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Well-Formed Outcome & EFT


EFT & The Well-Formed Outcome: How EFT Can Save Your Butt Before Mediation

I heard once to begin with the end in mind. It’s always amazing to me how many people never think, “What do I want at the end of this?” or “How do I want to feel when this is all over?” and start there.  It’s an easy way to discover the over-arching best possible outcome.

I recently had the pleasure of working with someone on the verge of a very intense and life-changing mediation.  “Chris” had so much money stolen by her son that she was going into legal mediation to sort it all out. She was devastated and exhausted by the whole affair.

The mediation was only 2 weeks away and she was so completely unprepared.  She was also tightly focused on the worst possible outcome.  She was under too much stress to change her thinking on her own and too emotionally wrung out to even imagine a best possible outcome.

In another instance I worked with “Bob” 24 hours before his divorce mediation. Custody, visitation, assets, and more were on the line. He was livid! His entire focus was on how awful his soon-to-be ex-wife was and how certain he was that things would go badly in the mediation. He considered it to be a waste of time and expected it to simply worsen the situation.

Bob had not given any thought beyond the mediation, about the days and weeks, months and years that would follow or about how his daughter would be guided by their behavior. He had not given any thought to his BEST possible outcome.

This is a common occurrence! People become too upset or stressed about a situation to even think about it – and because they “can’t think about it” they can’t prepare. Failing to prepare is the same as preparing to fail.

People tend to put off thinking about a scary situation and when they do think about it, they typically run variations of the worst-case scenario over and over in their minds until it becomes like a mantra or a horror movie.

The power of a well-formed outcome.

With both of the above clients, I asked them “what is your best possible outcome for all of this?”  The first answer I got was, “I want him to…” The other answered similarly. Each of these clients wanted someone else to act differently in order to please them.

When I pressed for a more subjective best possible outcome, neither could tell me. So that was the first order of business. With each of the above clients I elicited their best possible outcomes using classic NLP well-formed outcome criteria:

Is it measurable?

Is it within your control?

How will you know when you have achieved it? (I go for a feeling here, like “relieved”)

Does anything need to be done in order to achieve this outcome?

What is the benefit of achieving it?

Is there benefit to NOT achieving it? (secondary gain)

How will your life be different when you have achieved it? (ecology check)

Once we established the best possible outcome, it was a matter of building some congruence with it – some belief in the possibility of achieving or attaining the outcome.

Just a little bit of EFT can take the panic edge off, build core congruence with the goal, and pave the way for better decisions.

I could tell that not only was it difficult for them to wrap their minds around a positive outcome, but they both, respectively, had serious doubts about realizing a positive outcome. That is where EFT comes in. Here are some of the things we tapped on – in no particular order.

Afraid of/expecting confrontation at the mediation

Feeling like the best possible outcome was “impossible”

Focus on a negative outcome

Fear of failure

Feeling powerless


Inability to fathom any relationship (esp. a good one) with the other party after mediation



The tapping protocol was pretty simple – at first we tapped while they vented their worries and in doing that we were able to pinpoint a few particular areas to concentrate on like anger, disappointment, worry about the future, failure as a parent, etc…

Click here for more information about how I use tapping.

Bob was able to release some of the anger/hate that he felt toward his soon-to-be-ex and focus on building a harmonious relationship that would serve as a basis for all of their future interactions. He truly wanted to set the best possible example for his daughter. He began to see real value in the happiness and well-being of all parties involved.

More importantly, his mediation was incredibly successful. In that initial mediation he and his ex-wife were able to come to agreement on almost all of the issues at hand, including joint custody, financial support, and on building a new relationship based on respect and helpfulness.

Chris was able think about what life would be like post-mediation and view the mediation as a new beginning and an opportunity to re-work her relationship with her son. Her entire demeanor shifted and she seemed brightener and lighter after releasing those heavy emotions. Chris has a more difficult road ahead and is still working to build inroads with her son. For her part she has continued to use this process to manage emotions that would get in the way of her leading a happy and satisfying life.



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