The movie technique is one of the most well-known and widely used applications of EFT, and while it is a relatively simple process, it can be incredibly useful in a variety of ways.
The movie technique is an ideal method to use when attempting to reduce the emotional impact of a traumatic event.
It can be used to alleviate the emotional discomfort of a major event that may be at the core of a broader issue, and it can also be used to help neutralize the intensity of a trauma that represents one aspect of a broader issue.
How to Use the Movie Technique
Even if you are familiar with the movie technique, try following the step-by-step instructions on how to use this method.
You will find that the movie technique is not only a method that gets results, but will help you fine-tune your EFT skills and maximize the effectiveness of your tapping during the process.
Begin the movie technique by picking one very specific event that is emotionally intense. It is important to be as specific as possible.
Let’s say you are tapping with someone who has low self-esteem and you decide to work on one emotional trauma that might have contributed to the (very general) issue of low self-esteem. Don’t make the all-too-common mistake of not being specific enough. For instance, “Being laughed at as a kid,” would be too general – identify one specific instance of being laughed at, for example, “Feeling embarrassed by the audience laughing at me when I made a mistake during my 3rd grade play.”
Imagine this specific event as a very short mental movie.
The movie should be only a couple minutes long and have only one emotional peak.
It is very important that you make sure there is only one emotional crescendo in the movie. Give the movie a title, something simple (for instance “Laughed at during my 3rd grade play”) is perfectly fine.
Before you start describing the movie, rate on a scale of one to ten how emotionally intense you think it would be for you if you were to start describing your mental movie right now.
If your intensity is high, tap on all your EFT points as you focus on the anticipation of having to describe your mental movie. Keep tapping until you become comfortable with the idea of describing the entire mental movie in thorough detail.
Now begin to verbally describe the mental movie from the beginning, and be sure to stop whenever there is even the slightest bit of emotional discomfort – at any point. If at anytime you feel even the tiniest bit of emotion, stop talking and tap on your EFT points.
Be sure to focus on the specific part of the movie/memory that is upsetting you and tap until you feel better BEFORE moving on to tell the rest of the story. It is not necessary to feel emotional pain while releasing emotional trauma through the movie technique. Start to tap at the first indication of emotional discomfort and continue to tap until you feel emotional relief.
When you are ready to comfortably continue describing your mental movie, continue to do so, until you feel emotional again.
If you feel “stuck” you may find it useful to ask:
- Am I participating in my mental movie or just watching it as a spectator?
- Is my mental movie in color or black and white?
- Is my mental movie very clear or fuzzy?
- Can I picture the detail up close or is the movie taking place somewhere far away?
Do a few rounds of EFT and reassess – has your mental movie changed in any way?
As you find yourself resolving your mental movie, you may find that, like many people, you see your mental movie as fading or becoming blurry or boring – this is a good indication that your are shifting your energy.
If you have made it all the way through your mental movie comfortably and with no emotional discomfort, now it’s time to go through your mental movie all over again. Pause your mental movie to tap on your EFT points if at any point you feel the slightest bit of emotional intensity coming back.
This is especially important as you are describing the crescendo (the most intense part of the traumatic memory/event).
Remember to tap, tap, tap until you feel your emotions shifting – and reassess your feelings.
How to Reassess
The idea here is to run through the entire mental movie in your mind, beginning to end, stopping to tap on your points as your experience intense feelings as they come up.
Continue to tap as you describe the mental movie from beginning to end – until you can run the whole movie through your mind and feel zero emotional intensity. Once your emotional intensity feels neutralized, go through the movie one last time, but this time exaggerate the event – what you saw, how it sounded, the words used, etc and really TRY to get upset about it.
If you find yourself feeling emotional intensity, then keep tapping on your EFT points until the emotional discomfort is gone.
When you are satisfied with your results, try ending with a round of positive affirmation tapping such as the following: “I am deeply grateful for all the emotional release taking place in my body, mind and spirit and I give thanks.”
You can choose your own words.
You may find that tapping throggh your mental movie has inspired a cognitive shift for you. You might see the situation in a different light or start thinking about what happened in a different way. You may find yourself feeling an emotion you previously hadn’t felt before, or you may begin to get emotional about something that seems unrelated.
Continue to tap on your EFT points until you feel calm again.
You can never over-tap, although you may notice that after a certain amount of tapping your body may begin to feel tired or sleepy, you may begin to sigh or yawn, and these are indicators that you have moved significant energy.
Listen to your body and rest if necessary.
Move onto a different mental movie when you feel you are ready.