EFT and Episodic Memory

The Personal Peace Procedure is an excellent tool introduced by Gary Craig that requires you to list every negative event in your life that you can remember and tap on it until there is no charge left.  It essentially works on your episodic memory, which is described below. However, the Personal Peace Procedure can be overwhelming for the uninitiated.  Here, I’d like to suggest different ways of working on your Episodic Memory as alternatives to the Personal Peace Procedure.

Episodic memory, as the name suggests, is about episodes: personal and autobiographical specific experiences, events and situations. Episodic memory is part of long term memory. Long term memory is where information is stored relatively permanently in your brain, on the basis of meaning and repetition.

EFT works very well on episodic memory. Tapping on episodic memory provides long term relief by reducing the intensity of emotions attached to these memories.

Episodic Memory Tapping Vs. Personal Peace Procedure

The Personal Peace Procedure may present the following difficulties when you tap without any guidance.

1. The list of negative events can be very long.
2. The long list of events may de-motivate you as you may not know where to start.
3. The re-surfacing emotions after tapping may be overwhelming and difficult to handle.
4. Each event could be tied to another one and it can lead to tapping in circles without much-needed relief.

Here I offer two alternatives to the Personal Peace Procedure for those who become overwhelmed and daunted by it. This is to help those who are tapping on their own without any guidance from a practitioner.

1. Problem-Specific Tapping

Negative events are usually remembered far more than the positive ones as they are repetitive and carry negative meaning.

Instead of taking on all the negative events from your past, you can take only the events that bother you in the light of your current pressing problems (the problems that require priority). You can make a list only of issue- or problem-specific events and tap on them to cut down the overwhelming list of negative events.
For example, if you are undergoing relationship problems, you can list only the events surrounding your relationship. If you have social anxiety, you can list events related to self-consciousness in the past. If you have alcohol addiction, then you can concentrate on the specific time periods when you drank due to loneliness or anxiety. If you have any kind of phobia, list specific incidents related to that fear.

2. Recall-Specific Tapping

There are two ways in which we remember past experiences: recollection and familiarity. According to Daniel L. Schacter, “recollection involves calling to mind specific details of past experiences.” For example, remembering exactly what you wore on your eighth birthday. Familiarity is a “more primitive sense of knowing that something has happened previously without dredging up particular details.” (The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers, 2001, p.44)

It is important to distinguish between the two when you are tapping. Many times, we have familiarity with some past experiences rather than total recollection. I believe it is best to stick with what you remember rather than forcing yourself to go into the specifics of that event.

In the recall-specific tapping, you can tap ‘only’ when you are reminded of an event from your past.

For example, a gentleman who was unable to talk assertively to his colleague recalled a similar event from his past. He tapped only on the experience he remembered.

This is different from the first alternative (problem specific tapping), as it requires only working with recall-specific events; whenever you ‘remember’ anything negative, immediately address it with EFT. Usually some issues from your present will trigger some related negative events. If the present context is similar to the past experience then it will often act as a trigger and generate similar recollections. Here, recall-specific tapping will come in handy.

Comparing The Three Approaches

Personal Peace Procedure

List: ALL negative events from your past
Priority: Take the events that have highest intensity or tap chronologically
When to tap: Usually Daily
List: Events with highest intensity
Car accident : suds 10
Fight in the shop: suds  9
Abuse at age 12: suds  9
Divorce of parents :suds  9
Comparison with cousin in high school: suds  7

Problem-Specific Tapping

List: Listing ONLY events related to the most pressing present problem
Prioritizing: Prioritizing problems is important; taking events based on most pressing/urgent current problems
When to tap: Setting up time daily to tap
Problem: Social Anxiety
Event: Anxiety in the market
Event: Anxiety in the Office
Event: Anxiety at the Party

Recall-Specific Tapping

List: No listing required
Priority: Prioritizing is not required; taking events as and when you recall them without forcing yourself to sit and remember
When to tap: Tapping only when you recall something related to the problem
While going to market you slip and recall a similar specific past incident
Tap only on the recalled Event: Fall in the shop


Reference: Schacter, D. L., (2001) The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers  USA: Houghton Mifflin

Please note: These two alternatives are not a replacement for the unique Personal Peace Procedure.

Published on EFTfree.Net

About Puja

I am a Counseling Psychologist, Certified EFT Practitioner & Accredited EFT master Trainer of Trainers with EFTi. In my 15+ years of experience, I have effectively used EFT and Counseling to help clients heal their emotional and physical problems.
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