This is Part 2 of a 3-part series.
In the last part of this series, I shared how school counselors can use Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) to support students with emotional regulation, introducing stealth tapping, and building resilience. In this part of the series, I’ll focus on academics. We’ll explore goal setting and homework completion, improving focus and concentration, and test stress.
Let’s dive in.
#4 Goal Setting/Homework Completion
The name of the game in school is progress. Of course we want all students to succeed. That’s what they want too, but sometimes there are emotional blocks that get in the way. I frequently heard from teachers that if students simply completed their in-class work and homework, they would see significant improvement in their abilities. You can target homework completion as a goal with EFT, but this is not a one-size-fits-all kind of problem. There are many reasons why a student might not be completing their homework. This is where it takes some skilled questioning to get to the root of the issue. For example, some students complete the homework, but might lose it before they have to turn it in. This is a very different issue than a student who didn’t attempt the homework because they didn’t believe they could do it.
Once the goal is established, you brainstorm a list of every possible obstacle that might get in the way of achieving that goal. Those are the tappable issues. As those obstacles are cleared one at a time, students often start making progress toward their goal..
As an example, I had a student who had previously been successful in school and once she encountered material that was challenging, she believed she couldn’t do it. For those of you familiar with Carol Dweck’s work, she was in a Fixed Mindset. She was really hard on herself and shared that it was difficult to just look at her grades. So we tapped on the emotions that came up just thinking about looking at her grades. Then we tapped on actually looking at the grades until she was able to look at them without the intense emotions. When I checked in with her the next week, her whole mindset had shifted. She said she tapped every day that week and realized that it was ok to ask for help. She said she was sure she would get it eventually. And she did!
#5 Improving Focus and Concentration
By teaching students how to use EFT as a way to release challenging emotions and clear their minds, they can improve their ability to focus and concentrate in school. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase, “stressed brains can’t learn.” The reason for this is that stress can cause a fight or flight response which diverts the body’s resources away from the prefrontal cortex where our rational thinking takes place, and sends those resources out to our limbs to prepare to fight or flee. Tapping on the particular acupressure points associated with EFT sends a deactivating signal to the fight/flight center of the brain and allows the resources to return to the prefrontal cortex.
It is an amazing experience to use tapping with a student who is completely distracted and watch as their body language relaxes before your eyes. Their limbs lose tension, their breathing becomes calmer, and their facial expression relaxes. They might even yawn or sigh as a signal that they have released that fight or flight energy from the body. They have regained connection with their thinking part of the brain and are ready to learn.
#6 Test Stress
There are so many aspects to test stress for students and although there are similar themes, the experiences students have had around tests are unique to them.
It’s worth investigating the following areas with students and tapping on anything that might have an emotional reaction:
- How do they feel about the content?
- How do they feel about preparing for the test?
- How do they feel about asking for help with the content?
- What obstacles are there to preparing for the test?
- Recent times when they didn’t do well.
- Things the teacher might have said before and/or after the test.
- Things other students might have said.
- Things parents/guardians may have said.
- Emotions that have come up after taking the test.
I had a student who was particularly nervous about his daily timed math facts quizzes. After exploring some of the areas above, I learned that he was particularly nervous because if he didn’t score high enough, he had to miss recess. We tapped for about 20 minutes on the different aspects of that nervousness. I also taught him Stealth Tapping to use on his own leading up to the start of the quiz. On our next visit, he was so excited to share with me that his score jumped by leaps and bounds. He told me that he had a routine of doing the warm-up, tapping and breathing using the finger points and then starting the quiz. He learned how to help calm his fight or flight response so he could think more clearly.
Stay tuned for the final installment of this 3-part series on 10 ways school counselors can support students with EFT. In the next blog, I will share about specific emotional struggles that can often plague our students and how EFT can be used to support them.
To learn more about how we can work together to bring EFT into your school counseling practice, click the button below to sign up for a Complimentary Consult where we can discuss the options for getting you started with these amazing techniques.