In an earlier Tutorial I emphasized the importance of addressing specific events rather than global issues. This can often spell the difference between apparent failure and dramatic success. Even though the concept is easy to understand, some newcomers have difficulty putting it into practice.
Fortunately, there is a tool that greatly simplifies this important task. I call it the "Movie Technique" and it is demonstrated many times in the EFT – Beyond the Basics DVD set (previously called Steps Toward becoming the Ultimate Therapist).
Simply stated, if the client can make a mental movie of the event then it is automatically a specific event. A movie has a specific beginning and a specific end in time. It has a specific plot and specific characters. It has specific words & specific actions and generates specific feelings. In fact, if the client can't make a specific movie of their problem then the problem is too globally stated.
Here's an example. Suppose the client states their problem as,"My father always abused me." This is too global, of course, because that abuse is likely comprised of numerous specific instances (events) of abuse. If you ask the client to make a specific movie of this abuse, YOU FORCE THEM IN THE DIRECTION OF A SPECIFIC EVENT. Once in awhile the client will make a vague generalization of the issue instead of a specific movie. In such cases, you will need to guide them in the proper direction.
To give you some guidelines for stepping through this Movie Technique, I submit the following procedures that I have refined over time.....
- First, ask the client, "If it was a movie, how long would it last?" Typically, they give me an answer that can be measured in minutes. This reflects, of course, a specific event. If they say, "several hours" or"several days," then you can usually assume they are still being too global.
- Next, ask the client, "What would the title be?" This also tends to force specificity. In most cases, they will give you a specific title such as, "Fight in the Kitchen" or "My accident in Mom's car." If they give you a more general title, be sure to check out how specific they are being.
- Next, ask them to run the movie in their mind and evaluate the intensity they are having NOW (as they imagine it) on a scale of 0-10. Alternatively, you can ask them to GUESS what their intensity would be IF they vividly imagined it. I usually find their guesses to be reasonably accurate AND guessing tends to save the clients some emotional pain.
- Next, do several rounds of EFT on "this ____________ movie." At the end of each round check out the 0-10 intensity. Typically, it will come down to low numbers or to zero. You may be done with this specific movie at this stage but continue with the procedures below to thoroughly test the completeness of your work.
- Next, ask them to go through the movie in their mind, starting with a low-intensity segment, BUT STOP WHENEVER THEY FEEL ANY INTENSITY. You will usually need to emphasize the importance of stopping because most clients are conditioned to believe that, in order to be rid of their problem, they must be brave and feel the pain while going through it. This is now ancient thinking. With EFT, these stopping points provide opportunities for tapping.
- Next, use EFT on each stopping point until there is no more intensity on that segment (aspect) of the movie.
- Have them run through the movie in their mind again, beginning to end, tapping on intense aspects as they come up, until the movie no longer has a charge on it.
- Finally, when the intensity seems to be resolved, ask the client to go through the movie one last time, but exaggerate the sights, sounds, colors, etc and really TRY to get upset about it. If they find some more intensity, then keep repeating the steps above until it is gone. When they can no longer get upset, your work is done.
Properly done, this procedure should neatly remove a negative tree from the client's emotional forest. Then you can remove another tree...and then another...and then another...until 5 or 10 of them have been thoroughly uprooted. Since most of these trees have some commonality among them, there is usually a "generalization effect" that spreads throughout the whole forest, thereby toppling the rest of the trees. Thus, the client's problem of "My father always abused me," even though it may have several hundred specific events (trees) contributing to it, is often handled after 5 or 10 specific events have been neutralized.