Get out of the way!


Throughout my years of using EFT and, latterly, Matrix Reimprinting, I have heard the expression ‘get yourself out of the way’ repeatedly from different sources. [Note that familiarity with Matrix Reimprinting is required to understand some of the concepts mentioned in this article.]

by Deborah Shakespeare

Gary Craig refers to it on his EFT DVDs. EFT master Karl Dawson stresses it in his trainings. Sasha Allenby frequently mentions it during her Matrix Reimprinting webinars, and the phrase appears time and again in the book ‘EFT and Beyond’, a collection of articles by the world’s most experienced tappers.

But what does ‘get yourself out of the way’ mean for us as tapping practitioners?

Many of the sources I have mentioned above stress the importance of removing the therapist’s ego from the therapeutic relationship. My own understanding (informed by my background as a counsellor) is that getting out of the way means that the practitioner focuses solely on the client during sessions, and does not allow their own needs to interfere with therapy. To simplify it still further, sessions ideally will be all about the client, and not about the therapist!

This may seem obvious, but it’s easier said than done, because as therapists we can often be blissfully unaware of how our own needs might be getting in the way. It can be as though we’re too close to our issues to see the impact they are having clearly.

If getting out of the way is more complicated than it first appears, how then do we go about doing it? I believe that removing ones ego from the therapeutic equation, as recommended by Gary Craig, amongst others, may be considered something to aspire to, rather than something that will always definitely happen. Ascended masters may be ego-free. I, unfortunately, am not – I just do my best from session to session, knowing what I’m ultimately aiming for.

My own belief is that self-awareness is fundamental to getting out of the way. The concept of self-awareness has its roots in counselling rather than tapping, but I feel it is vital for all therapists, no matter what their approach is. A therapist who is self-aware will have gone to considerable lengths to achieve an understanding of their own core issues and the ways in which these drive their feelings, thoughts, behaviours and motivations when interacting with others.

I have taught counselling skills to adults for several years now. My students often don’t understand the need for self-awareness in a practitioner at the beginning of the course. They just don’t see the relevance. Why on earth should I require them to think about their own issues, their own past, their own motivations for doing things, when it’s the client that comes to discuss these things? However, as an outside observer of my students’ practice skills sessions, I can see the effect that lack of practitioner self-awareness is having on the therapeutic interaction.

For example, the student who repeatedly badgers her client with one question after another does not understand how her own discomfort with silence is driving her need to use constant questioning. The student who continually offers advice to his clients has not realised that he is trying to fulfil his own need to feel powerful and all-knowing. The student who changes the subject when it gets emotionally serious does not realise that he is using avoidance as a technique because of his own past issues.

All of these things shape the focus of sessions, making them about fulfilling the needs of the practitioner, rather than those of the client. Yet these tendencies can be lessened or removed from therapy if the practitioner understands that they exist.

How would a tapping practitioner go about increasing their self-awareness? Counselling wisdom encourages the use of personal therapy, personal development groups, workshops and journaling to achieve a deeper self-knowledge. My own experience is that tapping is far and away the best tool for developing self-awareness. When you tap for your own stuff, it very quickly brings up the subconscious core issues that all the above techniques may take years to uncover. I believe that the most useful thing is having someone else to work with, because they will help you to see the patterns emerging in your issues that you might be too close to to divine yourself. Equally as useful, but only to be carried out with express permission from the client, is to have another practitioner observe you at work, and then offer you constructive feedback on your skills afterwards.

I will conclude by misquoting the bible (‘physician, heal thyself’) and saying instead, ‘practitioner - know yourself’. Committing yourself to doing so will allow you to make huge strides in well and truly getting yourself out of the way.

Deborah Shakespeare

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