Overcoming the Subconscious Resistance to Change – Emotional Freedom Techniques


When I work with new clients, I’m always interested in why they have chosen to learn and use EFT. The answer is usually in the negative, “I’m very ill”, “I’m overweight”, “I procrastinate”, or “I don’t have enough money in my life”, etc. As a result of this, I changed one of the questions on my client intake form to read ‘What are your expectations of EFT?’ This ensures the client focuses on what she would like to accomplish rather than what is going wrong in her life. Sometimes it’s easier to give attention to what we don’t want in our lives, rather than what we do want. We focus on our lack of money, our poor health, or chronic pain, or how unhealthy we feel after eating a “comfort” food.

When we make a definitive decision to focus on what we do want, powerful fears can arise about making the necessary changes. For example, “If I have money, I’ll have to be responsible”, or “If I am healthy and vibrant again, I’ll be expected to return to work and/or look after the family”, or “If I stop eating these cookies every evening, I’ll have to face what’s missing in my life”.

I have experienced that one of the biggest responses to the possibility of change is ‘Who would I be without this _________________ [extra weight, lack of money, illness, pain, addiction, anger, hurt, etc]? This is a frightening consideration because it is exactly the weight, illness, anger, etc which may well define us. It’s who we’ve become: Our identity.

Recently, I was working with a client and we very successfully neutralized some horribly painful childhood memories, which had held her back from believing in herself. Then she considered, “I’m just wondering who I am without these memories”. It was almost as if a part of her essence had been removed. I suggested she might want to consider that thought with curiosity instead of fear, and we started to apply EFT on all the things she would be able to think, feel and achieve as a result of letting go of those debilitating memories.

Our subconscious mind wants to keep us safe and is very resistant to change. So, even if the possibility of change consciously feels exciting and new, the subconscious will probably do its utmost to keep us firmly rooted in where we are now, because now is safe and familiar. There is a pay-off for the subconscious to hold on to the familiar. This is known as Secondary Benefit Syndrome. In other words, there is some benefit to staying where we are now, even if consciously we desire to move forward.

Luckily, with EFT we have a tool which can override the stubborn subconscious, and I usually suggest my clients tap on the karate chop point (KC) and repeat the following three times:

“Even though for whatever reason, there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to let go of this _______________ [illness, weight, lack of money, anger, etc], there’s a bigger part of me that wants to accept myself.”

The purpose of this is to neutralize the Secondary Benefit Syndrome. Once this is cleared, we are ready to apply regular EFT on the issue at hand.

When we tap on our limiting beliefs, traumatic memories and pain, we shift our perspective, gently allowing our subconscious to consider change. Once the subconscious realizes there is nothing to gain from holding on to the problem, it is open to changing.

If there is a part of you which, for whatever reason, is resisting recovering from an illness, losing weight, achieving financial freedom, etc., you might want to try the following EFT procedure. (Please note: I have used illness as the problem but you can substitute whatever concern you have.) First of all, tap on the “reversal” phrase (above), and then tap the karate chop point on the other hand while saying the following:

“Even though I don’t know who I’d be if I were healthy again, I want to accept myself anyway”

“Even though I’m frightened to recover because of what they’ll expect of me, I deeply and completely accept myself”

“Even though I’ll lose my identity if I become healthy again, I deserve to forgive myself for how I’m feeling.”

Now tap the following places while saying each of the phrases below:

o top of head: I don’t know who I’d be

o eyebrow: Being sick has become my identity

o side of eye: Everyone accepts me in this role

o under eye: and if I recover, they’ll expect more of me

o under nose: I’ll have to resume my responsibilities

o chin: and that’s too much for me right now

o collarbone: I feel threatened by the possibility of changing

o under arm: I’m afraid to change

o top of head: I want to enjoy the freedom that whole health offers me

o eyebrow: I want to make a commitment to my healing

o side of eye: I deserve to feel safe enough to recover

o under eye: I don’t have to feel obligated to change

o under nose: I choose to feel curious about the possibility of changing

o chin: and how exciting my life will be

o collarbone: I’m starting to feel curious about who I could be without this illness

o under arm: I deserve to change now

After you have tapped through this round, write down how you’re feeling and any new thoughts which have come up, then tap again, changing the wording if you need to. Remember, the phrases you use are simply a way of outwardly expressing how you’re feeling. You don’t need to be creative – just state what’s on your mind.

We are capable of so much but our subconscious blocks us from moving forward. Thankfully, by applying EFT we are able to eliminate the self-sabotage and not only restore our health, but move towards vibrancy and living the life we deserve to live.


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