The Origami Process

Image courtesy of Brett Jourdan
Image courtesy of Brett Jourdan

Sometimes how we feel about things is complicated, especially when those feelings are painful.

Some emotional responses can be very difficult to shift with tapping (or anything else).

Part of the problem is that our emotional responses are seldom single or straight forward.

We have our ‘first’ feelings: sadness, anger, disgust, fear, etcetera, in response to some challenging situation.

That’s bad enough, but we may not be satisfied with having just one bad feeling, we usually have painful feelings about the ‘first’ feeling.

We could feel resigned about our sadness, ashamed about feeling angry, guilty about our disgust or afraid of our fear, and so on.

It gets worse, we can add more difficult feelings about the feeling we felt about the first feeling. Perhaps we can feel hopeless about feeling resigned about feeling sad, and so on.

Each uncomfortable feeling can be added to with another painful feeling about it. Folding the original, straightforward emotional response into a tight and painful package.

The tangled packages of emotions can be quite difficult to dissolve using simple tapping. It would be useful to be able to unpack these responses into something more tappable.

The Origami Process is designed to unpack these emotional constrictions by unwrapping the layers of feelings about feelings and soften their charge and loosen their grip by tapping on the feelings and their relationship to each other.

Important: This is a very new process and so far it seems to be very good at untying tight emotional knots. Of course if there are tight emotional knots you may feel emotional when you untie them. So until you are familiar with the process, I strongly recommend that you only use this process on simple, one-off annoyances or distress, issues that feel simple and don’t seem to relate to any core issues or difficult memories.

The Origami Process

This process is described as if you are working with a partner, but you can easily process your own emotional responses using the same steps.

The process has two steps:

  1. Unpacking the emotional constriction: using a simple questioning procedure the emotional responses and the emotional responses to the responses are laid out into a chain of emotions.
  2. Processing the chain of emotions: by tapping in a systematic way each of the emotions of the chain and their relationship to one another can be softened.

Typically after the process the original emotional response to the troubling situation is not the same, and may even have disappeared completely.

Unpacking the emotions

Tip: Tap continuously as you unpack the chain of emotions, it can soothe some of the emotional distress that may arise during the unpacking and will help you answer the questions more easily.

  1. Think of some situation or event that triggers an unwelcome or unhelpful emotional response. This is the anchor point of the chain of emotions and marks the beginning and end of the process.
  2. Ask your partner (or yourself) “How do you feel about this situation or event?”, write down the 1st feeling.
  3. Ask them “How do you feel about [the 1st feeling]?”, write down this 2nd feeling.
  4. Ask them “And, how do you feel about feeling [the 2nd feeling]?”, write down the 3rd feeling.
  5. Ask them “And, how do you feel about feeling [the 3rd feeling ]”, write down the 4th feeling.
  6. Keep asking the question “And, how do you feel …” question, feeding the answer back into the next question.Keep going until:
    • Your partner ‘goes blank’ about the last feeling, as if there are no more feelings to feel.
    • Your partner starts to repeat a loop of feeling responses (choose the last feeling before the loop started as your end point)
    • You get to more than 20 answers

For example:

If the emotional trigger was the aftermath of a bad argument you might uncover a list of feeling responses something like this.

  1. Angry (1st feeling)
  2. (Feel) guilty (about feeling angry)
  3. (Feel) angry (about feeling guilty)
  4. (Feel) annoyed with myself (about feeling angry)
  5. (Feel) hopeless (about feeling annoyed with myself)
  6. (Feel) sad (about feeling hopeless)
  7. (Feel) resigned (about feeling sad)
  8. (Feel) hopeless (about feeling resigned)
  9. (Feel) sad (about feeling hopeless)
  10. (Feel) resigned (about feeling sad)
  11. (Feel) hopeless (about feeling resigned)

In this case the last three items, sad, resigned, hopeless are a loop repeating the earlier three responses.

If you get into a loop use the first item before the loop repeats (8. hopeless) as the end point of this chain of feelings.

Processing the emotions

Now you have a chain of feeling responses, start at the end of the list tapping your way back along the chain feelings in the following way.

  1. Without using a set-up statement. Work backwards through the list of feelings, starting with the last feeling in the chain, tapping alternately on the points using the following format:
    • EB: “I feel [the last feeling]”
    • SE: “about [the next to last feeling]”
    • UE: “I feel [the last feeling]”
    • UN: “about [the next to last feeling]”
    • CH: “I feel [the last feeling]”
    • CB: “about [the next to last feeling]”
    • UA: “I feel [the last feeling]”
    • TH: “about [the next to last feeling]”
  2. Then move to the next feeling
    • EB: “I feel [the next to last feeling]”
    • SE: “about [the next to next to last feeling]”
    • and so on.
  3. Work your way through each pair of feelings until you get back to the original incident, where you do a round of tapping on the original emotional response. Don’t stop, just keep tapping back through each link of the emotional chain.
  4. Ask your partner to think about the trigger now and notice what is different. If necessary repeat the process.

For example:

Using the earlier list of feelings about “the argument” (the trigger)

  1. Angry
  2. (Feel) guilty (about feeling angry)
  3. (Feel) angry (about feeling guilty)
  4. (Feel) annoyed with myself (about feeling angry)
  5. (Feel) hopeless (about feeling annoyed with myself)
  6. (Feel) sad (about feeling hopeless)
  7. (Feel) resigned (about feeling sad)
  8. (Feel) hopeless (about feeling resigned)

The tapping routine would go like this

  • First full round on “I feel hopeless (8) about feeling resigned (7)”
    • EB: I feel hopeless
    • SE: about feeling resigned
    • UE: I feel hopeless
    • UN: about feeling resigned
    • CH: I feel hopeless
    • CB: about feeling resigned
    • UA: I feel hopeless
    • TH: about feeling resigned
  • Next full round on “I feel resigned (7) about feeling sad(6)”
    • EB: I feel resigned
    • SE: about feeling sad
    • UE: I feel resigned
    • and so on
  • Next full round on “I feel sad (6) about feeling hopeless (5)”
  • Next full round on “I feel hopeless (5) about feeling annoyed with myself (4)”
  • Next full round on “I feel annoyed (4) with myself about feeling angry (3)”
  • Next full round on “I feel angry with myself (3) about feeling guilty (2)”
  • Next full round on “I feel guilty (2) about feeling angry (1)”
  • Next full round on “I feel angry (1) about the argument (trigger)”

Hints and Tips

Tap through the rounds without pausing. Part of the power of this process is to work smoothly through the chain of feeling reactions. Discuss what was going on at the end of the process rather than stopping to discuss progress in the middle of it.

Process intensity If one particular pairing of feelings proves intense, run the same feeling pair through several rounds of tapping before continuing.

For example:

  • An easy round on “I feel resigned about feeling sad”
  • The next round on “I feel sad about feeling hopeless” provokes a more intense reaction.
  • Tap more rounds on “I feel sad about feeling hopeless” until the reaction settles.
  • Then continue with the next round on “I feel hopeless about feeling annoyed with myself”

Capture insights and memories As you are tapping the person you, or the person you are working with, may have memories or insights about the core issues or origins of this problem. When you have finished the process make a note of them for further processing.

Spaciness or confusion This process may lead to some feelings of confusion and ‘spaciness’. This is good because it indicates there is a lot of unconscious processing going on after the tapping. Allow any mental rearrangement to continue, perhaps supported with some gentle tapping.

Process the original emotional responses one at a time If you or your partner have more than one strong emotional response about the incident.

  1. Write down the all the emotional responses.
  2. Use the Origami Process on the strongest response.
  3. When you have completed the Origami Process on the strongest response, check your emotional reaction to the trigger situation.
  4. If necessary use the next strongest emotional response as a starting point for a new chain of feelings about.

So far this process have been surprisingly effective in dissolving stubborn emotional responses.

Please let me know how you get on with it.

2 thoughts on “The Origami Process”

  1. I tried the origami process recently, and it worked for me. It’s fascinating how there can be so many feelings attached to an issue that I’m unaware of until I start asking myself questions.

    • Hi Libby, glad you found it useful and I agree that there is a lot going on just behind the scenes in our feelings. I suspect it is often the feelings behind the scenes that make some things so challenging to change.


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