Tips and strategies for using EFT with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
EFT Expert Don Blackerby, PhD, wrote an article for a counseling journal in the UK on how he deals with ADD in his practice. The following is an excerpt from that article outlining the specific ways he uses EFT on emotions, ADD behavioral symptoms, and limiting beliefs.
By Don Blackerby, PhD
When I first started working with students who had the symptoms of ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity), I primarily used Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). Since then I have added more and more EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) with all my students. I find that I most often use EFT on three major areas in students with ADD - Emotions, ADD Behavioral Symptoms, and Limiting Beliefs.
Using EFT with Emotions
One of the most debilitating characteristics of ADD is the severe emotions that the ADD symptoms generate in the individual with ADD and in others. Many of the emotions common to the person with ADD symptoms are: anger, rage, confusion, fear, helplessness, hopelessness, being overwhelmed, frustration, anxiety and stress (to name just a few). This is the normal internal world the person with ADD lives in almost constantly. The constant onslaught of these emotions (with no relief) is one of the key drivers for the anxiety and stress that drives the ADD symptoms and the feeling of being out of control. Even when you use EFT on Limiting Beliefs or the ADD Behavioral Symptoms, there are underlying emotions that hold the Limiting Beliefs in place or that drive the symptoms. So, using EFT first to relieve the strength of the emotions sometimes has a softening or weakening effect on beliefs and symptoms.
The use of EFT on emotions is fairly straight forward. After identifying an emotion and assessing the strength of it, the general formula for the set up phrase is "Even though I have this (name the emotion), I totally and completely accept myself. After one or more applications of EFT, the strength of the emotion starts to come down. When it gets to 0-2 in strength (on a scale of 0-10 with 10 being the strongest), I start to ask if any other underlying issue or emotion is coming to the surface. If and when it does, I assess the strength of that issue and do the EFT tapping all over again on the new issue or emotion.
When no other emotion or issue comes to the surface, I future pace the client by asking him or her to imagine when something similar to the original setting that caused the emotional upheaval to occur might come up again. I then have him or her step into that future situation to see if the emotions come up again. If they do not, then that problem area or issue is free to be supplanted by new desirable emotions.
To do this, I ask the client what emotions he or she would like to experience at that moment. When they choose an emotion, I have them fully access a former incident or moment when they have experienced that emotion (note: this incident or moment does NOT have to be ADD related-in fact, it is probably better if it is not related at all). While they are in that emotion, I have them anchor it by naming the situation and emotion. I then have them go through the tapping again (with the setup of "When (name the situation) happens again, and to help me totally and completely accept myself even more , I choose to feel (name the new desirable emotion") and then tap each of the energy points while naming the new emotion. After doing this tapping on the new, desirable emotions and, if I think it is necessary, I may have the client walk a future time line with the new emotions, or sometimes, I will have them do a Logical Level Integration with the new emotions.
An example of the above happened one time when a father asked if I could help them with the nightly arguments he and his wife were having with their son over homework. It seemed that every time the parents would remind their son of his homework, he would get angry, which would then make the parents angry, and then the anger would escalate into free wheeling arguments and the whole night would be ruined.
I did a group EFT on all three of them. The way to do this is to ask each and all of them for their issues regarding doing the homework. When any one of them would come up with an issue, ALL THREE WOULD TAP on that issue. For example, if the mother were to say, "I hate the arguing! I just want peace in my family. All three would say the set up of "Even though, I hate the arguing, I totally and completely accept, love and appreciate myself and (name the other two participants). Then go through the tapping protocol while saying the reminder phrase of "hate the arguing".
I would then ask the other two for one of their issues or emotions and we would repeat the process, over an over, until they could not come up with any other negative emotion or issue. Some examples were:
"Even though I get angry when my parents remind me to do my homework"";
"Even though I get angry when I have to remind John to do his homework"
"Even though I get frustrated when John says he doesn't know how to do his homework"
"Even though I feel overwhelmed at the constant, every night, on-slaught of the arguing "
"Even though I feel helpless when my parents have to help me do my homework""
I got each and all of them to suggest a positive replacement emotion for the homework event, and all three would tap on it as suggested above. For example,
"I choose peace at homework time.;
"I choose to feel confident I can do my homework., etc.
They came back in about two weeks and had NOT had any arguments at all over homework and in fact the son was cheerfully doing his homework without being asked or reminded.
Using EFT with ADD Behavioral Symptoms
It is my belief, that the ADD Behavioral Symptoms are driven by the high level of negative emotions, stress and anxiety. Much of the time when the emotions are relieved with EFT (as in the case above), the ADD Behavioral Symptoms go away. If they do not go away after tapping on the emotions supporting them, I may tap on the actual ADD Behavioral Symptom that is presenting itself to see if any more emotions arise. The most common ADD Behavioral Symptoms usually are: hyperactivity, impulsiveness, distractibility, disorganization, forgetfulness, and/or procrastination. Other behaviors may come up, such as talking too fast or not talking at all. (Remember: Many times the extreme opposite of hyperactivity is passive/apathetic and/or withdrawal. This behavior typically does not get the student into trouble. In fact, they are sometimes labeled as very cooperative in the classroom. Yet the internal turmoil of these students is still destructive to their self esteem. They may show up anyplace on the continuum between hyperactivity and passive. The passive person has trouble communicating because they have trouble finding the words to stay up with the fast moving internal images-so they don't talk much. The hyperactive person talks rapidly and jumps from topic to topic because he is trying to stay up with the internal images, making him very difficult to understand.)
So, if the person is hyperactive at the moment, I first do the strength assessment and then the set up phrase would be:
"Even though I am hyperactive right now, I totally and completely accept and love myself for who I truly am deep down inside of me.
"Even though I am talking too fast""
"Even though I can't sit still".
"Even though I want to go look out the window, right now...
If the person is passive and non-communicative:
"Even though I can't find the words I want to use..."
"Even though I feel like my brain is paralyzed and I can't talk..."
Continue to tap on these until they go down to 0-2 in strength and then start asking for other issues. Many times emotions or beliefs (beliefs are covered below) will come up. After the strength assessment, tap on them until they are down to 0-2 on the strength scale. Continue this process until you have cleared all issues that have come up from the beginning "hyperactive" or "Passive" issues.
Using EFT with Limiting Beliefs
The structure of how to change limiting beliefs starts with creating doubt in the old limiting belief and then introducing the new belief and energizing it. Beliefs are held in place by their emotional investment. When you have a limiting belief that has been brought about by traumas and you use EFT on the limiting belief it, in effect, drains the negative emotion away from the limiting belief. This weakens the strength of the belief, which opens the way for doubt to creep in. If you immediately have them choose a new, empowering belief and repeat it while they go through the EFT protocol again, you are connecting new and positive emotions to the new belief-effectively installing it in them. To then have them future pace the new emotions into their future time line or to integrate it throughout their Logical Levels, further reinforces the new belief.
The strategy for changing Limiting Beliefs regarding ADD is the same as listed before with Emotions and ADD Behavioral Symptoms. Elicit the limiting belief, assess the strength on a scale of 0-10, do the set up, and then tap on the limiting belief until the strength is down to a 0-2 level. Then check to see if any new limiting beliefs, negative emotions or issues have bubbled to the surface. If so, repeat the process for the new issue. When you cannot find any more limiting beliefs at the moment, ask them for some "Empowering Beliefs they had rather have and tap on those.
Some examples of limiting beliefs I have found in persons with the ADD Symptoms are:
"I can't control my mind.
"My mind won't let me do that (e.g., hold a image steady).
"I am stupid!"
"I am learning disabled. (e.g. "I have ADHD.)
"I am weird and different from everybody else.
"Nobody likes me!"
"I can't learn anything.
"I hate school!"
Some examples of Empowering Beliefs are: (this is usually after I have taught them how to control their mind and to use my learning strategies)
"I know I can learn anything.
"I am learning how to ________.
"I can be the top student in my class.
"Now that I know how to learn, I can learn anything in school.
"Now that I know how to learn, school is fun and easy.
"My teachers are wanting to help me.
Accessing Limiting Beliefs
Limiting beliefs can be elicited from the following steps in the coaching process.
- The student shares a problem or something they have trouble doing.
- Ask "What does that mean about you (or others) that you have this issue?" Get them to elaborate and listen for any limiting beliefs that might be embedded in their description or discussion that has to do with their identity (or others). At this point, some good NLP Meta Modeling is very useful.
- When you think you have spotted a limiting belief, ask "So, do you really believe that (state the belief very succinctly) is true? Do you really believe that deep down?"
- If the answer is no, repeat step 2 and ask for clarification or for what they think they might believe. If the answer is yes, and they seem congruent, do the belief change process with EFT with them.
If we could teach parents and teachers appropriate strategies to implement on the spot, then we could head off these powerful escalating feelings of being separated and alienated. We could also teach parents and teachers how to help students find the more empowering meanings to assign to certain events. We could even teach the students how to find different and more empowering meanings for the events that occur in their everyday life. Then their self-esteem would be elevated and boosted rather than torn down. In fact, wouldn't it be nice if we taught the students how to do this for their classmates.
I personally think everybody wants and can make a difference in the world--don't you? In my opinion, transforming children's lives makes a big difference in helping to make the world a better place. Come join me."