Monday, April 10, 2017


Finding Aspects

This one idea will dig beneath the surface and often boost your results.

Aspects are hidden pieces of the issue.

Aspects are smaller parts of an emotional issue.  They are like puzzle pieces and, until we know how to uncover them, they can be hidden “behind the scenes.”  Despite their hidden nature, The Unseen Therapist often resolves them routinely.

But remember, she is limited by the degree of readiness (influenced by The Guard at the Gate) of both the patient and the human therapist.  Accordingly, we may need to assist her in bringing some Aspects out of hiding.  Therein lies the purpose of this article.

As we uncover these Aspects we bring awareness to them and that, together with the intention to gain relief, notches up the "readiness factor" and better allows The Unseen Therapist to do her job.

So until all of the parts, or Aspects, have been resolved, you may still feel intensity on your overall issue, and it may seem like "Optimal EFT didn't work very well" ... or ... the issue eventually "came back" ... or ... The Unseen Therapist fell down on her job.  In reality, the Aspects you have already resolved are often still resolved, and the intensity you feel is coming from the Aspects that remain.

For complete relief on most issues we usually have to confirm that ALL the Aspects have been resolved, and that requires looking a little deeper and finding the individual parts of the issue that may still need attention.

Example: Auto Accident

Here's an example. A client of mine still had trauma symptoms from an auto accident of 20 years ago. When I asked what bothered her about the accident she said,
"The headlights!! The headlights!! I can still see them coming at me."

I then applied the process to the headlight emotion and then, mistakenly, asked her if the accident still bothered her. She said,

"Yes. I am still very tense ... in fact, I'm shaking inside."

So, unless I investigated further, it would appear that my client made no progress and that my efforts "didn't work." But the problem was that I asked the wrong question. I asked about the accident (the broader issue) instead of the headlights (the specific piece, or aspect).

Eventually I figured this out and asked, "Do the headlights still bother you?"

Her answer was, "No, but I can still hear the screams in the car."
Do you hear another piece (Aspect) of the issue? Sure. The headlight trauma was fine; she waved it off like it was nothing. It was resolved beautifully. But now it was the screams in the car (new Aspect) that bothered her. Once the screams were relieved, I found that she still had guilt for driving too fast and held anger at the doctors and lawyers involved. More aspects. Sometimes an unwanted memory can have many Aspects to it and you aren’t done until all of them have been resolved.

Resolving an Event (like the accident):

If the issue you want to address is something in particular that happened in your life, then seeing the Aspects is often straightforward. There are words people said, gestures or tones to go along with them, things you saw, things you heard, emotions you felt, or any other details, all of which could have their own unique levels of emotional intensity.

Performance Issues:

Whether you’re trying to improve your golf game or have a hard time speaking in public, you should be able to see different parts as they show up. In golf, it may be a particular kind of putt, or it may be a thought in your head just before you hit the ball. For public speaking, you may worry about the size of the audience, something about the location itself, the subject matter, or maybe there is one member of the audience that triggers intensity. No matter what area of your life seems blocked, there are often individual Aspects triggering the intensity you feel. Putting yourself in the actual situation can be a great way to trigger those Aspects and bring them to your attention.

As you work through whatever Aspects you find, other issues or events from your past might come to mind. In that case, they are usually related to your current block, so switching your focus to those older issues will usually provide more powerful results.

Emotional Issues:

Common examples of current emotional issues would be anger management, relationship issues, workplace stress, social anxiety, low self-esteem, etc. and they will all have Aspects of their own. Anger management may include all of the individual behaviors or people that trigger the anger. For relationship issues, look for the smaller individual things that irritate you or leave you feeling upset. Social anxiety could bring up particular kinds of situations that are more problematic compared to others.

As a general rule, the more Aspects your issue has, the longer it may take to resolve them. On the other hand, some emotional issues only have one Aspect and it only takes one or two rounds to give them relief. They are among our "one minute wonders." Others, like the accident example above, have many Aspects and require more diligence. 
Each Aspect, when present, is treated as a separate problem.


Once you discover new Aspects, resolving them is straightforward. Just address each of them as a separate problem and let The Unseen Therapist resolve it. Be sure that you are now measuring the intensity of the Aspect before and after each round instead of measuring the entire issue each time.

Switching Aspects:

As the intensity from one Aspect of the problem has been resolved, like the headlights in the accident example, your system will often automatically shift to the next Aspect that needs to be addressed, like the screams in the car. The first Aspect will no longer seem important and the new Aspect will gracefully take center stage. If you are looking for Aspects and know how to spot them, this part of the process can be very handy. It can be like peeling layers of an onion because as you resolve one layer, the next one is right there underneath it.

On the other hand, if you are only paying attention to the overall issue, like the accident itself, you may not notice the Aspects as they come and go. The Aspects of the issue will be there behind the scenes, generating intensity, whether you know about them or not. In fact, the intensity you feel on the issue itself may be fluctuating or even going higher, based on the Aspect your system is currently tuned into.

As a result, you may conclude, erroneously, that Optimal EFT “didn’t work” because you simply don’t recognize what has happened. On the contrary, Switching Aspects is resounding evidence that it DID work. It’s just that it can be difficult to see the progress until you break the issue into its smaller parts.

Here is a video showing basic Optimal EFT being used for Aspects

This session with Carrie occurred about two years prior to Optimal EFT's announcement to the public.  This makes it particularly useful for our purpose because, like you, I was a beginner at this process.  At that time I had not created the name Optimal EFT or The Unseen Therapist metaphor.  Instead, I referred to these as Tapless EFT and Spiritual Peace.  Nonetheless, you will clearly see the principles in action.

The first half of the video covers some background that is useful for the latter half.  Along the way I ask Carrie to identify a Specific Event which, it turns out, brings up a feeling of helplessness.  We then find an aspect (anger) and resolve it.  You should find this quite helpful.
e-hugs, Gary.

Testing Your Work

Testing is essential because it gives you ways to measure your success AND it provides pointers to where The Guard at the Gate is resisting the healing efforts of The Unseen Therapist.  Through it you discover what's not done yet.  Without it you can be easily fooled into thinking a surface result is all the further you need to go.   This article starts with the basics and then provides numerous advanced methods.

First, the basics

How do you measure your success with Optimal EFT? 
You could just ask whether or not you or your client feels better.  A simple yes or no will provide you with a rudimentary test. 

But wouldn't it be more useful to find out how much better the issue became?  For example, is it 20% improved, 80% improved, 100% improved?  This sort of measure points to the possible need for more rounds of Optimal EFT AND motivates you to be more thorough.

A basic way to do this has already been mentioned in the Lessons.  There we recommended that you estimate the severity of the issue, on a 0 to 10 scale, both before and after doing Optimal EFT.  In this method, 0 would be no intensity whatsoever and 10 would be the worst the issue has ever been.  Thus if the "before" number is 8 and the "after" number is 3, then you have (1) an estimate of a substantial improvement and (2) evidence that more Optimal EFT may be necessary.

This 0 to 10 scale is in common use with professional therapists and is often called the SUDS scale (SUDS means Subjective Units of Distress).  It is a basic method and is very useful for most people.  However, it does not get into the depth that is sometimes required by the highest quality uses of Optimal EFT.  Our Advanced Testing methods (see below) fill this gap.

HINT:  Sometimes my clients have been so far removed from zero on some emotional issues that they don't really know what a zero is.  Accordingly, they might report a 1, 2 or 3 when, in fact, they are at zero.  In these cases, if I suspect they are mis-judging the intensity, I might ask, "How do you know it is not a zero?"  This can add accuracy to the Optimal EFT process.

Advanced Testing

Putting the whole process under a magnifying glass.
Putting the whole process under a magnifying glass.
Here we explore several in-depth ways to test our Optimal EFT efforts.  They are advanced over the 0-10 scale and put the whole process under a magnifying glass. In the process, they show us where resistance (The Guard at the Gate) may be thwarting our progress.  This resistance usually shows up in the form of Aspects or related issues and, like other problems, can be addressed with The Optimal EFT Basic Formula.  

Please note that these methods should not be used unless you think the issue(s) are reasonably well collapsed.  You are looking for remnants so this in-depth testing should be done near the end of the process where the possibilities for pain are minimized.  Please consult physicians on all medical issues.

Test in the real situation when possible

This is the ideal test because it provides the highest likelihood for exposing remaining Aspects or related issues. Putting yourself in a real situation will often present Aspects you couldn’t have anticipated.  Examples of this would be (1) Testing the anger you may have toward an abusive parent by actually meeting with the abuser, (2) Performing basketball free throws under intense situations in a real game or (3) Testing your result with a fear of heights by looking down from a tall building.

Obviously, it is not always possible to Test in the real situation, so you can also try the other methods below.

Vivid Visualization

On the surface, this may seem self explanatory. The general idea is to vividly imagine the issue or event in your mind ... turn up the volume, make everything bigger, exaggerate all the sights, sounds, colors and sizes and really TRY to get yourself upset about it. If you succeed in generating intensity, you likely have a new aspect(s) to address.

However, many people are afraid to do this because they don’t want to experience the pain they think may be there. They may have made great progress so far with Optimal EFT but are sometimes concerned that this testing method will run them headlong into possible pain (even though we are expecting little or none to be there).

Accordingly, many people don’t really vividly imagine the issue. Instead, they tend to close their eyes and tip-toe lightly over it. This is NOT a good test. That’s why I give specific instructions to the client to make sure this test is properly performed.

Tell the Story

This is similar to Vivid Visualization except one tells the story about the issue ... IN DETAIL  If intensity arises during the story telling, you have new material to address.

Use Props

Here we test using photos, memorabilia, sounds, movies and the like. This is particularly useful as a substitute for those times when testing in the real situation is not possible. The idea here is to trigger emotional issues and observe what aspects or related challenges arise. For example, you might (1) view a photo of a deceased loved one to test your level of grief, (2) play the sounds of gunfire or helicopters to test the traumatic response to war/abuse or (3) view the snake scene in the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark if you wish to test your progress regarding a fear of snakes.

I once used a recorded TV series as a prop to help Robert, a 52 year old African American man, with his poor self image around being black. His inadequate feelings consistently improved through our EFT sessions UNTIL I tested our results by asking him to watch ROOTS, the TV series about black slavery in the US. He recoiled at this and pleaded that he could never watch it.

“Excellent!,” I thought, "Here is a fabulous opportunity to get deeper results."

This was ideal because ROOTS consistently tested the specifics of Robert’s issues and gave him opportunities for resolution right on the spot. The result was a complete transformation because he now beholds ROOTS (and himself) with a sense of pride for what his ancestors were able to overcome.

“Say this….”

This one can be used to test aspects or specific events as well as generalized (global) issues.
The method is simple.  Just have the client say a direct phrase out loud that represents anything that would previously have triggered intensity, and ask how true it feels on a scale of 0-10.

For an Aspect or a Specific Event the testing phrase might go something like this...
  • "She thought I was stupid"
  • "The whole class was laughing"
  • "I was raped"
  • "It was my fault"
These phrases are typically taken from the words of the client and represent the “hot spots” of the issue.

For a generalized or global issue...
  • "I’m useless"
  • "I was raped"
  • "My mother doesn’t love me"
  • "I was humiliated"
  • "She left me for someone else"
  • "I’m all alone"
  • "I deserved to be abandoned"
  • "It was my fault"
It is often useful to establish BEFORE and AFTER 0-10 measurements on the statement so you can see how well you did with this round of Optimal EFT.

If the intensity has been released, they should be comfortable saying the "Say this..." phrase. If not, more Aspects or specifics await you. One way to access those is to ask what their "self talk" was when they said the phrase. Whatever they said to themselves as a reaction to that statement can lead you to new Aspects or related events.

Role Playing

This involves re-enacting a disturbing memory or actual event. For example, you can mimic the voices, postures and gestures of offending persons to test whether or not there is any intensity left.  You can even ask a friend to play one of the roles and perform Optimal EFT as the client role plays.

Catch the client off guard

This involves testing your result by doing something unexpected. Depending on the context of the session, you might surprise your client by doing one of the following: (1) mimic the gestures of an abuser, (2) turn your back on the client in a manner that symbolizes his or her rejection issue, (3) raise your voice like an ex-husband or boss used to do or (4) use your imagination to fit the circumstances. Then watch your clients’ reactions. Are they startled? Do they squirm or become angry, tearful or insulted? If so, dig for more Aspects or issues because you have more work to do. If, on the other hand, there is no reaction except for smiles and calm demeanors, then you have solid evidence of success.

Here’s a classic example. I was participating with other EFT’ers in a 5 day healing workshop for over 20 clients with severe emotional issues. One of my sessions was with a badly traumatized 50 year old woman (we’ll call her Sandy) who, during her early years, had been consistently beaten and thrown down stairs and against walls by her father. She was perpetually anxious and was constantly on the lookout for impending danger, especially from men. My first exposure to this was in the first minute or two of our session when I casually raised my hand to scratch my head. She immediately flinched and cried out, “Please don’t hit me.”

As the session evolved, Sandy told me that her father usually started his abusive ways by surprising her from behind and grabbing her shoulder with his hand. I chose this as a foundational issue and spent the next hour addressing her reaction to having her shoulder touched from behind. She got better and better and, by the end of the session, I could grab on to her shoulder from behind without her flinching or having any reaction whatsoever.
However, Sandy knew I was going to keep testing by putting my hand on her shoulder from behind. She expected it. Thus her father’s element of surprise was missing from our test and I couldn’t think of a way to recreate it during our session. So, I waited for a few hours after our session until I saw her sitting in the lobby talking to some other clients. I then caught her off guard by putting my hand on her shoulder from behind when she least expected it. To my delight, she simply turned her head toward me the same way someone would turn if they were routinely tapped on the shoulder. No startle reaction, no panic, nothing unusual.

Success! However, if she became startled I would know that we weren’t done with this issue. Very important input. Vital.

Does that mean we are done with her traumatic issues? Not really. She has an entire childhood filled with abuses. But we did manage to handle a foundational piece quite nicely. That makes the rest of the job easier.

Triggering Statements

Surprise your client by saying something challenging and direct that would normally cause them intensity on an issue you just addressed.
  • To someone with a rejection issue, say something like, “Well, I’d never hang out with you.”
  • To someone with a guilt issue, say something like, “That really was your fault.”
  • To someone with a self worth issue, say something like, “Well, I don’t think you deserve any better.”
  • To someone with an authority issue, say something like, “You’re not allowed to do that in my office.”
You can use any of the language that triggered your clients during your session, or you can make up your own. However, the delivery is an important factor for this method. If you surprise them with the comment, and their intensity has truly been released, they will have a healthy, possibly humorous response. If not, more Aspects will be waiting for your attention. 

This is similar to Catching the Client Off Guard, but with using words rather than actions.

Knee Wobbling Questions

This important testing method is the exact opposite of the gentleness often recommended by conventional therapy practices. Instead, our purpose is to jar issues out of the client by asking very graphic questions. We are aiming right at the core in hopes of locating buried troubles. The conventional practice of always being gentle, while laudable in most other respects, can work to the clients’ disadvantage by leaving too much on the table. You need to probe and sometimes it takes a crowbar.

Although this process is wrapped in brutal clothing, it is a highly respectful thing to do. Properly done, clients understand the loving intention and appreciate your efforts at digging up these burdensome emotions. Without your skills and dedication in this regard, your clients may needlessly carry around life-sapping issues that seethe under the surface for decades to come.

For someone who witnessed an accident or even death you might ask something like:
  •      Was the bone coming out of the skin?
  •      Could you see any organs?
  •      Did you smell the blood?
  •      Have you ever touched a dead body?
For someone who was assaulted, you might ask:
  •      How did his breath smell? 
  •      Was anyone else watching?
  •      Did you deserve it?
  •      How did it feel when your head hit the ground?
For someone who went through a traumatic breakup or infidelity you might ask:
  •      Did he/she ever love you?
  •      Did they have sex in your bed?
  •      Has he/she met your friends?
With rare exception, this harsh approach should only be done AFTER you are confident that you have resolved all or most of the issue. While some testing methods are designed to assess your progress as a session unfolds, these knee wobbling questions are like sledge hammers looking for remaining bits of ore in a spent gold mine. If you try them up front you may create unnecessary pain in your client.

Properly done, this method can bring up a deep well of intense issues and so it should only be done when you have plenty of time left in your session. 

Use Humor

Humor is part of my style and tends to be therapeutic in its own right. It elevates the energy of the session and dilutes the "seriousness" of the issue. It is also a fabulous testing device because the client's response to the humorous attempt can tell you a LOT about his or her progress. If they frown, cry or appear insulted, then your humor has hit a sore spot and you have important evidence that you have more to do. If there are smiles and calmness, however, you have evidence that you are getting good resolution.

e-hugs, Gary.

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