Can EFT Help if You Don’t Know What You Want?


Can EFT help if you know that you are willing and capable but don’t know what you want / have no vision?


EFT can indeed help but perhaps not in the way you expect.  You would do well to first address the “tail-enders”, as Gary Craig calls the persistent objections in the back of our minds that often prevent affirmations from working.

Not knowing what you really want in life is far more common than most people think.  A striking instance of this comes to my mind.

Some years ago (it was before I had ever heard of EFT) I was teaching a class on creating what you want in your own life through the use of positive Choices (a forerunner to my present EFT Choices Method.)  This was a five weeks course that met once a week, and I remember clearly one woman who signed up for the course for no reason I could discern.

She was a high school librarian who announced when she registered that she really didn’t know herself why she was coming to the class because she really didn’t “want” anything in her life.  She didn’t have the appearance of a contented, fulfilled person who simply didn’t need anything else in her life, however.  Rather she seemed timid and somehow shut-off from her emotions.

Before admitting her to the class, I sat down with this woman and questioned her about possible interests of hers, possible longings or unfulfilled aspirations.  We got nowhere with this until the she finally said, in a weak uncertain tone, “Well I guess maybe I’d like to have a rock garden.”

So that was the wish she began with –– a rock garden, no more.  To me this seemed almost to symbolize the apparent barrenness of her life and her outlook that did not allow her to reach for anything other than what was there already.  I didn’t tell her this however, but instead admitted her to the class whose members immediately began working on creating their own personal Choices.

The woman spoke little while the rest of the class was eloquent in expressing their frustrations about not being able to realize what they wanted in life.  Some of what they said must have rubbed off on her, however.  She and her husband had not left the vicinity where they lived for 18 years, but questioning by myself and the group finally helped her to realize that what she “secretly” wanted was to go for the first time in her life to Europe, although she added, “Of course this is impossible because we could never afford it.”  Nevertheless, in the third session of the class, an unsuspected wish of hers had been identified. 

As she began working with this Choice by using Choice cards (no-one in those days knew about EFT of course, but I was already recommending Choice cards over 20 years ago) some ideas came to her, and at the last session of the class she suddenly announced that when she was in high school she had loved artwork and that she had recently found an old easel of hers and some old paints in her attic and brought them out.  This led to new Choices relating to resurrection of her art work and soon to her surprise she had a list of Choices to work with (for a discussion of Choice cards and instructions on how to make them, see Chapter 3 of my Choices Manual).

Two weeks after completion of the course this woman contacted me with the first real excitement  in her voice that I had ever heard her express.  She told me that she and her husband were planning to take a trip to Europe when the school year finished.  She also said she had bought some new art supplies, set up an ease, and was now painting pictures of her garden.  She was also planning a rock garden for the Spring.  At the same time several teachers in the local high school where she was librarian reported to me that she seemed to be like a “different person”, humming and even singing out loud as she walked through the halls.

This woman had begun to realize that she did have half buried wishes and directions that she would like to follow in her life.  For her this had happened through exposure to a group where the members were moving ahead rapidly with their own personal choices.  Today, even without such a group, EFT can be used very effectively to create a personal vision.

The first thing to do is to recognize that not having such a vision means that there must be a block somewhere to what is a natural tendency.  Left to their own devices, people clearly want certain things in life and deeply enjoy getting them.  If there is no reach for what we want, no vision of what it is, then there are compelling reasons for its absence.  All of these can be addressed by EFT.

Some of the Choices statements that might be used for this purpose are:

Even though I have no idea what I want, I choose to feel a sense of entitlement to my own wishes stirring within me.”


Even though I have no vision of what I want, I choose to be guided to find the blocks that are preventing this vision.


Even though I have no vision of what I want, I choose to remember those incidents that robbed me of my right to know what I want.” 

These are only a few of the kinds of Choices that might get you off to a good start.  Reasons why people do not know what they want in life are varied and almost all of them of stem from early childhood experiences.  Families can, for example, crush a child’s ability to know what they want by substituting their own wishes for those of the child and making the latter believe that it is their (the child’s) own desires that is at stake.

For example, a parent may say with a tone of disgust, “Oh, you don’t want to the go to that party.  You know it’s not suitable!”.  This may be a totally untrue statement, however, because the child may want very much to go to that party and think it quite suitable to go to it.  A much more honest and far less damaging statement on the part of the parent would go something like, “I know you want to go to that party and I understand this, but I don’t want you to go because (and at that point they would state the reason).  Such a statement in no way invalidates the child’s own ability to know what it wants, while at the same time honestly expressing the parent’s point of view..

In a case like this a suitable EFT statement might go:

Even though they told me that what I wanted I didn’t want, I choose to know my own mind today.

Choices will vary because each person is individual, and will have different reasons for not being able to envision what they want.  These can range from feelings of undeservedness (“I don’t deserve anything I really want”), to a sense of danger at having one’s own wishes and desires.  Perhaps as a child they believed that their own wishes would bring about punishment, or could get someone else in trouble, or perhaps they simply imitated a parent who could never express their own wishes.  All such issues can be addressed with EFT.  To help this process along one might use the all-encompassing Choice:

“Even though I don’t know what I want, I choose to find a creative way to use EFT to solve this problem.”  This important Choice can begin to bring things into focus for you.  It may take quite a bit of time to recognize your deepest wishes because to stifle a child’s awareness of what they want, it takes many repeated and often traumatic events to numb one of our deepest instincts.  However, persistence will pay off, and if you encounter difficulties along the way I suggest that you  seek some help from an experienced EFT therapist.  Another person’s viewpoint can be enormously helpful here.

I wish you well in this effort.  It should be very rewarding and very informative.

By Dr. Patricia Carrington

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