The EFT Words that Work

Finding the EFT Words that Work

People ask “how do I use EFT to help with….”   This question is often asked with the expectation that there is a library of set-up phrases and if only they can be given the right words then EFT will work wonders for them. Well using EFT effectively isn’t quite like that. There is no library of the right words that fit each behaviour, emotion symptom or medical diagnosis. There are no right or wrong EFT words; there are only the EFT words that work.

The words that work for one person are not necessarily the words that work for another. We are all unique human beings with unique life experiences and unique emotional responses. So ‘the EFT words that work’ are individual and subjective.  The words that work are the words that describe and tune a person into their own unique emotional experience.  And those words are their own words!

I’d like to introduce to you the teaching tool that I use to communicate EFT to my clients and trainees to help them find the words that work. I call it the ABC of EFT and it helps to guide a person through the EFT process by making it easier to remember the stages of the process and to gain some understanding about why we do what we do in EFT.


A is for Awareness.  This is the ever so important pre-tapping stage in which we use our awareness to tune into the unique and individual subjective experience of this particular person with this particular problem. This awareness is where the words come from.

B is for Balancing.  When we tap the karate chop and say the set up phrase “even though… I accept myself” what we are effectively doing is tuning into that aspect of the problem.  The acceptance statement helps to ‘balance’ the   problem statement to make it easier to say.

C is for Clearing.  As we tap the EFT tapping points using a few reminder words to keep tuned in we are loosening the stuck energy disturbance – the “zzzt” that those words give rise to.

D is Do it Again.  One round of EFT leads to the next.  We go back to A for Awareness to find out what has changed and what aspects remain. Then we update our words to take account of the change and Do it Again.

ABC is nice and easy to remember and Awareness, Balancing, Clearing and Do it Again is descriptive of the steps of the EFT process. Lets now get into a little more depth with A and B and C.

Peaceful Woodland

A for Awareness

Usually when we have a problem emotion colouring our thoughts and feelings we are trying to ignore it or push it away. This is because what we are used to is having no control or influence over our emotions and the way that they drive our behaviour and thoughts. We thus become scared of our own emotions.

However EFT allows us to effectively, quickly and painlessly balance the energy of our emotions so that we can think clearly and act resourcefully. Knowing this it becomes safer to approach and observe an emotion. In the Awareness stage we begin by stepping back and observing with a kind of detached curiosity. Like being on safari and watching the wild animals from a hide. Awareness is about asking the questions a detective would ask and being observant for the details of the answers.

Awareness questions are common-sense questions that seek specific information about what’s out there that sets of the problem and how the problem is experienced internally.  Questions like:

“What sets that off?”

“When is it worst?”

“When you get like that what’s it like?”

“What do you have to think about to feel like that?”

“When (or where, or with whom) does it happen worst?”

“How do you know you are afraid?”

“Where do you feel that in your body?”

The words of the answers reveal the external triggers and the internal subjective response.  These exact words, the words that come out of a person’s mouth are the right EFT words.  These are the words that tune in the disturbed energy.

Awareness is also about measurement.  Experience can change fast in EFT so measurement tells us how much has changed and what is left. Numbers are a simple way to measure and there are other ways like colours or drawing.  Asking “on a scale of zero to ten, how much does that get to you?”  is a good start.   Or with a physical symptom we can measure “how much can you move it?”

B is for Balancing

The words we gather from Awareness feed into the Balancing stage in which we contain the problem in a sentence that makes it safe to hold. Someone called the EFT set up ‘wrapping your problem in a blessing’ and indeed that is what we do. We can all hold a pebble so close to our eye that we block out the sky and we can all give a problem so much of our attention that we lose sight of what is good and true and joyful in our lives.

Simply saying “Even though there is this, I truly and deeply accept myself” is like moving the pebble to arms length. It doesn’t go away but now both sky and pebble can be seen at the same time.

The balancing words simply put something about the problem and something about self acceptance into the same sentence. ‘Even though…’ is an elegant way to do this and AND will work just fine as in “I have this and I am loved.”

C is for Clearing

Back in EFT history we used the full sequence of the EFT basic recipe tapping all the face and body points and the fingers and the nine gamut.   Any of you who have seen Gary’s recent (and excellent) work will have realised that much of the time EFT gets results just with a short cut of the face and body points. I only put the face and body points on the ABC sheet for my clients because that is usually all we use in the session and usually all that is needed.

As we tap the points we keep attention focussed on the problem by repeating a few of the words we used in the balancing statement. These don’t have to be the same on each point and if you find your intuition is varying the words then go with it. Beware though of jumping about all over the place and onto different aspects without fully clearing any.

A few variations I add from the basic eyebrow to underarm sequence is to either finish the clearing round by returning to the collarbone or finishing on the top of the head with the finger tips or by slapping the inside of the wrist. EFT is very flexible when it comes to which points to include or miss out. I like to give the collarbone point extra attention because for many people it is their “one point” which seems to have extra effect. Often on the first few iterations of EFT I tap round the clearing points for two or three rounds, as we go I’m watching my client closely and letting my intuition guide me as to how much or how fast to tap.

ABC in Action

Sally came to me saying that she had become highly nervous and simple things like going out to the shops had become a struggle. In the calm of my consulting room I asked her “What would you have to think about now to feel that nervous feeling here?” She replied “My husband and I are separating and I only have to think about the emails he sends me to feel all jittery” as she spoke she put her hand to her chest.  She told me that her husband was a lawyer and his emails were full of intimidating legal language.

This awareness gave us two pieces of valuable information to form some balancing words for EFT: the outside trigger of the language of her husband’s emails and the inside response of jittery in her chest. Just one of these would have been enough but we used both and our balancing words were: “Even though I feel all jittery in my chest thinking about my husband’s legal emails I really am OK and I really do accept myself.”

We then tapped around the EFT clearing points saying “legal  language emails” and “jittery in my chest” for a couple of rounds ending on the collarbone (I noticed that she visibly softened as she tapped the  collarbone).

I asked her then to imagine reading one of those emails and she laughed and said “Its like children playing games and using long scary words to frighten each other” Now this was progress for Sally and she looked visibly brighter but my intuition suspected there was more work to be done so back to the awareness stage only with more detail.

I asked her to focus on the email as if her husband’s voice were reading it and asked “is there anything about that that could still get to you?” “It’s not his voice she replied “its that put down sneering look that makes me, a top saleswoman, feel 6 inches tall”. Here is another aspect and Sally has given us the words for the next balancing statement:

“Even though his put down sneering look makes me feel 6 inches tall I really do accept myself, I’m a grown woman and the top in sales.”

We followed this with a round of “sneering look” and we both sneered as we tapped and ended up laughing. I first asked her to test by reading an email in her mind using his voice and imaging his look.  She was find and said “I may not use legal words but I can speak my mind”

Then I asked her to test the overall problem by imagining meeting with her husband.  She could stay calm thinking about that but then became angry remembering a business meeting several years before when she had been belittled. So we put the story of that meeting through ABC and continued for the rest of the hour until she was able to see the meeting calmly and from a wider perspective.

My final test was to return to where we had started and ask her to think about going in shops.  She felt calm and there was none of the jittery feeling.  I encouraged her to use the tapping process finding her own EFT words should anything set off the old feeling.  She left calm and cheerful clutching her ABC sheet and confident about using it.

I hope you find ABC useful and share it with your clients and friends.

Gwyneth Moss, EFT Master

The ABC approach to EFT By Gwyneth Moss, EFT Master First published by Gary Craig, EFT Founder on

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