Because of our histories with people we are easily triggered by their expressions, body language, tone of voice and the ideas we have about what they are thinking. Sometimes these reactions can be a very painful and tangled knot to unravel.
The 3 Perspective Tapping Process gives a step by step method for untying those knots and taking the sting out of difficult interactions and this gives you a chance to change the way you interact with people at a very deep level.
It is useful for working out conflicts and misunderstandings between partners and friends and within families and work teams. It is also very useful for therapists, counsellors and coaches to understand what is going on in difficult interactions with clients
The process is a blend of EFT and NLP. It is unusual in that it involves moving around to access the different parts of an experience rather than sitting in one place. If you are used to tapping while sitting down this might seem to be an unusual approach. If you try it, I think you will find it is a very powerful way of accessing information you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get at.
The NLP part of this technique is taken from an excellent article Gaining Additional Perspectives In Relationships by respected NLP trainer Steve Andreas. In his process, just gaining the understanding of what was going on was a powerful way of changing your experience and improving the way you interact with others. I have added the specific EFT routines to this process to boost the power of an already powerful technique.
The 3 Perspectives
In any interaction between people there are at least three perspectives, three points of view that you can take.
1st Perspective – Self: This is what is going on from your own perspective. It’s what you are seeing, hearing, feeling and thinking during this encounter with the other person (or people). This is the perspective we usually operate from, it’s our default world view.
2nd Perspective – Other: This is the point of view of the other person (or people). It’s what they are seeing, hearing, feeling and thinking during this encounter with you. From this position we can understand the world from their point of view. If you are very empathic this will be a familiar perspective to you.
3rd Perspective – Observer: This is the point of view of a dispassionate observer, someone who has nothing invested in the outcome but who is interested in both parties and how they interact. From this perspective they can see what is going on with a clarity that is denied to you or the other person. It’s from this perspective that we can see what is going on between other people, the patterns of interactions are blindingly obvious to us (because we are on the outside of the problem), but completely invisible to them (because they are on the inside of a problem).
These perspectives can be very different, and it can be quite difficult to separate these perspectives because the mix of perspectives in our mind can get quite tangled up. We need to use a specific technique to hold the three perspectives separate from one another, so that we can explore them, one at a time and do some tapping on each of them.
In everyday life we use the word ‘viewpoint’ to mean a place on the ground from where we can see things of interest. To separate out these inner perspectives we create three distinct ‘mental viewpoints’ marked out in physical space by marking spots on the floor in the form of a triangle.
Placing each of these perspectives on a position on the floor allows us to move between them sorting out the different thoughts and feelings that go with different points of view. It’s a physical way of separating out what is usually jumbled together.
If this is the first time you have used this process I recommend that you go through the steps without tapping to get a sense of how these three perspectives feel and get some practice in the mechanics of the process. Refer to the Steve Andreas article for more information.
This process just needs awareness and simple tapping. You don’t need to use any reframing or install positive feelings. In fact, that will probably get in the way of a thorough piece of work. The best mindset for this technique is mindfulness, awareness and the ability to tap on what you notice without wanting it to turn out in any particular way. If you adopt this approach you may be surprised by the insights you gain into yourself and others.
Allow yourself to notice whatever arises no matter how unpleasant or judgemental, we all experience such thoughts and feelings, this is what we are seeking to clear with the tapping.
Some people find it easier than others to visualise, you don’t need to be an expert visualiser to make this process work, you just need a sense of what is going on with the imagined other however you conceive that to be.
You must not use this process to work on your interactions with a person who has been, or still is, associated with traumas and abuse in your life. You need to take care of those memories and their aftermath before using this approach, supported by a suitably trained professional if possible.
1. Mark out three positions on the floor.
Each position should be about two paces apart, in the form of an equal sided triangle. If you need to you can mark out the positions with index cards or post it notes.
The lower left hand point of the triangle marks the Self (1st Perspective) position, the lower right hand point of the triangle marks out the Other (2nd Perspective position), the point of the triangle marks the Observer (3rd Perspective) position.
2. Think of the person you have difficulties dealing with.
3. Step onto the Self position and imagine the difficult person standing in front of you in the Other position.
4. Notice all the reactions in you and about them that come to mind. Tap on the following aspects:
- All the things they do that provoke a judgement or reaction (The first line is the form of the set-up statement followed by a few examples.)
- Even though they / he / she … I accept myself and how I feel
- Even though he is so annoying I accept myself and how I feel – Reminder phrase – he is so annoying
- Even though she is always causing trouble I accept myself and how I feel – Reminder – she is always causing trouble
- All the feelings that you experience when faced with this person, all the things you feel about the situation and them.
- Even though I feel guilty about hurting her I accept myself and how I feel
- Even though I feel angry I accept myself and how I feel
- Even though I mess it up every time, I accept myself and how I feel.
Typically, each round of tapping will bring new aspects to light as you peel back all the layers of reaction and response. Be as thorough as you can be. The ideal is to be calm and neutral before moving onto the next step.
5. When the intensity of your reactions have subsided, step from the Self position to the Observer position. Imagine leaving yourself behind (it might even help to give your body a little shake to dispel any residual feelings). Put your self in the frame of mind of a kind observer of the human situation and look back at how those two individuals interact.
- Tap on the interactions that you notice until the charge on each observation is reduced.
- Even though they … I accept myself and how I feel
- Even though they are always arguing I accept myself and how I feel – Reminder phrase – they are always arguing
- Even though he is bullying her I accept myself and how I feel – Reminder phrase – he is bullying her
- Even though she is being a doormat I accept myself and how I feel – Reminder phrase – she is being a doormat.
- Tap on how you react (as the observer) to these interactions.
- Even though it makes me sad, I accept myself and how I feel
- Even though I feel angry about this, I accept myself and how I feel
6. When the intensity of the interactions and the observer’s feelings about them have calmed, step from the Observer position into the Other position. When you do this imagine that you are stepping into the other person’s skin, so that you can see what they see, hear what they hear and feel what they feel. From this perspective look back at the Self position and see yourself as they see you. Notice how that you looks, sounds and feels to the person whose space you are occupying. Notice how you feel about that ‘other person’ (the imagined you), and what they do.
- Tap on your thoughts and judgements (as the other person) about you ‘standing’ in the Selfposition
- Even though ‘he’ is being aggressive, I accept myself and how I feel – Reminder phrase: He is being aggressive.
- Even though ‘she’ looks pitiful, I accept myself and how I feel. – Reminder phrase: She looks pitiful
- Tap on your feelings (as the other person) as you are looking back at yourself.
- Even though I am disappointed, I accept myself and how I feel
- Even though I feel annoyed, I accept myself and how I feel.
Continue tapping until your feelings (as the other person) have settled down.
7. When the intensity of those feelings have gone down, step from the Other position (shaking off any residual feelings if you need to) back to the Observer position. How does the interaction between those two people appear now? If there are any other issues that need tapping for, take care of them now as in step 5.
8. When you are satisfied with what you are noticing from the Observer position, step back into the Self position. Take a few moments to settle back into yourself and be aware of what it is like to face this person now.
If there is still work to do with your reactions to that person you can repeat the process, either immediately, or from time to time when needed. It is possible to learn from and have more things to tap on if you go through the process a couple of times.
Notice what is different when you are next in the presence of this person.
3 Perspectives Tapping can undo very deep patterns of interaction with other people, not only do your responses change without making any conscious changes but their responses to you may also change without any effort from you.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.
To download a nicely formatted PDF version of this article click – 3 Perspectives Tapping (940)Image courtesy of Ed Yourdon