EFT Tapping Relieves the Stress Around College Prep Exams
By Juanita Ecker
If you have ever taken an SAT or ACT exam you know the pressure those tests can create for the high school student who wants to go to college. Colleges and universities review the scores from these exams before accepting a student’s application. The higher your score, the more options you have for attending the college of your choice or getting scholarship funding. For many students there is a lot of pressure to do well.
I recently worked with a delightful young woman, Darla, who was having extreme anxiety as she was preparing for her college prep exams. (Her name has been changed and she gave me permission to share her story.) The private school that she attends offers pre-tests or mock tests so the students can get a feel for what the real exam will be like. During the last pre-test Darla had to leave the room because she was feeling extreme panic, anxiety and could not finish the exam.
She told me that prior to leaving the room she was sweating and felt nausea, her eye sight was blurry, her heart was beating fast and she completely forgot everything as she had nothing to write in the essay. She kept telling herself, “If I can’t handle it now and it’s not the real exam, what will I do for the real exam?” The fear of failing these pre-tests was overwhelming for her. She shared with me that she felt embarrassed that everyone else can handle this pressure and she can’t. Her teacher often reassured her that she is a good student and has nothing to worry about. Yet, it didn’t assuage her fears.
EFT tapping is a gentle way to deal with this issue. If we had started tapping on all of the symptoms she was having during the pre-test, it would have helped a little but it wouldn’t have resolved the issue. We needed to determine what was causing this emotional reaction. With clinical EFT, it works best if we go back in time and remove the triggers from the past that are impacting the current situation.
One particular childhood memory really had an impact on Darla. When she was 11 years old she was taking violin lessons. She really didn’t want to play this instrument and wanted to play the flute or saxophone instead. Her mother had convinced her she should play the violin. After a while, she stopped going to the lessons at school and would hide in the restroom instead.
When a client shares a particular memory from the past, we have been trained to look at all the aspects of the situation. The aspects may include one or more of the five senses – sight, smell, sound, taste or touch. Or another way to view the aspects is to categorize them into visual, kinesthetic or auditory memories. The various aspects all contribute to the emotional upset. It is like doing a jigsaw puzzle. You can’t complete the entire picture until all the pieces are in place.
For Darla, there were many emotional responses that came up for this event: she was scared the teacher would find her hiding in the restroom; she was nervous the head of the music department would yell at her, she was angry she was forced to play an instrument she didn’t want to play, she felt guilty her mom was paying for lessons she didn’t attend, she was worried because she knew she was disappointing her mom because her mom wanted her two children to be good at music and she feared the consequences of being caught.
It’s important that when you are tapping on your own or with a practitioner that you tap on all the aspects of an event to completely clear the issue. I had Darla assign a number for the intensity she was feeling for each particular aspect. We call it a SUD (subjective units of distress) score and it is derived from a numerical scale that is used to gauge the emotional intensity or distress the client is feeling when they think about the event. The individual self-assesses where they are from 0-10, with 0 being no distress and 10 being the worst distress. This SUD number is a benchmark that we use to evaluate the progress of the session. We record when the number goes up, down or disappears. The goal is to get the number down to 0 for each of the aspects.
For Darla, we tapped on each individual aspect bringing the SUD level of each down to a zero. Being diligent with this process is crucial for the EFT tapping to be effective. If the SUD level does not go to a zero, there is more work to do or there are other underlying issues that haven’t yet been addressed.
This particular memory is one of many events that were contributing to her anxiety. As Darla continued to work with me she released negative emotions, reduced her stress level and now feels less anxious about taking the exam.
To learn more how EFT Tapping can work for you, contact Juanita to schedule your free 20 minute strategy session.