How Does Tapping Work?

by Anna

Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Kathilyn Solomon, author of the new Tapping Into Wellness.

When people call for a consultation about EFT, otherwise known as Emotional Freedom Techniques or tapping, they usually ask a question along these lines: “Will EFT work/fix/help/heal my: pain/cravings/social anxiety or depression/short temper/attachment to clutter/grief/money troubles/unhappiness with my body…?

As tempting as it is say, “Yes, come on in,” that answer is too simplistic. I say that my work with clients has collapsed the emotional contributors that have been holding their problem in place, whether that problem is presenting itself as:

  • Emotional: “I’m anxious all the time,” or “I can’t deal with the grief,” or “I’m such a bad parent!” or “I can’t get this bad memory out of my head,” or…
  • Physical: “My horrible back ache!” or “I hate this auto-immune illness,” or “I have low energy,” or…
  • Behavioral: “I can’t control my cravings,” or “I can’t control my relationship behaviors,” or…
  • Performance-based: “This public speaking phobia is ruining my career,” or “I was fired for the third time” or “My professional game is so off since the crash/injury.”

I’ve just listed a whole bunch of different scenarios, but guess what? They all follow the same path with regard to the EFT process. First, consider the problem you want to solve as the tippy-top of a pyramid. The foundation of, or layers under, that problem pyramid are the details, past memories, thought-patterns, and beliefs, all the way back to your childhood. These are holding the problem up. EFT calls the problem a tabletop, and these details and events, the table legs. Tap on the details, the table legs, and the whole problem pyramid collapses. It’s that simple.

How do you do that, though, when you can’t figure out how to let the problem go? First, you ask yourself this question: When’s the first time I felt this way? What does this upsetting feeling or image remind me of? What was happening around this time of my life when this problem started?

Ask just one of these questions and you may be surprised that the answer is leading you to the bottom rung of the pyramid, and when you tap on that, you’ll find the pyramid getting closer to toppling to the ground.

For example, EFT was a primary driver in healing my own fibromyalgia, which is what led to me becoming an EFT practitioner. But was it enough for me to say the EFT setup phrase to heal: Even though I have fibromyalgia, I deeply and completely accept myself? Not quite. The fibromyalgia problem was at the top of the pyramid I mentioned above. I addressed the different triggers (the foundation blocks of the pyramid) going all the way back through my childhood to heal. These included past events that appeared to be among the table-legs holding the tabletop fibromyalgia in place, in particular unresolved grief and early childhood memories, the belief that it’s not safe to be healthy and when I am sick I am loved, issues relating to self-blame and that somehow the sickness was my fault, fears relating to never getting better, my feelings about what family and friends said to me, and how our culture values people who are not considered “productive.” Naturally, this took some persistence. But it was worth it!

Am I saying you have to work this much in each situation? Nope. For example, a gal came to me who had had a fear of heights her entire life. We started the tapping process while standing at the top of a staircase. I asked her what the feeling she was experiencing reminded her of. Immediately, she said, “I remember the time mom and dad were arguing and we were hiking on a high plateau and I was close to the edge and scared.”

I didn’t question the logic here. And with EFT, don’t question your logic; follow what comes to mind and you’ll go far. We tapped on that traumatic memory, which was also wrapped up in her father leaving the family shortly after that argument she witnessed. And as we resolved her fear from that early memory, her stair phobia disappeared. In one session. I also tapped on every single detail that scared her about walking down the stairs until each one of them had no charge at all.

It’s common for your subconscious to make the connection between the trauma of an early event and a problem today. For example, another client’s fear of public speaking was tied to two childhood events, one in which a neighbor asked her a question and she didn’t answer, and when the neighbor left, the client’s mother said to her, “Are you really that stupid?” and a second event in which she was punished for saying something that her father thought was “out of line.”

So, will EFT work for everyone? The answer is yes. And Tapping Into Wellness will help you understand how to tap, how to get specific, how to uncover the hidden triggers, and give you a reference you can turn to again and again.


Our thanks to Kathilyn for her guest post! For more from Kathilyn Solomon, read her article, “How to Use Tapping to Ease Stress, Pain, and Grief.”


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