It's Easy to Uncover EFT Daisy Chains with Ranting and Tapping
By Dawson Church, PhD
You can keep client emotion flowing (and healing) by allowing their awareness to flow from one traumatic memory to another. EFT calls this Daisy Chaining.
The EFT practitioner can ask very simple questions, such as "What does that remind you of?" One way to find Daisy Chains is to allow the client to "Rant and Tap." Ranting while tapping can clear a great deal of emotional trauma in a very short time. As long as the client keeps tapping, they can rapidly drop in intensity on a whole group of associated memories at once.
I often demonstrate Ranting and Tapping during my Clinical EFT workshops as an easy way to show how the principle of Daisy Chaining works in practice. Here, I will describe the client's problem, and a verbatim transcript of the rant. I will also outline some of the benefits of this technique.
First, the presenting situation:
"Kammy," a 60-year-old female client, was divorced a year previously, after a thirty-one-year marriage to which she was very attached. She did a great deal of work on herself and the marriage in an effort to save it, but her husband suffered from clinical depression that grew progressively worse.
There are many places in the town Kammy lives in that remind her of her ex-husband. She avoids them, and there are some that she cannot drive near or even think about without dissolving into tears. One such place is called the "Collaborative."
It's a mediation center they went to, with their respective attorneys, to arrange the divorce. I encouraged her to rant and tap one day when she was triggered by having driven past the Collaborative building. She is tapping continuously throughout the rant. When she becomes so involved with her story that she stops, I tap myself conspicuously, and then Kammy remembers to tap again.
I include my comments in brackets.
Client: Today I drove past the parking lot of the "Collaborative." (crying)
Coach: Imagine driving into the parking lot. What does it remind you of? What's your SUD?
Client: Eight. Nine (more tears). It was a death. We sat in the lobby waiting for the mediator, because we had to go in together. He was so hostile. I was so afraid. I realized the marriage could not be repaired, even after 31 years.
Coach. What's your SUD now, as you imagine driving into the parking lot?
Coach: (With her SUD on the parking lot dropping, I decide to bring up the next level of memories). Let's walk inside. We're in the lobby. What's your number?
Client: Six. Seven. He had become like an unmovable unreachable impenetrable person who I didn't even know anymore (more tears). He was like an alien which was scary to me. I know I will never be able to look at that time and feel OK. It was so stressful I couldn't even breathe.
I always feeling what I'm saying isn't important to people. I'm never progressing past this stupid pain. It's been more than a year, I'm still stuck in the grieving. Boring.
There are so many places I drive to in this town and the memories just stay there. That's why I think I should move away. I drive around the same places he and I drove around for 31 years. But I have so much to live for now. I'm so glad I'm not there anymore. I'm so glad I've moved on (note big cognitive shift).
Coach: Imagine driving by the parking lot. What number are you?
Client: I'm a one. It just is. It's just a place where marriages go to die. Maybe it's a healing center, I don't know. It was very traumatic. That's where dreams die. All our dreams were dead.
Coach: What's your number?
Client: I'm sad. Five. I'm thinking about the lawyers. My lawyer's trying to talk to us. It's just surreal. I don't know. I'm trying to process the marriage so I can move forward. But things pop up, like when I drive past a place that has memories. Sadness. That sad place is always there in me, it will never go away. Then, I start remembering all the stuff that went on in the building. I wonder if I could have fixed everything in the marriage if I tried harder. Fixing things.
Coach. Fixing things. What's your number?
Client: Eight. I see my husband walking out all mad after mediation. I feel so helpless, I can't change him, fix him, reach him. We were separated. But we were still living in the same house. There's been no resolution. We just talk, there's been no resolution. It's like your best friend just dies, hates you, wants to kill you.
He had a mental illness, I keep blaming myself. I wanted to fix him. Part of me can't let go, and accept the fact. And love me. There's a part of me that can't let go. I'm extremely loyal. What did I do wrong? Hanging on, beating myself up, that's the worst part.
Now I'm tapping trying to clear myself. It's just the past. It's just the way it is. It's just what happened. No way to change it or fix it. It's just the way it happened. (After this cognitive shift, there was a long silence).
Coach: Imagine you're driving past the Collaborative, what's your number?
Client: Two. One. It's just a building.
Coach: Imagine going into the lobby.
Client: One. It just is. I'm bored with telling these old stories. I told them to my friends, got a lot of support during the divorce, I was a mess, I cried all the time. But now the stories are old. Boring. It happened, I have a good life now. I don't have to deal with his depression every day, and try to fix him.
Coach: Fixing things. What's your number around "fixing things"?
Client: One. I can't fix him. I can only fix me. I can't believe I'm not crying.
Later that week, I received an excited voice mail from Kammy, who reported that she'd driven past the Collaborative twice that day, without a reaction.
She no longer has to plan her errands in a circuitous route to avoid the building.
If you've been to one of my Clinical EFT workshops, you'll know that I usually focus on specific childhood events. However, in this case, Kammy's emotional grief was clearly of recent vintage, so sticking to the present was appropriate. It's also possible for Kammy to easily test her emotional state by driving past an area that holds old memories.
EFT calls this "testing in vivo"; there's nothing as confronting as live, present-moment experiences to truly determine if a person has gained emotional freedom from a past trauma.
Ranting and tapping is a useful technique for novices, because even if they forget the self-acceptance phrase, testing, and everything else about EFT except to tap, they can process old stuck emotions.
Ranting and tapping keeps the emotion right at the surface. When the SUD level subsides, you can direct the client right to the next emotional crescendo. Going rapidly from crescendo to crescendo many times during a rant can clean up a great deal of emotional trauma in a single sitting.
Sometimes I become annoyed over some incident, and use ranting and tapping myself, making my complaining as loud and extreme as I can manage. These rants always end in me laughing at myself.
Brad Blanton, PhD is a brilliant Gestalt therapist with whom I took several classes. He calls these rants our "tragic stories" when he's being polite about them, and "petty chicken-shit sorry-ass whining" when he's not! Our stories lose their charge, and become boring or funny to us, once the emotional content is gone. Once a cognitive shift takes place, we gain perspective, and realize how petty many of our peeves actually are.
Ranting and tapping is the fastest way I know to go from emotional entanglement in a tragic story to laughing at the absurdity of our worries.