Influencing Motivation

By David Rourke, EFT Master

Most behaviour, if not all, is an attempt to SOLVE a problem – even behaviours that seem to create more problems. What keeps someone doing the same things – OR what keeps them from NOT doing the things that could actually help? In other words what motivates someone to change a behaviour? Motivation is nothing more than being ready to change. That readiness or motivation may be more or less at any one time depending on the person’s perception of the present or perceived future challenge or loss.

Motivation is always there and dips in motivation are normal. It varies from moment to moment, day to day – the range of feelings can vary from being just above zero to close to total readiness. That range of feelings can be influenced. EFT practitioners help remove the barriers and conflicts that get in the way of completing a change:

  • Win-Lose Conflicts: Ambivalence between two courses of action. “I want to quit smoking, but I’m afraid that I’ll gain weight and become fat and unhappy.”
  • Secondary Gains: In some way having the weight gives him or her more than losing weight will give. The reasons are often unconscious. EFT can help uncover those reasons: “Even though I can’t lose weight…”, “No matter what I do my weight doesn’t come off…”, “I don’t know why this is happening in spite of my efforts…”
  • The Pain of Change vs. the Pain of Staying Unconscious blocks to change can lead to self-sabotaging behavior.

Which lead us to the

  • Fear of the Unknown: The devil we know vs. the devil we don’t. The ‘unknown’ can be scary territory and can stop change in its tracks. “What would happen if I change?” “What are the penalties of being successful in making this change. EFT practitioners can help to create a safe place for people to begin to look at what could be different.
  • The SHOULDs: The stated goal could actually be what they think they ‘should’ do or what someone else thinks they ‘should’ do instead of what is true for them. Sometimes they don’t really know what their own authentic goal is.
  • Lack of Self-awareness of Wants and Needs: Someone has had the issue so long their identity is tied into it and they believe there are no other options. “This is who I am and how I’ve played my life out.”
  • Belief Systems: The stated goals may not be in line with the client’s ‘real’ belief system. You might want to be wealthy but if there is an underlying belief that rich people are snobs and/or misuse power this belief can stop them from pursuing their goal. After all, who wants to appear be a “snob” or power hungry?

Using EFT to explore what is behind these conflicts can help to find the individual blocks. As core issues are uncovered and released energy is created (i.e. motivation) that can be used to move to the next step.

Ask open-ended questions to find ‘tap-able’ issues, such as: “What happens when you try?” “How do you know you have failed?” “What needs to happen in order for this to go away?” or “What gets in the way?”

Create a Pros and Cons Sheet – A decision balance sheet could help get to the heart of the problem. Write down the “pros” and the “cons” associated with both sides of the conflict. What are the pros and cons of continuing a behaviour versus the pros and cons of changing a behaviour. Don’t expect the list to change anything immediately; this list is to uncover – possibly hidden – tap-able issues.

Agree with their conflict. “Even though I am pretty comfortable where I am…” Even though I don’t know what I want…” “Even though I think I should…”

Clarify what they want. Supposedly once someone becomes very clear on their intention (i.e. discovers what they really, really want) they will be motivated to do what needs to be done to allow it to happen. Sometimes this is challenging! So many of us don’t know what we really, really want. A practitioner can find the ‘tap-able’ issues around facing the ‘unknown’ by asking questions that encourage people to name what they want (really want) rather than what they don’t want. When a client is able to state what they want a good question to uncover underlying factors is: “What stops you from getting it?”

Don’t expect miracles. Even then it may not be a smooth road. As each new layer is peeled off and fear of a new change is uncovered EFT can be use to deal with each new: “yeah…but” that comes up.


David Rourke provides ongoing EFT Training workshops across Canada. He participated in the Workshop Healing the Cycle of Addiction which is now available on DVDs. $50 discount for subscribers.

In addition, David and Carol Look spent an entire day audio taping their discussion about addictions and practical applications of EFT.


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