An example and instructions if you wish to do your own EFT.
On this page, you’ll find these do-it-yourself instructions written in the context of a session with a person who has fibromyalgia pain. If you’re planning on a session with me, this page will provide an example of how a session can go. Your session will be specific to what you become aware of during your session.
This is a LONG page, but you’ll get a good idea about the importance of following the memories and the emotions while you’re doing EFT.
Carol was the first person ever to walk into my office to work on pain relief for fibromyalgia. Her massage therapist had recommended the visit. She knew exactly when the pain started, 31 years earlier. She had rolled her car on an icy winter road, and the pain that came with the accident never went away. And never went away. The pain never went away.
At least today, a person can get a diagnosis for fibromyalgia. Even if there’s no solution for the fibromyalgia, at least you have a name for why your house is on fire. For decades, Carol just hurt, and she wondered if it was all her fault, and what was wrong with her, and why the hurting never went away. She took three Advil at a time, four times a day. She worried that others thought she was a cry baby about her pain. At night the pain was often so strong in her ankles that she climbed the stairs on hands and knees to get into her bed. Carol’s house was on fire, and she knew the name of the fire, but nothing was getting to the structure, to the flames inside, to the root causes of her fibromyalgia.
With EFT you can start almost anywhere, and by paying attention you’ll get to the needed destination. What’s important, especially at the beginning, is the deepest sense of respect. In the face of 31 years of pain, I had no trouble being respectful. If you’re doing EFT for yourself, you’ll follow the steps below, and you’ll be following your own emotions and memories as they surface.
STEP ONE: Start anywhere. You’ll get where you need to be. Be respectful of yourself.
With Carol I chose to start our EFT with her physical pain. I could have dived right into the accident and started tapping there, but that didn’t feel respectful to me. This was our first meeting – there was plenty of time. I had no idea what sort of issues were ahead, and I wanted to do my best to be trustworthy if big emotional issues did surface. She had described pain in her shoulders and neck, a tender point at the inside of her right elbow, pain in her ankles, and pain in her knees.
“Okay, Carol, if it’s okay with you, here’s what we’re going to do. My goal is to follow your lead. I’ll be saying phrases and you’ll be repeating them, but if those phrases don’t match up for you, just let me know and together we’ll find better phrases.
STEP TWO: Rate the Intensity, zero to ten.
Carol tells me that her pain level is only a one right now, “In the evening it goes up to a seven or an eight.” You get an intensity level so you have a way to test for progress after you’ve started tapping.
STEP THREE: The Setup Phrase – Love and Acceptance
Even though I have this issue (pain in my body, I deeply and completely accept myself. Repeat the setup phrase three times. All the while tap on the outside edge of the palm of your hand.
Bear with me a bit here. A bit of EFT history, a bit of philosophy, a bit of experience.
Back in 1994, when Gary Craig began introducing EFT to others, he was building on the work of Roger Callahan, who had introduced a concept called psychological reversal. According to that theory, if a person was “psychologically reversed,” it’s as if their battery was plugged in backwards and they couldn’t absorb EFT until that was taken care. So, a setup phrase is used prior to beginning the tapping sequence. For Carol, the setup phrase would be something like this,
“Even though I have this pain in my ankle, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
Roger Callahan figured out the effect of psychological reversal before brain chemistry had a theory for what’s happening. According to more current brain research, it turns out that a memory gets created because millions of brain cell connections (synapses) undergo a certain chemistry that stores a memory. When a memory is resurfaced later, chemistry must happen again; new proteins must be created if that memory is to be stored again. If the environment is different when the memory resurfaces, then the chemistry is different and the memory cannot be stored again in the same way. So, for instance, if a memory is stored during a trauma, that is one chemistry in action. Later, if the memory resurfaces in a peaceful environment of love and acceptance, the chemistry will be different and the memory will be stored differently.
I believe that this scientific observation provides an explanation for how EFT works. Even if we don’t entirely believe it, just by saying we love and accept ourselves as we begin EFT, we are now bringing up emotional issues in a different chemical environment. I believe this explains why the emotional charge on an issue will often dissipate after tapping.
Step Four: Tapping the Sequence.
From here on out we’re tapping. In its most basic form, we’re simply naming the issue while we’re tapping through a sequence of acupressure points. I start specifically with Lorraine’s ankle.
Point One – Top of the Head
While tapping on top of the head, moving around with my fingers because there are many meridian points on the top of the head, I say, “This pain in my ankle.”
Carol repeats after me, while following my tapping on the head, “This pain in my ankle.”
Point Two – Above the Eyebrow, either side of the head or both sides at once.
A restatement of the issue is made each time. “This pain in my ankle.”
Later we’ll discuss adding other phrases
Point Three – Outside edge of the eye, one or both sides.
Point Four – Underneath the eye, along the top of the cheekbone, one or both sides.
Point Five – Between the bottom of the nose and the top of the upper lip.
Point Six – On the chin.
Point Seven – Just under the collarbone, one inch out from the chest centerline, one or both sides.
Point Eight – On the side of the chest, three or four inches below the underarm, one or both sides.
Step Five – Check In.
One or more rounds of tapping can be done, whenever you stop, its time to check in. I ask Carol how she’s feeling. I’m checking for thoughts, emotions or memories. I’m checking for any sensations that come up in the body.
After this first round, Carol reports, “Maybe it feels a little better. I’m not sure.”
Maybe she thinks she needs to please me, by saying something she does not really sense. “You don’t have to feel it for my sake. Let’s do another round.”
The next round continues after the pattern of the first. You can include the setup phrase each time, but according to EFT once you’ve said the setup phrase with Love and Acceptance, you don’t need to do it again. Personally, I believe that locking in Love and Acceptance, deeper and deeper is a big part of why EFT really does make those brain chemistry changes. If we’re starting with an issue that is causing anxiety, that memory was not created in Love and Acceptance. Repeating Love and Acceptance seems to me a big reason that old memories get stored in a new way, without the old anxiety attached.
After the second round, Carol has a bit of a smile on her face. “I feel less pain.”
“How would you test the pain?”
“Well, I could try standing up, that’s more painful.”
Carol stands carefully, with noticeable hesitation. Then a look of surprise comes over her face, “It doesn’t hurt as much!”
We’ve done two rounds of tapping. In the third round, I begin to add more language.
Top of the head – “So much pain – 30 years of pain.”
Over the eyebrow – “ I’ve had this pain for a long time.”
Outside the eyebrow – “I have an amazing body that’s been able to survive all this pain.”
Under the eyebrow – “I’m still here.”
Under the Nose – “I’m doing okay.”
Chin – “This pain in my ankles, and my knees, and my neck and shoulders.”
Collarbone – “I’ve had this pain for so long.”
Side of chest – “This pain in my ankles, and my knees, and my neck and shoulders.”
Personally, I like words. Basic EFT uses pretty simple language, sticking right to the issue. I like finding words that address various ways that a person might be experiencing their issue such as I did here with Carol. When working with people I’ll often get into a flow of language and do three or four or five rounds of tapping, exploring an issue with various words, watching carefully for signs that some words are making stronger connections to the person’s emotions.
At the end of this round I ask Carol to stand. If you’d been there with me, you would have seen just a bit less hesitation as she stood up. After one more round Carol is standing more forcefully, gracefully, even confidently. “That’s amazing,” she tells me.
“Have you ever thought about the connection between the pain your body is feeling and your emotions?” I ask.
“I never have,” Carol replies.
Twenty minutes into our session, Carol can still feel a bit of pain, but she doesn’t seem to care, she’s feeling so much better. And she’s relaxed and there’s a joy showing through. We’ve even been kidding around with the tapping,
“Body, I want to have a conversation with you now.”
Carol taps under her arm and repeats. “Body, I want to have a conversation with you now.”
“We haven’t talked like this before.”
Tapping on the top of her head, “We haven’t talked like this before.”
I shift to the next point, tapping above the eye. “But now I know you can hear me.”
“But now I know you can hear me.”
Side of the eye, tapping. “And it feels good to be finally talking.”
Tapping beneath the eye. “It’s good to be talking with you about this pain.”
Tapping above the lips. “Maybe its time to let this pain go.”
Tapping below the lips. “Maybe we just haven’t talked about this before,”
Tapping just beneath the collarbone, underneath the neck. “Body, mind, and spirit, all of us talking.”
Under the arm, on the side of the chest, “I know we all want the best for my life.”
Another round of tapping. There’s a significant relaxation occurring for Carol. After these rounds Carol seems comfortable with this new realization of the connection between her emotions and her pain, between her mind and her body and her spirit. She even looks like she’s having fun. She seems ready to go a little deeper. I feel it’s appropriate and respectful to take another step. I ask if it’s okay to ask what she remembers from when the fibromyalgia started.
Carol speaks quite easily about the accident, I don’t see her body tense up, her face flush, or her eyes beginning to cry.
“What emotions did you feel at the time. Do have any memory of the emotions?”
“I felt scared of course.” She considers.
“And embarrassed. I felt embarrassed that I got in the accident.”
After a moment I ask, “You felt embarrassed? But on a slippery road anyone could have slid on an icy day. You felt embarrassed.”
“Yes, but I was driving too fast.”
“I always felt I should have had a consequence for that accident, there should have been some punishment for that accident. The car wrecked, I did get that consequence – not having a car made it hard getting around for the rest of the winter, but I’ve always felt I deserved some consequence for having that accident.
I lift my hand and start tapping on the outside edge of the palm of my hand. Carol follows and repeats. “Even though I feel there should have been a consequence, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
Three times we repeat this affirmation. We are setting a new and larger context of love and acceptance, a new context in which to surface this traumatic memory of her accident and her self-judgment that she deserved a consequence. The chemistry will be different. It’s also a reminder that no matter the specific event, we are part of something greater, something bigger than any particular success or any particular failure.
I start tapping on the top of my head. “I felt I deserved a consequence back when I rolled the car.”
Above the eye, “I still feel I deserve a consequence.”
Side of the eye, “I drove too fast, I deserve a consequence for the accident.”
Under the eye, “I shouldn’t have driven so fast. I deserve a consequence.”
Above the lip, “It happened thirty-one years ago. I still wait for that consequence.”
Below the lip, “Perhaps I really do need that consequence.”
Collarbone, “Or maybe I don’t.”
Under the arm, “Thirty-one years have passed. I slid off the road. No one was hurt. I survived the accident.”
Top of the head. “Maybe I need that consequence.”
Above the eye, “Maybe I don’t.”
Side of the eye, “I wonder what would happen if I forgave myself now.”
Under the eye, “Maybe that’s a bad idea. Maybe I really need that consequence.”
Above the lip, “Or maybe forgiving myself would help me. Maybe it’s high time I forgive myself.”
Below the lip, “I don’t know. I’m not sure. But I’m open. I’m open to the possibility that it would be good to forgive myself.”
Collarbone, “I’m open to forgiving myself. I’m opening to letting go of still feeling this need for a consequence.”
We tap a few more points, back and forth on the possibility that forgiveness could be appropriate, welcome, freeing.
“Okay,” I say when we finish a final point, lets check in. “Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Let me know what you feel.”
I wait a few moments, then Carol opens her eyes, “I feel I can forgive myself for that accident.”
“How does it feel to forgive yourself now?”
“It feels good. I feel good about accepting myself and forgiving myself about the accident.”
“That’s fantastic,” I reply. Next I test our progress. “If you place yourself back at the time of the accident, how does it feel to say that you forgive yourself.”
“That feels okay now, but when we were tapping there were other memories coming up.”
“Yes, when we were tapping about forgiveness.” Carol doesn’t say any more. She has a serious look on her face.
“Are these memories from before or from after the accident?
“These are memories from before. The levity has disappeared from Carol. “These are things I cannot talk about now.” The mood has shifted so quickly.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the chapter, Carol was the first person ever to walk into my office who wanted specifically to work with fibromyalgia pain. What a thrill it was to have her pain start to diminish so quickly. Then another thrill that she was so open to addressing the time of the car accident when her fibromyalgia pain started. And then, a full hour into our session together, then comes this whole new layer, “things I cannot talk about now.”
You should definitely feel encouraged to start using EFT for yourself as soon as you feel comfortable with giving it a try. But Carol is hopefully also showing you how it can be valuable to work with a person trained in EFT, someone experienced with following the trail of a person’s journey, someone who can recognize the markers along the way. Down under the covers of our life, one often discovers powerful memories and experiences.
In this case of working with Carol, I remember my own anxiety rising when she said the words, “things I cannot talk about now.” Here’s the close of that first session.
“We don’t need to talk about those memories,” I tell Carol. “Not Now. Not ever. It’s possible that by working through the accident, it peeled one layer off the onion and opened space for the next layer to come up. When you’re ready we can tap on that. You wouldn’t need to speak about the event, you can feel the energy of it right now without saying a word, and we can tap on it just like we tapped on the accident.”
We’re over an hour of tapping now, almost 70 minutes, and I know we need to wrap this session up. I do not want to leave Carol like this. We’ve probably opened up a core issue in Carol’s life. Without truly believing my words I tell myself to trust the process.
Carol stokes my anxiety with her next sentence. “My pain is back.”
“Okay.” I let my next words out slowly. “I don’t want to close this session without another round of tapping. We’ve covered a lot today. You got about as clear an example as you could have of how your emotions are connected to your pain. First the pain went down. Then the pain came back up. All just by paying attention to the emotions in your life, both present and past.”
I sketch out where we’ll be heading. “We’ll do another session again, if that’s okay with you. We can make it for next week, or sooner if you wish. Whatever came up for you, we can work with the energy around it, the way you feel about it, without ever having to speak about it or work through the details of whatever happened. We can take it bit by bit, whenever you’re ready and however you’re feeling.”
Carol nods. All the former amazement and joy are gone. She looks pained and weary. I close with a round of tapping.
“So body, I found out today how connected we all are.”
“Mind. Body. Spirit. We’re all talking together. I didn’t know we were so connected. I sure felt it today.”
“Some big things came up today. I felt some big things. I remembered some big things. “
“This pain. The accident. The memories.”
“I can take this all bit by bit. I know we’re in a conversation now, I know you’re listening body. I’ll take this bit by bit. “
“I’m thankful that I can love and accept myself, no matter what.”
A moment later, after we schedule our next meeting, I hold the door for Carol as she walks away. She carries with her a troubling surfaced memory. I have my own anxiety, the childhood fear of my own that arises whenever emotions get loose and aren’t controlled. That did not feel safe in my childhood. Here I am ending my first fibromyalgia tapping session, and rather than helping to soothe the emotions, I’ve just watched Carol go from amazed to burdened. I have no idea what is next. Consciously, I once again remind myself – “trust this process.”
We have pointed the fire hose deep into the structure of Carol’s life. We saw some amazing progress on the fuel that is firing Carol’s fibromyalgia. For the first time ever, she experienced a variation in her pain, just by consciously attending to issues in her life. Carol didn’t DO anything. She showed up, and she tapped, and she paid attention. She got some water on some of the flaming structure. We also discovered that more timbers are still flaming inside the house. I remind myself, “Trust the process.”
Over succeeding sessions, Carol and I met for EFT and continued to attend to layer after layer of the onion of her life. On session eight, after tapping through a layer dating back to college, I asked about the level of her fibromyalgia pain.
“I don’t have any pain anymore!”
Those are the loveliest words to hear, and with the application of EFT to fibromyalgia pain, I hear that pain free exclamation with wonderful frequency. Whether you do EFT for yourself, or with a friend, or with another practitioner, or by working with me, this is my hope for you, the words, “I don’t have any pain anymore!”
All the best wishes,