Tapping in the Classroom

Recently I had the opportunity to tap with middle schoolers in their classroom. I was modeling for the teacher how to use EFT with a class with a common anxiety.

I asked the 20 or so students what stressors they are sharing with their classmates right now. Someone said the fear of going to high school next year. Groans and “yeahs!!” rose from the class.

I asked the students to tune into their thoughts and feelings about going to high school and give the stress they were feeling right now a number, 10 being the worst stress, 1 the least. The majority of students had a rating over 5.

I asked the group what were some of the concerns they had. It’s always best to be specific when we tap. Some fears were high school being a new place, lots of new people, being harder, and being bigger.

We started by tapping on the karate chop point (side of the hand) while saying the set-up statement together: “Even though I’m worried about going to high school, I’m OK.”

When we say this set-up statement, it is important to find an affirmation that resonates with the person. In a middle schooler’s case, saying the classic, “I deeply and completely accept myself” is probably not appropriate. It’s not what young people would normally say about themselves. We try out other phrases, such as “I’m OK,” or “My feelings are OK,” or “I’m a good person anyway.”

After 3 rounds of saying the set-up statement while tapping on the karate chop point, we tapped the other points saying just the concerns or worries: “High school is scary!” “It’s so big!” “I won’t know anyone.” “The classes may be too hard.”

After 2 rounds of tapping on the points naming the worries, we took another rating of their feelings. About 3/4 of the students’ numbers went down. One girl said, “High school isn’t until next year.” We call that a cognitive shift—when a new, better feeling thought comes up after tapping.

But a couple of kids felt worse. You might think this is a sign that EFT isn’t working but instead it means it is working. It usually means a new worry has come up, one that is more intense, or a different feeling altogether might be surfacing.

In this case, one boy said he was afraid someone would put him in his locker! I confess I didn’t know this happened but he was a small person and could conceivably be shoved into a locker!

Another boy said, “Now I feel worse because now I’m focusing on all of the things that worry me about high school.”

In both cases, the solution when feeling worse is more tapping. If I had had more time, I might tap with each student individually because zeroing in on the specifics of their worries produces the best results from tapping. The other students would tap along.

However, the classroom isn’t the best venue for concentrated one-on-one tapping so tapping without being specific can be calming and relaxing in the moment. To achieve this, we can tap 2 or 3 rounds without words, not focusing on the specific worries.

Using EFT in the classroom has the potential of calming a lot of kids in a hurry when used before a test, after recess, or when something disturbing happens. I look forward to the day when teachers use EFT in their classrooms routinely!