Tim Ervin, LCPC, BCC, CH



Over the years resource tapping (the act of left right, left right activities such as hearing audio go from one ear to the other on a continuous basis) has expanded and developed considerably. There are many positive resources that can be "tapped in" that comfort us, lift our spirits, or empower us, including inherent qualities such as love, wisdom, and joy, as well as memories, experiences, images that arise from our imaginations, and people to whom we can connect.

Resource tapping is used to reduce anxiety and depression, help with sleep, increase creativity and performance, aid in healing, and decrease distress after a traumatic incident. Students with heavy course loads are using resource tapping to help alleviate their daily stress.

It is important to understand that resource tapping is not taking something from outside ourselves and putting it in; rather, we use this method to enhance resources that are already within us. Resource tapping has been very helpful for many people. It has become a wonderful tool to help reduce anxiety, cope with trauma and illnesses, sleep better, and increase confidence, among other things. Over time, a wealth of applications for tapping in resources has been developed.

Six Basic Principles

Spiritual experiences are quite common for EMDR clients, as well as for clients tapping in their resources. The following basic principles form the foundation upon which resource tapping is built. When you understand and experience these principles for yourself, you will be able to use the technique creatively in any number of ways. Based on Dr. Laurel Parnell PHD research on Attachment Focused EMDR.

1. We are essentially whole. This wholeness is our true nature. The expression of our wholeness is wisdom, compassion, equanimity, power, and joy.
2. Within each of us is the potential to realize this wholeness. Indeed, this wholeness wants to be realized, impels us to realize it.
3. We also have within us a reservoir of positive stored experiences. These can include experiences of loving and being loved, and of feeling comforted, competent, powerful, happy, joyful, peaceful, and calm.
4. We become unhappy when we are not able to access our wholeness, our reservoir of positive experiences, or when we are out of balance.

5. We have a natural healing system that, when accessed and activated using bilateral stimulation (tapping), can restore us to balance.

6. We can access, strengthen, and integrate our wholeness and our reservoir of resources by tapping in our resources.

The Definition of Terms

Bilateral Stimulation

The use of eye movements, tactile sensations, sounds or physical movements to stimulate the left and right hemispheres, or sides, of the brain. Bilateral stimulation is used to activate and integrate information from these two hemispheres. The audio obviously uses BLS tones. For the purpose of our journey together the BLS process will be called “Tapping in”.  


Inherent qualities such as love, wisdom, strength, and joy, as well as memories, experiences, mental images, or people to whom we can connect. Resources reside within us. Activation Bringing a resource into consciousness through your imagination so that all your senses are alive, and its qualities are available to you.

Tapping In

A right-left, right-left visualization, auditory, or feeling sensation. You may hear tones move from ear to ear, tapping left right on the knees, legs, or shoulders, or follow and object left right with your eyes to achieve bilateral stimulation. The audio will pan left right through your headphones. The tones will travel from ear to ear.


In EMDR therapy, resource figures are supportive and nurturing individuals that clients can call upon to provide a sense of safety, comfort, and encouragement during the therapeutic process. Laurel Parnell, a prominent EMDR therapist and author, has identified four types of resource figures that can be used in this approach. These resource figures are:

Nurturing Figures

Nurturing figures are individuals who have been a source of love, care, and support in the client's life. They can be real people from the client's past or present, such as parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, or partners. The role of these figures is to offer emotional support and provide a sense of safety during trauma processing.

Protective Figures

Protective figures are individuals who have played a role in keeping the client safe and secure. They may be real people or fictional characters who symbolize strength and protection. These figures are called upon to create a sense of safety an shield the client from harm while working through distressing memories.

Wise Figures

Wise figures are individuals who possess wisdom, guidance, and understanding. They can be real-life mentors, therapists, spiritual leaders, or even imaginary figures that represent wisdom and insight. The role of wise figures is to offer guidance, encouragement, and perspective as the client navigates through the healing process.

Spiritual Figures

Spiritual figures can be religious or spiritual entities, such as deities, angels, or higher powers, that hold significance for the client's belief system. These figures provide spiritual support, faith, and comfort during the EMDR sessions connecting the client with their spiritual beliefs and resources.

By incorporating these resource figures into the EMDR therapy process, clients can access a sense of safety and support, which can facilitate the processing and healing of traumatic memories and emotions. These figures act as inner resources that empower the client to move forward on their path to recovery and growth.

 Each of us has a hidden potential, untapped natural resources we can use to heal our psychological wounds and help us navigate life’s challenges. Resources include memories of comfort and safety, experiences of being powerful and courageous, & images that evoke feelings of peace and calm. The problem is that these resources often remain buried, and we don’t know how to access them. Today, in western psychology, we have found a highly effective way to harness the power of our inner resources. Sometimes I still find it hard to believe that it works, even though I have experienced it myself and witnessed it work with my clients.