From a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset Using EFT

by | Feb 14, 2024

As a former school counselor, I often heard students say things like, “I can’t do it,” “It’s too hard,” or “I’m not good at (fill in the blank)”. According to the work of Carol Dweck, these statements reflect a Fixed Mindset. In other words, a Fixed Mindset depicts the view that intelligence is static and cannot be changed. A lack of success in the classroom then becomes a reflection of low self-worth. In the world of EFT, these would be examples of Limiting Beliefs.

Let’s ponder this for a moment. If a student has the belief that they simply cannot learn the content, what would you notice about their behavior in class? They might not be paying attention. They might do something else to distract themselves. They might act out in class. As for actually doing the work, they might never attempt it. Avoidance.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is a Growth Mindset, where intelligence can be developed. We recognize the ability to learn and grow from mistakes. If a concept isn’t grasped, it’s simply a matter of not understanding it yet, rather than a matter of never being able to understand it. A lack of success in the classroom is translated to trying something different.

Again, think about what this might look like in a classroom setting. If a student believes that they can learn the content, what might we notice about their behaviors in class? They might be paying closer attention. They might ask questions or stay for extra help. They will do the work. Leaning in.

Before I learned EFT, I found it quite challenging to work with students who had a fixed mindset. Their minds were made up. They had stories to back up their perspective as proof that indeed they could not learn a particular subject. They would become easily frustrated and would often give up before they even started. Why try if you know that you can’t do it? Regardless of what I said or offered as an alternative, it was often met with what felt like a stalemate.

Learning how to use EFT changed my whole approach.

As I integrated EFT into my counseling sessions with students, I was amazed at how quickly they responded and how significant the impact was in such a short period of time.

“Cassie’s Story”

“Cassie” came to see me because she was very upset with her first marking period grades. She typically performed well in school, but she hit a wall academically. She was failing some of her classes and based on what she shared with me, I could see that she was in a Fixed Mindset. She thought that she didn’t have the ability to do well now that she was in a higher grade. When I mentioned that I would like to take a closer look at her grades and see what was happening, she didn’t even want to look.

Prior to learning EFT, I would have listened to her first and then offered some suggestions about how to think about this situation differently, sharing that trying different strategies can bring about different results. I would have tried helping her with a top-down approach: shifting the thoughts with the intention of shifting the behaviors.

This time around, however, I was equipped with different strategies of my own. I was able to meet her right where she was and let the tapping do the work.

“Even though I’m afraid to just look at my grades right now, this is how I’m feeling.”

After one round, she was comfortable looking at her grades.

“Even though I feel stupid just looking at my grades right now, this is how I feel.”

I inquired further to find out what specifically she was thinking about. Was it a particular class she was focusing on? Was there a specific memory that had surfaced?

“Even though I feel ashamed thinking about getting that History test back with that failing grade, it’s ok that I feel this way.”

One round of each statement and I heard her say, “You know, I can ask for more help if I don’t understand something. Just because I don’t understand it right away doesn’t mean that I won’t ever understand it.”

Bingo! The shift happened naturally as she calmed her emotional response. She started asking more questions in class and spending more time with her teachers for extra help. New behaviors emerged for her and it didn’t take long for her grades to reflect these changes.

The transformation with EFT is empowering for young people. Rather than listening to an adult offering advice, students begin to learn that they have their own wisdom and they have a tool to help them access it right at their fingertips.

If you would like to learn more about how I can help your school counselors add EFT to their toolbox, sign up for a free 15-mintue consult by clicking the button below.