What is Emotional Freedom Technique?
Start with the idea that a system of energy, the very force of life, runs through your body; many complementary therapies are based on this concept (Acupuncture, Reiki, Reflexology). EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) is based on the thought that negative emotions create negative energy and that disrupts the healthy flow of energy throughout the body, but that it is possible by ‘tapping’ certain key points on the meridians – the channels of this energy – to send vibrations along them release any blockages and allow the body to restore itself to health.
That is the physical component of this mind/body therapy. EFT suggests that the ‘blocks’ to well-being are also psychological, often deeply seated in the subconscious mind, based on past events and emotions in life. So the ‘tapping’ to discharge blockages is accompanied by specially constructed positive phrases, which work to release congested emotional memories. Emotional Freedom Technique is well described as ‘emotional acupuncture, without the needles’.
EFT grew out of Dr Roger Callahan’s Thought Field Therapy (TFT). One of his students, an engineer trained in Stanford in the USA, Gary Craig, took the basics TFT and developed it into modern ‘meridian-based therapy which has brings together with kinesiology, acupuncture and basic psychology’.
Since EFT is founded on the principle that there is an inevitable connection between the health of the physical, mental and emotional dimensions of a human being, it claims wide-ranging effectiveness: from chronic pain resulting from accidents and injuries, to fears and phobias (about anything to lifts, flying, spiders and snakes), and from emotional issues, such as loss and bereavement to addictions and dependencies.
This treatment has gained enormous popularity over the past twenty years since it was devised, partly because of its simplicity (the technique can be easily acquired by a variety of complementary therapists to add to their skills, or by an ordinary patient to use on themselves), and in large part because of the generosity of its inventor, Gary Craig, who originally made much of the learning materials, and recordings of his demonstrations available to access and download freely over the Internet.
What to expect
When you first visit an EFT practitioner (who, by the way, may also be skilled in other therapies), you will be probably have a discussion while seated, face-to-face with the therapist, and describe as precisely as you can, just how you feel physically and mentally. From this, it is agreed what to ‘tap’ on, having established the level of your fear/pain/anxiety on a scale of 1- 10.
You are helped to create a sentence which captures your emotions in the present moment, but to complete the sentence with a positive phrase that affirms your acceptance of your present state of mind and body. So your sentence might be ‘ Although my fingers are throbbing painful with arthritis, I love and accept myself.’ Or ‘Even though I am terrified at the mention or sight of a spider, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.’
For the ‘tapping’ itself, you may lie on a comfortable treatment table or couch. The practitioner will gently tap a sequence of places on the upper body (specific points at the end the energy meridians, probably in this order: the gamut point (the place on the back of your hand between your smallest finger and ring finger); the centre edge of the eyebrow; the outside edge of the eye; under the eye; under the nose; on the chin; ribs below the armpit.
The practitioner will then tap around this sequence of points while you repeat your selected phrase. At intervals, you can check in to see the level that your feelings/pain has reduced on the 1-10 scale. Many people experience a dramatic reduction in the very first session (especially for a specific problem, such as fear of mice or addiction to chocolate). Other issues may take longer. Tapping on one deep-seated issue may reveal another. The principle is described as tackling the tallest trees in the forest of personal issues, and when that one is dealt with, the next tallest can be broached.
The EFT practitioner will teach you simple tapping routines, so that you can use them on yourself in moments on stress or anxiety. Most people find it both reassuring and empowering that they are given tools to help themselves, even when not with the therapist.
Effects and Benefits
The benefits of EFT over other treatments could be illustrated by what it does NOT require. There are no chemicals or substances involved, no equipment or needles, no lengthy interrogative procedure (tapping can be effective on conditions where even the sufferer does not know the cause), and no side effects. On the positive side, it is universally applicable and seems to have a remarkably high – and long-lasting- rate of success.
The list of conditions which it is claimed that EFT can relieve is extensive, a veritable A-Z of healing: from Addictions, Allergies and Anger to Weight loss and Women’s issues, and including High blood Pressure, Pain management, Panic attacks and Public speaking.
Other categories and conditions, include: Vision, Sports Performance, Giving Up smoking, Dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, claustrophobia, fear of flying, depression, eating disorders, low self- image, obsessive behaviour and insomnia.
The EFT motto is “Tap on Anything”, meaning any condition. If you can describe it, you can treat it with EFT.
EFT is gaining in popularity, and many people who would not try a complementary therapy are attracted to this particular treatment because:
- They don’t have to take off any clothes – sessions take place, fully clothed
- They feel they don’t have to expose themselves emotionally as much they feel they might to a counsellor or psychologist.
- It seems to have immediate and dramatic effects with some people and some conditions.
- You can learn it, and practise it on yourself.
- No equipment is required, you can do it, and get relief, pretty much any time and in any place .
So people feel empowered and liberated by it, freed from their negative emotions, just as the name of the technique implies.
Fascinating Facts about Emotional Freedom Technique
- Many healers and motivational teachers speak in praise of EFT: Depak Chopra, MD, author and spiritual guru, says, “EFT offers great healing benefits.”
- 85% of all people who use EFT find it helps them.
- In one well-publicised video of a public tapping session, actress Whoopi Goldberg is cured of a long-term (13-year) fear of flying. Previously she had used 80 milligrams of valium together with alcohol to enable her to get on a plane.
- In 1999 in Western Australia a study carried out by a team of psychologists at Curtin University reported findings of their research which found EFT to be successful in treating specific phobias and, additionally, the results were better than more traditional treatment.
- Australian research found that practical shifts in behaviour and response to stressful triggers achieved in the 30-minute treatment sessions were still effective, even after 6-9 months when they followed up on patients.
- “Some day the medical profession will wake up and realize that unresolved emotional issues are the main cause of 85% of all illnesses. When they do, EFT will be one of their primary healing tools … as it is for me.” Eric Robins, MD
- Although EFT is a relatively new discovery (some 20 years old) it is a progression of methods based on ancient healing principals over 5,000 years ago. Its roots can be tracked back to ancient Chinese Shaolin and Taoist monasteries, from which the practises of acupuncture, acupressure, shiatsu massage and reflexology, and other energy-based healing are derived.
- EFT owes much to the work of Dr George Goodheart, the founder of Applied Kinesiology, and Dr Roger Callahan the founder of TFT Thought Field Therapy; Gary Craig was a student of Dr Callaghan’s methods, and developed TFT, making it the more accessible practice of EFT.
- More than a million (1,000,000) have downloaded Gary Craig’s training manual when it was free to download. Now it is available from Amazon Books, and a Mini-Manual version can be downloaded from www.eftuniverse.com. The manual was translated by EFT practitioners into over twenty languages.
- Associated with ideas proposed in The Secret, some people have successfully used EFT to help them towards success, increased wealth and abundance, but tapping away self-limiting beliefs about money and financial well-being. Jack Canfield and Joe Vitale are reputed to be fans of EFT.
Professional Bodies & Organisations
Gary Craig, founder of the EFT movement, retired leaving some confusion about the “official” way to be trained in EFT.. Various groups have claimed that right, and he endorses none of them. His statement is on www.emofree.com The best way is to train via 140 hours of DVDs he himself recorded covering most cases and issues with which EFT can deal. Interesting, it is claimed that observing the sessions (which include tapping on addiction, phobias, weight loss, to name but a few), can in itself be beneficial. “Borrowing Benefits” is the name of this concept.
The Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology
The ACEP is run by Tina Craig, daughter of the Founder Gary Craig, and though he refuses to endorse any one organisation over others, he does point out that she spent more time observing him than anyone else. Consisting of mental health professionals and allied energy health practitioners, the ACEP is committed to developing energy psychology methods for the following stated aims:
- The treatment and relief of those suffering from emotional challenges
- Maximizing human performance in business, sports and the arts.
- Supporting the healthy development and well-being of individuals and groups.
- Increasing compassion, understanding and peace throughout the world.
The Association for the Advancement of Meridian Energy Techniques (AAMET)
Established in 1999, the AAMET designates itself as a non-profit making body, ‘recognised as the largest international Association worldwide supporting all Meridian Energy Therapies, including Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).’ It also defines itself as a professional Association, which has introduced codes of practice and training guidelines in EFT. And, in advising members of the public seeking EFT treatment, it makes the distinction between itself as a ‘professional association’ and others that may be merely ‘listing sites.’
EFT Universe is the web site to which EFT founder Gary Craig entrusted the archives of EFT when he retired. EFT Universe offers training and certification, based on EFT as described in Gary Craig’s DVDs, in The EFT Manual (published by Energy Psychology Press), and in Gary’s EFT Tutorial. Energy Psychology Press is not affiliated with Gary Craig, though he permitted this site to maintain and extend his large database of EFT case histories on his retirement.