One Word Tapping – Minimalist EFT

Image courtesy of Chris Haldeman
Image courtesy of Chris Haldeman

One of the problems introducing people to EFT is that after learning the tapping they don’t use it on a regular basis because they can’t figure out how to construct tapping statements.

They don’t know what areas of the stressful situation to focus on and what words to use in their tapping statements.

At the Spring ChangeCamp 2015 I ran an introductory workshop for EFT. I decided to use the opportunity to try out a minimalist approach to tapping to see if it would be possible to have a simple tapping process that beginners would use.

One of the participants said they would be willing to help with the demonstration.

I asked her to think of her stressful situation and give it an emotional intensity score from 0 – 10. She said it was a 9 out of 10.

Then I asked her to describe the situation in just one word.

She thought about it for a moment and then said ‘defensive’. I asked her on the ‘defensive scale’ how strong would that be, she said it was 8 out of 10.

We did a few rounds of tapping using the word ‘defensive’ as part of the setup and reminder phrase:

“Even though I feel defensive, I accept myself and how I feel’

Tapping round each point using the word ‘defensive’ as the reminder phrase.

After the 1st round the score on ‘defensive’ was down to a 7, after another round 5, after another round it was down to 3.

I asked her to think of the original situation and give that a score. She looked surprised and said that it had come down to a 3.

Just tapping on one word, the right word, helped her defuse the stress in a situation.

If you are used to long and involved tapping statements you might be wondering how tapping on just one word could make any difference.

The words are not a magic spell to undo the problem they are there to direct the tapper’s attention to the problem parts of their experience. When the issue or feeling are in awareness they are activated and the tapping can have its effect.

Many tappers get stuck when they have to work out what to focus on and what clever words to use to undo the problem.

When you are forced to think of one word that sums up that situation you have to mentally sift through all the alternatives to come up with the one word that encapsulates the emotional tone of the situation.

This selection process is usually fast and unconscious, the ‘right word’ popping into mind without too much thought.

This one word forms a strong ‘emotional connection’ with your experience of the situation and pulls what most needs to be tapped on into your awareness.

Using this word the tapping process can move quickly and without needing to worry if you have got the right word or not.

Advantages of one word tapping

There are several advantages to using this method of working with issues.

  • Simple You can start tapping right away you don’t need to spend time trying to figure out how you are going to approach a problem, what words you should use, which parts you should focus on.
  • Quick The only preparation for this tapping it to think of a word that sums the situation up. After that it’s just the tapping.
  • Effective This process can either clear the unhelpful emotions around a situation or give you a good start in working through more tangled problems.
  • It puts you on the hook! Now you have no excuse to put off tapping because you can’t think of what to say.

Instructions for one word tapping

  1. Think of a challenging or stressful situation
  2. Give it a score, rating the intensity of the stress/distress from 0-10
  3. Think of one word that best sums up the predicament from your point of view. This word need not be an emotion, it just needs to be the word that fits the situation.
  4. Use that word as part of your setup statement, you may need to tweak your setup statement to better fit the word.
    For example:

    • Even though I feel [word], I accept myself and how I feel. x 3
    • or Even though I am [word], I accept myself and how I feel. x 3
    • or Even though it is [word], I accept myself and how I feel. x 3
  5. Do one round of tapping using the word as the reminder phrase
  6. When you have finished a round of tapping assess the emotional charge on your ‘one word’.
  7. If necessary repeat the round of tapping as many times as you need to lower the charge on that word.
  8. When the charge on the ‘one word’ is low, assess how you think and feel about the overall situation.
  9. If there is still some distress associated with the situation choose a new word that best sums up this situation as it is now. Repeat the rounds of tapping using this new word until the charge on that word is low, check how you think and feel about the original situation.
  10. If necessary repeat the process until how you think and feel about the situation has been improved.

Are you a beginner or experienced tapper who struggles to find the right words for tapping?

Try the one word tapping process on just one situation that stresses or distresses you to see if it helps. (Don’t use it on the most extreme or complex issue of your life – some things need more than just one word tapping).

We all have situations in our lives to which we respond with stress or distress.

We might not be able to change our situations, but we can change our responses.

Once you’ve learned how to respond to a situation with stress or distress that’s the response you will get next time you are in that situation, and the next time, and the time after that.

You are the only person who can change your response and you are the only person who can do something to make that change.

Why not try out one word tapping now?

The only thing you have to lose is one of your stress responses.

Tip If you would like to try this process but can’t quite get yourself to use it, what is the one word that sums up that predicament? Start by tapping on that one word to get you moving.

2 thoughts on “One Word Tapping – Minimalist EFT”

  1. Hello Andy
    Hope you are fine and enjoying life these days. Enjoy the newsletters immensely. The One Word EFT
    just get started now is a winning one!!! Thanks for this, great beginnings with it for newbies…..Would love to come to UK for training, soon to retire and have time will travel……Bestus Georgia in Canada

    • Hi Georgia,

      Sorry about the very delayed reply. I’m glad you liked the article, and I’d be delighted to see you at any of my trainings.

      All the best,



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