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Auckland, New Zealand

Establishing A Solid Foundation

It’s common knowledge that to be more successful with clients you need to be present with them, but what does that really mean and how do you prepare as a healing practitioner or any kind to become more present?

Being present involves your ability to be a compassionate witness to your client’s experiences, creating an environment for exploring these experiences and the meaning that has been given to them, and who they are with and without these experiences, while maintaining safety for both.

I have found comparing the steps to prepare to take someone abseiling a useful metaphor for preparing to be present in any healing growthful encounter. Before you take someone abseiling, you need to get yourself ready away from the client and away from their issue to be addressed:

  1. Put on your helmet – as a practitioner you need to get your head straight by having a deep intellectual understanding and effective practical skills in your chosen modalities, be aware of the limits of your skills and credentials, understand how to set safe boundaries and create a safe environment for your client relationships, and what to do if there is an emergency or if you need to refer someone on. A firm grasp of these steps means you can approach a client encounter with a calm and focused mind.
  2. Put your boots on – means you need to be thoroughly grounded in yourself by having good self-care skills, continuing to do your own work so you are less likely to be triggered by client’s issues, and be able to maintain a grounded observer perspective and high coherent vibrational field whatever your clients state. A firm grasp of these steps means you have a stable personal basis from which to approach a client encounter.
  3. Anchor yourself – practitioners need to establish their own safety tethers through developing a regular honest and enquiring mentoring / supervision relationship, engaging in continuous professional development so they stay fresh in their approach, understanding the law as it applies to their practice and have a firm understanding and commitment to maintaining an ethical practice through a professional code of conduct. A firm grasp of these steps means you are continually fresh and supported as you approach a client encounter.

With these protections in place, you are set to maximise your ability to offer a useful healing and growthful opportunity to your clients. When you have a firm grasp of the intellectual understanding and practical skills, are engaged in appropriate self-care and have a secure legal ethical and mentoring base, there is a firm foundation to maintain a spiritual or vibrational presence on. All these steps need to be setup prior to engaging with clients to ensure you can manage them safely. Without that foundation, it is too easy to be distracted by these kinds of concerns and fail to provide the sure connection for your client.

Understanding Presence:
A Psychodynamic Experience
27 July Northcote, Auckland
9:30am - 3:30pm

Explore the practial skills and psychoneurological theory of establishing your therapeutic presence in a healing relationhip, and enabling your client to be more present in their own lives

Participants Enjoying an EFT Workshop

Let’s face it, even though we know it works, EFT’s a peculiar-looking process!

I’ve found the easiest way is to introduce EFT is to reference something they are familiar with and build a connection to some aspect of EFT. Give a little information and invite their curiosity to flourish, so they naturally want more, ask more, and become open to experimenting and experiencing EFT for themselves. Once they have had an experience of EFT, most people will make more sense of any explanations.

Over time I have found the following introductory explanations work for different people:

  1. EFT produces a relaxation response while you think about your problem, so it becomes impossible to stay bothered by it
  2. Some problems are just too big to deal with all at once. EFT helps us ‘chunk down’ the problem into bite sized pieces so we can deal with it bit by bit
  3. Focusing on the problem while tapping down-regulates the amygdala alarm response and reduces cortisol levels. This moves us out of a fight/flight response and improves blood flow to the frontal regions of the brain, improving our ability to think logically and creatively about the problem and come up with useful solutions.
  4. Focusing on the problem highlights the associated disruption in our energy system. Tapping smooths the flow of energy through our meridians clearing the disruptions, bring the mind/body back into a state of balance.
  5. Have you ever noticed how people automatically hold their foreheads, face or chest when experiencing strong emotions? We all do it without thinking, as a natural response. We’ve found that tapping on these natural calming places on your body while focusing on your problem helps you feel better faster.
  6. Have you noticed when a problem comes up suddenly and overwhelms you, you tend to react before thinking? You might take off or getting angry, or maybe just collapse under the stress and give up. EFT helps you to be more present and process what’s happened, and as the overwhelm subsides, you can begin to think more clearly and make more useful choices about how to respond.
  7. Tapping interrupts and breaks down your usual way of responding to a problem making space for new healthier responses.
  8. EFT acknowledges your truth about your experience, helping you relax and accept it even if you don’t want or like the truth. The systematic acknowledgement, acceptance and relaxation allows you to safely process your experience and move on freely.
  9. EFT helps you face the un-faceable bit by bit, building your courage, confidence and self-esteem along the way.
  10. EFT helps you connect with your inner wisdom and solve your own problems.
  11. EFT helps you love and accept yourself by allowing you to review your experiences with curiosity and compassion. This allows you the learn from the past and move on to a wiser, better future.

Have you found a great explanation that works? I’d love to hear it.


Do you get confused when facing an issue about where to start and what to say? This is one of the biggest questions I’m asked about tapping. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

A great first question when you’ve identified something you want to work with is
     “When I put my attention on this, what do I notice, where does my attention spontaneously go?”

Here’s why this works: this is a very open ended question, it doesn’t direct you about how you put your attention on this issue, only that you do it. That leaves you free to notice whatever your spontaneous response is, whether it is a thought, an emotion or a feeling in your body. It is effortless in the sense that it doesn’t require you to think up a “right” answer; it does take focus as you turn your attention inwards and quietly notice where you attention goes. Wherever your attention goes is the right place for you to begin – for each of us that might be a different place. Tapping works best in this highly personalized way.

The second step is to go for more detail, to clarify your response as specifically as you can. How specific you get will again be very personal to you; whatever you can identify is great. Ask yourself these questions to get more clarity:

If you had a thought eg “that’s not fair!” or “I’ll never be able to do it” or you might remember some words that were said eg “you’ve ruined my life” ask some of these questions:
“What emotion goes with that?”
“Where do I feel that in my body?”
“What picture/image comes to mind when I listen to those words?”

If you had an emotion eg sadness, anger hopelessness etc ask some of these questions:
“What thoughts go with this emotion?”
“Where do I feel that emotion in my body?” followed by
“What sensation does it have (sharp, dull etc)?”
“Is there a picture or image that comes to mind when I feel this?”

If you had some sensation in your body, you can ask these questions:
“What am I sensing specifically?” 
In your own words name the location as precisely as you can (just under my left kneecap) and the sensations qualities (prickly, heavy, burning etc.)
“What emotion goes with that?”
“Is there a thought that goes with that?”

Sometimes it is possible to identify a lot of information, at other times only one or two qualities can be identified. Whatever you notice will be just fine. We always start from where we are and roll along at our own pace. With practice you will be able to identify more specifics faster.

Our subconscious has a wonderful protective quality and will do it’s best to provide only as much as we can handle at one time. There’s no race to be won so allow yourself the time to go at your own pace.

You might notice that you habitually notice more through one kind of response (thought, emotion or sensation) than the others. Again this is perfectly normal as we all have a natural heightened sensitivity through one or two modalities in this way. All will lead us to the resolution we are seeking and none is better than the others. With practice you will develop a greater self awareness of the other modalities.

The third step is to measure the intensity of your response on a 0 > 10 scale by asking these questions:
“How true / powerful is that thought?”
“How strong is that emotion?”
“How strong / intense is that sensation?”

Remember 0 is a complete absence and 10 is high. The numbers are only a rough guestimate and their real value is for comparison to your numbers when you have done some tapping for your response.

When saying your setup statement (the words you say while tapping on the karate chop spot on the side of your hand) include the strongest responses you had.

“Even though I’ve got this tight anger in my fists1, I’m so angry with Bill for scratching the new paintwork on my car2, I just want to hit him3…”

As a reminder phrase you can use any of the three underlined phrases. It might be useful to do a round using each phrase.

After you’ve completed your round(s) of tapping, remember to compare apples with apples. This means you are asking yourself a specific question about your current intensity on the phrases you’ve just been tapping on. From the example above the questions you might ask are:
1.       “How tight are my fists now?”
2.       “How angry am I with Bill now for scratching my paintwork?”
3.       “How much do I want to hit him now?”
If these are not a zero, then construct a new setup statement and do some more tapping on these specific aspects until they are a zero. Once you are at zero for this specific response, go back to the original question in step 1 and check for any other responses that come up now. Continue to cycle through steps 1, 2 and 3 until you have complete pace about the issue.

Asking the right question after you tap:
If you were to have asked a different question when you’d finished your rounds of tapping on the anger (which many people do), it might be something like
“How intense am I now about Bill scratching my car?”
This could lead you to an entirely different answer. If your number is still high, you might be tempted to decide that the tapping isn’t working. What might have happened is that the anger had dropped (and the tapping has worked), and you are now experiencing a different emotion, sensation or thought; you might now be really disappointed in Bill and feel heaviness in your heart. By comparing apples with apples and asking the right questions, it would have been more apparent that you were in fact making good progress and had just reached another layer of response that wanted to be cleared too.

These foundational steps can help you gain deeper insight into what’s bothering you and develop a deeper awareness of your unique patterns of response. In a future newsletter we’ll discuss some more questions you can use to go even deeper into the issue and discover more of these personal patterns.

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