People sometimes ask me:
Why do we tap on the negative first in EFT Tapping?
The negative phrases feel interruptive. Shouldn’t I feel relaxed?
Isn’t it better to focus on positive statements?
Newcomers to EFT Tapping may not understand that addressing negative thoughts and emotions is essential to its high efficacy rate.
A mind-blowing study includes 5,000 anxiety patients who received either cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), with medication if needed, or tapping with no medication for 5.5 years. 90% of patients who used tapping showed improvement versus 63% of the CBT patients.
Only 3 EFT sessions reduced the patients’ anxiety, compared to 15 for CBT. 76% of the EFT people got complete relief, compared to 51% of the CBT people.
Tapping is certainly a powerful stress relief tool. But without an understanding of what to expect, we might too easily assume that the modality doesn’t work.
I hope to clarify these misunderstandings, so that more people may benefit from EFT.
Why do we tap on the negative first in EFT Tapping?
EFT Tapping is most effective when we acknowledge the negative first. This includes conscious and subconscious negative thoughts, tough emotions, limiting beliefs, past hurts and trauma.
It’s futile to deny that we all carry negative baggage.
Our negative thoughts exist, whether we like it or not, and resisting them can keep us from enjoying peace of mind and a fulfilling life.
Let’s say you want to set a boundary with a loved one. You feel extremely nervous about having the conversation. What if they take it badly? You try to brush it off.
But you can’t help observing some uncomfortable physical sensations—your pounding heartbeat, shallow breathing, bodily tension.
These are signs that your amygdala, the part of your brain that controls the fight-or-flight response, has been activated. This automatically happens in reaction to a perceived danger.
If your amygdala could talk, it’d most likely say:
Oh, we’ve seen this before! Remember what happens when you speak up for yourself? You get criticized, minimized, abandoned. That’s painful! Don’t do that again! Danger, danger!
But you don’t have to stay in this stressful state. You can use EFT Tapping to quickly calm your mind and reduce your anxiety.
In this example, we could address your fears by tapping on the phrase, Even though I’m afraid they’ll take it badly and I’ll get minimized, I love and accept myself.
We acknowledge what’s true for us in the moment and validate our experience, which can be liberating in itself.
As you tap, you’re sending calming signals to your brain, thus rewiring it to feel at ease about your issue. Stress and pain are no longer associated with speaking up.
So the next time you set a boundary, you’ll find that it’s much easier to say no and stay grounded.
Who wants to face their pain?
As we dig into the issue, they sometimes find that they’re not quite ready to do what it takes. They may have the best intentions, but their fears outweigh their desires.
And it’s completely understandable.
Change can be terrifying, especially if we’ve built many walls to protect ourselves. Grief naturally arises as we acknowledge the pain of the past to make room for new perspectives.
Who wants to eagerly face their pain?
And yet this is often what’s necessary to create a life of peace, joy and abundance.
Some people seem to think that healing should feel like a blissful meditation—this meme sums up the actual process:
A few of my fellow EFT Practitioners have offered this analogy:
Imagine if you had intense tooth pain. Your dentist asks you to show her the tooth and describe the sensations. But instead, you prefer to talk about rainbows and kittens to make you feel better.
That would just be ridiculous!
You may have heard of the saying, “What you resist, persists”. So much of our energy and potential gets depleted when we fight or flee our shadows. The chaos in the world often reflects this inner battle.
Thankfully, it’s much easier with EFT Tapping.
In the hands of a skilled EFT Practitioner, EFT is a safe and effective healing modality that gently releases our deepest fears, so that we can make peace with ourselves.
Sometimes, tapping can temporarily make us feel worse. We might not feel relaxed immediately after a round of EFT. There may be deeper layers to work through. That’s normal.
Again, an experienced EFT Practitioner knows how to guide you to the other side of the shore.
Making room for new growth
Every body has unique needs.
A certain healing modality may be helpful for one person and not another. Or the modality may not be right for you at this time, but it becomes helpful in the future.
My best advice? Listen to your intuition and stay open and curious.
In my signature method, Release & Replant, we use EFT Tapping to remove the roots of an issue, which are the underlying fears, limiting beliefs and past wounds that sustain it.
Then, we replant with empowering seeds—affirmative beliefs of who we want to be—preparing the soil for new growth.
Ultimately, each of us is like a seed. Our full potential has always been there.
It’s just a matter of removing the false beliefs and nourishing ourselves.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” —Rumi
P.S. I’m offering free EFT Tapping sessions in exchange for a short interview. Learn more and book your session.
Annie Moussu is a certified EFT Tapping Master Practitioner helping women build confidence, set boundaries & enjoy healthy relationships. Get her free EFT meditation & guide for people-pleasing.
Further reading to help understand why we tap on the negative first in EFT Tapping: