Two EFT Cases Illustrating Being Specific vs. Being Generalclinical EFT handbook

By Helen Bressler, Certified EFT Practitioner

Being Specific with EFT

One of my clients came to me with depression lind to the workplace. "Susie" was a support worker with adults who have various learning disabilities. She had been feeling sad and despondent about going to a job she had once loved. Susie explained that she no longer enjoyed going into work, as she felt she was not experiencing the satisfaction and enjoyment she once had. She was wondering whether it was time to move on.

We first talked about this last consideration and whilst I explained that we would look at the issues around Susie's job, I was explicit that the release of the work-related issues were in no way an indication that she would have to stay there.

I want to make a point here that there appears to be a popular belief that if an issue is resolved within a situation (the workplace or a relationship, for example) that it means the person(s) involved should stay in the situation, as it no longer causes distress. My perception is that once the stressor is removed, the person involved is more able to have clarity.

Inherently, the individual knows if they want to remain or whether it is right for them to move on.

Susie explained that she had been feeling frustrated by other members of the staff. Her explanation was quickly flitting from one member to another and between situations. As she was speaking, I was making note of her language, intonations, and body language and stopped her at one particularly charged event (her voice at this point had become emotional, her hands more expressive).

I asked Susie to recall the event in detail.

She reported that one evening she had been giving care to a young man with a PEG (a device that goes into the stomach by which a person can then be fed directly). She stated that she had taken down the dressing that had covered the new device only to find the area in need of attention. Susie was not a nurse and in the work area there were no nurses to call upon for advice.

Susie was visibly agitated when recalling the situation and so I asked her to stop at this point (the Movie Technique). Susie reported a level of intensity of 4 on a scale of 0 to 10. When I asked Susie to recall what she was feeling as she took down the dressing, she replied "anxious at not knowing what to do." We tapped on Susie's anxiety at being faced with a situation outside of her usual remit.

We tapped:

Even though I did not know what to do when I removed (client's name) dressing, I deeply and completely accept myself. I forgive myself for not knowing what to do.


This anxiety

Feeling flustered 

Not knowing what to do

Not knowing how to deal with this  

Feeling like a failure for not knowing how to deal with this

Just wanting to have a nice shift

Not wanting to have to deal with this

Annoyance at having to deal with this 

Not feeling able to deal with this

We tapped for three rounds using the above. Susie's SUD level dropped to 0 out of 10, when suddenly I intuitively felt a rise to about an 8 with the last statement. I asked Susie if there had been an event in which she had felt unable to do something, one that particularly stood out.

Susie abruptly stated, "Yes! An interview I had recently."

Susie divulged that she had been to an interview for part-time work with children with learning needs and she had thought this would be an enjoyable adjunct to her current employment. When in the interview, she learned that she would have to sit in a classroom with children and to aid them with their schooling. She stated she had realized then and there that she would never be able to do that. She believed that she was not bright enough to aid the children in this way.

We tapped:

Even though I didn't feel bright enough to do the job, I deeply and completely accept myself.

We tapped on the same points, omitting the under arm and adding the top of the head at the end of the round (this was intuitive and the session was moving at a rapid pace).


Not being bright enough 

Feeling stupid 

Not feeling good enough 

Not being bright enough 

Feeling stupid

Not being good enough 

I couldn't do that job 

I am too stupid to do that job 

Having nothing to offer those kids

Susie's level of intensity was a 0 by the end of the third round.

We then used a positive statement, as used in the Choices Method:

I choose to recognize and accept that I am a smart and able woman.

I choose to recognize I am smart.

I choose to accept I am smart.

I choose to recognize I have the skills to do whatever work I choose.

I choose to accept I have the skills to do whatever work I choose.

I choose to recognize I am able to assist others whether at home or in the classroom.

I choose to accept I am able to assist others whether at home or in the classroom.

I choose to recognize that I am a smart and able woman.

I choose to accept that my old ideas about myself no longer serve me and to move on.

I choose to believe in my abilities and intelligence.

After one round, I considered leading Susie through the third stage of the Choices Method, yet intuitively knew release of the issues raised at the interview had been completed; the shift in energy had been tangible.

Susie continued relating her story and again we stopped at a charged scene.

Susie had decided to call her superior, "Helen," to ask for advice. Helen had tersely told Susie, "Just clean and redress the area." I asked Susie to describe how she had felt immediately before making the call. Susie felt she had no choice but to ask for help. When asked how Susie felt during the call, her reply was that she was shocked by Helen's manner.

This had left Susie feeling unsupported: "I was left alone to get on with a job I did not feel comfortable about." Her SUD level was at a 6 on a scale of 0 to 10.

We tapped:

Even though I did not feel supported, I deeply and completely accept myself.


This lack of support

Feeling abandoned

Not feeling supported 

No one was prepared to help me

Left alone to get on with the situation 

Total lack of support

Not being supported 

Being left alone 

No one prepared to help me

Second round of tapping reframes:

Being left alone 

This anger for being unsupported 

This anger at Helen (her level of intensity rose to 8 or 9)

I am furious at Helen 

Helen could have helped but she chose not to 

Perhaps Helen had no idea what to do either

Perhaps Helen had no idea what to tell me 

Perhaps Helen was so brusque because she felt helpless (level of intensity now at 2-3)

I forgive myself for feeling the way I did (back to side of the hand point) 

I forgive Helen for acting the way she did (level of intensity dropped to 0)

Intuitively, I asked Susie to perform another tapping Setup Statement:

Even though I felt total lack of control with the situation, I deeply and completely accept myself and I forgive myself and any other involved.


This lack of control 

Having no control over the situation 

I did not feel in control over the situation 

I did not feel in control of (client's name) needs 

Not being in control of the situation 

Not feeling in control

Feeling I needed to be in control 

Needing to control the situation so it is not stressful 

Needing to be in control to deal effectively with [client's name] situation

Needing to control other's responses and actions

I forgive myself and any other involved

"That's it!" she exclaimed, "It's all gone." Susie now reported that she had no anger at Helen, nor disappointment in herself. At my request, she reviewed the scene. There was no charge.

Susie had called the one other colleague in the building to aid her with the dressing. She was given help and the client's needs had been addressed. Although the other members of staff had been on a break, Susie had no reaction to this fact; she said her feelings of being unsupported had vanished.

Susie finished up by reporting that she had felt she had needed to control the environment at work, that she had felt she needed to do "everything by herself to get the work done."

She was now laughing at the ridiculous task she had set herself and was relishing the lightness about the workplace that she was now feeling. I finished by asking Susie when the control issue at work first began.

Apparently, this had been soon after the interview! Interestingly, Susie told me that she had actually had control issues for years and had also felt unsupported for as long as she could remember. When I asked her to take me to any specific examples in her past regarding the need to control or when she had felt abandoned or unsupported, she could not remember any.

She sat in front of me with a huge smile. "It's like I've gone blank," she said. "I just have no recollection." She reported that she felt "as light as a feather."

A few days later, I received a text from Susie on her way to work: "I feel great about going in and am enjoying the work and people again."

By using the Movie Technique to replay the event and stop and tap when her level of intensity increased, we were able to address Susie's feelings of helplessness with the specific situation at work. This then lead to the (causative?) issue, illustrated by the interview scenario, of low self-esteem (not feeling good enough, not believing in herself, not feeling bright or able enough).

By carrying on with the "Movie," we then were able to address the frustration and anger felt with the idea of being unsupported. Finally, we were able to deal with a control issue, which Susie had been struggling with in general at work since the interview. Core issues of feeling unsupported and having to have control (often closely linked) appear to have been resolved in the process.

This session increased its momentum exponentially and I found myself intuitively tapping out of sequence. I also intuitively knew when her 0-10 intensity was raised and when it had dropped. I also found that I knew what to say. There was definitely a crucial point when my intuition was linked with Susie's and we had stepped out of the way to get the job done. It felt to both of us that some big old trees were felled in that one session, perhaps without our conscious awareness.

Being General with EFT

About a year ago, I met "Joelle" at a local university. During a casual conversation a group of us were having, she mentioned she had suffered for years from severe headaches. Her headaches were disabling and averaged about once a week.

As I was about to head back into the lecture theatre and Joelle was not someone I bumped into frequently, if at all, I decided to spend the minute or so I had remaining in addressing her issue.

Joelle was skeptical but willing to give EFT a try. (I must mention here that she was not experiencing any discomfort at this moment in time.)

Following my direction, Joelle rubbed on her Sore Spot whilst saying:

Even though I suffer from headaches, I deeply and completely accept myself.

We then tapped on all the points stating only "these headaches." Joelle also followed my direction in going through the 9 Gamut Procedure. As it was now time for me to go inside, I gave Joelle my card telling her to feel free to contact me should she wish to.

We had completed one full round of tapping including the 9 Gamut.

I had completely forgotten about the incident until I received an email from Joelle several months later stating she had not experienced any headaches since our chance meeting and the very brief introduction to EFT. She stated she had done "nothing differently" and was not on any prophylactic medications; neither had she attempted any EFT since that one time in the university cafe.

She also stated that she had not experienced any significant changes to lifestyle or situation; thus she could think of no reason for the absence of headaches other than the EFT.

In my first example, I highlighted the issues that can occur with getting specific, namely the revelation and release of core issues that are usually responsible for the distress. From my experience and that reported by many fellow EFT practitioners, specifics are often key in finding and addressing these core issues.

Yet in this example, the most brief and general EFT session seems to have been the curative factor for an individual's frequent and longstanding discomfort. Whilst I remain appreciative of the value of specifics, the versatility and effectiveness of EFT. 

Add comment has a thriving EFT support community and actively encourages commenting on the site. We are dedicated to the EFT community and strive to maintain a respectful, engaging and informative conversation about EFT. Towards that end, we have general guidelines for commenting, thus all comments are moderated before going live. Moderation can take up to 48 hours. If your comments consistently or intentionally make this site a less civil and enjoyable place to be, your comments will be excluded. We have a strong word-blocking program to prevent spam posts, so if your comment ends up with [censored] blocks, it's because you have used a blocked word or a word spammers use to spam comment sections of websites.

Security code