Open-Minded, Healthy Skepticism
One of the definitions I’ve always liked for creativity is “constructive discontent.” New ideas, inventions and discoveries usually come about from a desire to improve something. How might EFT be improved? In their e-newsletter, EFT Downunder News, Steve Wells and Dr. David Lake offer leading-edge tips and articles on EFT. In edition #35, David Lake takes a lighthearted look at questioning some of the assumptions behind EFT and meridian stimulation. His article is an open-minded, thought-provoking read.
Challenging the Assumptions Behind EFT
by Dr. David Lake
We in the Energy Psychology field (within which EFT sits) like to think that it is only the traditional scientists that are dogmatic and closed-minded. But even in this developing new field dogmatism and “orthodoxy” can arise if we are not careful. Gary Craig developed EFT by challenging – and refining – some of the discoveries made by Roger Callahan the creator of TFT – Thought Field Therapy.
By questioning many of the assumptions of Thought Field Therapy Gary Craig has provided to the world his highly significant modifications to (and practical applications around) the original discoveries by Roger Callahan. These include:
- The Shortcut 7-Point Sequence (eliminating the 9-Gamut in practice)
- Random Tapping (any order or sequence)
- Intuitive Tapping
- The “Tearless Trauma” Technique
- “Tell The Story/Run The Movie” Technique (specific focus)
- “Borrowing Benefits” (tapping for your issue without focusing specifically on it)
- Multiple/Combination Point Tapping (originally demonstrated by Michael Gandy)
Let’s use the same open-minded approach combined with a healthy skepticism to explore some of the concepts underlying EFT and meridian stimulation generally.
I’d like to take a light-hearted approach and put forward some ideas to challenge and stimulate your thinking around some of the ideas and beliefs that are accepted as true around EFT – when all they really are is ideas or hypotheses. I offer my version of these disparities in a light-hearted attempt to stimulate the kind of thinking that could move our understanding forward.
N.B. It is important to learn and use EFT traditionally before exploring the incongruities.
Here are some things that are all too easy to accept as true when they are only working hypotheses, at best (I am not attempting to do anything here other than stir up your ideas with some brief points). Some of these are basic concepts that everyone accepts but they are not proven:
(i) The “Set-up”
When in Flagstaff for Gary Craig’s Borrowing Benefits workshop I asked Gary, “Why do you have to rub the sore spot or tap the karate point and say the set-up statement 3 times?” His answer: “Because Roger (Callahan) says so!” If that is the case then a couple of other questions also arise: Why use the karate chop point during the set-up, and not another point? Why not use any point at all for the set-up? These are good questions and the answer appears to be: No reason I
(ii) Direction, order, sequence of tapping (Random tapping); side of the body; compass direction
If this order matters then I would like someone to show me how, because the results without it are good. Monica Pignotti has recently shown that random sequences of tapping can work as well as TFT sequences diagnosed using Voice Technology.
(iii) How many points to use?
In the original EFT sequence there were 13 main points, then Gary discovered that the same results could be achieved with the 7-point shortcut. How many points are really necessary? Most meridian tapping therapies seem to use at least 3 – Is this the minimum number of points required for positive results?
(iv) Accuracy in tapping
This is not required as it is in acupuncture, nor is it really a feature of successful EFT (probably because there are points everywhere, such that you can’t touch the body without stimulating some). I think the key is to be taught correctly and accurately in the beginning so that the body “knows” what you intend to do afterwards.
(v) Not tapping at all
This works when you just think about using EFT, or “intend” tapping the points using your imagination. The fact that it works at all shows how far from understanding the meridian system we really are! I have found that it is better to touch the points first before “not tapping”.
(vi) How many sequences, or duration of tapping for any problem?
This is the unspoken assumption section of EFT—that the effect must be rapid, or something is wrong. The implication of successful and specific focus is that the problem will be resolved quickly, or that minimizing a big aspect or belief will eliminate the negativity. Some people take an hour off work to have a single EFT session, in order to eliminate a negative belief that is a pillar of their life and personality over decades. If only we knew how many sequences or hours of tapping were required for any issue? For some severe problems, it may be in the hundreds of hours. And that is OK too. This might be the ideal place for introducing the concept of continual tapping (see: http://www.eftdownunder.com/articles_EFT.html#Continual)
(vii) The concept of thinking specifically & EFT
Everyone knows that being specific when working on problems with EFT can help and this makes logical sense. But how do we then explain the results from not thinking specifically as in “Borrowing Benefits”? This works too, when you tap at length after initially focusing on your issue—then ‘forget’ about it. This does not make logical sense. Unconscious problems are unconscious.
(viii) The concept of Psychological Reversal (PR)
Larry Nims taught us that psychological reversal is “just another problem to treat”. I have found that just saying that PR exists, and that the setup treats PR, is to enter a maze of mirrors. When PR does exist, I don’t think it is always easily treated; it certainly often returns soon after such treatment when there are addictions or severe depression.
(ix) The Energy System and the “Thought-field”
These are only ideas. Only in the West are the body and mind separated. Possibly the energy system is the vital intermediary. Thoughts may create a “field” according to Roger Callahan (creator of TFT), but EFT is not a psychological technique, it is a body technique. The thoughts do not seem to change directly using EFT. It is our emotionalized thoughts that have power over us. Callahan’s marvelous discovery of the effect of meridian stimulation on the emotions has not been supported by more than a good theory (see Fred Gallo: “Energy Psychology”). We have no idea how it really works.
There are many other concepts we could address but this short list is provided here to get you thinking – and questioning in a healthy way! This is the kind of thinking that will provide the basis for new approaches to utilizing EFT. Steve Wells and I think that our PET (Provocative Energy Techniques—meridian stimulation combined with the light-hearted focus on the dark side of any issue) gives such a highly effective focus, if we are judged by results. There are many people now using meridian stimulation in new ways. “Let a hundred flowers bloom”.
Gary Craig has said that we are “on the ground floor of the healing high-rise”. Can we imagine what the other floors will look like—or how our techniques will change—without this questioning?
© Copyright 2005 Steve Wells and Dr. David Lake. All Rights Reserved.