Ask Zoe: Can I make a mistake with EFT?

Jeanie recently wrote, “Can you make mistakes with EFT? I’m reluctant to use it because I’m afraid I might make things worse.”

It’s hard to make a mistake with EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques)—it’s a very “forgiving” modality. If you’re too general, something in you unconsciously picks up useful things to work on to ease emotional pain or physical pain anyway, and you’ll be helped a little bit anyway. Of course, it’s better to be as specific as you can (see my previous post on how to make EFT effective: Ask Zoe: How to Get to Core Issues)—you get bigger and faster results. Some people worry that if they don’t say the “correct” phrases to focus on a topic, it will be hurtful, but you don’t need to worry about that. Basically, for most things, the worst that can happen is that not much will change.

The only kind of thing you need to be careful with when working with other people, is not to go into traumatic subjects that you’re not prepared to deal with—such as sexual abuse and physical abuse, addictions, very traumatic events, and other really serious issues. In these cases, things might arise that you wouldn’t be able to deal with. If you yourself have had such emotional trauma or severe emotional pain, it would probably be better to work with someone experienced.

Ask Zoe: How to Get to Core Issues


Matthew wrote, “I’ve done a lot of EFT Tapping on my low self-esteem, but not much seems to change. Is it something I’m doing wrong?”

EFT, or Emotional Freedom Techniques, works best the more specific and concrete we can get in regard to an issue of emotional pain. For instance, if you think about it, “low self-esteem” is a very general concept. We can think of it as an umbrella issue that has a number of specifics underneath it. For example, it’s made up of at least several emotions—maybe sadness, feeling like a failure, hurt around criticism, anger, etc. Zooming in more, we try to get at specific events or patterns of events that had each of these specific kinds of emotional pain in them. For example, childhood sexual abuse or childhood physical abuse or emotional abuse. Or other painful events or patterns of events that weren’t as serious as abuse but were painful anyway. Some of these result in PTSD and others in relationship problems or various kinds of emotional pain.

EFT Tapping on Specifics

Once we get to the specific events or patterns of events, we can do EFT Tapping. Doing it this way usually results in relief from emotional pain and often physical pain that might be associated with the events we’re using EFT on–that is, we come to a sense of emotional freedom. For more on Emotional Freedom Techniques, check out my EFT and EFT Case Studies pages. For more on EFT Tapping with low self-esteem, check out my YouTube video, “EFT: Getting to Core Issues,” which shows, step-by-step, how we can move from a broad, global issue to core issues.  .

EFT: Getting to Core Issues

Ask Zoe: I think I have Psychological Reversal. How do I get over it?

Actually, Psychological Reversal is not something you “have,” or rather, most of us have it either all the time, most of the time or some of the time. One problem that occurs frequently with most healing methods–be it medical, alternative, body therapies, or psychotherapy–is that people try these methods for a long time and nothing much changes. This is because, for many of us, we definitely want to and intend to get better and heal, but there is also a part of us that is somehow against healing emotional pain or physical pain, or is afraid to get better for some reason. For example, we may feel we don’t deserve to feel good, or our parents told us we were not good enough in various ways and we’ve internalized that, or–in the case of chronic illnesses or addictions, for example–we would have to make major changes in our lives if we heal.

These are all unconscious resistances, not conscious. They don’t mean we’re weak or have a character flaw. They are basically the result of being alive on the planet, where we receive all kinds of criticisms and negative actions coming our way, and we develop negative beliefs about ourselves because of them. EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) has a built-in way to deal with these psychological reversals.

Think of a TV set

When it’s functioning normally, a TV has electricity flowing through it. If you take a screwdriver and touch parts of the insides, however, it will short circuit and the best you’ll get is static. This will continue until you take the screwdriver out. We can make a parallel with our own body’s energy system. Sometimes something happens to ”short-circuit” it; the result is some kind of “negative” emotion–fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, even panic attacks, for example. The factor that short-circuits us could be a traumatic event or something else that we may not even remember. The result can be emotional or physical.

Getting Your Inner and Outer Self “On the Same Page” Often Means Healing Emotional Pain More Quickly

If we tune in to the event, the emotion, or the physical pain, using EFT, we can correct the short-circuit, and attain emotional freedom. Often, the issue will clear up quite quickly. Other times, it takes some persistence to alleviate the issue. For more information, see my EFT and EFT Case Studies pages or contact me . For more on Psychological Reversal, check out my video, EFT-Why It’s So Effective

EFT: Why It’s So Effective