Sneaking Up on the Problem

What if we have an emotional problem that feels really big, maybe too big to even say the words out loud, even to ourselves? There are several Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) that are great ways to help in this situation. These techniques have been provided by Gary Craig, the founder of EFT. One of them is called Sneaking Up on the Problem. We do this by being very general, or even vague, when thinking or talking about the problem and in our setup statements and reminder phrases.

Typically we like to be very specific when using EFT on a problem to help bring an emotion to light. But in the case of a trauma, we don’t want to be traumatized all over again, so we approach the problem in a more general way to neutralize the immediate distress. If you are already very stressed, several rounds of tapping on very general statements, or even without words, can help calm you. Once you are calmer from the general tapping, you may be able to address more specific aspects of the trauma one tiny piece at a time, neutralizing each emotional charge, and keeping your overall distress level low.

What do we say when we’re sneaking up? Here are some very general setup statements that can be used to Sneak Up on the Problem:

“Even though I can’t even think about this right now, I accept how I feel and I’m OK.”
“Even though this is too big for me, I completely accept myself.”
“Even though I can’t even tell anyone about this, I accept and forgive myself.”
“Even though this terrible thing happened, I completely accept myself.”
“Even though I have no idea what to say right now, I accept how I feel and I’m OK.”

Try one or all of these or make up your own general statements that describe how you feel. If the positive affirmation at the end of the setup statement is difficult for you to say, try saying it anyway to see how if feels. If it is still difficult to say, try an alternative affirmation, such as “I might be open to accepting myself,” or “I may choose to love and accept myself some day.” Once your intensity level goes down, you may feel more comfortable with the original affirmation.

Some gentle and general reminder phrases could follow the key words in your setup statements, such as:

“It’s too big,” “I can’t even talk about it now,” or “This terrible thing.”

Once your overall distress level is down, you can begin to slowly introduce more specific wording about the traumatic event into your tapping. For example, “Even though there was this terrible car accident, I love, accept, and forgive myself.” Tap for several rounds using new wording that is appropriate for your problem until you feel your distress level decreasing. If you are still feeling calm, you may want to try tapping on a specific aspect of the event, such as a sight, sound, color, or smell that you remember. Take it slowly and tap on one small thing at a time. And only proceed if you are remaining calm as you go through them. Honor yourself and know it’s OK to stop, breathe, and try more later, and it’s always OK to ask for help.

Keep Calm and Tap On!

Please remember: It's important to contact a professional if things feel too big for you, whether it be a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, or certified EFT practitioner. Never discontinue your current medications without first consulting your doctor.