No such thing as a sure thing

I had an interesting experience this evening. I was giving a talk to a cancer support group in a local hospital about using EFT for reducing the stress of having the disease. We were meeting in a different room to the one they usually met in. There normal function room was booked, we were in a medical classroom, which looked like it have been a ward at some time

A group of about 16 people, patients and carers, listened to my normal introduction to EFT, a story about how it all started, a weird alert – letting them know they were going to do some odd tapping things. Then I asked them if they would like to try it out for themselves. I usually use the example of an ‘annoyance’ for the first few rounds, it’s not too threatening and it’s easy to demonstrate. So I asked them to rate it on the SUDS scale and we started tapping. They took it on with a fair bit of suspicion, that’s the usual reaction, a reduction in the annoyance levels tends to turn suspicion in to interest.

Not this time!

Every time I’ve done this introduction I’ve had about three quarters of the group drop their annoyance level by half on the first round, two rounds and it’s nearly gone for most people.

When I asked what their levels of annoyance were, three had decreased slightly, everyone else’s had stayed resolutely the same! We did another round, again three small decreases, everyone else the same! This has never happened to me before! I was perplexed – I’m not sure what they were.

In one way it’s very unfortunate that they got very little change, I don’t do talks  in which the audiences sits and I talk. I like to have groups tap with me on low-key issues to get a real sense of what happens. Usually this works quite well and participants are intrigued by the changes.

If the majority get no change at all, that rather scuppers the presentation. We tried again a couple of times, just about everyone reported feeling more relaxed, but only a few reported changes in their levels of annoyance.

I went onto dealing with anxiety in the hopes that they would only stick on annoyance. No such luck, they got the same kind of result, changes in the same few people, not in the others. Rather than have them fruitlessly tap through the talk I dropped the audience participation parts and gave some example of how people had used these techniques in dealing with the anxieties of cancer. We had an interesting question and answer session and they seemed more interested than I thought they might have been after disappointing results in the presentation.

What happened? I have no idea! An unfamiliar room, something in the environment that interfered with their progress – there are no shortage of funny chemicals knocking around in a hospital environment. It reminded me of one of Gary Craig’s DVDs in which he has a great deal of difficulty working with people with a snake phobia.

Was this a failure? I don’t know the long term effects on the participants, maybe I’ll never find out. From my point of view I don’t think so. It’s very interesting, a year or so ago I would have taken this turn of events very badly, I would have felt it had been a ghastly failure and I would have been embarrassed and apologetic.

It says a lot for my EFT work on myself that I didn’t have that reaction, I felt a little uncomfortable at first, mostly I was surprised and curious. In a perverse way it’s proof that all that tapping has worked on me. I’d like to think most of my presentations would have more dramatic user involvement, but whatever happens, happens, and it appears I can live with that.

It would be nice to think that everything you do works every time you do it, but there really is no such thing as a sure thing; or as Mark Twain put it: “the only certainties are death and taxes!”

2 thoughts on “No such thing as a sure thing”

  1. That was an unexpected reaction Andy – well done for keeping your cool and continuing anyway, albeit with a slightly moderated version of what you had prepared.

    I wonder if you have ever noticed any differences in reactions to tapping, depending on whether you are working alone with people or with them in groups. I would have thought working in a one to one situation might imrove focus and concentration and that, in a group situation, these might be adversely affected. Just a guess!

    But as you say, the tapping technique usually eleicits a positive reaction – even with my own example of physical pain (not cancer related).

  2. As you point out, there are differences in working with groups and individuals. You are right that the principle difference is that with an individual you can make the EFT much more specific and thereby boost your chances of success. In a group setting the work is much more general so may take a bit longer to get to where you want to go.

    Since that talk I’ve done two more talks and a workshop in different locations and had the usual drop in intensities that I would expect. I was quite relieved! I suspect that the environment wasn’t quite right in some way. I’d be happy to do another twenty talks with good results before I ran into that situation again.


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