“Cindy” had been a client for several months. Today she told me that she hadn't
dealt with her taxes for three years. She complained that the State was after her, and feared
that she wouldn't have enough money to pay her taxes. Cindy confessed that she had resistance
to making an appointment to see the tax preparer. She said that she needed to have her tax return
finished and turned in by April 14—one month and one day away, and she hadn't even made an
Her anxiety level was at about a 4 when she thought about doing her taxes.
Then I asked her about making an appointment with a tax person, and her
anxiety level shot up to a 7.
When I asked Cindy if she had experienced feeling something like this in her past
(other than the other times that she was slow at getting her taxes in)—where
she felt the same kind of fear, anxiety and procrastination. She replied that when
she was a senior in college, she had a problem finishing up her Senior Project.,
and admitted that she had a serious problem with procrastination.
She put off working on her Senior Project until the last minute,
and as a result received a lower grade. Back when she was in college, her feelings
around not doing the project and getting it in were a 10. However, the emotion that
she had today when she reflected on how she put off her Senior Project was disappointment,
with an intensity of 4.
We tapped on her disappointment for putting off doing her Senior Project, and her fear of doing it wrong.
Cindy had a rough time with her father when she was growing up, so I added that she had a problem with
her father's authority, and not just her father, but any authority, including her teachers. Then I pointed
out that the State and the Feds are also an authority. We did the argumentative approach for several rounds
in which she repeated, “I want to turn my project in;” “No, I don't;”
“Yes, I do,” and a few, “You can't make me!” We were able to get her disappointment
about procrastinating on her Senior Project down to a zero, and she finally was able to laugh about it.
Then I asked how anxious she felt about making an appointment with the tax preparer, and her anxiety had dropped
from a 7 to a 2. At this point she added, “I only have one tax return and it has to be done on
time—no choice.” However, she wasn't comfortable making an appointment. So, we did the 9-gamut point,
using “I hate authority,” and “You can't make me!” as her reminder phrases. After that,
she said she didn't feel anxious about seeing the tax man. So, after three years of putting off doing her taxes,
Cindy did make an appointment to see her tax person.