Knowing your SUD’s Level. What does SUDs stand for ?
Your SUDs level stands for Subjective Units of Distress (the ‘s’ at the end is superfluous, but is commonly used anyway).
The SUDs rating acts as a marker of your charge or intensity level, so you’ll know where you are and where you need to go and if you are making progress!!!
In EFT we use the SUDs level to gauge where you are on the spectrum of emotional charge.
We assign a 10,9 or 8 to a severe or high intensity charge of emotion. Some examples of a high intensity or severe charge are feelings of extreme anger or fury, sorrow, deep grief, feeling devastated, terror , or panic.
We assign a 7,6,5,4 SUDs level to a moderate intensity or charge of emotion.
We assign a 3,2, 1 SUDs level to a low charge or intensity.
We assign a zero to a feeling of neutrality about the issue, person or event. A zero is not a positive feeling. Instead, it feels more like an emptiness or a blank feeling, a feeling like you just don’t care about it anymore, or a why bother feeling. You can also feel a great sense of relief and a lightness about the issue.
In EFT, we want to bring the emotional charge or intensity, the SUDs level, down to a zero. That is the goal. We find that when you are persistent and tap on issue down to a zero, it’s more likely that the neutrality around that issue will be permanent. If you stop before you get to a zero, the emotional charge may go back up.
Why Is The SUDs Level Important?
If you simply say, “I’m really upset” that doesn’t give you much information. If you can put a number to it, say a 9, for instance, even if it’s subjective, you at least have a starting point. Then as you tap and get in touch with your decreasing SUDs level on subsequent rounds, you’ll know you’re making progress. You’ll also have a handle on how far you still need to go to completely resolve an issue.
Conversely, if your SUDs level number hasn’t changed after a couple of rounds, you’ll know you’re missing something and will need to make some changes (see Lindsay Kenny’s “9 Stumbling Blocks of EFT” to give you direction). Likewise, if you get down to a 2, you know you’re close, but not quite finished. You want to keep going until you can say for certain that you’re at a zero.
It’s important to remember that the objective of EFT isn’t just to “feel better” (although that’s certainly nice). The ultimate goal is to realize a complete cessation of a negative emotion or issue. So don’t stop just because you start to “feel better”. Keep tapping until you’re feeling great and the issue has been completely put to rest. If you truly get to a zero on the event, issue, pain or whatever, it’s unlikely to return. To make sure that you’ve really neutralized problem, test yourself by trying to get upset. Revisit the issue, even the formerly painful aspects and see if the intensity rises at all. If it does, you still have some work left.
If the event, pain or issue seems ‘fuzzy’, hard to remember, or difficult to grasp, and there’s no “charge” left, then you are likely done. When my clients get to a zero, I ask them how they know that. Often it is the cessation of a physical manifestation, such as tightness in the shoulders or neck, or an upset stomach. Or they might feel profound relaxation, feel lighter, and experience renewed energy or peace of mind. I love using the SUDs rating and check it several times (usually after every 2 rounds of tapping) in the course of eliminating an issue.
Your SUDS level: What if I don’t know my intensity level?
It’s not always easy to figure out, on a scale of 10 to 0, just how much your back hurts, or how angry you are at your business partner, or how afraid of heights you are. At best, it’s a subjective guess. While many people are able to determine their SUDs level right away, many others struggle with this seemingly minute, but important aspect of EFT. If you don’t know what your SUDs Level is just GUESS!!! Say “Even though I don’t know what my intensity level is, if I had to guess I’d say it was at a…” And just say whatever number comes to you.
Find Your SUDs Level
This simple little trick bypasses the conscious mind and allows the subconscious to provide the answer. It may not be 100%, but it gives you a reference point. Good practitioners generally know where someone stands as they talk about their issues. If a client’s number is far off from the estimate of the practitioner, he or she would have occasion to question the client’s answer. When working with yourself, however, you can only guess and do your best. Chances are, if you don’t analyze it too much and just go with your gut feeling, you’ll be just fine. As stated in the above question, it’s important to get the SUDs rating so you’ll know where you are and where you need to go.
The Positive SUDs Level Scale
After the issue is a zero, you can start tapping with affirmations about your issue, on the Positive SUDs Level scale. I recently learned about this technique from Silva Hartman. With the Positive SUDs Level Scale, you reverse the SUDs Level -with 10 meaning that you feel absolutely great, happy or free about the issue and zero being a feeling of neutrality. Tap in positive affirmations until you are at a 10. If you hit a block, inquire deeply as to what is keeping you from feeling it as a 10. Then tap on that block.
Continue to tap with affirmations about your issue, until you are at a 10 on the Positive SUDs Scale.