EFT is an excellent way to resolve traumas and change beliefs: these are powerful interventions and can have dramatic consequences in our lives.
You could think of them as changes at a high level, the ‘30,000 ft view’ of life, but what about changes at ground level.
If you think about it everything we do in our lives happens at ‘ground’ level.
Moment to moment we think, feel and do things.
Some of these things we do effortlessly, and may even enjoy, they are our valuable skills.
Something we do with great struggle or not at all, we might call these our problems.
A lot of what we do is a repetition of things we’ve done before:
- taking out the rubbish
- parallel parking
- brushing our teeth
- avoiding difficult conversations
- reaching for just one more Danish pastry
- avoiding tapping on some problem
- and so on …
- and so on …
- and so on.
If you do the same thing, in the same way, over and over again, then this step by step process becomes an unconscious sequence of thoughts, feelings, beliefs and actions that play out (often in quick succession).
These unconscious sequences of thought, feeling and behaviours are sometimes called habits.
Some of these sequences can be very beneficial – tying your shoelaces, driving your car, brushing your teeth are all made easier by having an automatic sequence we can call on to get things done.
However some of the sequences can be unhelpful, forcing you to do the things you don’t want to do, or forcing you to avoid doing the things you do want to do.
Undoing these sequences is tricky because they usually happen quickly at an unconscious level – how often have you found yourself at the end of that extra Danish pastry (or whatever) thinking “Hey, what happened? I didn’t want to do that!”
These patterns can be a challenge for regular tapping, because it’s difficult to be specific if everything happens so fast and out of awareness.
To help us be aware of what is going on and to be specific with our tapping we need an approach that slows things down and makes things visible.
That’s where The Stunt Double process can help.
The Stunt Double process makes specific use of the Third Person Tapping process. By creating a slight dis-association (not dissociation) we can observe from ‘the outside’ what is often invisible and undetectable on the inside.
The Stunt Double Process In Action
I’ll use ‘avoiding writing an article’ as an example from my own experience of how this process works.
If I use the standard EFT tapping routine: “Even though I am avoiding writing this article, I deeply and completely accept myself”, etc I’m probably not going to get very far.
There is not enough detail in that statement. It’s like a lighthouse beam lighting the world for miles around when what I really need is a laser beam to help me focus on each of the individual thoughts, feelings and actions that make up ‘avoiding writing the article’.
I think about being stuck writing an article. I imagine myself being in that situation, sitting at my laptop by the window.
Then I ‘ask myself’:
- What is Andy feeling?
- What is Andy thinking?
- What is Andy doing?
If you remember from Third Person Tapping this generates a slight separation: as an observer you that can watch that ‘other you’ as they run the problematic pattern. That ‘other you’ is going to be the stunt double in the process.
So I asked myself “What is ‘Andy’ doing?”
‘Andy’ is sitting at the computer – He looks stuck.
Immediately this gives me something to tap on.
I use “Even though ‘Andy’ looks stuck, I deeply and completely accept him“ as the set up phrase and “He looks stuck” as the reminder phrase.
Notice that this is slightly different from the usual EFT set-up statement, see the third person tapping article for a complete explanation.
After a few rounds it becomes more clear what ‘Andy’ is really feeling.
‘Andy’ feels overwhelmed.
This is a different aspect to tap on.
I tap using “Even though ‘Andy’ feels overwhelmed, I deeply and completely accept him” and “He feels overwhelmed”
After a few more rounds, something else emerges
‘Andy’ doesn’t know how to start.
I adjust my tapping accordingly.
“Even though ‘Andy’ doesn’t know how to start, I deeply and completely accept him” and “He doesn’t know how to start”.
The process continues as the tapping peels back the emotions that are holding ‘Andy’ (me) stuck.
I tap for each aspect that arises until there are no blocks, pushes or pulls on that ‘other’ me.
Now I imagine ‘Andy’ taking the next step(s) in the problematic behaviour pattern until another block appears.
Let’s say ‘Andy’ has started to write the article, but stops to look out of the window.
‘Andy’ is distracted.
I tap on “Even though Andy is distracted … etc.”
‘Andy’ is uncomfortable and fidgety.
I switch to “Even though Andy is uncomfortable and fidgety … etc.”
And so on until he’s ready to move forward to the next step.
This process continues, one step at a time, until ‘he’ has reached the end of the problem sequence.
This is the first pass at defusing the behaviour pattern.
Now I need to check that I’ve processed every aspect of the problematic behaviour.
I’ve ‘watched’ it from the outside, now I want to run through what’s left on the ‘inside’ to check if there are any other aspects hidden away.
I do this by imagining myself getting ready to write the article. In my imagination I sit down in front of my laptop and notice what goes on in me as I imagine getting started.
In the first run through I imagined watching myself trying (and failing) to write the article.
In this run through I imagine what it feels like on the inside to try to write this article. I run through the process and pay particular attention to any untoward feelings.
For example: I can imagine writing this article and getting to a point where I think “This isn’t very good, no one will like it”, this is a tappable block.
I can tap on it using: Even though I think this isn’t very good and no one will like it, I deeply ,.. etc” (notice this is the more familiar ‘1st person’ tapping format).
Once this has been tapped on, I can go ‘back into’ the behaviour and try it on for size. If that thought has been neutralised it’s easy for me to continue.
I can run through the behaviour checking from the inside if there are any problematic thoughts or feelings. When I come across an unhelpful feeling I tap for it.
Once I have soothed all the thoughts and feelings that were ‘trapped’ in that behaviour pattern, the pattern will not hold any pull for me. I’m free to go in whatever new direction I choose.
As a final step I watched that other Andy get to work on writing an article. Now that I am happy with how my ‘stunt double’ is handling the task I invite that ‘other Andy’ to come back into me. Having ‘split off’ that other version of myself to observe and tap, it is important to bring him back in. (It’s probably not good to leave different versions of yourself lying around.)
You might like to know that I easily started to write the article in question.
How To Use The Stunt Double Process
- Pick a behaviour that you do often and would rather do differently. This could be something that you do and don’t want to do, or something you want to do but don’t do.
- If it is something that you do, but don’t want to do – bring to mind a situation where you do that thing.
- If it is something you want to do, but don’t do – bring to mind one of the ways you avoid doing that.
- Imagine yourself just before the start of the behaviour you are working on (in case there are some triggers that need to be reduced).
- Imagine that you are looking at that ‘other you’. Ask yourself:
- “What is [your name] feeling?”
- “What is [your name] thinking?”
- “What is [your name] doing?”
- Choose whatever is most noticeable and use it to create this kind of tapping setup statement and reminder phrase, as appropriate:
- “Even though she feels / thinks / is …, I deeply and completely accept her” x 3, followed by a round of tapping using “She feels / thinks / is …”
- “Even though he feels / thinks / is …, I deeply and completely accept him” x 3, followed by a round of tapping using “He feels / thinks / is …”
- e.g. “Even though she feels stuck, I deeply and completely accept her”
- e.g. “Even though he is frowing, I deeply and completely accept him”
- Continue tapping until that aspect is soothed or another one becomes more apparent.
- Now pay attention to that other you. What is most noticeable now? Note: the aspects may be a feeling, emotion, thought, belief, posture, expression, etc. Everything about that ‘other you’ may be tappable.
- Create an appropriate tapping statement and tap the aspect out.
- Repeat this process of inner inquiry (in the third person) and tapping until all the aspects have been soothed (it may be that your perception of the problem changes as you are tapping). Note: Sometimes you may notice that the you that is observing your stunt double has feelings and reactions to what’s going on with that ‘other you’. Tap on those thoughts and feelings as they arise and then put your attention back on that ‘other you’ to continue.
- Now you have tapped from the outside, it’s time to check from the inside if there is anything left to change.
- Imagine ‘stepping into’ that ‘other you’ so you are experiencing that situation from the inside.
- Run through what is left of that pattern of behaviour until you notice any stress or distress (This is running through the memory in the Movie Technique to search for hidden aspects).
- If you find any stressful feelings, thoughts or sensations, tap on them using the standard EFT tapping statement. “Even though I have this feeling / thought / sensation, I deeply and completely accept myself” etc.
- When you run through the (now changed) pattern without any stress or distress, return to the 3rd person perspective.
- Watch that other you run through the process if there are any glitches use the tapping to sort them out.
- When you are happy that you have changed that behaviour sequence, invite that ‘other you’ to come back into you. Draw the image or sense of your ‘stunt double’ back into your body and let it settle in.
- As a final test, imagine that old situation now.
Getting The Most Out Of This Process
This may seem like a lot of steps and possibly a lot of processing, but remember that you don’t have to get it completely right first time. Even if you only defuse a few of the steps you will be able to do things differently next time. You can make use of that ‘improved’ habit as the starting point to run the process again.
Running this process, then trying it out in real life then running it again on what happens will help you create a robust and streamlined new behaviour.
You may find that the behaviour patterns you work on may relate or remind you of deeper issues that may need more work (either by yourself or with a practitioner). In this way, working on the ground level details may inspire some fruitful higher level processing. For example: if a common theme in your behaviour is a point where you say yes to people when you should be saying no, then that unconscious decision may relate to other issues.
You may find that you have lots of patterns that work in the same kind of way. Although the content is different the steps you go through are very similar. As you dismantle these patterns you may find that other related patterns fade away auto-magically.
As you undo all these stressful ways of doing things you might find that your life just gets easier because there is much less time and effort spent pushing, pulling and resisting what you are doing.
If you think that seems like a lot of work, imagine that you drag your feet on a simple daily task for 5 minutes. If you take 10-20 minutes to release the drag on that task you will save yourself 5 x 365 minutes a year: that’s more than 30 hours saved every year! I think that’s quite a good return on your investment.
If you are a practitioner, when you get familiar with using this process on yourself, you can use it with your clients to help them change some of their ways of doing things that don’t work.
NB: This process (along with 30 others) are available in ebook or paperback format in The Tapping Toolkit