And if so, do I need permission from that person?
This is a common question but it is also a complex skill. EFT does work in this way – someone can tap ‘for’ another person by tuning in to whatever they might be aware of in that moment, and tap as though they are experiencing themselves. Many people will report positive outcomes from this.
However, and there is a BUT, there are several things to be aware of. The first is that your own intention needs to be clear. If you are tapping on someone else’s issue or problem because it will make your own life easier (e.g. you tap on your partner’s bad habit because it will make your life smoother), then the intention may not really be about helping them with the habit – it is more about you. In this case, you can still tap – but it would be on your own reactions towards that other person. You may find that by reducing your own frustration about someone else’s bad habit, they may actually change towards you anyway.
There are circumstances where surrogate tapping may be useful however. For small babies, children and situations where someone cannot tap for themselves (e.g. disability, injury), then it might be appropriate to tap for them. Asking permission wherever possible is preferred ethically, and if it cannot be obtained, taking some time to sit quietly and think about the other person and whether they would truly give you permission might be useful (this might be referred to as asking that person’s higher self). Always respect the answer you receive, and tap on yourself and your own feelings if the outcome is not what you wanted.
However, if you have permission or feel it would have been given, “surrogate tapping” is then done by tapping on yourself while you imagine in your mind that you are the other person. Typically people will tap with phrases that come to their mind, without questioning them – they still rate the distress level out of 10, and apply the same EFT recipe, just on themselves.
For an example of surrogate EFT for a baby for sleep issues see http://www.eftuniverse.com/children-and-adolescents/helping-a-restless-baby-to-sleep#comment-55