Self Help Guidelines

    The self-help shelves in book stores groan under the weight of so many books about changing your life for the better.

    Most of us want to change our lives for the better but it’s difficult to know where to start and what to do for the best.

    My preferred self-help tool is Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), sometimes known as tapping. My approach to tapping is heavily influenced by my experience of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). I have found a combination of these approaches very helpful in my life.

    If you don’t already know EFT then you might want to read: Why should I bother learning EFT?

    Learning EFT/Tapping

    If you don’t already know about EFT/Tapping the best way to learn how to do it is to attend a live training.

    You can learn about EFT from a book, I did (at first), but there is no substitute for being shown how to use EFT in a workshop or coaching session. EFT is a set of skills, knowing how to use them is much more useful than knowing about them.

    By all means start with a manual or watching videos, but however good your book is it won’t be able answer all your questions, give you one to one feedback on your progress so that you have the confidence and skill to use tapping well.

    Find out about EFT Level 1 Trainings at EFT International.

    Using EFT/Tapping For Self Help

    This page is a round up of some of these approaches and techniques that I use and my philosophy of EFT self-help which emphasises making patient progress over time, an approach I think of as Slow Change.

    Daily life is a succession of challenges and joys that we need to navigate to get to the next day. These challenges and the stress that goes with them may be big or small.

    It’s obvious that some life events are going to take a toll on our health and well-being: divorce, bereavement, redundancy are all major life events that are often loaded with stress.

    But even small stressors can have a cumulative effect, little by little eroding your emotional and physical well-being.

    By making small and continuous efforts to relieve stress you can mitigate the compound interest of suffering, and lower the stress burden to become healthier, happier and more at ease.

    Know thyself …

    I think of EFT as a means of self-discovery and healing, it needs commitment to investigate and work with your own feelings, thoughts and experience.

    You are a unique individual with a unique tapestry of experiences, all the approaches and techniques I suggest require you to investigate your own experience and work with what you find.

    There is no way I can know what’s right for you which is why there are no tapping scripts on this website.

    If you search the internet for information about EFT and your ‘problem’ you will probably be overwhelmed by tapping scripts which claim to address your issues: I encourage you to be sceptical of them. Whoever came up with the script may be an expert in their field, but they can’t be an expert in you – that’s your job.

    Gary Craig, the creator of EFT/Tapping has written about his objections to tapping scripts and ‘tap-alongs’

    Rather than accept a stranger’s opinions about what is wrong and what to do about it I encourage you to take a little bit of time to find out for yourself how you work and what works for you. It may take a little longer but you will get much more benefit from the effort.


    If your distress is deep, long-standing or routed in trauma, I encourage you to be very careful using EFT as a self help technique.

    Although the tapping process is simple it can sometimes access deep wounds and connect with powerful feelings and sensations.

    If that happens or you are afraid of that happening find a skilled practitioner to work with, they can keep you safe and help you do that healing work. Visit my therapy page or the EFT International website to find qualified practitioners.

    Start small

    Many people tend to wait until they cannot ignore the effects of stress or negative emotions before they do something about it.

    Unfortunately we have an incredible capacity for getting used to things. Sometimes this is useful, but at other times our ability to put up with things until we break, leaves us in a very poor state to repair the damage, perhaps needing professional help to resolve our difficulties.

    You don’t have to wait until you need a practitioner or therapist to make emergency repairs. There is another way: by making a persistent effort over time to improve your emotional life we can reduce the stress burden and improve our level of emotional freedom.

    Just as daily exercise may seem like a bit of a chore, it is a great way of preventing major medical problems down the line.

    In the same way regular tapping on the small stuff can make a big difference, lowering your stress levels and enhancing your emotional stability.

    One of the advantages of EFT is that you can start small, you don’t need to face your biggest demons at the start of your tapping career there are 7 reasons to start small with EFT so that you can make gentle and significant progress.

    Another advantage of a regular self-help practice is that EFT becomes the first thing you think of when the going gets tough, not the last. Knowing how to tap is easy, you need to remember to tap in stressful situations to get the best from the technique.

    Getting yourself to start

    Having the desire to help yourself is the most important first step.

    Unfortunately helping yourself means that you will have to change and many of us have a strong unconscious resistance to change.

    For some people it’s better the security of misery, than the misery of insecurityCharles M Devonshire

    Fortunately, you can use EFT to soften the resistance to change and make it easier to get started.

    For specific, step by step guidance for establishing a gentle EFT practice I wrote a free 10 part introduction to using EFT in daily life you can sign up to the Tapping Habit.

    Using EFT to change how you feel

    This is the most obvious advantage of a self-help process being able to change the way that you feel in everyday situations.

    Sometimes you feel bad and you don’t want to and you just want to relieve those negative emotions. Some emotional states are paradoxical, the more you want to get rid of them the more they seem to hang on. Strangely enough it is possible to ease unpleasant emotions by accepting them or lose your negative emotions by choosing them.

    Another way of changing negative emotions is to change the way you think about them. In everyday life we identify with how we feel. How often have you said “I am angry”, “I feel upset”? This way of talking over-identifies us with the feeling and can make it hard to change. You can make your tapping much more effective by changing just one word in those sentences.

    Becoming responsive instead of reactive

    You learn from your experience. Stuff happens and we respond to it as best we can. If the same kind of stuff happens over and over again we learn to react to it in the same way, over and over again.

    You develop conditioned ways of responding to situations. It’s as if you become programmed to behave in a certain way. Somebody says something or looks at us in a certain way and you become angry or frustrated.

    Some situations, or people, can push your buttons and you react in unhelpful ways – you react rather than respond.

    Rather than just have your buttons pushed, what would it be like if you could respond from a more resourceful and centred position?

    If you take time to boost your respondability, you will be able to choose how to respond and handle these situations in more resourceful, less stressed ways.

    Using EFT to process everyday difficulties

    If challenges arise during your day it’s good to have a simple to use process that can help you deconstruct the problem and work on it with EFT.

    After learning EFT many people struggle to know how to apply it to everyday situations. They don’t know how to approach the problem effectively and may even give up before starting.

    If you are not sure how to apply EFT in everyday situations these articles may be of particular value.

    In How to use EFT to solve everyday problems you can learn a simple process for working with common everyday difficulties. All you need is some time and a pencil and paper. If you want more information you can watch a video presentation of the process called Pencil and Paper Tapping to guide you through the process.

    In “How to use EFT to soften unpleasant memories” the previous process is adapted to help you work through events in your past that may have caused you difficulty then and you may still be troubled by the memory now.

    Important: this process is not designed to relieve trauma. If what you went through was very traumatic seek the help of an experienced practitioner.

    In “How to resolve distress about things that haven’t happened yet” the original technique has been adapted again for use with upcoming events. So if you are anxious about forthcoming exams, medical appointments, interviews, presentations etc, this process could help you meet these challenges without the extra emotional stress.

    This is just a beginning …

    These articles are represent the tiniest scratching of the surface of the possibilities of using EFT for self-help. There are many articles on my blog and elsewhere that can help you in your journey.


    While Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) have produced excellent clinical results and are both gaining in scientific support, neither are yet widely accepted as formally validated scientific techniques and thus must be considered experimental in nature with no guaranteed outcome in any individual. Both practitioners and members of the general public must therefore take complete responsibility for their own use of the EFT and NLP processes described in this website.

    Neither EFT nor NLP are therapies in themselves and all of the descriptions of treatment and advice on this website that refer to self-help are not meant to imply that everyone will benefit in a particular way. A lack of result or progress may mean you need professional assistance.

    Adverse effects are extremely rare, and, if any emotional intensity occurs using these processes, it is often the manifestation of a previous or underlying problem. If you consider that you have long-standing or severe problems you should consider working with a qualified therapist