I am increasingly impressed with the effectiveness of using what are called “Personal Resource States;” a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) term and concept, with EFT. The result can be excellent. By accessing personal resource states and inserting them into the set-up and reminder phrases of EFT, we can often make breakthroughs that might otherwise not be possible.
Recently, I had an experience with a client, which illustrates this use of EFT. During my work with this client, a personal resource state was used with EFT to break-through a long-standing self-defeating pattern that had been a part of this person for nearly her entire life.
“Maria” is a natural as a teacher — intuitive, resourceful, and sensitively
attuned to her pupils and their special needs. But until recently, she couldn’t recognize her considerable competence because of her persistent self-criticism. However, she had been using EFT diligently over the past few years — both within and outside of her therapy sessions. She made enormous gains in confidence and has substantially improved the areas where she needed to make improvement in her teaching; organization of her lesson plans being one of them.
But now, Maria faces a challenge. In the school system where she works, teachers must progressively improve during their first three years of teaching to a point where they can be rated as “superior”— not an easy rating to obtain. This is a rigid requirement of the system and one which has intimidated Maria to the point where she sometimes feels despair about ever succeeding by their standards.
Recently, she was told by her school that the administration does not understand why she is showing such remarkable improvement in her third year of teaching — that is, why didn’t she show this improvement before —why this sudden jump? None of her explanations as to the reasons for this seemed to make sense to them, and so at this point she became genuinely uncertain as to whether she would receive tenure.
However, no matter what the school authorities may or may not do about this, the real problem is Maria’s self castigation for not having a been as good BEFORE, as she is becoming now, and her fear that a tendency to procrastinate to some degree with her lesson plans will persist unaltered and “do her in”.
In her therapy session, when I asked her what she thought she was doing incorrectly with the lesson plans, she answered, “I don’t know how to go FULL OUT. I never go FULL OUT on anything!”
The word “never”, made me prick up my ears. It seemed highly unlikely that a teacher as good at her work as Maria, and as good at parenting as well, was never able to go “full out” on anything. Aware of her devotion to her own children and her pupils, I began to discuss with her how going ‘full out” is actually a very relative matter. I was sure, for example, that she would go full out to save her children from a fire or other danger. While she readily agreed to this she was still holding to the concept that as far as her classroom preparations were concerned, she always held back somewhat and did not do her very best, did not allow herself to open up to her full potential.
What was alarming to her now was that she felt she would never be able to reach the standard of excellence demanded by her school within the next few months because of this resistance.
In order to break what I perceived as an almost airtight conviction on her part that she was would be unable to go “full out”, I helped her search for a personal resource state which we could use with EFT to begin to shake this conviction.
Accessing the proper personal research state is the first step when using this method. A personal resource state, by the way, is not a GENERAL state such as “being competent” or “feeling I can do things well”. On the contrary, such general statements do not do very much good because they lack the compelling personal meaning that a true personal resource state needs to have in order to effect real change.
Then, a thought came to me.
Maria is an athlete. Although not a professional athlete, she is competent at sports and exhilarates in getting out in the open and playing a game of softball, going to work out at the fitness club, or engaging in other activities of a truly invigorating physical nature. I had a feeling that her reluctance to go “full out” might not apply to athletics. I asked her if she could think of any time when, during athletic activities such as baseball, she had — even momentarily — gone “full out”, no holds barred.
She thought for a moment, and said “I guess I have when playing softball.” Then she described how, after hitting an infield ground ball, she found herself running at super-speed (with no brakes on) to first base.
This was just the kind of personal resource I had been hoping she would uncover. It was emotionally compelling as well as highly specific. In Gary Craig’s terms, it would make an excellent “mental movie” for EFT.
At this point, Maria remembered that the week before she had gone “almost full out” in work preparation for her class the next day. I asked her how she “knew” that she had done this, what clues had told her that this had happened.
She said she had prepared a good lesson plan for the next day and had filled out a surprising number of forms that had to be turned in, and this was not of typical her. “But of course I did it only episodically” she added.
What concerned me, though, was that she was not able to identify any feeling of exhilaration that might have clued her into the fact that she was going “full out”…and it was this emotion that would make the experience real enough to her to begin tapping with genuine effect — then it would be a true Resource State.
Because we needed an emotionally compelling example to use as a resource, I decided to re-direct her thoughts to baseball. What would she feel like if she were running as hard to she could and then didn’t make first base? Would she feel a sense of defeat and simply give up?
Her answer was a resounding “No!” She would stamp her foot and say “darn!” and be greatly frustrated, but she would not be blaming herself for not having run fast enough. She would know that she put everything she had into it!
This gave us a chance to discuss another aspect of this issue. Would she have regretted the fact that she ran that hard even though she didn’t reach first base in time? How would she advise a youngster she was coaching at baseball if this happened to them?
Maria was quite clear in her answer. If she had run toward first base in a merely perfunctory manner she would not have felt better when she didn’t make it to base, in fact, she would have felt much worse. What she would have said to one of the children whom she coaches in Little League, if they went “full out” and didn’t make it, was “Good hustle! Good try!”
We were getting to the point where she could start using EFT, but there were a couple of points to clarify first, because now she brought up another aspect.
“I definitely felt good accomplishing the preparatory work for my class. But, now I have another thought; if I had only done this BEFORE, then I wouldn’t be in trouble with the school. I’d have a really good chance at tenure.”
Here was an aspect that I felt might be central to the issue. The tendency to blame oneself for the PAST is a no-win one, always a futile gesture, yet people often blame themselves when they finally DO succeed, because they didn’t succeed BEFORE — and unfortunately other people around them often echo this kind of blame. For example, “Aren’t you sorry that you didn’t study in school when now you know you could have been so good at it all along?” Obviously, that’s the worst thing to say to someone who is FINALLY succeeding!
When Maria first thought about not having gone “full out” in her lesson plan preparation, her 0-10 intensity was a “10”. The set-up phrase which she then used, was:
“Even though I know I should have done this before, I choose to love the fact that I’m doing it now!”
After one round of the Choices Trio (See chapter 3 in Choices Manual for a description of the Trio) much of the tension had left her face and she was now smiling. Nevertheless she was still uncomfortable and her 0-10 intensity remained a 9 – 10 — don’t forget, we are dealing with a lifelong pattern.
What was she experiencing and thinking about now?
“Well, I had a bit of an overlay of the baseball image as I was thinking about my lesson plan preparation.” she said.
Aha! The personal resource state of being able to go ‘full out’ during a baseball game was beginning to have an effect! I suggested she might want to amend the setup phrase to go as follows:
“Even though I know I should have done this before, I CHOOSE TO RUN “FULL OUT” TO FIRST BASE!” This was her own Choice phrase, and as she spoke it she showed a sudden burst of energy.
After one more Choices Trio, her 0-10 intensity level had now come down to a “6” or “5”, and after one final Trio, she was down to a zero with respect to her feelings of regret and self-blame on this.
As she thought about the baseball image, it now occurred to her that “I only have to run to first base, NOT ALL THE WAY, at one time!”
For Maria to say this was almost unheard of since her standards are usually so crushing.
Next she tapped on:
“Even though I may not get all the way (or may not even make first base) I choose to run full out to first base!”
Actually, she was no longer referring only to baseball, but to all aspects of her life. Maria was now using the personal resource state we had uncovered, as a symbol for her entire self-recrimination syndrome. She was so into it that this experience was vivid enough to really “speak” to her in the language of her own experience.
Will Maria suddenly turn around and be able to see her situation entirely differently –– be a changed person? I seriously doubt it, but I think that in part she will have quite a new perspective on it. There will be further work to be done with her lifelong hesitation to allow herself to go “full out. Before she left we discussed in some length how she would feel if, for some strange bureaucratic reason, the school failed to give her tenure at the end of the allotted trail time. Would it feel better to have gone all out during the interim, or would she prefer to have held back and plodded along with her school preparations during the next few months? Her answer was clear ––she would feel better having made a “run for it”, no matter what the outcome.
Knowing Maria’s persistence in working with her problems, I have no doubt that she will achieve an important change with respect to this deep seated pattern –– it is simply a matter of doing further work. The final outcome is very good to contemplate. She will be a gifted and devoted teacher, whether she works in this or some other educational setting…and EFT will help her tap into her personal resources to the fullest.
EFT Master, Dr. Patricia Carrington