I love doing EFT/tapping with men, because men like to get straight to the point.
They are “word economists”.
They don’t need to tell long stories, and explain all the history behind everything.
In fact they prefer not to.
It’s kind of refreshing.
Obviously I love listening to people’s stories all day for a living.
You wouldn’t be a counsellor if you didn’t love that.
But I do like to help people get to the point as quickly as possible too.
And to help put them out of their misery quickly.
Which I find EFT is excellent for, if you are doing it well as a therapist.
My experience in EFT/tapping with men has been mainly in the context of my role as a sexual assault counsellor.
So the men I have tapped with have either been victims of sexual assault, or family members of sexual assault victims.
But I have begun to see more men in my private practice too, with all sorts of different problems.
In most cases, men come for tapping (or counselling) at the suggestion of a woman in their life.
Like a partner, their mum, or a friend.
Quite often they have been told they “need to talk about it”.
And that they “need to learn to express their emotions better”.
Which kind of implies that the way they are doing it is somehow wrong or inappropriate.
Men will often start out by saying to me “I’m not much of a talker”.
As if by way of apology or explanation.
Perhaps to warn me they are not going to be good at this counselling thing.
Implying they would really rather not be there at all.
And that they don’t enjoy discussing emotions or problems.
Which I totally understand.
I don’t enjoy watching cricket, and I would not like someone to make me do it.
I think maybe it’s the same feeling?
But by the time they get to me, men have usually had a lot of negative emotion locked in their mind and body for a long time, and they are really feeling it.
They are usually not sleeping well, not eating well, maybe drinking too much to cope with their feelings.
They can’t think clearly anymore, which they hate, because how can you solve problems when you can’t even think clearly?
Men like to solve problems, not ruminate about them.
They feel stupid for not being able to solve the problem independently, in their own way.
Frequently men will admit to being really snappy at their loved ones, then feeling bad for taking it out on the wrong people.
But they simply don’t know what else to do.
All of their usual coping mechanisms are failing them.
This is the point at which I usually get a man referred to me.
And thankfully, using the tapping technique can really appeal to a man’s preference for what we call “brief” or “solution focused therapy”.
EFT gets the job done quickly, effectively and with less than half the word limit we use in normal talk therapy. (This is my estimation only, no research behind this statistic).
Men often expect that I am going to be just another woman trying to drag their words and feelings out of them. Which they expect to be uncomfortable at best, or flat out irritating at worst.
So they are relieved when I explain to them that they wont need a lot of words or explanation for this process to work for them. And maybe only one or a few sessions.
In fact with evidenced based Clinical EFT, you can just say the word “Angry” over and over, focusing your mind on what you are angry about whilst tapping through the points, without even saying what it is you are angry about. And you will still get instant relief.
But most men do relax after a little while, especially once we start tapping. They realise that I’m not going to make them do anything they don’t want to do. That I am there to help, and then they do tend to open up quite easily.
Some of my most memorable sessions have been with male clients, not only because of how well the tapping technique worked, but more because of the way that the guys responded to the success of the technique.
There was the young man who had been assaulted in a public place.
He was so traumatised and hyper vigilant, he had stopped going to work, and had withdrawn from almost all of his normal activities.
He was barely leaving the house, not sleeping properly, and admitted he was being aggressive toward a family member at home because he was angry.
When asked what he rated this feeling of anger, it was 10/10.
He agreed to try the tapping. although he was sceptical, he basically trusted me.
And it brought his 10/10 down to a 2/10 during the first session.
He was so relaxed at the end, he was smiling and laughing again.
He said “I feel like I’ve just smoked a joint” and he floated out of the room.
I was so excited at how my newfound skill was working, I expected him to be equally delighted.
But when he came back the following week, he looked unsettled.
When I asked him how he had been feeling, he admitted that he still felt relaxed.
He was sleeping again, and had returned to work.
But he did not trust it and he did not like it.
It didn’t make sense to me.
But he explained that he felt that he needed to be “on guard” 24/7.
Or it could happen again.
He only ever tried the tapping technique one other time, when desperate, and then said he didn’t want to do it again.
He just could not handle being that relaxed.
There was another guy I saw, whose child had been sexually assaulted by a family friend.
He was furious at the betrayal of trust, obviously.
But he was also angry at himself for not being able to predict this or stop it from happening.
And nothing anybody said could make him think or feel any differently.
His mind was stuck on ruminating about how he should have known this person should not be trusted. Although there was no way he could ever have known.
Paedophiles don’t have neon signs on their foreheads, unfortunately.
This poor guy wasn’t sleeping, or eating. He was like a cardboard cut out of himself.
I tried to explain to him that he could not help his family at all in the state he was in, but words and talking can’t help much when a person is in a state like this, whereas energy psychology can.
This guy simply could not be present to help his child and partner now, because he was so burnt up with rage.
And homicidal thoughts.
I was a bit worried he could end up in jail himself if we didn’t do something about how he was feeling.
With guys in counselling, you often get only one chance to help them.
It’s so hard to get them to attend once, and if it doesn’t work quickly, they don’t come back.
So with this guy I broke my rule at the time, and decided to tap on the first session.
I had nothing to lose, and he could only benefit.
He was desperate enough to be willing to try anything, and it was really kind of sweet watching him repeat my words:
“Even though I am full of rage right now, I deeply love and accept myself anyway”.
As usual, the tapping worked beautifully. His 10/10 came down to a 3/10, and he was astounded at how calm he felt. He left the session laughing, making little jokes.
He was normally a very happy go lucky person, I could see.
But when he returned the following week, what he said surprised me.
He acknowledged that he had felt “heaps better”; he was sleeping and eating better, and his mind was no longer stuck on those thoughts.
But he was suspicious about how this had happened.
“What have you done with my thoughts?” he asked me. Like he thought I was some kind of witch.
He obviously had not been able to take in any of my explanations about how EFT works in that first session, which is pretty normal.
I asked what he meant, and whether had he not enjoyed having a break from those thoughts?
He looked at me; “Can you put the thoughts back?” he asked.
I was baffled.
Upon further explanation, I discovered that he also felt like he needed to be hyper vigilant to protect his family.
If he was not continuously “on guard” it could happen again.
“I feel like I’ve left my post” he told me.
We tapped on that feeling, and everything associated with that feeling that he could never relax again. And it also helped, he told me by phone a couple of weeks later.
And I never saw him again.
I learned that you can never make assumptions about what “feeling better” means to anyone.
That goal is as different as the people are themselves.
But it’s an endlessly fascinating journey, combining energy and psychology together.
So incredibly powerful. I can never go back to using only traditional talk therapy again.