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8 Ways to Measure and Test Progress with EFT Tapping

Whether tapping for yourself or in an EFT session with a therapist, measuring allows you to track your progress. There is no right or wrong method - in this blog I explain several different ways.

Whether tapping for yourself or in a session with a therapist, measuring and testing your progress is an integral part of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).

It allows you to see how much the tapping is helping, whether you are working on physical tension or pain, emotional intensity, or a limiting belief. Intensity is measured before, during and after one or several rounds of tapping, or several times during a session. It is used to track how the session is going and it is usually very reassuring to see how your intensity drops quickly as the tapping does its work.

Measuring and testing can also give you (or the practitioner) information about where to go next or what to try next. For example, if intensity has been falling and then rises again, that is normally a sign that another aspect of the problem has come to light to be worked on.

Very often, the positive effects of EFT are so thorough that looking back on the original measures you gave comes as a bit of a surprise – was I really feeling that? Did I really use to think that was true?!

There is no right or wrong method of measuring and testing in EFT. Here are several different ways which can all work for different people and for different issues.

The SUDS (Subjective Units of Distress Scale)

This scale has been used in psychology for over 70 years to measure emotional intensity of all kinds. “Subjective” means that it is self-reported – after all, no-one else can tell you what you are feeling. A person rates their feeling (for example, their worry about a test) on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 represents feeling completely calm and 10 represents the worst worry they can imagine. This scale is very often used in EFT and many people find it easy to rate their feelings with a number.

The VOC (Validity of Cognition) scale

This scale is used to assess how true something feels. For example, if someone says “I’m not good enough to get that job,” this may feel completely true or only a little bit true. It is useful to pinpoint exactly how true a belief feels because after some work with EFT, the person is likely to find that their perceptions have changed significantly. Although the original VOC scale goes from 0 (not true at all) to 7 (completely true), in my experience most people prefer to use a 0 to 10 scale, or even a percentage. For example, someone may say that “I’m not good enough” feels 95% true, and then later on it may feel only 50% true.

Traffic lights / colours:

Although many people find numerical scales easy to use, for many of us they are off-putting and counter-intuitive. The next three methods of measuring and testing are great to use for such people, including children.

To measure using traffic lights, simply assess whether your intensity of feeling is high (red), moderate (yellow) or low (green), or any gradation in between, such as yellowish-green.*See my video Traffic Lights Tapping*

A variation would be to use a simple colour concept such as cool colours (blue, green) for low intensity and warm colours (orange, red) for high intensity.

An advantage of the traffic lights model is that it has the additional meaning of “Stop”, “Caution” and “Go”, which can be very usefully applied in real life situations where we feel emotional intensity. For example, if you are feeling very agitated and “red”, that may be your signal to “stop” and do some tapping. If you are feeling calm and “green”, then you are “good to go”.

Gesturing with the hands:

Simply judge your intensity as “this much” – hands wide apart for a lot of emotion – or “this much” – hand close together for a small amount of emotion.

A felt sense or metaphor in the body:

This is a great favourite of mine, which I use a lot with myself and with clients. Psychologist David Feinstein says that the use of metaphor immediately engages the right side of the brain, which is more intuitive and can problem-solve in a different way from the logical left side.

Many people find it easy to say where in their body they experience an emotion – most often it is in the belly, heart or chest, throat or head. Some people can ‘see’ or imagine a colour, shape or object – for example, “This anger is like a red cloud around my head,” or “I see this shame as a dark brown muddy pool around my heart.” Other people have a more kinaesthetic imagination and might tune in more to a sensation, for example, “The anxiety feels like a fist clenching in my gut,” or, “I feel nervous like butterflies in my tummy.” A few people may prefer an auditory metaphor – a tinkling sound, or a thundering sound.


While most methods of testing are subjective, observing the client is an objective measure (coming from outside the person feeling the emotions). The EFT practitioner is always keeping an eye on the client’s physiological cues and behaviour, not just their words. These include the person’s breathing, their eye movements, flushing or pallor in their skin, tension or slumping in the shoulders and posture, and pausing in their speech. These signs show us how they are feeling emotionally.

Future pacing:

This is a technique used a lot in hypnotherapy and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) to change one’s future behaviour, or to assess how one might behave in the future. It can be a very powerful way to test your EFT work within a session. Having completed some clearing and balancing about a past trauma, how might that change how you behave in the future? What can you do now that you couldn’t do before? For example, a client who worked through a phobia of going in a lift (elevator) was able to happily imagine going in a lift without any emotional distress at all.

Real life test:

Of course, the real test is how do you actually behave and approach life after the session? For the client with lift phobia, she astonished her children by calmly walking into a lift without any hesitation, and felt completely calm during the short ride up to their 3rd floor flat. If remaining aspects appear in real life, these are material to work on in your next EFT session, so that you can really change the way you walk through life in the way you want.

I hope this blog can open up your options for measuring and testing in EFT and that you can find the one that you like best!

If you’d like to explore how EFT can help us deal with life’s challenges contact me to set up a free 20 minute chat to see how I could help you!

Do join my free Facebook group where I regularly offer free group tapping sessions.

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