The Top 5 Mistakes People Make With EFT Tapping

Written by: Nick Ortner

I often give radio interviews talking about “The Tapping Solution” documentary film and EFT in general, and one of the ideas I share is how Tapping takes 5 minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. (This principle can be applied to most things in life!)

Tapping is surprisingly simple to learn. Even kids can pick it up quickly. But to get the best results, to be able to use it effectively for yourself and the ones you love, you have to keep studying, exploring, and using it.

That being said, here are the top 5 mistakes I see people make regarding Tapping.

Mistake #1 – Not Using It!

Ok, ok, I know this seems a little obvious… haha. But it’s a serious issue and one I’m sure you’ve faced. How often have you looked back on an event, or a day, or a physical problem you had for a while and thought, “Why didn’t I tap on that?”

I know I’ve spent half a day with a sore neck from sleeping wrong before I thought, “Duh! Tap on it!” And I’m supposed to be The Tapping Guy – how could I forget? 🙂

If you are unsure about what Tapping can help with, here’s a short list.

The reality is that this Tapping thing is relatively new for all of us. I’ve been using it, studying it, teaching about it for the past 10 years or so. But for the previous 25 years, I didn’t know about it, didn’t use it, had no experience of it. That’s A LOT of years of conditioning without having this tool, especially in the most formative years of childhood.

We simply haven’t had it as part of our lives, so we’ve developed habits that don’t include it. If you were taught how to tap as a child, and were instructed that it was just as important (or more!) as brushing your teeth, you’d have a different experience now.

So the most basic reason most of us don’t use it is that we simply forget. Now, there can also be deeper issues for not using it, such as self-sabotage, reversals, fear of change, and so forth. I’ll be covering those separately in future posts. But for now, it’s important to just recognize that when you don’t use it, it’s often simply because you don’t think of it – and to gently, and kindly remind yourself to USE IT! 🙂

Here’s a little Tapping script to clear some of that resistance and those old habits. Try it now and see how it affects your week.

Karate Chop: Even though I haven’t been using Tapping as much as I could, I deeply and completely accept myself.
Karate Chop: Even though I could have made my life easier by using Tapping on (fill in the blank of a recent time when you might have used it), I choose to relax and forgive myself now.
Karate Chop: Even though I’m not used to turning to Tapping to solve my problems, I choose to start using it. I choose to become more resourceful, and to remember to use this powerful tool!

Eyebrow: I haven’t been tapping
Side of the Eye: Why not?
Under the Eye: Am I sabotaging myself?
Under the Nose: Maybe…
Under the Mouth: Or maybe I just forgot
Collarbone: Maybe I’m just not used to doing this
Under the Arm: But I can start using it now
Top of the Head: I’m tapping now!

Eyebrow: And that’s great
Side of the Eye: I choose to remember
Under the Eye: To tap!
Under the Nose: I choose to develop this positive habit
Under the Mouth: That can help me so much
Collarbone: It will make my life easier
Under the Arm: And that’s a choice I want to make
Top of the Head: I choose to tap when I most need it

Take a deep breath…

And let it go… Repeat a few times, or focus in on anything that came up while doing those short rounds.

Ok, now on to…

Mistake #2 – Not Being Specific Enough

I always encourage people to start with global statements because it’s usually the easiest language to start with, and it can get things going in the right direction. What do I mean by a global statement? Something general like:

“Even though I’m not happy right now… I deeply and completely accept myself.”

That statement is global because it’s broad, and doesn’t focus on specifics.

From there, though, after a round or two of the global statement, it’s important to hone in on the specifics.

So in this case, you might go from, “Even though I’m not happy right now…” as the first statement, to “Even though I’m not happy right now because my boss was such a jerk today…”

Now you’ve focused on a specific event, which will get you better results. The more specific you can get, the better. Which leads us to Mistake #3…

Mistake #3 – Not Addressing All “Aspects” of the Problem

Gary Craig, the founder of EFT, was a genius at identifying the importance of “aspects” to getting great results. What’s meant by aspects? An aspect is a specific “part” of the issue.

So in the case above, “Not being happy” – we go from the general, to the specific, “I’m not happy because my boss was such a jerk”, to even more specific “aspects”.

So here are some potential aspects in this example:

“I’m not happy because my boss yelled at me.” (This is an “audible” aspect of the event)

“I don’t like the way he looked at me.” (This is an aspect of the experience, the “visual cue”)

“I felt his words hit me in the pit of my stomach.” (Here’s a “body sensation” to address)

“I’m worried he’s going to fire me.” (A “future fear” to address)

“It reminds me of the way my father used to talk to me.” (A “childhood trauma” to address)

“I never have good relationships with my bosses.” (A “limiting belief/past experience” to address)

And we could go on and on!

Now, sometimes issues can be handled with global tapping, but the great thing about working through aspects is that you’ll likely uncover so much more stuff that’s going on in your life. And clearing this particular experience with your boss can have massive repercussions on a bunch of other things!

For example, you start with the experience with your boss. But then you tap on how your father used to talk to you, and you heal that relationship problem and have a better (and less reactive) experience with your boss.

If you take the time to do it right, it can have profound effects that last a lifetime.

Which leads perfectly into Mistake #4…

Mistake #4 – Not Tapping for Long Enough

This is a mistake I see A LOT of people make. They’ll say, “Yeah, I tried tapping on that, didn’t work.” And when I ask them how long they tapped on the issue, they say a couple of minutes, or a round or two! That’s rarely enough.

I see this in particular with physical pain. “Oh, my neck hurt so I tapped on it but it didn’t go away…”

“How long did you tap?”

“Two or three minutes.”


The 1-minute miracles DO happen, but more often than not, it takes some more sustained tapping.

I’m not saying that you have to spend hours doing it, but you really want to give it at least 15 minutes of sustained tapping to work through an issue properly.

My trick when I go to tap on something, is to set a timer or some sort of alarm, and I promise myself I won’t stop until the 15 minutes are up. This prevents me from giving up quickly, being distracted, and so forth. And finally…

Mistake #5 – Not Writing Down What You’re Working On

If you’re working by yourself, I find it really helpful to have a pen and paper (or the computer) handy to take notes on what you want to work on, or to write down your progress on the 1-10 scale, or to record other things that come up while tapping.

The last item might be the most important – writing down other things that come up.

So here’s what this might look like. You write down:

“I’m frustrated with all the bills I got in the mail today. It’s a 7 on the 0-10 scale.”

You start tapping, the frustration goes down. But all of a sudden, some anger comes up. You write that down.

“I’m angry at myself for not working harder this month. It’s an 8.”

You tap on that. That eases, and turns to sadness.

“I’m sad that this keeps happening. It’s a 5.”

You tap on that.

You check back in on the frustration you wrote about above. That’s a 1, you barely feel it.

The anger moved to a 4. There’s still something there, you tap on that further.

While doing that tapping, you think of two events from your childhood.

“That time that my father said I’d never amount to anything.”

“My mother crying because we didn’t have enough money.”

You write down both events, because you know that you want to address each separately.

And so forth…

It is truly like peeling an onion. And while it might seem complicated at first, once you get the hang of it, it’s easy. And it becomes even easier when you write stuff down and stay on track.

The other nice thing about writing things down is that if you’re not ready to tackle something right then, or don’t have the time to, you have it written down to go back to later.

Well, there you have it! The top 5 mistakes I see people make with EFT – and how to solve them!

Until next time…

Keep Tapping!


What mistakes were you making? Share your results in the comment section below. I’d love to read them!

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296 Comments on this post

  1. Mercedes says:

    I teach a psychic meditation/skills class to at-risk and homeless youth ages 12 to 25. I haven’t been able to figure out how to get them interested in tapping and I know it would be really helpful to them though I’m also not sure because they’ve had so much trauma in their lives and it’s recurring. Is it safe for them to do this without guidance and do you have any suggestions for how to get them interested? Thank you so much!

  2. Jonna says:

    Thanks Nick for the reminder about these 5 mistakes. I think I could honestly say I do all of them at different times, but probably consistently don’t tap long enough and don’t get all the aspects. It seems like I’m tapping a long time but if I looked at the clock I’d see that my impatience is getting the best of me. I’ll have to continue to work on that with a timer near by.

  3. Felecia Ford says:

    I find there are so many issues in my life i could spend ALL DAY LONG tapping on them. To pinpoint one and start tapping then more comes into play and that gets overwhelming and when i do tap my dogs are looking at me like i am suppose to play with them ….. and and and😝😝😝 so how does the “at least 15 minutes ” even happen???

    I enjoyed your information Nick and EFT has helped in some areas where i have been able to tap. I would live to have you as my personal coach.

    • Nick Ortner says:

      Hi Felecia. I completely understand. So many of us find ourselves so busy and it doesn’t seem as though there is actually time to take for yourself. I would recommend you start with a few minutes a day. Just tap for a few minutes on something that is stressing you out or something that has come up for you. Clear that and let that be it for the day. As you begin to tap on one thing and a number of other things come up, just keep a notebook nearby so you can write down what is coming up for you, finish your tapping session and come back to the other things after you have finished tapping. Do they still seem to have the same intensity or did tapping on what you were tapping on help to clear them? Just check-in with yourself and see what feels most intense in the moment and make that what you tap on next. It’s also ok to just remind yourself that you are done with tapping for the day but you will come back to these issues later and see how they feel when you are ready to do more tapping. Take it all one step at a time and do it at your own pace. Work your way up to fifteen minutes a day and see how different things feel to you. Thank you so much for the kind words. I’m not able to take on any clients at this time but we do have practitioner listings on our site if you would like to take a look and see if you resonate with anyone: I wish you all the best with your tapping! 🙂

  4. JK says:


    I am quite new to EFT and need some advice real quick, because I want to use EFT but am coming up against a block and don’t know how to work around it!

    My problem is : while I enjoy tapping and often feel a rush of emotional release around tons of past trauma while doing it, I am unable to make this a daily practice because my tapping points on the face get VERY sore. Especially the Under Eye, Under Nose points. They get really painful by day 3, regardless of what I am tapping on and I am forced to stop or I end up having pain on those points for a day or two!

    To give you some context, I am an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) who is very sensitive to touch, sound, chemicals and emotion. What is a friendly slap on the back for others feels like a vicious attack to me, causing pain hours after being slapped and leaving me traumatised. I used to think this level of sensitivity might be psychological, but during a difficult dental appointment my dental surgeon told me that he suspected I had Three Times (!) the number of nerve endings that the average person has (I needed three jabs of the anaesthetic in my gums for him to operate where he usually only needed one for his patients, maybe two, but never three). He told me that I would feel pain on a greater level because of all the extra nerve endings I seem to have – this made complete sense to me at the time as it explained why I was always put down as a “touch-me-not” or “oversensitive” person who just needed to toughen up as a child but never could.

    I am also a survivor of years of Chronic Pain and Narcissitic Abuse as an adult that has led to Central Nervous System Sensitisation (where the physiological pain gateway in the brain becomes hypersensitised and I feel even more pain than before), this on TOP of already being so physically sensitive! GAH!!! Somedays I wish to leave my body because it’s just too overwhelming, I have become a hermit in a bid to avoid depression and trauma from the external world.

    As you can see, I need to tap on all the medical emptional and mental trauma I have endured, I am struggling with CFS for half a decade which has me unemployed and housebound – so I really need to figure out how to tap without my tapping points feeling like they are burning with soreness! There is SO MUCH I have to let go of if I am to hope for normal health and a normal life. I don’t tap with a lot of force, I do it as gently as I can so I don’t know what else to do – if I tap any more gently I won’t be touching my face heh!.

    Sorry for the long comment but I felt the context was important. Please help me, I REALLY want to be able to tap everyday so I can heal and have a life again! I live in South Asia so no EFT practioners in my country, it’s upto me to do it.

    Thanks and God bless, JK

    • Nick Ortner says:

      Hi JK. We are sorry to hear about the sensitivities that are keeping you from tapping as often as you would like to. We have some great articles about tapping for highly sensitive people that you may find helpful:

      As for doing the tapping itself, if lightly tapping or rubbing is too much, you can also visualize tapping on each point or sending energy to each point. If your hands aren’t as sensitive, you can use the finger tapping points or just skip the points that are sensitive for you if that is most comfortable. There is almost no wrong way to do tapping so try some things and see what method works best for you. We wish you all the best! 🙂

  5. Jan says:

    Thanks Nick. It has literally taken me a few YEARS to start using this wonderful tool reasonably regularly, even though I know it works. It took the last Tapping Summit for me to really “get it”. I feel sure your post on mistakes will help me to work with it more often and more effectively, so thanks for this great post and all that you give to us.

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  13. Michael says:

    I find it difficult to start. I have a hard time coming up with things to say. My mind goes blank and I end up tapping in silence. With the Financial package, I try to do the excersizes but go blank. Should I be tapping on being blank?

  14. doris jerome says:

    Thanks Nick, great advice and reminders.seeing you popping up with comments on Facebook keeps reminding me to keep up with the tapping until it becomes a positive habit.

  15. Lynda says:

    Really appreciate this blog Nick. I have your book (great job, btw) and some CDs but it helps to get concise, straight to the point tips such as these. It’s so useful both for myself and to use with my clients. Greatly appreciate your work and this is my first blog comment, lol – hit a spot there Nick!

  16. danijela says:

    Thank you for a such motivation text! The most simple things ussualy seems to be the most complicated…

  17. Astrid says:

    These points are so true. I’m relatively new to Tapping, but I bought Nick’s book to help with the chronic pain in my back and I tackled it within one major tapping session, just from the free meditation downloads. It disappeared completely. It made me over confident and of course it has come back, because I haven’t tapped regularly and addressed all of the underlying problems. It’s finding time which I find hard. Always something more important, or so it seems, to do. I’m really trying hard to tap every morning now, before even getting up……fingers crossed

  18. Jackie says:

    My mistake was number one. Not using it! As you said, “Duh.” I need to make this a priority. So off to tapping I go. Thanks Nick!

  19. notime says:

    I really appreciate this post! I especially like the timer idea – finding time is so hard! Getting past the “feeling silly while doing this phase” is also tricky 🙂 Thank you for keeping us on top of this!

  20. dannie kramer says:

    Because each point represents something its easiest to memorise if you start down so you dont miss anything. here is what i mean…bbreviations and anatomical references:

    SS: The Sore Spot – Neurolymphatic point
    EB: Beginning of the Eye Brow – Bladder Meridian
    SE: Side of the Eye – Gall Bladder Meridian
    UE: Under the Eye – Stomach Meridian
    UN: Under the Nose – Governing Vessel
    Ch: Chin – Central Vessel
    CB: Beginning of the Collar Bone – Kidney Meridian
    BN: Below Nipple – Liver Meridian
    UA: Under the Arm – Spleen Meridian
    TH: Top of the Head – Governing Vessel
    Th: Thumb- Lung Meridian
    IF: Index Finger – Large Intestine Meridian
    MF: Middle Finger – Heart Protector
    BF: Baby Finger – Heart Meridian
    KC: Karate Chop – Small Intestine Meridian
    Please note that these tapping points proceed down the body, making them easy to memorise.

    The BN (Below Nipple) point has been omitted, as it can be an awkward point for ladies to access and EFT results have been superb without it. This point relates to the Liver Meridian and there may be occasions where you may need to use it.

    The “Gamut” point is a special point used in the 9-Gamut procedure. It is found on the back of either hand and is about 15mm behind and between the knuckles at the base of the ring finger and the little finger.

  21. Ev says:

    My mistake was not spending long enough on an issue. Setting a timer would be helpful. Thanks for writing these blogs and for all the helpful tips.

  22. Nancy says:

    It is always helpful to get a little more detail. Thanks for keeping the details coming. I love it.

  23. Jill says:

    I’ve kind of put EFT on the back burner I think because I’ve been making a lot of these mistakes. Thanks for the reminder on how to do it correctly.

  24. Mary Gabel says:

    I’m new to tapping. Somehow I got a link to the 7th annual tapping world summit. I thank you so much for putting this work out there. This article is very helpful. I especially appreciate point number five. As I’ve been tapping, I’ve been having childhood memories come up, and can get very emotional about them. This is helpful to know that I need to take each one of those memories and tap on it and then I can finally heal those traumas.

    I do want to tell you that a week ago I sprained my foot. The pain was bad enough that it woke me up that night. I thought I might’ve broken it. The next day I remembered the interview with the woman who slammed her thumb in the car door and tapped wildly on it as she drove. By the time she got her kids to the dentist there was no swelling or soreness left in her thumb! So I very discreetly, because I was in church at the time, started tapping. By the time I was done my pain level dropped from 7 to 2, and by that afternoon the pain was gone and never returned, even though I could still see a red spot where the sprain had happened.

    Loving it!

  25. STEPH says:

    Thank you Nick, this has reminded me to write it down!! Keep up your amazing work, I love doing tapping with myself and others it’s a joy x

  26. Carmel says:

    Thanks Nick for your blog. I find that I have difficulty in getting started tapping, being specific (I tend to tap on a few linked issues together), tapping for long enough and writing stuff down. So in short I’m doing everything wrong LOL. Thank you for your inspiration to keep tapping and your writing. Keep writing!

  27. Sarah Gregory says:

    I found these 5 steps SO helpful. I often forget to tap and i always forget to use aspect, so thank you so much for this useful blog.

  28. carin says:

    That’s helpfull!
    Thank you.

  29. Shirley says:

    Very helpful reminders! Thanks.

  30. Lynn says:

    I need to write things down. I think I am to global. I must say I am much calmer and I react a lot less because I tap every day. P.S. your 2015 summit is fabulous!! Thanks!

  31. Ellen from Elleon Coaching says:

    I am starting to understand that my tapping always produces better results when I tap for longer periods of time. Aha!

  32. Marcie H says:

    You are so awesome for sharing all this VALUABLE information with us! I have been tapping since the world summit and have had great results! I started tapping with my 4 yr old and not sure if I’m doing it right, but one thing I need to improve on with myself and teaching her is taking the time it needs, and peel the onion. Writing down each thing that comes up will be huge for me as I forget about things and then feel like I should be doing other things… I need to set a timer also!
    Thanks for all the tips! I am a huge fan of yours!

  33. Donna says:

    I do tap and I it has worked for me, but sometimes I am really not sure what to say at each point, the script. Not confident there.

  34. Diana Wiles says:

    Thanks so much Nick…that explains it much better…I’ve been a bit overwhelmed when ‘other stuff that ‘ came up and I tried to deal with it all in one BIG tapping session which felt rather overwhelming…Writing points down to tap on later releases me of this, and I know I can come back to it and give it my full attention separately, and probably with better results as time to think out all the ‘aspects’…the timer idea is good too…I often time myself and then forget what time I started! This is all excellent info…:-) thanks again!

  35. Rita says:

    thank you, Nick! Very helpful. Makes me realize how much I still need to learn.

  36. Patricia Hanney says:

    I need to use more often and for longer period of time. I am going to try setting clock for 15 minutes, as you suggested…I have a hard time with affirmations.

  37. Helen says:

    …for the Tapping movie! What a great visual tool to understand the dynamics of tapping and how so many are healed by their own power and the guidance of like minded teachers. You and Jessica are truly amazing for the work you are doing to help us all.
    In peace and love,

  38. Helen says:

    Thanks Nick! The more I read about tapping, the more videos you post, the more I want to remember to remember tapping for my healing. Thanks so much for being persistent in your quest to help us all find the healer within ourselves. Also a big THANK YOU

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