If you search for ” EFT / Tapping + ‘your problem’ ” on the Internet it won’t take you long to find some tapping scripts.
On the face of it tapping scripts are a bargain.
Just find a script that fits ‘your problem’, tap along and ‘your problem’ will be solved.
A tapping script is a list of phrases created by someone who is trying to cover all the possible aspects that they can think of with their idea of ‘your problem’.
All you have to do is tap along with the script / audio / video.
It’s easy, the author takes you where they think you need to go, all you have to do is follow along.
Unfortunately it’s not so simple (or useful).
- A tapping script won’t work for most people. However skilled and experienced the author of the tapping script is, they don’t know you and they don’t know how you got to have the challenges you face. Even if your problem is commonplace, you are unique. No one is going to be able to identify what needs to be tapped on without ever having met you. Even if, by chance, the topic and the phrasing is a good fit for you and your problem – the chances are that the script will only address the symptoms, not the causes of the problem.
- A tapping script might work ‘too well’ for some people. EFT is powerful, it can quickly and easily access deep emotional states. If you are a vulnerable person carrying a lot of barely contained distress you may be triggered by part of the tapping script which connects you to that underlying distress in a way that could be very difficult for you to handle for yourself. If the script pushes you into a well of emotional pain the author isn’t there to pull you out.
- There is no safety net. A script, recording or video can’t keep you safe. Some problems need to be worked on in an emotionally safe environment. An experienced practitioner can help you process your thoughts and feelings in a way that is safe for you, a script cannot help you contain your distress.
- A script can’t be varied. Using a tapping script is like travelling along train tracks. Whatever you see or feel that is not on the tracks cannot be brought into the process. You are restricted to the way the script describes the problem and organises the solution. You follow the tracks whether they go somewhere useful or not.
- A script won’t respond to your feedback. Unlike a good practitioner a tapping script isn’t interested in what’s happening for you. It doesn’t listen and it can’t change it’s approach to fit in with your experience. As far as the script is concerned you aren’t there.
- Following scripts can make you passive. When you follow a script you turn yourself over to someone else, an expert (you hope) who will tell you what to do and make everything better. You give up your own powers of investigation and action. You get better at being told what is happening, what it means and what to do (which is the opposite of what should be happening in good therapy or coaching).
- You turn over what your experience means to someone else. When you use a tapping script you are going along with a stranger’s explanation of what you are experiencing, feeling and understanding. Some (or all) of that may not be a good fit for you. Because we are susceptible to the pronouncements of experts we can easily take on ideas and explanations that have nothing to do with us (especially in the suggestible state that comes with tapping). These explanations and descriptions may not serve us and may even get in the way of our finding out and resolving what is really going on in us.
- They can discourage self investigation. If you go along with someone else’s explanations and suggestions you may not investigate what is actually going on in your inner world. The only way to be self-aware is to pay attention to your own experience. You can’t ‘know thyself’ by following someone’s script.
- They give the illusion of easy fixes to difficult problems – a tapping script can have the appearance of a magic spell: tap here and say this and everything will be all right. Many problems, especially the difficult problems: trauma, anxiety, panic attacks, low mood and self-hatred are complex difficulties that are not going to be resolved in five easy minutes.
- Scripts can’t get to the root of most problems. Many difficult emotional problems lie in our childhood or in unresolved traumatic experiences. No skilled practitioner would use a simple script to repair childhood distress or resolve traumatic memories. A script might help you bail out the boat but it won’t help you find or plug the leak.
- They may appeal to people who are least likely to benefit from them. Desperately unhappy people are often desperate to be told what is wrong and what to do. If they are that unhappy it is because they have deep seated and complex issues, the kinds of issues that won’t and can’t be solved by a tapping script. Being desperate makes them both vulnerable to the appeal of a script and even more vulnerable to its possible adverse effects.
- Scripts can encourage discouragement. After trying and failing to solve a problem with a tapping script you may come to the conclusion that there is no value in tapping and miss a golden opportunity to undo a lifetime’s suffering with the appropriate use of tapping.
- If the script doesn’t work you might feel like a failure It’s very easy, especially if you are vulnerable, to attribute your lack of success to your own inadequacy. If a script fails to have the desired effect, or has an undesired effect, you might wrongly blame yourself.
- Most scripts encourage premature reassurance. In the our ‘positive mindset’ culture many people want to get to the part about feeling good. Most scripts start with the problem and move towards tapping in the positives. In a rush to get the good feelings we can skip over the necessary work of clearing the difficulties, this premature reassurance leaves many aspects of the problem un-addressed.
- Scripts can be a diversion from the hard work of solving the problem. By always searching for the right script for your problem you can put off the uncomfortable work of resolving the problem.
If tapping scripts are so flawed what is the alternative?
In principle successful tapping only requires four things
- To be able to tap on the acupressure points (that’s the easy bit).
- Paying attention to the relevant parts of your experience.
- Being able to process what arises.
- Having emotional safety while you do this work
These conditions apply for self help and working with a skilled practitioner.
Knowing what to tap on is the skill of EFT. A tapping script attempts to make that easy for you by giving you the ‘right’ words, but since you are a unique individual (just like everyone else) it is much more useful to investigate your own experience.
One way of doing that is by asking yourself the kinds of questions a good practitioner would ask you including:
- What is going on?
- How am I suffering?
- How does this problem work?
- How do I know I have this problem?
- Where and when did this start?
(For an excellent set of good questions to ask yourself (or others) check out Jondi Whitis’s book “How To Be A Great Detective” – don’t be deceived by the title, it really is about tapping).
Once you know what you are working with you need to be able to work with it.
While you can learn EFT from a manual (I started with Gary Craig’s original manual) it is much better to learn how to use EFT at a training or with a practitioner. There’s no substitute for experience, feedback and skilled guidance for learning the skills of tapping.
If you know the basics you can apply them to a lot of emotional and mental distress and get very good results. Releasing old wounds and ideas can make a huge difference to your inner and outer world.
However, that work may take you into deep emotional water. If your difficulties stem from childhood distress or traumatic experiences there is a risk that approaching the solution also approaches the emotional causes which may trigger strong emotional reactions that are hard to manage.
If you are going to work with those kinds of issues you need to be emotionally safe to do the work. It can be very difficult to hold yourself together when you feel you are falling apart.
In those kinds of situations you need someone who can hold the space for you so you can do what you need to do to resolve those issues in a way that won’t re-traumatise you.
If you don’t feel safe with an issue it’s time to find an experienced practitioner to help you to do that work.
Working with issues in these ways is slower, more challenging, and not as cheap as a tapping script, but you will have a much better chance of success and a much lower chance of being overwhelmed by old hurts.