WillowTwoSunsWhen I am tapping with someone, or for myself, it helps me to have a kind of template in the back of my mind to work from. I like having a way to track the information, and a way to hold a general sense of the direction I want to take in the session.  This template is also useful when I am talking with individuals, or with groups, about sensitivity.

I found that it was useful to have a mnemonic—a pattern of letters, ideas and associations—that helps me to share what I know in a way that people can understand and relate to.

Here is what I came up with:  Free your S-P-I-R-I-T-E-D Self

Imagine that each letter stands for a sort of “basket of information.” This basket contains thoughts, explanations, experiences and beliefs that one could elaborate upon. Each of these elements can become the stem statement for many very useful EFT tapping set-ups.

My template for information about sensitivity:

S – Sensitivity
P – Painful Experiences
I – Identity Beliefs
R – Responses to these beliefs, expressed in your emotions and your body
I – The deeper Intention and message of your physical and emotional responses
T – The deeper Truth in yourself
E – Evidence in your life that the Truth has always been true
D – the Direction that you want your thoughts and actions to turn you toward instead
Self – Care about how you feel! In caring for your Self you are caring for your Spirit.

I keep this mnemonic  “Spirited Self” in mind to guide me as I talk or tap.

Here’s the story about freeing your S-p-i-r-i-t-e-d Self:

When you have a highly sensitive temperament, you will feel and experience everything that happens around and to you much more deeply than most people do.

Growing up in a family and a culture that does not understand you can lead to an accumulation of Painful experiences.

Given all this, it is likely that you will grow up with a distorted beliefs about your Identity: ”There must be something wrong with me.”

Telling this thought repeatedly to yourself leads to physical and emotional Responses. You feel sad, angry, fearful, anxious, shameful, guilty.  If it is not safe or appropriate to express these feelings, they become “stuffed” inside, and over time show up as physical symptoms and illness.

With tapping, and other healing modalities, you can sense into the deeper Intention of this physical and emotional pain.  Ask, “If these tears, or this nausea, or this tightness in my chest or throat, or this heaviness in my heart, or these Fibromyalgia symptoms had a message for me, what would it be?”  I believe that the message is always a variant of “I deserve better!” It is as if our caged spirit is screaming, using emotions and body symptoms, to be set free.

So, we might ask, “What is the deeper Truth of me?  If I let all those old painful stories and beliefs fall away, who am I underneath all that? “

When we have a sense of our deeper truth, we can begin to look into our lives for Evidence of that Truth expressing itself.  And once we start looking for it, we can see it everywhere.  It has been there in us always.

Learning the truth about ourselves, knowing that it is our right to feel good and be happy, we can begin a lifelong process of turning ourselves in the Direction of peace and ease and fun and joy.

We can care about how we feel!  In caring for my Self I am caring for my Spirit. I f I don’t do that, no one else will.

I use a visual map for gathering and tracking this information:
(click on image to view full size)


Let’s unpack these S-P-I-R-I-T-E-D  Self categories a little more.  This month’s newsletter article covers the first item on this template, “Reframing Your Sensitivity. “

Next month’s article will fill in the rest of the template.  Together, the two parts will create a good guide for tapping with the highly sensitive person, whether that is you, your spouse, your child, your partner, your co-worker or your client.

Reframe Your Sensitivity

S – Tap to reframe your Sensitivity.

Learn what is profoundly good about being so sensitive.

There are five main kinds of critical thoughts that people have about the challenges of being highly sensitive.  This includes the way psychologists frame the trait.  Their diagnostic terms include “shy,” “introverted,” suffering from “social anxiety,” maybe even “obsessive.”  Although therapists want to be helpful by determining what is “wrong” so they can find ways to fix it, implied in these terms is a powerful criticism.  Their diagnosis says, “There is something wrong with you.  You are not like the rest of us.”

We grow up believing that this is the only way to interpret our behavior, because we were raised by people and in cultures who hadn’t known an alternative perspective.

When I am working with a sensitive person, I always want to encourage them to sense more deeply into each category, to learn what is positive about this trait.  For the most part, I never think that sensitive people are “broken and need fixing.”  I believe that we are here to learn about our goodness, and our gifts.

An overview of reframing sensitivity:

Critical judgment or Challenge can become Constructive Understanding of Sensitivity’s Gifts
Feel too Deeply/Overwhelm can become Profound awareness of sensations
Compulsive Helping can become Mission to bring peace
Boundary Issues can become Deep sense of connection
Perfectionism can become Vision of possibilities
Critical/Self Critical can become Idealism/trust in goodness
Social Anxiety can become Spiritually “sourced”
when alone

This is what the Sensitive Temperament could look and feel like:

Self judgments or challenge 1:

Feeling too Deeply/Overwhelm
•    Feeling emotions deeply, and you can’t hide what you feel.
•    Sometimes you can slip easily into feeling anxious or depressed, and once caught in the feeling it is hard for you to move out of it.
•    You can get easily overwhelmed when there is a lot going on.
•    You had a rich fantasy world as a child, but you may have been discouraged or punished for this by your parents.
•    You may believe and are told that your sensitivity is bad.
•    You try to tough it out and soldier on, keeping your struggle hidden from others.


*Profound awareness of sensations
You have a richer set of experiences than some others might.
You have a different more finely tuned sense of humor that is deeper, and more readily available.
Being sensitive is a great early warning system.

Self judgments or challenge 2:

Compulsive Helping

•    You want to save the world from itself. You can see how good things could be, if only …
•    You try to avoid conflicts.  Your wish to please other people rules your life.
•    You don’t know what you want, only what they want.
•    You are self-sacrificing to an extreme, in atonement for your “failings.”
•    You often make extraordinary sacrifices for someone/something, putting yourself last, trying to make the world a safe place for you to be in.

*Mission to bring peace
You are intuitively aware of what another person may be thinking or feeling.
Being so empathic makes you very understanding.
You can “step into another’s shoes” with compassion.
You are internally deeply caring.
You are committed to bringing the positive and the good into a suffering world.

Self judgment or challenge 3:

Boundary Issues
•    You are exquisitely, often painfully, aware of what people around you are feeling.
•    You might feel like an alien in your own family. They are practical, industrious, social, while you are quiet, imaginative, thoughtful and creative.
•    You feel deeply for other peoples’ suffering. It is difficult to watch the news or to see sad movies.
•    Sometimes it is hard to tell where you end and the other person begins.

*Deep sense of connection
You have a deep connection with spirit.
You are diplomatic .
You are a good mediator.
You can see the big picture or deeper truth in a situation.
You hunger for deep and meaningful relationships.

Willow2SpiralsSelf judgment or challenge 4:

•    You are a perfectionist, and you want to be helpful—so much so that you put other peoples’ needs ahead of your own.

•    You are drawn toward purity but continuously on the lookout for the wickedness possible lurking in yourself.

*Vision of possibilities
You see wholeness, always, everywhere.
You are able to see/sense to the heart of a matter.
You deeply value personal growth, authenticity and integrity.
Imagination, creativity, and spiritual evolution are the goal.
You are deeply attuned to beauty.
The “poetry” of everything comes through.

Self judgment or challenge 5:

Critical/Self Critical
•    Your feelings are easily hurt by criticism or even a look.
•    You keep thinking about what happened.
•    You keep thinking about what you might have done wrong, and what you should have done instead.
•    You think there must be something wrong with you.

*Idealism/trust in goodness
Connection is more important than anything to you.
You want to do things well.
You can feel when something is right.
You long to be seen and appreciated and approved of, just for being who you are.
You do your best to offer that to others.

Self judgment or challenge 6:

Social Anxiety
•   You are not comfortable in large crowds, hectic environments, or around loud music.
•   You are told that you isolate.
•   You think that you are too shy.
•   You think that you are too introverted.
•   People say that you are anti-social.
•   You think that something is wrong with you if you don’t like being around lots of people all the time.

*The ability to stay connected even when you are alone
You are at your creative best when you are alone.
You feel energized, and “sourced” spiritually when you are by yourself.
You like the peace and calm of being alone.
You are independent and self directed when you attune to your own inner guidance.

Reframing can be powerfully healing.  It is always important, though, that you allow your client to come up with the positive thoughts that are important to them.  It doesn’t help anyone to be told what to think!

See you next month with more on An Approach to Tapping for the Highly Sensitive Temperament: Free your S-P-I-R-I-T-E-D Self!

With my love and blessings all around –



The torn paper collages above are the work of Willow Harth.
Photograph from Dreamstime.com