Tapping: An Emotional Freedom Technique. ~ Valerie Johns

Via Valerie Johns
on May 29, 2014
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Valerie Johns

“The greatest potential we have for opening our hearts lies in the opening of our minds.” ~ Vironika Tugaleva

My Jizo Therapy is wading into the waters of what is popularly known as tapping. Tapping, aka EFT—Emotional Freedom Technique, can be found on countless websites, in dozens of YouTube videos, and at pain clinics.

The very basic idea is that we have acupressure points in our bodies that, when tapped, move energy and help facilitate change. I was skeptical. I listened to various so-called experts and I was still skeptical.

I tried it while on my meditation cushion and liked it. I felt more relaxed and had a better perspective on things. I found that tapping could take me deeper into trauma resolution and I felt more and more committed to the process.

Later, I added Jizo into the mix—Jizo is the embodiment of the Bodhisattva Vow, the protector of women, children and travelers.

How? Here’s an example—I wish I was willing to make little videos, as this is much more effective when watched and heard, at least for me.

Say, for example, you are really anxious when it comes to meeting strangers; you are afraid of not being liked, of saying something stupid, of not being pretty/handsome, smart, sexy, thin, cool—whatever your brand of anxiety says to you.

You begin by using the fingertips of one hand to tap at the spot on your other hand where you would do a karate chop. I am left-handed, so I tap on my left side. It is up to you.

As you tap on each point, make a statement. Start with the negative emotions, the more blatantly honest, the better.

“I am feeling really scared to go to ____ and meet ____ because I am afraid I won’t know anyone there.”

From the karate chop spot, move the tapping to the top of your head and then on to the other locations, following the above chart and making one statement per location. You can make up your own words, these are just suggestions to give you a feeling for the process. You could start with “I hate parties,” or “People scare me.” It’s your story you want to tell, this is just the framework.

“I am afraid I will make a fool out of myself.”

“I hate meeting new people. Strangers have scared me my whole life.”

“I don’t want to go…and I hate that about me.”

“If I don’t go, I will never learn how to make new friends and I will be alone forever.”

“Thinking like this scares me and makes me feel crazy.”

“I am afraid things will never change.”

“God, I hate my life.”

tapping_points_diagram_1024(I am getting down and dirty with my example—maybe you would never say those things. But there are times when most of us get pretty dark inside.)

Between tapping rounds, pause and notice your breath. Notice the sounds around you. Notice any sensations you may have in your body.

As you continue, do a few totally negative rounds, saying aloud the things you might be afraid to admit to even a therapist or trusted friend.

Actually say aloud, “I am afraid of going crazy” or “I am afraid I will die if ____.”

As you move through the tapping sequence, getting out the grossly negative for a few rounds, you may even have associations that come to mind, “The first time I met a stranger, they teased me and I felt ashamed,” “My parents always told me never to speak to strangers, never to trust a stranger,” or some another memory that surprises you.

Keep tapping. Breathing deeply into the belly. Bring Jizo, the Buddhist protector of all living things, along with words of love and acceptance into the next round. You don’t have to feel love or acceptance, you are just saying the words:

“I hate meeting strangers and I am ready to heal, while Jizo holds me safely.”

“I am afraid of making a fool of myself and I accept myself just as I am, right now, while Jizo holds me safely.”

“I hate that I am so fearful…and I love and accept myself, while Jizo holds me safely no matter how hopeless I feel.”

“I am afraid I will always be insecure and I think I am ready to heal, while Jizo holds me safely on my path.”

“God, I hate my life…and I am willing to love and accept myself just as I am, while Jizo holds the scared child within me.”

Finish with a round of purely positive:

“I love and accept myself, while Jizo holds me safely on my journey.”

At the very end of the cycle, tap your karate chop parts of both hands together and say, “Peace.” Then lie down for a few minutes in a corpse-like pose and just notice, without judgement, how you are.

It takes practice. I suggest tapping before breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime on a consistent basis, whether you feel like you need it or not. I like to combine it with some yoga asanas, as I feel even more focused if I take a moment to move into another deep stretch and then tap again. Other times, I sit on my meditation cushion and bask in some well-earned and cleansing tears.

I usually end with a surprisingly deep breath and a huge smile on my face.

 

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Photo: Valerie Johns


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About Valerie Johns

Valerie Johns is a family therapist and the creator of Jizo & Chibi, a website dedicated to the bodhisattva, Jizo, the protector of women, children and travelers. Chibi means “little one” in Japanese. She has been integrating Buddhist principles into her psychotherapy practice since 1990 when she first heard Thich Nhat Hanh’s talk on integrating the two practices.

Sometimes we all feel small like infants longing to feel safe; to be seen, heard and understood. In her work, Jizo holds Chibi to his chest, where he is often depicted carrying a pearl or precious stone to light the darkness. It is Valerie’s wish that you may embrace Jizo and Chibi so they may hold you when you are in the unknown and groundless places.

You may visit Jizo, Chibi and Valerie at www.jizoandchibi.com

Comments

6 Responses to “Tapping: An Emotional Freedom Technique. ~ Valerie Johns”

  1. Patty says:

    I've been hesitant to work with tapping. The beginning parts scare me. It feels that I am reinforcing negative thoughts by tapping on them. Perhaps I could start with adding "but Jizo holds me safely" while admitting the fears. I suppose that I need to sit with this to decide if it is right for me. Thank you for the informative article.

  2. Valerie says:

    I understand your fear, Patty. Perhaps you could think of it as speaking the unspeakable to 'dislodge' it, rather than reinforcing it. When I say, "I feel like I'm going crazy," or "I feel old and ugly," …after the first few trips through the tapping, it begins to sound delightfully absurd. We give dark feelings so much power when we run from them but when we turn and face them, they usually look like us, as children. No monsters, just scared child selves. Years ago someone helped me by encouraging me to do the things I feared. Grateful for it. Hope that helps.

  3. Bill says:

    Sounds like self-administered EMDR, which can use tapping along with or instead of eye movement to distract the mind and allow thoughts to access — whatever it is they access.

  4. Robert says:

    You say the negative because you can't release something with expressing and feeling it. You can bury an emotion or thought, but it is still there hiding in you.

  5. Valerie says:

    "Hiding" is what our unconscious does and brilliantly, Robert. This is more about giving voice to, and then feeling safety and compassion toward, the broken or hurt pieces of ourselves. In my world, we don't get rid of much as the unconscious is timeless… however, we can work with it, be mindful of it and use a variety of tools to cultivate awareness and self-care.

  6. Valerie says:

    Yes, Bill, they are both 'ego by-passing' devices, to get the ego held safely by the Self, by the Jizo, higher power, whatever you wish to call it. In all of these talking cures, we are allowed to be more congruent with ourselves and tapping can be done anywhere, any time, no facilitator necessary. I did find, initially, that it helped to watch practitioners on youtube, especially Pat Carrington, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-Efiu-vBU0 (wondering if I can post a link inside a comment?)

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