How to Use EFT to Heal the Pain of Unmet Needs


Unmet needs tend to crop up in just about every area of our lives, from childhood on, and the pain and limiting beliefs they can cause are significant. That's why identifying and releasing the pain of unmet needs within us can be so life-changing. 

This technique is one of my favorites for identifying and releasing hidden aspects. And it can be used to heal just about any kind of emotional wound or issue, including grief, trauma, fears, regrets, relationship issues, and self-esteem issues.





In my work with clients, questions are my most effective tools for thoroughly healing issues with EFT. Questions are powerful healing tools because they function as emotion excavators—meaning that they help to uncover parts of ourselves that need healing, but which we may not be consciously aware of. For today’s post, I have another powerful question for you to use to help you discover hidden aspects of issues that are in need of healing. Here it is:

What would need to happen in order for you to be at peace with this?

Your initial response to this question might be, “Well, what I would need to happen isn’t within the realm of possibility, so I’m not going to address it.”

If that is your initial response, that’s okay. Simply acknowledge that that’s how you feel, and then gently ask yourself the question again: What would need to happen in order for me to be at peace with this?

Here are some examples of answers I’ve heard to this question:

  • I would need ___________ to apologize for _______________.

  • I would need my loved one who passed away to still be alive.

  • I would need for this to never have happened in the first place.

  • I would need my entire family to acknowledge how unfairly/badly/harshly I was treated.

  • I would need to be able to talk to my deceased mother and tell her how I feel.

  • I would need to be able to turn back time and rescue ___________ from what happened to him/her.

As you can see, almost everything on this list is not within the realm of possibility. However, that’s not the point. The point is uncovering and healing the pain of unmet needs. Thankfully, tapping is up to the task, and when applied skillfully, it can bring you to peace about things you thought you would never be able to accept.

How do we do this? Well, we begin with the answers to these questions, and then we create tapping statements out of those answers.

Let’s begin with the first example:

I would need ______________ to apologize for _____________.

Let’s imagine you feel quite sure that this person will never, in a million years apologize to you for this. Perhaps you’re not in touch with this person, or this person has passed away, or this person has never apologized to you or anyone for any reason. It doesn’t matter. You can still heal the pain of this unmet need by tapping on it.

Here are some additional tapping statements that could be used in relation to this unmet need. If they resonate with you and have an emotional charge, then they should be tapped down to 0.

Also, if the answer itself has an emotional charge, begin by tapping on it:

I need ______________ to apologize for _____________.

After that, you could test statements that are related to the answer “I need __________ to apologize for ____________,” like the following (by “test” I mean see if they have an emotional charge):


I need _________ to understand how she/he hurt me.

I wish ___________ would acknowledge that what he/she did was wrong/hurtful/inconsiderate/etc.

Here's another  tapping statement related to this unmet need that you could test, and, if charged, tap out:


I’m angry and hurt because ___________ has never apologized to me for ______________.



Now I’ll give you some examples of tapping statements that might be used with each of the other answers from above. To prevent any confusion, let’s revisit the question:

What would need to happen in order for you to be at peace with this?

See below for the remaining examples.

I Would Need My Loved One Who Passed Away to Still Be Alive

Like the previous example, with this one, if it has an emotional charge, tap out the answer itself, but for simplicity's sake, rephrase it a bit so that it reads like this:

I need ____________ to come back/still be alive/not be dead [whatever wording resonates most with you].

Next, see if statements like the ones below have a charge, and if so, tap them out, as well.

Note: Keep in mind that these statements can be used as is, or modified in any way that makes them resonate more fully with your experience. Also, you may notice that when you start tapping on one of these statements, thoughts and feelings will arise that you can then turn into new tapping statements, which will then give rise to still more thoughts and feelings, which you can use to create additional tapping statements, and so on.
I call this following the thread, and it’s a very efficient way to heal and release a lot of painful feelings in a short amount of time, bringing you both peace and clarity about whatever it is that's causing you to suffer.

So back to the example we’re now working with:

I would need my loved one who passed away to still be alive.

Here are some related statements that, if emotionally charged for you, will help you to heal the pain of the unmet need that this person still be alive.

  • I wish _____________ was still here.

  • I’ll never see ____________ again, and I cannot accept that.

  • I need __________ to never die.

  • I'm devastated that ________ died, and I'll never get over it.

Though these statements about someone who has already passed away may not make rational sense, if they hurt when you read them, that means that they are your emotional truth, and tapping them out will be healing for you.

(For more information on why identifying and working with your emotional truth is so critically important, click here.)

Let’s move on to the remaining examples in the bullet-pointed list from above:



I Would Need for This to Never Have Happened in the First Place

  • I need for this to have never happened (the answer itself, rephrased for simplicity).

  • I wish this had never happened.

  • My life would be better if this had never happened.

  • I will never be at peace with what happened.


I Would Need My Entire Family to Acknowledge How Unfairly/Badly/Harshly I Was Treated

As with the previous examples, here are some tapping statements related to this unmet need that you could test, and, if charged, tap out:

  • I need my entire family to acknowledge how unfairly/badly/harshly I was treated (the answer itself, rephrased for simplicity).

  • I need my reality to be validated by my family.

  • I need my family to understand how I feel and why I feel this way.

  • I was treated very unfairly, and they all just pretend it never happened.

I Would Need to Be Able to Talk to My Deceased Mother and Tell Her How I Feel

As with the previous examples, here are some tapping statements related to this unmet need that you could test, and, if charged, tap out:

  • I need to talk to my mother and tell her how I feel (the answer itself, rephrased for simplicity).

  • I have unfinished business with my mother, and that’s really hard for me.

  • I wish I could tell my mother _________________.

  • My mother died before I could tell her __________________________.


I Would Need to Be Able to Turn Back Time and Rescue _________ from What Happened to Him/Her

As with the previous examples, here are some tapping statements related to this unmet need that you could test, and, if charged, tap out:

  • I need to be able to turn back time and rescue __________ from what happened to him/her (the answer itself, rephrased for simplicity’s sake).

  • I couldn’t save ___________ from what happened to him/her, and that is too painful for me to bear.

  • I wish I could have rescued ____________ from what happened to him/her.

  • What happened to ___________ was devastating, and I need him/her to be okay.


I encourage you to look at the aspects of your life that have caused you pain or stress, and use the question above to help you identify unmet needs, and the pain that lies within them. Then, tap it out, tap it out, tap it out.

Here are some parts of your life to check in about:


  • Childhood

  • Relationships

  • Career

  • Self-Esteem

  • Painful/traumatic event

  • Grief/loss

  • Fears

  • Limiting beliefs

Just scan these parts of your life, and when painful aspects of them come to mind, apply the question:



What would need to happen in order for you to be at peace with this?



Then, tap out the answers (and any accompanying thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that have an emotional charge) in the manner described above.

My guess is that doing so will change your life in ways you can’t even imagine—leaving you happier, freer, and more peaceful than you’ve ever been before.





When doing EFT/tapping on your own, if you get stuck, aren't getting the results you want, or would simply like to have the support and guidance of an experienced professional, I recommend working with an EFT practitioner. To schedule a session with me, click here. If you feel that another EFT practitioner would be a better fit for you, click here to access a directory of practitioners.





Heather Ambler is a San Francisco Bay Area based teacher and practitioner of EFT, writer, speaker, and founder of The 30-Day Tapping Challenge. Through her private practice and online programs, she has helped many thousands of people all over the world use EFT to find freedom from suffering and release the inner obstacles that were keeping them from living their best life. 






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