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Combining NLP & EFT Part 3 – Information Gathering

by Alexander R. Lees, DCH, RCC

In our zest to apply the tapping (such as EFT) efficiently, we sometimes phrase this desire in our mind as: "The more tapping, the better." This can be quite a valid assumption, to a point! While teaching EFT, I have observed some practitioners begin tapping the 'client' within a few seconds of sitting down, and continuously doing so throughout the session. Others do not. The question I am asked by students is essentially the following, "Which is the right way?" By way of helping them to understand this issue more fully, I usually suggest they ask: "What is the difference that makes the difference?"

The answer to that question is essentially one of information gathering.

The information gathering portion of any intervention can be just as important as applying a technique, in the this case the tapping, to 'fix' things. Part of the time devoted to proper information gathering rests with the client. It is well known we all speak about things both globally and specifically.

"I hurt," is a global statement. Answering the questions, "How are you hurt? Who hurt you? You hurt because of?" leads to specifics. As a general rule, the more specific and succinct a person is in describing a problem, the more time can be devoted to doing something about the presented issue. In both NLP and in the tapping, the subject of generalizations vs specifics is taught.

A generalization is a form of global communication, that is, an individual is sharing a rule that is used to classify experience(s). Some headway can be made by tapping on the presented generalization in the sense the client (who can also be oneself) feels better. However, much more can be accomplished by assisting the client to become more specific, and thus the reason for the information gathering aspect.

There are perhaps as many ways to assist a person in recalling specifics as there are imaginative and versatile people. However, if you would like a tried and true map to guide you to greater skills, I suggest learning about generalizations from an NLP perspective.

One specific segment of that training is referred to as The Meta Model. The Meta Model is simply a description for the process of learning how to ask questions for information gathering purposes, for gaining a more complete understanding of the problem presented. Once this phase is satisfied, tapping can be applied with even more enriching and empowering results.

By way of comparison, we'll now look at a possible excerpt from an exchange between a practitioner and client, without this extra training, and with this extra training.

Without extra training:
Client: "My mother didn't love me."
The practitioner introduces the tapping, and after a round, asks the client for feedback.
Client: "Much better. I feel relaxed."

With extra training:

Client: "My mother didn't love me."
Practitioner: "How do you know your mother didn't love you?"
Client: "Huh?"
Practitioner: "What, specifically, did your mother do, or not do, that sent you the message she didn't love you?"
Client: "She never smiled at me."
Practitioner: "Do you always smile at people you love, all the time?"
Client: "Well, I guess not."
Practitioner: "Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you didn't necessarily love someone, yet found yourself smiling at them?"
Client: "Well, sure."
Practitioner: "So how do you know that your mother not smiling meant she didn't love you?"
Client: "Well, I guess I don't."
Practitioner: "Tell me, do you feel uncomfortable when you are in the presence of a female, and she doesn't smile at you?"
Client: "That's it!"

In the second example we have effectively begun to address a generalization, or more specifically, the adverse affects of a "negative" generalization. The client is more in doubt than surety that his mother didn't love him, and is beginning to realize the connection to his present situation, i.e., women make him uncomfortable when they don't smile at him all the time.

Applying the tapping to this uncovered information will certainly serve the client more usefully than simply tapping on: "My mother didn't love me." Both will work; however, the second example would be even more empowering.

Please remember, you are engaged in helping, be it yourself or someone else. "Being understood," means you have supplied, or are about to supply, a solution. It also implies the client is ready for it. Information gathering is an important part of this process, and developing your skills to do so enriches the experience tremendously.

It will also add a better insight into a statement made by Stephen Covey, in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - "Seek first to understand, before being understood."

So please understand that sometimes hopping right to it and tapping away turns out the best thing you could have done. At other times, taking the time to gather the necessary information will be more important. By knowing about both approaches you increase your chances of success through versatility, and that's what you want, is it not?

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Posted: 10/15/2009

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