It’s always about SAFETY!

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The primary reason clients aren’t ready to maintain the abundance, the good health or the emotional stability EFT practitioners help them with is that they do not feel emotionally safe with their success. The way to ensure that a client’s changes are permanent is simple but challenging: our job is to help the client feel safe or congruent with the progress they have made. Clients will tell clinicians that they are ready and eager to make forward progress in their lives...but if they don’t feel safe with who they have become, they will sabotage their success in no time!

When clients aren’t emotionally congruent with the changes they have made, they eventually resort to their old eating behaviours, their procrastination, and their sabotaging of interpersonal relationships. Others become noncompliant with their EFT homework and even ignore their doctor’s advice regarding recommended medical treatments for illnesses or pain. The changes end up triggering a new type of anxiety that the clients didn’t expect...and they start behaving like their old selves again.

In the field of addiction, we call this relapse. Technically, this term simply means that your client has started using their drug of choice again after a period of sobriety. In some of our clients’ cases, their drug of choice might be chasing abusive relationships, watching television instead of going to the gym, or overeating instead of doing their EFT homework.

So, whether you or your clients are relapsing in relationships, financial issues, health challenges, or in other areas, I have observed that the causes all stem from one or more of the following issues:

  1. The client doesn’t feel emotionally safe enough with the changes they made in spite of their externally voiced desire to change and/or
  2. The new identity is too uncomfortable and creates social or intrapersonal anxiety. Eventually this leads the client back to their original behaviours for which they sought help from an EFT practitioner…or...
  3. The client is not managing their stress levels enough with EFT or other practices. The client soon becomes overwhelmed and sabotages their success in overt or covert ways.

Safety first

In certain sports, coaches are always talking about safety first. The emphasis is that if the athletes aren’t safe, it doesn’t matter if they win the game or not. This same principle should apply to clinicians and EFT practitioners. If your client doesn’t feel safe, they won’t retain what you’ve taught them, and won’t hold onto the gains they’ve made in therapy. So it doesn’t matter if they appeared successful in the beginning or not.

Take the field of weight loss. Why do people yo-yo diet and regain the weight back after months of arduous work? They don’t feel safe with the new body they have. Perhaps it makes them feel exposed, or vulnerable. Maybe they don’t like all the attention they’ve been getting. When they don’t feel safe in their new body, they reach for food automatically, the easiest way to relieve the anxiety. Remember, substances work!

Take financial/abundance issues. I have definitely heard stories from people about attaining the financial advances they want, only to watch with horror as they sabotage themselves and lose their money or newly advanced position in a company. Why would they do this? For a very good reason! They don’t feel safe with the changes they achieved. Maybe this lack of safety with financial abundance stems from early childhood issues or familial limiting beliefs about wealth and success. As long as the core of the safety issues can be identified and treated with EFT, the client will maintain their successes in their life.

And finally, what about pain issues, recovery from illness, or remission of symptoms? I’m sure you’ve watched or heard stories of people who are initially excited by their improvements in their health, only to watch them sabotage their own bodies. They no longer do their EFT homework, or they stop taking medically assigned prescriptions, or sabotage their progress in some other way. Why would they do this? Because, believe it or not, being in pain was somehow serving or helping them, or it felt easier, and their new found health didn’t feel safe to they sabotaged their progress in spite of their expressed desire to get better.

Identity issues – who am I now?

I had a smoking client who was so confused and distraught with his new identity as a non-smoker after 30 years as a heavy smoker, that he picked up smoking again without even considering tapping for these feelings. It didn’t feel right to him to be a non-smoker. We hadn’t addressed his identity fears and the anxiety led him right back to his addictive behaviour.

A client came to me wanting abundance in his financial life. When I asked him how that would fit with his image of himself, he became overly anxious and started stammering. He said he had been the failure in his family for decades, and feared this new identity would upset others, especially his siblings who were considered the successful ones. His fear of his family members’ reactions was an obvious downside to his becoming successful.

There is no doubt in my mind that EFT works efficiently and beautifully for all these issues – addictions, pain & illness, and of course in attracting abundance. But if we don’t help the client feel safe in their new body, in their new position in their job, with financial abundance or thriving health, the internal pressure will be too great and they will inevitably relapse.

Try these following EFT setup statements and tapping rounds to address the safety and identity issues that can cause us and our clients to relapse.

Conflict about weight loss

I always ask my clients a few choice questions before we start tapping for the identified challenge they want to target with EFT. For weight loss clients, I like to hear their responses to the following questions:

  • Who might be upset with your successful weight loss?
  • What is the downside to losing weight?
  • What is the upside to staying overweight?
  • Do you feel loyal to someone by being overweight?
  • What does the extra weight protect you from?
  • What emotions might surface if you don’t carry around all the extra weight?

Karate chop point: Even though I feel exposed without all the extra weight covering me up, I choose to feel calm and peaceful…Even though I don’t feel safe yet in my new body, I accept who I am and how anxious I feel…Even though I didn’t expect to feel so unsafe when I lost the weight, I accept who I am and how I feel.

Eyebrow: I don’t feel safe being so thin
Side of eye: I feel so exposed in this new body
Under eye: I need to cover myself up
Nose: I don’t feel safe without my protection
Chin: I feel so vulnerable
Collarbone: I need more weight on
Under arm: I feel so anxious
Head: I feel so anxious without my protection

Most people use extra weight as an emotional or physical protection against something or someone from their past. Maybe they can’t handle intimacy, maybe there were broken boundaries when they were a child, maybe they think they need to be bigger to be noticed. There are hundreds of reasons people feel the need to protect themselves, and if the EFT sessions don’t address these underlying needs and fears, the client will relapse and suffer again from the dreaded yo-yo dieting syndrome.

Conflict about being pain free and healthy

We’ve all suffered through minor if not major illnesses and pains in our lives. Sometimes it’s because we are too stressed out and don’t take care of ourselves, sometimes our immune systems get run down and we become a favourable host to germs, other times we have been convinced that we WILL get a certain ailment because of our family history. I like to know certain information from my clients with major illnesses or pains:

  • What would it be like to NOT have this pain?
  • What is the pain trying to tell you?
  • Who is represented by the pain?
  • If you suddenly released the symptoms, would anyone be upset?
  • What is the downside to getting well?
  • What is the upside to having your symptoms?
  • What identity issues might surface if you no longer have this diagnosis?

Karate chop point: Even though I don’t feel like me without all my aches and pains, I choose to accept who I am anyway…Even though I feel so uncomfortable in this new body, I accept who I am and how I feel anyway…Even though I’m not sure how to behave now that I no longer have this diagnosis, how will they react to me…I accept my feelings and who I am becoming.

Eyebrow: I don’t recognise who I am in this new body
Side of eye: I was in pain for so long
Under eye: Who am I now in this new body?
Nose: I don’t feel safe the way I used to
Chin: How will they react to me?
Collarbone: I need my symptoms back
Under arm: I don’t feel like myself without my symptoms
Head: I don’t feel safe without my symptoms

Practitioners and clients often don’t want to talk about the downside of getting over an illness. But there are often reasons that being ill serves us on some deep emotional level. It may not be very accessible to us consciously, but our emotions inevitably express themselves through our bodies.

Safety issues about attracting abundance

Suppose you have attracted the financial wealth you have been working towards. Your business is booming in spite of the economy, and you are now where you said you wanted to be from an economic point of view. What emotions are surfacing for you? Any anxiety? Discomfort? Identity issues? I have had many clients tell me that when they didn’t have anything, they didn’t fear they could suffer a loss! So now that they had the wealth they had worked so hard for, they were more anxious and worried it could be taken away from them. And sure enough, they had witnessed this scenario during their childhood or with a close family member or friend. So in their state of panic that it would be taken away from them, they started sabotaging themselves and their financial abundance.

  • Who might be upset if you become financially successful?
  • What’s your worst fear about being wealthy?
  • How do you view wealthy people?
  • Did anyone in your family judge wealthy people?
  • What changes might occur if you become financially successful?
  • Which relationships will be negatively influenced?

Karate chop point: Even though I feel so anxious now that I finally have the financial wealth I have been dreaming about, I choose to calm down and feel peaceful…Even though the truth is I am afraid I will lose it, I accept who I am and how I feel... Even though I’m worried I am in danger of losing what I have, it was safer to struggle, I accept who I am and how I feel.

Eyebrow: Now that I have what I want, I don’t feel safe
Side of eye: What if someone takes it away from me now?
Under eye: I was more comfortable when I was struggling
Nose: I don’t like being visible to others now either
Chin: I feel vulnerable and worried all the time
Collarbone: What if I lose it now?
Under arm: I feel so anxious about having all this abundance
Head: It was easier when I didn’t have the money...

This last statement is very important to remember. People often find that their lives were easier before their new found health, wealth, or relationships. At least they knew what to expect! Now your EFT skills have helped them release their limiting beliefs and blocks to getting what they want, and suddenly they are longing for the good old days! Once you know how to look for and treat safety and identity issues, your clients will be able to embrace their new found successes and relapse will no longer be tempting.

I hope to see some of you in Ireland in May! I am teaching an intensive 3-day workshop on clearing addictions, healing pain and illness, and attracting success and abundance.

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