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Recently I received an email from a lady I’ll call Mary (not her real name) who suffers with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome asking whether I thought EFT could help with CFS. With her permission I am including excerpts from our correspondence below, because I think they illustrate one of the biggest challenges in the world of Energy Techniques lately – that of over promising. This problem is, I think, doing a great disservice to the value of these techniques and slowing their spread to those to whom they can offer MOST help. I’ll have more to say about this at the end of the email excerpts below. Dr. David Lake has also written a companion article which follows this one.

Here is Mary’s initial request to me:

"I have had a few sessions with an EFT practitioner in my area and one over the phone with someone in another State to me. Although I can somewhat understand how EFT can be of great assistance, I am unsure as to whether it could help with CFS etc. and help me to rebuild my body back to vibrant health…

Can you give me any words of wisdom here? Have you had other people with severe, long term debilitating CFS find EFT and Provocative Therapy of assistance? Can it help to restore health if the symptoms have been there for so long?"

My initial reply to Mary:

I have had some experience with CFS, what a depressing disorder it can be in every respect of the word! However, I have seen people recover from this AND do so even after long-term although Energy Techniques like EFT, SET, and PET were not the only treatment and improvement was over time, and it is not the case that everyone will have the same experience…

So in response to your question the answer is yes its possible these techniques could help you although probably not on their own and I would also recommend ongoing use of them rather than expecting a quick fix…

You can easily get a lot of meridian stimulation happening on a daily basis using our new SET approach and this can assist in reducing your overall stress levels and potentially freeing up some energy – see more here - however the best thing would be to work personally with a therapist (not over the phone) if that is at all possible.

I would also suggest you consider the possibility (likelihood) that you are depressed and consult your physician regarding an appropriate treatment - Most people are reluctant to consider drug treatments but my experience is that more severe depression does not respond well to other treatments like EFT unless there is something else like this to help lift the depression… The alternative and traditional work best together when seen as complementary…

Mary’s reply:

"You are the first EFT person who has pointed out that EFT for CFS etc is not a quick fix for which I am extremely grateful. I stopped seeing the Practitioner in my area because I felt I had failed as I was led to believe that I should "be better by now" after a few sessions.

I may point out that in many cases, not just with the EFT Practitioner, but with all manner of so-called natural Practitioners, I have been told the same thing - couldn't count how many times I've been promised that he/she will fix me within a few sessions! It's been my experience over many years that quite a few health practitioners have a certain amount of arrogance and lack humility and real empathy…"

End of email excerpts…

Steve’s comments:

I have received a lot of similar complaints recently, all stemming from people over-promising on what EFT or other Energy Psychology techniques can really deliver, perhaps out of ignorance of the profound physical and emotional overwhelm of some of these conditions. In my experience, if we are more experimental rather than dogmatic in our own thinking and in what we say and do with our clients and potential clients then we can open up possibilities for us and them. Otherwise we risk coming across like snake oil salespeople rather than seekers of the truth 

If we dogmatically insist on EFT as the one and only treatment, and 1-2 sessions of tapping as the absolute expectation for massive results to be experienced for everyone and all conditions, then we risk shutting down our capacity to accurately assess, empathise with, and to meet the client where they are. We become just a technician with no other tool than our tapping hammer AND we potentially set both ourselves and the client up for a fall when our – which then become their - irrational expectations are not met.

Here’s the reality for MOST people: EFT (and other Energy Techniques like SET and TST) are NOT a quick fix for the vast majority of physical conditions, even though they may at times provide rapid relief to some symptoms such as pain. In particular chronic conditions will frequently require ongoing treatment and the tapping will often need to be combined with other treatments for optimum results. We should even leave our minds open to the possibility (reality) that for many conditions, particularly physical conditions, EFT is NOT the best treatment available.

I think its time for us all to stop criticising the closed mindedness in the traditional medical profession and ask ourselves if we have become a little closed minded ourselves. I say this whilst admitting that I have been guilty of this myself in the past. For example, in the early days of my exuberance for EFT I once stated confidently that someone’s phobia could be fixed in a few minutes, having just had similar results a few minutes earlier on another person with the “same” phobia, only to suddenly find myself with a person whose apparently simple phobia on the surface actually connected to an entire complex negative belief system, multiple past life traumas, and a negative self-image, among other things… Not the same phobia at all actually…

In earlier times, I recall Gary Craig saying often that we practitioners should, “Under-promise and over-deliver”. I don’t seem to hear this much in the EFT world lately however, which is why I feel compelled to say it now. In fact, I see too much evidence that over-promising is turning people OFF the techniques, rather then helping them to see the potential.

In my belief, over-promising and getting caught up in the hype and expectation of the one-minute or one-session wonder is one of the things that has the greatest potential of harming the progress of getting these techniques out there to the people they can most help. Not only because it turns many people off. Also because it can lead us become focused on technique and short term results rather than on the people we wish to help and their own uniqueness. That it can lead us to see them as just a set of buttons to be pressed or points to be tapped on rather than complex human beings whose conditions may have multiple causes (and correspondingly multiple potential avenues for healing).

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