Fishbone diagram to improve your tapping

Healing yourself, loving the world

What’s a fishbone and how can I use it?

I used to do process improvement work and one of the tools for expanding thinking is the fishbone diagram, aka the cause-and-effect diagram, aka the Ishikawa Diagram. The tool is a template for brainstorming possible causes of an effect.

The tool can be used in two ways:

1. Brainstorm all possible causes and categorize them and then look for gaps in the categories.
2. Use preset categories and fill in the information.

Fishbone Diagram EFT Case StudyIn a process improvement setting, a fishbone has the generic categories of:

  • People
  • Methods
  • Machines
  • Materials
  • Measurements
  • Environment

I recently used the fishbone to look at a client case study where I needed to expand my thinking and get new ideas for approaching tapping. In this case I modified the Fishbone to have the categories:

  • People
  • Environment
  • Management
  • The Process of EFT
  • Specific Events
  • Fears/Beliefs/Thoughts

Case Study Fishbone


  1. All the people involved in the specific events.
  2. Client characteristics and personality traits affecting both the EFT process and also the specific events
  3. My personality and style: does it have to be modified for the client?


  1. Where the events happened
  2. Locations where the client feels stress or triggers


  1. People indirectly involved in the specific events
  2. People influencing the client
  3. Parents
  4. Spouse
  5. Children
  6. Boss

The Process of EFT

  1. How does the client feel intensity and changes in intensity?
  2. How do we know it’s working in sessions?
  3. Are we seeing positive changes between sessions?
  4. How do I pick what to tap on during sessions?

Specific events

  1. A list of specific events we’ve tapped on
  2. Events the client has mentioned

Fears, beliefs, and thoughts

  1. A list of fears. limiting beliefs and repeated thoughts the client has mentioned

How to use it as a case study tool

Draw yourself a fishbone. I prefer pencil and paper for this exercise. Fill in everything you know under the appropriate categories.  Now step back and take a look at the information.

What feels like it’s missing information?

What feels like it needs a new approach?

What have you tapped on thoroughly?

What has been skipped?

Where are you seeing changes?  Where are you not?

I used this tool recently with a complicated case. Doing so helped me clarify where I was making progress, where I was operating out of my comfort zone, and what areas I had overlooked.  After doing this analysis, my client had an amazing session with clear results and subsequent sessions showed continued and clear progress.

Photo by Karina Vorozheeva

Published in: ,

Share this post: 

Related Posts

Deborah Donndelinger

Deborah Donndelinger

I'm writing from Maryland, but my heart goes out all over the world. I'm cheering you on as you tackle the hard stuff, embrace the easy, and show up to help others.