Any truly effective method of treatment needs to expand its horizons as it goes along. EFT is a remarkable stress management technique, and even more than that, it is a way of handling emotional problems that people may have had for their entire lives –– and can often do so quickly and permanently. I have spoken many times about the way in which EFT revolutionized my own practice as a clinical psychologist, and how to this day it continues to do so.

However, a major technique such as EFT must move to the next step in its development, and it can only do this when we note its limitations and seek to correct them. About a year after I began using the technique, I noticed that the EFT default phrase, "I deeply and completely accept myself" (the phrase repeated out loud as the person taps on the various acupressure points), while excellent for many purposes, simply does not work for all people or in all circumstances.

This default phrase is a self acceptance affirmation and as such can be very powerful. However, as you can readily see, there are situations where it doesn't apply and where using it can be confusing to a newcomer to EFT, so much so in fact that the person may abandon the practice of EFT at the outset.

In EFT, the tapping process is accompanied by what are called the EFT Setup and Reminder Phrases, and the believability of these phrases is essential. The basic EFT Setup statement always begins with the words, “Even though....” and always ends with the affirmation, "I deeply and completely accept myself". This will often be meaningful to the person, but not always.

For example, when an EFT Statement is formulated as, "Even though my boss criticized me today, I deeply and completely accept myself." it may make perfect sense to most people saying it and be very beneficial, but some people are so hard on themselves that the concept of accepting themselves seems impossible. For such people a different sort of EFT phrase is obviously needed.

Also, there are a number of situations in which this self acceptance phrase does not make sense to a new person being introduced to EFT. For example, EFT can be used to ameliorate or eliminate certain pains or injuries, but when a person is asked to a repeat a phrase such as, "Even though my hand is throbbing, I deeply and completely accept myself" it may not make sense to them and may be resisted.

Given the fact that this traditional EFT self-acceptance phrase is used universally for every single issue, it is in fact remarkable that EFT brings the excellent results as it does in many cases!

When I was using EFT with my own clients in psychotherapy I soon discovered that I could get even better results if I allowed the person to insert their own positive affirmation into the EFT statement. This way became perfectly suited to the problem they were addressing.

For example, in the incident mentioned above where a person's hand is throbbing, I would suggest to this person that they use an EFT statement such as, “Even though my hand is throbbing, I choose to have my hand be comfortable and pain free.” This would immediately make perfect sense to the injured person; it would express precisely what they wanted to bring about – the cessation of pain and the healing of their hand.

It was through experimenting with my own clients that the EFT Choices Method was born. In it, the person applying the method identifies the outcome that they would truly like to have for the problem at hand, and then puts this desired outcome into a sentence which commences with the words “I choose…”

It’s important to note that “I choose” is not used in a traditional affirmation. The latter is a statement that is intentionally contrary to fact, as, for example when a person living in a dingy basement apartment says to themselves, "I live in a beautiful sunny home.” That statement is intentionally contrary to fact.

According to the rules of traditional affirmations it will therefore result in the person subconsciously programming themselves to attract the “beautiful sunny” home of their dreams. All too often, however, the traditional affirmation can result in doubt and skepticism on the part of the person who repeats it, particularly if it is in too sharp a contrast to their current state of affairs.

Since the person is telling themselves that they live in a beautiful sunny home when in fact that is obviously not true, the traditional affirmation is apt to create what Gary Craig, the founder of EFT, refers to as a “Tail ender”. A little doubting self-statement in the back of our minds says, "Oh yeah? I know that's absurd!”, or "I’ll NEVER have that! “, or "I feel like a fool for saying this."

Such self-doubts are stilled, however, when you place the words “I choose…” at the beginning of your affirmation statement. For example, if this same person described above were to say, "Even though I live in a dingy basement apartment, I choose to live in a lovely home sunny home.” This is immediately believable because anyone has the right to make a “choice” and this doesn’t contradict the situation they are now in.

This method of injecting “Choices” into EFT soon developed into a definite protocol which I found to be extremely effective, not only for my own clients and workshop participants, but for many others as well. I then formalized the Choices Method and began training other people to use it. It was almost immediately greeted with enthusiasm in the EFT community, and today many thousands of people are using EFT Choices statements. In particular, psychotherapists, counselors and personal performance coaches are using the Choices Method because it so precisely targets their clients’ problems.

Gary Craig, founder of EFT, highly endorses this method. It is clearly an important advance for EFT.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Patricia Carrington, Ph.D is a licensed clinical psychologist and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and is one of the leading authorities on EFT. Designated by EFT founder Gary Craig as one of the first EFT Masters in the world, she has published three best-selling books in the stress management field, created training materials used worldwide in medical settings and is the originator of the highly acclaimed EFT Choices Method. Visit her website at for further information on EFT and the Choices Method.