Seeing The Cycle in a New Way - plus how to take notes in session

I’ve been doing The EFT Lab course led by Jennifer Olden and Lillian Buchanan, and let me tell you, it is worth every penny and moment of time. It has helped me SO MUCH already and I’m only on week three. Jennifer and Lillian have created this course in such a helpful way, where they talk about a skill and then show a video clip. Doesn’t get better than that! The funny thing about learning EFT is that each stage is necessary (Externship, Core Skills, Supervision) and each stage is not enough. I feel like I could watch this EFT Lab over and over and still learn things. And hey, you can, because you get access to it for a year. I’ve already gone back and re-watched video. I know it seems like I’m selling this for some kick back but I promise you, Jennifer and Lillian have no idea who I am. I am just really into this thing.

 I wanted to share with you something this week that Jennifer helped me see in a new way. You all might think this is as rudimentary as it gets, and be thinking – duh, Wesley, we already knew that from Externship – but hey, then it might make you feel better about yourself.

So I thought I understood The Cycle pretty well.  You look for the trigger, you understand the thought process/meaning-making, you understand what secondary emotion they might be feeling, you understand the action tendency, and then over time you try to figure out what the primary emotion is. This can get a little complicated for me in session when clients give you information fast and not necessarily in that order, and when they’re describing a specific content issue.

Jennifer and Lillian broke down the cycle in a way that just clicked it into place for me in a way I hadn’t thought of before. First, Jennifer showed us how when taking notes in session, she divides her page like this (see image below), and in the upper quadrants she puts the behaviors, thoughts, and secondary emotions, and in the bottom she puts the primary emotions/attachment fears. Just this simplification alone helped me get a little clearer, since in session it’s going too fast for me to pause and find where I’ve got my “perception” line so my paper looks like a mess at the end of session. Also, it helps me to write in the client’s names depending on if they are in the left or right chair in front of me, instead of as the pursuer/withdrawer.

Second, just hearing Jennifer simplify the cycle to these points:

Connecting primary emotion/fear to action tendency


This helped me remember what we’re DOING with the cycle. I was like, ohhhhhh, yeah, we’re doing this so Partner A can send a clear message to their partner – “Yeah, when I get really freaked out that I’m not connecting with you, I DO get loud and talk a lot. I do do that.” For some reason it just really helped me to look at the cycle as the primary emotion and the action tendency in neon letters, and the rest as important but more in primary colors.

Third, it really helped me to remember what we’re doing in EFT. When Jennifer showed us this:



I was like, oohhhhhh, yeeahhhhh, the primary emotions and vulnerability IS the message that we’re trying to send across to the other in order to create the new cycle. As obvious as that might seem, in the room when someone is distraught about someone’s ex-wife and desperate for them to have more boundaries with their kids, my mind can often go to “how on earth are we going to find a solution to this for them?” It can be difficult to remember we do have the antidote, and it’s the ability to share their fears vulnerably with each other and receive the response of their partner coming towards them, and being with them in those feelings.

I hope this helps you as much as it helped me! Think about signing up for the next EFT Lab!