Using Energy Modalities within the Context of the Therapeutic Process.
A Beginners Guide
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Information for people using energy modalities who have little to no clinical training in the therapeutic process.
Here is a general outline of the therapeutic process with a client incorporating energy modality aspects.
First: Consent and sign
Remember to review with client their rights and responsibilities. Both you and the client sign consents around privacy, confidentiality, guidelines, cost and any disclaimers around treatment interventions. Be clear and authentic about who you are, your skills or education and what you can offer. It is important to establish this before any work begins. Make sure you have permission from the client to tap on them if the need arises. If they are not comfortable with this do not touch them. If you are not a designated counsellor or therapist it is helpful to discuss this and create your own document as to having reviewed this kind of discussion/ information with the client for clarity and meeting expectations.
Make sure to gather important numbers and demographics for contact and emergency situations. Usually therapists have generated their own intake sheet for their files which include names of key people, doctors, family member info and possible medications. I keep mine very basic. Other counsellors or agencies may have more elaborate and detailed forms however clients want to get going and not spend time giving information to fill forms! When a client calls to set up an appointment this information can be taken over the phone rather than at the first F2F.
Explore, engage, and gather information through focused questioning. What does this remind you of? When did you first notice this? When in the past did you have this feeling before? What is the downside of letting go of this? What has worked in the past? What have you tried that has not worked? What do you perceive to be some of your greatest strengths and weaknesses? Spend time developing your own list of thoughtful questions that enable you to assess where the client is at and their resources. Do not rigidly fire a list of questions at the client. Designing this list is for you to reference and be aware of all the possible ways of accessing valuable information to help guide the energy work during the treatment intervention. You do not want to hold tightly to a linear process here. You want to move freely with the flow of what is unfolding weaving these questions as the opportunity presents itself while maintaining engagement with the client and utilizing your intuition.
Watch and listen
Really listen to the client’s choice of words to describe their thoughts and feelings. Notice their body positions; watch their non verbal clues and any observable distress on certain topics or in reference to certain people. Often clients will not openly admit to any sexual abuse or addictions unless that is their primary reason for coming for counselling because of feelings shame. There are times because of the signs I’m picking up that I directly ask if they have experienced this and most often they are relieved to expose this but would not have volunteered this information themselves. Be cautious and never assume that someone has been sexually abused especially if they are not sure themselves. Do not “plant” this idea in their head.
Normalize and reframe
Give encouragement by calling attention to some of the client's strengths that you are already picking up on (courage, openness, self awareness, effective verbal expression, clarity, loyalty, commitment to the process, focus, resiliency etc.) A little burst of positive helps to stabilize all the pain and feelings of failure in their life they may be expressing to you in the session. It offers them hope that they inherently have resources and skills to build on. Be empathetic and warm. Reflect back what you hear them saying so they fully understand that you have really been listening to them and that you “get it”. Gently point out what you have observed up until now from their nonverbal behaviour. This can provide some insight for them on possible situations and people that they were not consciously aware of being bothered or disturbed by.
Goal setting: identify targets for change.
Assist client in identifying issues/ body sensations or associated distressing feelings that they would like to collapse. There are some models that require the client to fully engage or tune into specific feelings or distress as in EFT and other techniques that can be more suitable when the issue is too big, general or overwhelming and it is desirable to have the client observe the feelings and stay in a place of witnessing or detachment and thus you might use a technique like TAT(Tapas Flemming) or Inner RePatterning (Tania Prince) for example. Please note that the former techniques hold their own and are not exclusively used for overwhelm or global issues. I just find them useful for certain clients and certain situations. If a client becomes overwhelmed while using EFT don’t let that scare you and halt the process. Have the client stop verbalizing and pull back and simply just have them tap or if you have permission tap for them, bringing attention to the breath until a sense of calm returns. Once you identify what the client would like to work on it might be helpful to ask how they would rather choose to feel about this which you can make note of, in their own words for use later in the process.
Have client rate (imagine or guess) the level of distress or SUD level around their concern. Write down for future reference and testing.
Be aware of client’s blockers to success like the buts’, what ifs, doubts as to effectiveness, fears around change, possible identity shifts etc. The removal of identified factors that lead to psychological reversals can be cleared first and at any time in the process when suds levels are not reducing.
Apply Treatment Intervention
Introduce and begin to apply chosen EP or energy intervention appropriate to the target goals and level of safety around the issue. Follow designed protocol of the technique you are using.
Test/Rate again. If need be, reapply technique until the desired shift occurs or carry on with the next awareness/ aspect that arises. Have client retell their story or incident. Check for remaining distress. Have them imagine a scene in the future. Have client exaggerate or intensify to test. Have client check in with body sensation or discomfort. Have client breathe, drink water and tune into where they are at now and continue with process or another if appropriate or needed.
Re-integrate, re-pattern and or install a conscious choice.
Once you and the client have cleared the disturbing emotion, as a counsellor you can guide the client into shifting to a new vibration of integration or positive choice.
This process is built into some energy modality protocols like Matrix Re-integration (Carl Dawson) for example. Notice if there is a cognition shift in the clients’ perception of the issue. Some clients start to laugh or cry as a sign of release. Some may even deny it was a problem in the first place which is always a bit humorous. Remind client of their original SUDS level from the start of the session. Once the space has cleared, there is the opportunity for the client to choose how they would like to think about the situation from here on in. You might use Patricia Carrington’s “Choices technique” and continue tapping in the “positive”. You might remind the client of their previous response identified in goal setting phase. This too might have changed for them now that they are experiencing a new viewpoint. Follow the clients lead on this.
If you are trained and using one particular model of Energy Psychology stick with what works for you. Sometimes a seasoned therapist might deviate and include other techniques found in EP, CBT and or behavioral strategies to explore or offer affirmations and or breathing exercises for the clients. I like giving tapping homework or have the client start a journal or if artistic offer a creative activity to increase awareness. I offer resource book suggestions for those desiring to learn more about a topic of interest.
It is always a privilege and a gift for me to have a client trust and share with me. For me it is a magical experience of stepping out of time and moving right into the flow of the present moment with no awareness really of my own personal self. My undivided attention is on moving into their world and their reality and this is healing for me personally too. I am an avid and daily tapper, constantly welcoming another opportunity to clear my own emotional vessel. I encourage all individuals who work with others to stay on top of your own stuff using whatever tools and resources you have on a day to day basis. Continued education combined with a commitment to doing your own consistent healing work will enhance your skills and make you a better counsellor, coach or therapist.
Jody Galardo M.Ed, EFT-CC offers counselling to individuals, couples and families in her private practice in London Ontario Canada.You can contact her by going to her personal website http://www.mttcounselling.com where you can also find free tapping downloads and resources.
Posted August 20, 2011 02:53 PM
Although this is a good article for licensed clinicians, I have concerns that non-licensed practitioners may overstep boundaries. Tapping on serious emotional issues such as trauma can bring some very dangerous consequences, including memories that are frightening to the person. People are flooded with painful memories, night terrors and other symptoms related to the trauma. There is a reason people go to licensed professional counselors. If you need to learn how to do intake, assessment and gain consent, you should not be using energy psychology on people with serious mental health issues.
Mental health issues can be just as serious as physical health. If you are a beginner at tapping and do not possess the proper education and training you should not be going there. I feel this article addresses expert issues, not beginner.
Posted August 20, 2011 11:34 PM
Hello Cynthia, I agree completely with you as to the seriousness of addressing trauma and the need for expertise. In Ontario at this time there are numerous psychotherapists who are not registered because we do not yet have a regulatory body. This is in the works and will be operating in another year. I am also aware that there are many practitioners using EFT Gary Craig is one individual for example,who have not been trained in the traditionally taught therapeutic process, many of whom do have the skills to deal with trauma but are not registered therapists. Certification in EFT is becoming more comprehensive with their training to include aspects found in more formal education. This was intended to provide an outline for new bees as to the complex nature of what a session might entail in order to be aware of some of the aspects of therapy they need to consider. Hopefully it would spur them to truly understand Gary's message " don't go where you don't belong" which I feel was your intended message.Thank you for sharing. Point well taken!
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substitute for proper medical care or good common sense.
While EFT has produced remarkable clinical results, it must still be considered to be in the experimental stage
and thus practitioners and the public must take complete responsibility for their use of it.
In addition, the articles on this site represent the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the
founder of EFT, Gary Craig, nor the owner of this web site, Stefan Gonick.