This is a first in a series of articles on tapping. This one will explain what it is and how to use it, further posts will bring in variations on techniques – as there are a lot! I will also explain how you can use it with your children.
What is it?
Tapping was originally developed by Gary Craig from a system called Thought Field Therapy (TFT), Gary came up with EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) as a method of tapping on a few keys points on the upper body to release stuck emotions. Eventually other practitioners developed variations on the system, we’ll cover these in the next few posts
This falls under the category of energy psychology, it sounds woo woo but it works and it works well. Unfortunately there has been little scientific research into it and as a result it is outside of normal mental health treatments that you may get from your GP. I and many others have used this with great success so I encourage you to add it to your calm toolbox
How does it work?
The official explanation is the combination of acupressure (Tapping) on specific key meridian points from Chinese medicine, related to the internal organs. The stuck “energy” gets released and you calm down. I have my own – more scientific – theory on how this works, but we’ll stick with ‘energy’ for these techniques as it will help keep it simple. If you have memories or a phobia then aspects of these get released as you tap. The key element of tapping, other than the acupressure, is aiming…
For tapping to work you have to aim at a problem. For most of the tapping techniques this part is the same. Think about something that bothers you, rate it on the SUD scale, then tap while focusing on the memory.
Sometimes you will aim then tap for one round, aim again, tap e.t.c. Other techniques will have you focus on the problem continuously.
Visual Memory vs non-Visual
If I said to you “Imagine Boris Johnson in drag, wearing make-up, a polka dot dress, a posh hat and attending ladies day at Ascot” could you see that in your minds eye?
If the answer is yes then when tapping you can focus on the problem as you see it or remember it. The plus side is that you will see a problem disappear and know it’s source, the disadvantage with this type of memory is that anything traumatic you tend to re-live as if you were there or your mind will throw up uncomfortable images.
If you didn’t see anything you have a non-Visual memory. This means when tapping you will focus on the feeling or sensation. The advantage with this type of memory is that any anxiety is usually feelings only, the disadvantage is that when you have a problem you may not know the underlying trigger
Layers and Aspects
When you are tapping you will be dealing with Aspects, you may feel you aren’t getting anywhere , but with repeated practice you will clear all the aspects and the whole of the problem will disappear. Think of your mind like a forest, the biggest trees are your major problems, you also have minor issues (smaller trees). Usually the big issues will be covered in amongst the little ones, but as you practice you mow through some smaller problems and cut down the big ones and when they fall down, they take down loads of smaller ones with them.
Case Study – How to tap on issues – Warning! the fears mentioned may be a trigger for some, skip to the end of the grey section if you think it’s too much.
Lucy watches a lot of TV, especially the news. Lucy is afraid of Spiders, Lucy is also claustrophobic and is afraid she will get Coronavirus. Lucy is now working from home watching the news all day. As you can imagine this is a recipe for extreme anxiety. Lucy is stressed 24 hours a day 7 days a week at the moment.
What can Lucy do?
Lucy has learned about tapping on Guide2Calm and decides to give it a go.
- She picks the worst issue and focuses on the memory or feelings (more on this below)
- She rates the feelings on the SUD scale
- She taps using the styles in the next few posts
- She checks on the feeling
- She repeats 1 to 4 until she feels it is now at 1 or 0
We’ll find out how Lucy gets on in Part 4
Working with children
When working with Children you can tap on them gently on the meridian points or you can get them to tap on a favourite toy like a teddy bear (yes this really does work). The quick version of tapping in Part 2 is a good one to use and i’ve used this with my own children with great success.
Now I know there will be several questions relating to this so I’ll answer them next:
What if I can’t remember the problem or have no visual memory?
Describe the feeling to yourself: Where do you feel it?, what colour is it? What Shape is it? Does it feel heavy or light?
What if the memory is too painful to recall?
Aim at the feeling instead
I’ve removed a problem but now there is another one that’s popped up, what do I do?
Make sure the original memory is a 1 or 0 and then focus on the new one, you are drilling through layers and aspects here, once one has gone other related things may appear. Just keep going, you’ll know when you need to stop or take a break.
My friend tried this and she tapped once and her problem went from 10 to 1 straight away but it doesn’t for me?
Some people have issues that they are ready to let go of, in these cases they can go in one or two rounds, most people will need to repeat the tapping techniques frequently and repeatedly to see the benefits as there are usually a lot of associated aspects to a problem.
This is a good one you can use when stressed or even car sick!
Follow your collar bone until you find the little v in the middle of your chest. An inch either side to the right or left is a meridian point, tap lightly and consistently either side with the tips of 4 fingers. If you have a condition that prevents you using your hands in this way, you can ‘thump’ gently on the upper chest for the same effect. You must tap gently. No need to bruise yourself. Do this repeatedly for as long as you need and you will find your levels of stress reduce. If you are trying for car sickness, you will find as long as you keep tapping the feeling will stop.
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