was waking up with anxiety attacks "over nothing". After probing we discovered that her drunken father used to come home in the middle of the night and find it funny to wake the children up by blowing an air horn in their ears. I think that would cause anxiety in a rock.

Like not being specific (see last week's installment, there are times when we don't want to get to the bottom of an issue. Thank God for the Tearless Trauma Technique and the Movie Technique. Often these are processes that need to be done with the help of a practitioner. Otherwise it's like a dentist trying to pull his or her own teeth.

Other probing, core-issue-finding questions are "If you had your life to live over, what person or event would you just as soon skip?" and "What else does this (your problem) remind you of?" These questions often will bring up an issue that is seemingly unrelated to a client's symptoms. Here is an example of finding the core issue:

-- A few years ago a client "Tim" (age 73) still had hurt feelings and sadness over his mother inexplicably hitting him in the face during a family dinner when he was just 6 years old. He had terrible feelings of inadequacy, humiliation, and unworthiness over that event, even after all these years.

We weren't getting anywhere with tapping, so I had him describe what he was wearing, what his mother was wearing and describe anyone else he could think of. He had amazing clarity about everything from so many years ago (when I can't remember what I had for lunch).

When he got to his grandmother's description, he described the look on her face at the moment his mother hit him, and when he had started crying. His grandmother, whom he adored, had a look of disgust and disappointment, rather than empathy as he had expected. He felt certain he had done something wrong to disappoint his grandmother and was crushed.

He had looked at her hoping to get sympathy but instead saw anger and disapproval of how he handled getting smacked in the face (or so he interpreted it as a little boy). Regardless, the CORE issue was Grandmother's reaction, rather than his mother hitting him. That was the most damaging or hurtful issue to Tim.

This seemed to be a startling revelation to him, but once that core issue came out we tapped on "Even though my grandmother was disappointed in me and mad at me for whatever reason..." That worked great and he cleared quickly after a couple of rounds.

Core issues are different than being specific about an issue in that they are often hidden or not as obvious. Nonetheless, finding a root cause is equally critical to solving tough-to-solve cases. It's not always easy to do this on your own, since we have a tendency to block out unpleasant events or connections to events. Seeing a qualified practitioner can be very beneficial when you're stuck on a challenging problem.

Part 5: Shifting Aspects

Shifting aspects are a little like different branches on the same tree. The trunk of the tree may represent the core issues, say a horrific car accident. But different branches are separate issues, such as the guilt someone might feel for causing the accident, or the anger at the other driver for being intoxicated. Another aspect on the same tree might be the trauma of seeing a loved one die, or hear the screaming of someone in pain.

Complex issues often have multiple aspects which become apparent when the intensity level is lowered on the main issue, thus revealing a lesser issue. It would be similar to you falling off your bike and breaking your arm, scraping your knee badly, and cutting your little finger. You may not even notice the scraped knee until the doctor had numbed the pain in your broken arm and set the bone. Only then would you notice the scraped knee, and when that was fixed, you'd notice the cut finger.

Likewise a client may not notice an underlying issue until the more painful one has been reduced in intensity. Often when the intensity has dropped from an intensity level of 10 to a 3, a client will say, "You know, the real problem is ......" However, the REAL problem is usually the one that was most noticeable in the beginning. Generally it's better to get that down to a zero before moving to any other newly noticed aspect.

Occasionally, however, it's a good thing to let the client go elsewhere with the problem, especially if it's clearly related to the original issue. Often the hidden aspect turns out to be the core issue. Once the new aspect is completely resolved then we'll return to the unfinished issue to complete it and the whole problem then collapses quickly. An example is:

"Dr. Dave" came to see me about the grief of his brother's death twelve years earlier. His brother had been killed in a tragic avalanche and the trauma still haunted Dave as if it were yesterday. He was getting stuck on the issue and unable to get it to an intensity level of zero. When the intensity got to a four, Dave shifted aspects to his mother's suicide many years before his brother's death.

It turned out that neither he nor his brother or father knew that the mother was having an affair and was so depressed by it that she was suicidal. In this case we left the brother issue and worked on the mother issue for awhile. It turned out that Dave had vowed never to be so insensitive to his future wife's situation or to his children's feelings as to be unaware that they were hurting.

His father's insensitivity, he believed, may have contributed to his mother's death. So Dave vowed to be ultra-sensitive. As a result Dave's sensitivity showed up in his over-reaction and long-lasting grief regarding his brother's death. Once we dealt with his mother's suicide (which included guilt, anger, betrayal and grief) we were able to go back to his brother's death and quickly dispatch the long-term grief on that issue.

We did a Reversal on the grief as well, since Dave's subconscious didn't want to let go of the grief. A combination of these two impediments helped clear Dr. Dave's long-term issues. Now, over two years later, he's completely free of the grief and can speak of his brother without sadness or pain.

Again, with Shifting Aspects you should usually stay with the original problem until it's at an intensity level of zero, before tackling the new aspect. Let judgment, intuition and circumstances be your guide. Part of the art of using EFT is knowing when to swing with the client and when to finish the original issue first. Either way, just make sure you get all aspects of an issue to a zero before going on to a different issue.

Part 6: The Need for Human Touch

Sometimes people just need help from someone else, either by tapping or by their providing a different perspective. When I suspect this, I ask a client's permission to tap on them myself, especially if they're really upset. This sometimes brings results if everything else has failed. At worse case it gives additional comfort to the recipient. We see Gary Craig often do this on his video series with great effectiveness. He seems to intuitively know when tapping for the client is going to be beneficial.

If you've been tapping alone, on yourself, it may just be that you need someone else's energy and focus to help you get clear. Also, having another person's perspective is priceless.

Even the best dentist or surgeon in the world would never consider operating on themselves. They just wouldn't be able to "see" around obstacles in their way, just as an individual may not be able to see an obvious impediment to their own problem. Their psyche may be trying to protect them from emotional pain by blocking a road they should be going down, but just can't see on their own.

I had a client named "Sheila" who was having a hard time focusing, tapping and talking at the same time. Consequently, we weren't getting anywhere at a reasonable speed. We had some progress, but not much. So I started tapping on her while she concentrated on the words she was saying, which immediately began to quickly dissolve her issues. Once in a while I'd say "Let's have you try tapping on yourself now." And every time we did that her progress slowed down or stopped.

Another participant in a workshop, "Artie", seemed particularly uptight and physically stiff. He had a pinched look on his face, a rigid body position and was barely touching himself as he tapped with his eyes wide open and unfocused. After two rounds of tapping I could just sense that we weren't making any progress.

I asked if I could tap for him (which you always want to ask permission to do) and he eagerly agreed. (Note that some licensed therapists are prohibited by state law to touch people, so please check the laws of your state.)

Artie visibly loosened up and relaxed almost the instant I started tapping on him. A small tear or two leaked out of his now-open eyes and he sighed with relief. I asked him what was going on for him and simply replied "I don't know, but it just seems right and feels so good." He really "popped" after that, clearing up his issue rather quickly.

Sometimes a person just needs the personal assistance of others. Most of the practitioners I know, including myself, trade sessions and time with each other to work on their own issues.

Someone else can often see what you can't see on your own, with an insight you're missing. You'll understand what I mean if you've ever tried to cut your own hair by looking in the mirror, especially behind your head. The perspective you see, when looking at yourself in the mirror, is different from how the rest of the world sees you. It often works the same when applying EFT on yourself, particularly with difficult or complex issues.

If you get stuck, seek the assistance of a friend, or better yet, an experienced practitioner.

Part 7: Inadequate knowledge of EFT

EFT is a relatively simple technique. But there are lots of components of EFT that require study and practice. If the skill of the practitioner is incomplete (which may be YOU working on yourself) then the results you get will reflect your level of experience. That said, EFT often works even when done incorrectly or in the hands of a brand new person who has only read the 79-page EFT manual.

Oftentimes, though, their good results can be short-lived when they encounter a more complex problem or meet one of the stumbling blocks we're discussing in this article.

An accomplished practitioner or someone like you who is taking the time to learn the impediments to EFT will generally have better results because they've taken the time to really study the art of EFT.

For those who learned EFT by watching the videos it's important to watch all of them...and in order. Many people skip around on the videos to find "their" issue. This often results in taking the EFT Course out of order or missing valuable lessons in the course altogether. When this happens, many of the above elements go unnoticed or are ineffectively used. That's when people erroneously say "EFT just isn't working for me." I could just smack 'em. It's not the fault of EFT!

You can learn The Basic Recipe from reading the manual and watching the first EFT videotape. That's how many of us "old-timers" started. From there, many people go out into the world and apply it to clients, friends and family--often with superb results (including some "one minute wonders").

However, if they don't study the rest of the EFT Course in proper order, these practitioners are certain to scratch their heads in some instances and say "It doesn't work." I've actually known practitioners who have said "EFT is great for my clients but it doesn't work for me"--to which I've said, "Then you're missing something." EFT is not going to work on millions of people, and not work for you!

The EFT Course not only teaches The Basic Recipe in great detail but Gary also goes on to display the "art of delivery" with over 80 people in live sessions. The more fine points you pick up the more masterful you will be and the less likely you'll ever say, "EFT isn't working for me." With videos you can watch in the comfort of your own home or office, replay sections over and over and learn at your own pace. These videos are how I and many of my colleagues initially learned how to do EFT.

I also highly recommend taking one or more of the EFT Approved workshops that you can find on the EFT website. In live workshops you have the opportunity to ask questions, practice your skills with others, work on your own issues and really immerse yourself in EFT.

I can't tell you how many times I've had people in workshops who had watched the videos (some of them), read the manual (parts of it) and had even been practicing EFT with clients, yet who were still uninformed about many important aspects of EFT.

When you fast forward through sections of a video or skip some videos entirely, or watch only ones you think apply to you or interest you, you will invariably miss important nuances, skills and tips that Gary constantly sprinkles through every single session and video.

It's not critical to know every single thing about EFT before using it and getting results. Part of EFT's magic is in it's simplicity to learn and use. But please--if you don't take the time to learn it correctly, especially for more complex issues--don't then think it's a shortcoming of EFT when you're not getting the results you want. It's not fair to blame EFT for not producing a desired result, when in fact it was the shortcoming of the person applying it.

Part 8: Lack of Motivation

Once in a while I'll come across a person who would rather stay stuck than change their life that is not working. It's a sad choice, but too often true.

One particular client, "Ken", comes to mind who had a strange sexual fetish that he really didn't want to let go of. He finally admitted he was only seeing me at his wife's insistence and that he didn't want to change at all. PERIOD. He liked his fetish and wasn't about to give it up. Fine with me. So I sent him home to deal with his wife.

Another client, "Jerry", had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). He had a severe phobia of germs and therefore washed his hands hundreds of times a day. He also showered and washed his hair several times a day. Furthermore he made his family follow the same procedures in order for them to remain "clean and acceptable". If they didn't bathe every time they entered the house he considered them "filthy and disgusting".

The rest of the family very much wanted Jerry to get help and eliminate his compulsions. But when Jerry first started talking to me he made it clear that he actually liked the attention and feeling special and didn't want to get over his OCD. When I asked if he'd like to at least get over his fear of germs he replied "No, no! Being afraid of germs keeps me safe and alive, so I don't want to let that fear go."

This wasn't a Reversal, this was a choice. He didn't want to change and admitted he didn't even want to want to change. I don't feel it's my responsibility to try to talk someone into changing. I may offer my opinion and make suggestions. However, I feel I have an obligation to respect someone's right to choose for themselves unless it involves harming themselves or others.

One of my very first phone clients was "Betty" who had been a victim so long it had become a part of her identity. She had experienced a lot of sadness in her life; she had survived breast cancer and a double mastectomy, had a brother who was brutally murdered, her parents were concentration camp survivors, her husband left her for a younger woman, her son lost a leg in a car accident, she was fired from her job, etc. It seemed her life was an endless tragedy and understandably her attitude was extremely negative.

She actually whined when she talked and answered most questions with a negative response such as "OK I'll try, but it won't work--nothing ever does." In our tapping we just weren't getting anywhere. I'd already tried finding the core issues, being specific, etc. I asked her "Betty, do you really want to feel better and have your life work?" She calmly said "I've been this way so long I don't think I'd know how to act if things were going right for me."

Silly me, I was a newbie and remained undaunted, trying hard anyway. I continued with other approaches like "Tell me how your life would be different if your life was working and things were really clicking." She said "I can't even imagine that, and even if things were going my way, I'd just f--- it up again anyway. I always do."

I eventually asked her "Do you want me to continue to try to help you?"To which she said, "No, not really. I have all I need." When I asked her what that was she said "Sympathy and attention of friends who feel sorry for me and want to help me". She had been telling me that in different ways for an hour. Finally, I got that she really meant it. So I wished her well and sent her on her way.

The point is that you can't help someone if they really don't want to be helped. This is different than people who are Reversed or skeptical about EFT. You don't have to believe in or understand EFT for it to work. Some of the biggest fans of EFT now were skeptics at first (like me). As long as someone wants to change, EFT can work for them. If they're not motivated they will not cooperate. Accordingly, you will have an uphill battle on your hands and you are not likely to get very far.

Part 9: Energy Toxins

A strong enough toxin or sensitivity, in, on, or around you, can also stop EFT from working. Energy Toxins and Substance sensitivities are the rarest of the stumbling blocks, but they do happen. Sensitivities can be caused by something you just ate, by clothing, by carpeting, by pets, by a watch, by jewelry on your body, or by metal in your body--such as pins, fillings, braces, or metal plates. Sensitivity can even be caused by a cell phone, pager or other electrical device!

Toxins can be medications a person has been taking or drugs. In order to eliminate a sensitivity or toxin you need to identify it, which can mean a lot of work and detective duty. This can involve asking questions and be confirmed with muscle testing. See my article on Reversals to learn about muscle testing.

  • Once in a workshop Gary was experiencing a rare failure of EFT while working with several people. In fact it appeared that no one seemed to be experiencing results. It was discovered that the hotel had installed new carpeting over the weekend, which is toxic to many people. Gary took the entire class outside to tap and started getting great results immediately. Once discovered, clearing the sensitivity is usually simple. It's finding it that can be a problem.
  • A few years ago I had a client, Denny, that seemed stuck on a simple problem. I was pretty sure there wasn't a core issue to be discovered, a Reversal to overcome, or any other block, so I was really stumped.

    Just when I was about to pitch Denny out the window, his cell phone rang. He pulled it out of his pocket, answered it, and a light went off in my little brain. I muscle-tested Denny for sensitivity to his cell phone and he tested positive (that's a yes!). So I had him turn it off and put it across the room. We then tapped again on his issue, and it collapsed neatly in 2 or 3 rounds. Thank God for that timely phone call!

Since then I've discovered that many electronic devices can interfere with the body's electrical system, whether someone is sensitive to them or not, thus impeding EFT. So before tapping with someone I ask that they remove any pagers, phones, Game Boys, Blackberries, Palm Pilots, etc. from their pockets. Even digital watches can sometimes cause problems. Problems with electronic devices are easy to remedy so It's better to be safe than sorry.

Clearing a toxin or substance sensitivity

If you swell up like a puffer fish when you eat shrimp, break out in hives with peanuts, or your throat becomes constricted if you're bitten by a wasp, then you have a serious allergy, not a sensitivity. It's possible that EFT may be able to help extreme allergic reactions. But to my knowledge it hasn't been tried or tested. And I'm not advocating that you start now.

We're talking about sensitivities, not extreme, hive-producing, breathing-constricted allergies. So please be responsible with this information. I highly recommend Sandi Radowski's video on Substance Sensitivities in Gary's EFT Specialty Series 2 DVDs

Many sensitivities can be cleared with EFT and it's a fairly simple procedure. You can do it by touching the object in question with one hand while tapping with the other. Here's how:

  • Put one hand on the object and tap with the other. (If the problem is a filling or metal plate in your body, put one hand on the approximate location of the metal while tapping with the other. If the problem is a food sensitivity, put one hand on the plate with the food...or even on the food itself...spaghetti can be messy...and tap with the other).
  • The set-up would be "Even though I may be sensitive to this ______, I ask my body to accept it as safe and healthy." Do the set-up, as always, three times. Then do one round using the reminder of "this sensitivity to my cell phone, food, (or whatever)". Do the second round saying "I ask my body to accept these gold fillings (or whatever) as safe and healthy". Do a final round alternating those statements on each of the points. That is, on the eyebrow point you'd say "The remaining sensitivity to _____" On the outside of the eyes say "I ask my body to overcome this sensitivity" Under the eyes say, "The remaining sensitivity to _____ " and so on.

Again, substance sensitivities are less common than any of the other stumbling blocks, so I don't spend much time worrying about them. It's good to be aware of them, however if you get stuck. However, the cell phone sensitivity is actually rather common, or it just could be the electrical interference. Either way, removal of the device from the body is usually enough to remedy that problem. More on toxins can be found at Gary's website.

Those are the 9 Stumbling Blocks to EFT, yet there is one more important thing that can help insure successful EFT treatments. And that is simply Being Persistent. Sometimes we just give up too soon. Often just being persistent can make the difference in reaching resolution with an issue.

I recently had a back ache that just wouldn't quit. I had tried tapping, going to a chiropractor, tapping, pain medications, yoga, rest and relaxation, and more tapping. But nothing was giving me total relief. One night I was so miserable that I just decided I would keep tapping until the pesky pain went away. Well, it turned out that the backache needed about 10 rounds of tapping in one session to resolve it, instead of the 3 or 4 rounds I normally needed to collapse an issue.

The only thing standing in the way of success was just my not being persistent with each session. I was spoiled by the one-minute miracles and was giving up after a couple of rounds. With continual tapping for those 10 or so rounds the pain disappeared and never returned. Lesson learned.

The bottom line is, whether you are a practitioner trying to perfect your technique or an individual doing EFT for yourself, knowing and practicing the 9 Stumbling Blocks to EFT can be invaluable to your success.

Those of us who have been doing EFT for years know it works, so we're more likely to be persistent and look for any impediments. If we don't get an immediate result we don't say to ourselves "EFT just isn't working". We simply ask "What's in the way here?" So if you're not getting the results you want or expect, become knowledgeable about these 9 stumbling blocks and how to remedy them, then practice, practice, practice, and your success rate will improve considerably. I promise!

Lindsay Kenny

Important note: While EFT has produced remarkable clinical results, it must still be considered to be in the experimental stage and thus practitioners and the public must take complete responsibility for their use of it. Further, Gary Craig is not a licensed health professional and offers EFT as an ordained minister and as a personal performance coach. Those who want to discuss the use of EFT for a specific emotional problem with a professional in the mental health field are referred to our Referral section, where a number of licensed practitioners who use EFT in their practices are listed.

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