When tapping is not effective, these mistakes are usually at fault.
• Mistake 1: EFT works on memories and thoughts — EFT does not work on memories and thoughts. It works on the physical response associated with memories and thoughts. With a fear of spiders, for example, the heart rate increases and breathing accelerates. Tapping induces sudden relaxation. The conditioned response is eliminated and the fear of spiders is permanently released. The memory, itself, remains the same. To resolve this mistake, ask, “Where do you feel this in your body?” before tapping. This assures an accurate starting point to measure progress.
• Mistake 2: Emotional distress is to be avoided — Emotional distress is beneficial. This is a hidden “secret” in the world of EFT. On a scale from 0-10, 5-10 is the “sweet spot.” If emotion is excessive, tap in silence. If there is no emotion, tapping may not work.
• Mistake 3: Big problems from long ago are more challenging to clear — EFT is evidence-based for PTSD, phobias and anxiety. This shows that EFT is effective on intense issues. Small events may be more challenging to clear. You should, however, protect yourself. Rather than self-tapping on big issues, you may want to work with a qualified practitioner.
• Mistake 4: You must find the right words — This is a common mistake among new students of EFT. Tap-alongs and scripts support the idea that you must find the right words. It is more important to be in your feeling space.
• Mistake 5: You must call out reminder phrases — Reminder phrases are meant to help with focus. If they cause you to move from your feeling space to your “head bubble,” reminder phrases are a distraction. With high emotional intensity, avoid reminder phrases and tap in silence.
• Mistake 6: You must go through the entire “story” before tapping — It is not necessary to go through the story. The best practice is to begin tapping as soon as possible. You should: Feel the feeling; Tap; and Evaluate and refocus. Repeat these steps until you feel calm.
• Mistake 7: Avoid positives, or, use positives — The use of negatives versus positives while tapping is controversial. It is more important to determine what words are charged. For example, if “I am ugly” makes you emotional, this is the correct phrase. If “I am beautiful” makes you emotional, this is the correct phrase. Many students of EFT like to repeat blocks of affirmations while tapping. Although this does not provide transformational shifts, it can be a nice tool for relaxation.
• Mistake 8: Since there is a benefit to tapping on your own, there is no need to work with a practitioner — EFT is a self-tool, so it is worthwhile to tap on your own. Working with a qualified practitioner, though, will likely resolve your issues more fully.
• Mistake 9: You need to be trained in EFT, or, there is no need to be trained in EFT — Proficiency falls on a continuum. On one side are those who have never been trained. They get results on their own, but those results come with limitations. Further up the spectrum are those who have been trained. They get more consistent results on self-work and when working with others. The highest level includes those who get consistent results on self-work and when working with others. Their results are also faster, deeper, and more complete than other EFT practitioners. Reaching the highest level of the spectrum is the goal in my sessions and workshops. I wish to lead all my clients and students in this direction. I hope that you, also, move up on this proficiency scale.
• Mistake 10: All practitioners are the same — EFT is simply a tool and not all practitioners are proficient in its use.
Whether you tap on your own, work with a practitioner or are a practitioner, I hope this article has helped you to recognize common tapping mistakes. Understanding and correcting these errors will lead to consistent, deeper results with EFT.