Having trained numerous people to become practitioners of Emotional Freedom Technique since 2016, there are common patterns that I see emerging.
The most frequent mistake that practitioners make, however long they have been in practice, is to try and do too much too soon.
The Benefits of Going Slowly
In most cases when a client comes for help, the issue(s) that they bring have accumulated over many years, decades or even a lifetime, although they may not be aware of that. Expecting to unravel a complex history in a few sessions is unrealistic, and it is important for the practitioner to manage both their own expectations and those of the client.
I often speak of “giving clients the gift of EFT” during my training courses. One of the unusual things about Emotional Freedom Technique, is that not only does working with a practitioner give you the ability to see things completely differently, but you will also learn to use EFT for yourself between sessions, which can be ideal in ‘first aid’ scenarios, such as feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
During training, I encourage new practitioners to record a short audio or video of EFT during client sessions so that the client can use the technique themselves between appointments. It is immensely empowering to do this.
Although as practitioners we are well-informed about our therapy, and about trauma and will certainly have done plenty of work on our own issues, we cannot possibly know what our client’s core issue might be.
Many people, especially those who have never ‘done therapy’, do not realise that there is very often a connection between childhood events, limiting beliefs and the issues that they experience as adults, whether it be fears, phobias, health issues, relationship difficulties, money problems or challenges at work.
Explaining these connections to clients is immensely empowering for them and enables them to begin looking at their life and the potential origins of current issues. When a client makes these links and follows the threads, the depth and breadth of healing can be far greater than ever imagined by the practitioner, as I have witnessed many times. It is not uncommon for people to completely turn their world around – leaving unhappy relationships, changing careers and experiencing great health or achieving financial abundance.
The Pressure on Practitioners
It might be hard to believe, but it is NOT the responsibility of the practitioner to ‘fix’ their clients. In fact, we are not ‘fixing’ anyone. We are merely sharing some helpful tools with them and showing them some signposts, as well as holding a mirror to enable them to see a true reflection of themselves.
Really feeling this, as a practitioner, can take off the pressure a great deal. We need to get out of the mindset, perpetrated by the medical profession, that anyone or anything outside us can fix us. Practitioner burn out is a real problem, and one of my favourite pieces of advice is:
Let go of the outcome
This will allow you, as a practitioner, to enjoy your work without attaching to client outcomes. Who knows what they might have going on at home or work between sessions with you? Or what lifestyle they may be pursuing. You cannot be responsible for all of this.
So How Many Sessions?
This will, of course, depend on the client’s goals. If someone has a fear of flying and an unavoidable work trip in 4 weeks, your time together may be limited to a few sessions until they are on the plane. However, if another client has thirty years of back pain, or has experienced anxiety since teenage years, you will likely be working for longer.
The Joys of Long-Term Clients
When you keep your eye on their goals, and regularly review progress, long-term client work can be immensely rewarding. You know their back story, and can often make connections between current challenges and those from the past, which they may not see. You build rapport and they become extremely adept at using EFT and making changes to the language when it doesn’t quite feel right.
Your Resistance as a Practitioner
If you are conscious that you want to go fast, get the issues resolved quickly and are diving in too soon, take a step back and learn from this. Reflect on your reasons for doing this. Common ones are:
- I don’t want to keep taking their money week after week (what is this saying about your money blocks and self-worth? Something to work on.)
- What will they think of me/the therapy if their issues aren’t going away? (You could ask them!)
- I want an amazing testimonial from a “quick-fix” (warning: you might not get a testimonial at all!)
- I am worried I’ll get bored or lose focus from working with a client long-term (keep reviewing their goals and progress with them)
- We know that clients sometimes move quickly, and flit between subjects as a form of avoidance. Is there something in your clients’ story that you are avoiding? (Get supervision or have some one to one sessions on what is being triggered in you).
As well as helping our clients on their journey of personal growth (whether they realise that is what is happening or not), a big part of being a practitioner is our own growth journey, and the areas of practice that feel uncomfortable for us will be the places where we can learn most about ourselves.
And the fabulous thing about Emotional Freedom Technique is that we have an amazing tool to help to clear our blocks and change our beliefs, as well as supportive community to assist us.