At The EFT Centre we occasionally get asked why people would go to a practitioner when EFT is such an effective self help tool. What is the need for a practitioner? Why spend the money? This prompted us to look at where we feel our role as a therapist lies, what we see it to be.
Primarily, we see our role to be one of a facilitator for healing work to take place, to hold a safe space for our clients to work in.
EFT is indeed an amazing and effective self help tool and it is possible to get extraordinary change with even the most basic knowledge and little or no understanding of the ‘science’ and thinking behind it.
However, there are times when EFT doesn’t seem to work, you just get nowhere. This is where the practitioner comes in, when you are stuck.
It is human nature not to ‘go there’ if ‘there’ is deemed too uncomfortable, either consciously or unconsciously. Some of us are masters at distraction – those times when the housework or that pile of ironing suddenly become of utmost importance and just have to be done. Anything to avoid the issues we know at some level we need to be working with/looking at.
As human beings we are well used to suppressing our negative thoughts and emotions. In the UK we talk about the stiff British upper lip – our skill at ignoring negative emotions and braving our way through life deluding ourselves and others that everything is OK. The most usual response to ‘How are you?’ is ‘Fine’. How often is that the truth? EFT is all about being in your truth.
But why should we acknowledge the negative stuff, as we do in the EFT set up statement? Why not push it away? The answer is that pushing it away does not work in the long term, it is a temporary measure, a band aid approach, but at some point the unconscious mind will draw our attention to it in some other way, whether through physical aches and pains, depression, anxiety or other emotional states. With EFT we have ways of carefully resolving and changing the overall symptoms – using Gary Craig’s table top metaphor, systematically and relatively painlessly removing the supporting legs. And we can often do this for ourselves – but getting started can seem overwhelming.
But at some point the unconscious defences leak – something happens and we are forced to confront our reality. This is where the therapist comes in – to create a strategy for the client, a path for them to take, to clarify and simplify their work and to support and guide them with it as necessary.
We see the role of the therapist as being able to hold a safe space for the client to explore areas that their unconscious mind will just not allow them to access on their own.
In our practises we see a lot of clients with histories of severe sexual abuse. Often they may have buried these memories for years. They know it happened, but it is out of their current thought field. Then something happens that triggers the memory and flings it back into their current life in glorious Technicolor, sometimes through flashbacks, addictive behaviours or symptoms such as anxiety or depression. They are forced to acknowledge it. This ‘something’ can often be unnoticeable, outside our conscious awareness, perhaps a look on someone’s face, a voice tone, a feeling. This can be devastating – suggesting they tap on it on their own is, in our view, inadvisable at least, and even in some cases possibly dangerous. They need to be held safely as they clear all the many aspects that may present. This can also take time and is unlikely to be a ‘one minute wonder’.
I am often asked about one minute wonders and my response is that those are often the clients who never get to the therapist’s door, those who give EFT a go for themselves and get the results – fantastic – that is the essence of EFT. The more complex cases that tend to seek out the EFT practitioners are unlikely to be that straightforward, although they do happen.
The role of the practitioner is to be there when the home tapping comes up against a block, to be the detective, use language skills to creatively assist the client to unearth their core issues and beliefs – to question them in ways they wouldn’t think of doing for themselves. We believe that the creative language and questioning skills of the practitioner are invaluable in allowing the process to flow smoothly. The marriage of EFT and NLP is a powerful and effective union.
Our role is also to keep the client focussed – to be a kind but firm guide to their process – to gently help the Masters of Distraction focus and resolve their issues in a supportive and comfortable environment – to keep them not just on track, but moving forwards. A client once said:
‘Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there’.
That is how we see our role, supporting people as they move along their track, being a clear channel for the work to happen – being aware when they head off track and pulling them gently back, looking for those patterns, helping them examine them and gain new insights and perspectives.
EFT seems to be a fast track to cognitive shifts and insights, much of which happens in our work on our own. Acknowledging these changes to ourselves can be difficult. Often we wont notice them ourselves and it will take our family, friends or colleagues to point them out. A skilled practitioner will be able to bring these shifts into conscious awareness as they happen.
Self sabotage and getting in our own way can make it seem like EFT doesn’t work. Psychological Reversal comes and goes, and again the more advanced language patterns and creativity of the EFT practitioner can be invaluable in bypassing these unconscious defences. Pat Carrington’s Choices method is a beautiful tool to teach your client. An inspiring and well formed choice is a true gift.
Another role of the practitioner is reframing – offering the client a different perspective on their issue, again through creative use of language. This can be the pivotal point at which the entire issue collapses, but is very much dependent on skill and timing. Even the most proficient reframer can experience difficulties getting the reframe to ‘land’ when working on themselves. Pyschological Reversal may keep them resistant to accepting their own words and ill timed reframes will at best throw up a load of tail enders.