I’m frequently asked this question by therapists/coaches about relationships. Although this article is written as if speaking to a helping practitioner, at NeftTI we know that all healing is self-healing. Healing happens within the individual, whether someone facilitates it or not. So each of us is both client and practitioner. We invite you to read from that perspective.
“What do we do when a client says they are loving and accepting their spouse but they are disappointed and resentful because the spouse is not doing the same for them? They think their partner doesn’t care enough or just isn’t willing to go out of their way for them. How does EFT/tapping help in this case?”
Well – this question certainly cuts right to the chase about what happens in relationships. Although this particular question is about a marital relationship, exactly the same issue crops up whatever the form – parent/child; boss/employee; sibling/sibling; friend/friend or colleague/colleague. And if I might make a quick spiritual aside … this issue also underlies our relationship with however we define our Higher Power. Wherever it appears, it’s a powerful block to fully experiencing the fullness of that relationship.
As a marriage and family therapist for 25 years, I heard this question pop up for every couple I was working with. In fact, it came out of my own lips in my marriage counselling many years ago! I, of course, was trying so hard to accept him and he wasn’t even trying. Funny how we always put ourselves on the ‘good’ side of the good/bad polarity …
First, let me be clear that if your client is involved with physical and emotional abuse, that is a separate category, one we’re not discussing here. If that’s the case, you, as practitioner need to get support. Connect with a qualified supervisor and peers – you don’t want to be in isolation working with that level of toxic energy, it’s a set up for vicarious trauma and burnout. Know your personal signs of compassion fatigue so you recognize them quickly. They are often subtle and we can go a long way down a destructive path before noticing. Your supervisor will help you sort out if this is an appropriate client for you to be working with given your training and experience and the nature of the other clients in your practice. Remember that your practice is an energetic system that directly impacts on your energetic system. If the practice leans heavily toward clients with toxic energies, that will have consequences for your health and happiness. The heavier the energies you work with – the more time that needs to be allocated to your tapping and other forms of self care.
Now, what’s the first step to working with your client using Energy Psychology/EFT? Well, it’s to recognize that you are involved in an energetic system with your client. Her energy is affecting you – AND – your energy is affecting her. In other words, the two of you are creating an Energetic Love Loop together. Your first step is to ensure that you are contributing a high vibration of energy into this co-created system loop.
Questions I’d be asking myself, in private, before the session:
1. What is my emotional reaction to working with this client? Am I feeling anxious, annoyed, irritated, scared, hopeless …?
2. Where am I feeling this emotional reaction in my body? In my gut, my chest, my lower back, my head …?
3. What thoughts am I having that go along with these feelings and sensations? I wish she’d cancel. I don’t know what to do. I don't think this will ever shift. She seems so stuck on this. What if she gets mad at me? Or, her husband is a real jerk. I don’t know why she stays with him. Or, gosh I don’t know why he stays with her. She’s always complaining …
4. What does the client’s circumstances remind me of in my life? Where have I felt the same way as she does? And, when have I felt this mix of feelings that I’m having about this? For example, a mentioned, this was a strong dynamic in my own relationship years ago. However, the body does not ‘do time’ and it holds these issues in its tissues until they are resolved at an energetic and subconscious level. And perhaps there are earlier times/relationships in my life that resonate with the energy of hopelessness, irritation and anxiety.
Then, using fundamental techniques from EFT, I’d tap on these aspects and events until I came to emotional freedom around the related stories in my life and until I felt authentic compassion toward my client and her partner and solid faith in her ability to find her way through these circumstances along with gratitude for the honour of walking with her along the path.
Whatever comes about in the session, this self-clearing is the single most important step in the process. If you are the client, you want to find and hire a practitioner that is very skilled in clearing himself or herself. Not just at the level of thought – but at the level of energy. Whatever they are unable to clear, they will bring into the session with you. If you’re the practitioner, you want to move into the session as clear as you can be. I remember a mentor explaining to me that you want to be a ‘sonotube’ –one of those columns that builders use to pour cement into. Why a sonotube? Because they have a special coating on the inside that nothing sticks to, everything just slides off of them. When we’re working with clients we want the same thing, none of their energy of their issues sticks to the sonotube of our body, mind and spirit.
In the next article in this series, we’ll look at what EFT/Energy Psychology interventions might be helpful during the session.