EFT for Change part 1: Understanding What Needs & Values Change Threatens

EFT for Change part 1: Understanding What Needs & Values Change Threatens

AMT Trainer Cathy Dixon writes: This is the first of three articles in a series that offer an approach to coaching and guiding clients through the change process.

Whatever the issue that people bring with them, it almost always involves some aspect of dealing with change. I believe that understanding the change process in more depth makes us better practitioners and more effective at helping our clients to move on with their lives.

In general, I think that most people do not like change, fear it and resist it. We tend to protectionist and like to hang on to what we have invested in and established in life. Yes it is this protectionist attitude and the resistance to change that causes many of our problems. Many people will only change when there is absolutely no alternative and may deeply resent the circumstances that bought up the need for change. Often it is a personal crisis that brings up the need for change such as the breakup of a relationship, the loss of a loved one, job loss or having the diagnosis of a health issue.

Being able to anticipate change, face up to change and embrace it, live comfortably with a certain amount of uncertainty, plan for change and flow with change instead of fighting it are wonderfully empowering life skills  yet ones that are very rarely taught.

These articles will explore three components of change:

1. Identifying the level of life needs and values are being threatened by change
2. Where they are in the cycle of change
3. How to become a “change surfer” using EFT and other life tools.

This first article will discuss the different levels of change, and the impact that this has on their values and needs.

Recently I had a client who came to see because she was not sleeping well and had been experiencing panic attacks. In first session I identified her core issue and what personal needs and life values were being threatened by the presenting issue. I used EFT to work through statements about her core issue, her threatened needs and her (seemingly) compromised values.

Her eldest two children were about to leave home and she realized that the family home was too big so for many reasons not just financial ones, it would be wiser to down size the large  family home and move somewhere more manageable.  On a logical level she understood the moving home made perfect sense yet emotionally, she found the thought of change profoundly disturbing.

The change made her feel unsafe, uncertain and out of control and was in conflict with one of her core values about life.  She had been bought up by her father and her parents had divorced when she was very young. Her greatest value in life was having and providing for a stable, happy and loving family. This was represented by the family home. Having to give this up for a smaller and unknown house  was in conflict with her need to provide a solid base for her family.

We worked through her levels of fear using EFT and her panic and anxiety levels reduced dramatically. We finished the session by doing an alternative future life visualization one in which she did not make the change and remained where she was and one where she moved into the new house.  In the second visualization she imagined her life in the new house doing spending more time on the things she wanted to explore: writing, travelling spending more time with friends and her husband.  Once she had also visualized her son happy with his room in the new home her enthusiasm and self confidence to move on became very evident.

The diagram below is Maslow’s classic of Hierarchy of Needs Model. I use this model to get my clients to understand which basic needs they feel are at risk. According to this model my client needs were being threatened at level three and a little at level 2.


SELF ACTUALISATION NEEDS: personal Growth and Fulfillment, Life Purpose, spiritual needs


SELF ESTEEM NEEDS: achievement, status, responsibility, reputation,

COMMUNITY, BELONGING & LOVE NEEDS: Family, relationships, friends, community, networks

SAFETY NEEDS: Protection, security, feeling safe, Law, order, and stability

BASE BIOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL NEEDS: Home, shelter, food, water, air, sex, warmth, sleep


When working with clients on an issue of change it is good to get them to list their top values of life. It is possible to provide a universal list for them to chose from yet this is not always necessary as many people instinctively know what is really important to them. You can ask them directly:

1. What is most important in your life right now?
2. What is it about this situation that most threatens this value?
3. What particular emotion, thought, action or belief would most support your  value?
4. What do you need to change in your present to strengthen your core value?

In the next article I will discuss and identify the cycle of change and how to use EFT as a change tool to release people from behaviours,   patterns and conditioning that keep them locked into  the past.

Catherine Dixon
June  2011

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