I have a variety of tools in my tool box, and one of my favourites is EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique. What I love about this tool is that it is so simple and gentle and yet so powerful. It can be used on absolutely anything and it is a great self-help tool. It works really well in conjunction with Hypnotherapy and other techniques. Most clients that I see have never heard of EFT and when I suggest that we try some tapping, I get a variety of looks – bemusement, scepticism, or a look of horror that I may even dare ask them to tap on themselves! But what is so nice about this technique is that the client doesn’t have to believe in it! It is also a great way of calming down and relaxing them. I gently say “so, why don’t we just try a new relaxation technique” and encourage them to start tapping with me.
How did it come about?
Dr Roger Callahan, an American psychologist, the founder of Thought Field Therapy (TFT), fell upon tapping therapy in 1981 whilst trying to help a female client with a severe water phobia. Out of frustration with not making much progress, he started to look outside the box of conventional treatments and one of these was traditional Chinese acupuncture. Mary was feeling her anxiety in her stomach, so he asked her to tap just below the eye, a point on the stomach meridian, at the same time thinking about water. To his amazement her phobia vanished. This was the start of tapping. Gary Craig was a student of Dr Callahan. He graduated in engineering but he was passionate about personal development. He was interested in resolving emotional issues and developed what is now called EFT.
Conscious or subconscious?
Counselling works on a conscious level, and hypnotherapy works on the subconscious level. However, EFT works on the conscious, subconscious and cellular level. When we think of a situation, or have a thought, it produces an emotion. This emotion causes a physical response. If I were to ask you to imagine standing in front of a large audience to give a presentation, you will probably notice yourself getting clammy, your heart starts to race and your breathing becomes shallow. You may even start to feel sick. These symptoms are due to an emotion such as fear. They are working at a cellular level. When we are fit and well, and life seems to be going well, energy flows freely along the meridians. Negative emotions and ill health cause blocks in the flow of energy. EFT unblocks the flow of energy.
What does it involve?
EFT involves tapping on a series of points, which correlate with Chinese acupuncture points located at the end of the meridians – pathways in the body along which energy flows. The distal meridian points are used to rebalance and clear the body’s energy system. So, EFT works like acupuncture, but without the needles. As we tap we focus on the problem or emotion putting it into a short phrase, saying it out loud.
What can it help?
So, what can EFT be used for? I said absolutely everything, and that is quite literally true. We can use it for past events, things happening right now, and also anything we are concerned about in the future. We can use it on children and adults and even pets! We can use it to improve our lives and attract better things into our lives. But generally we use it to resolve negative emotions and unhelpful beliefs resulting from traumas. These hold us back from progressing in life or sabotage our behaviour. Why can’t we resist that drink? What are the emotions and beliefs behind being unable to resist? It will also help physical symptoms as all symptoms have a belief and an emotion behind them. EFT can be used on incidents that we cannot recall or were too young to recall, but have been told about, such as a traumatic birth, or a spell in hospital as a young child. Although we cannot remember, our subconscious is already up and running, producing emotions even though we cannot name them at that young age.
What can be reassuring for clients is that details about past events do not need to be divulged to the therapist. So often clients don’t want to talk about that trauma “yet again”. By simply giving it a title or naming the emotion can be enough for the therapist to help work through it. Sometimes we have “this feeling” but we just don’t know why we have “this feeling” or we have physical symptoms. That is enough to work with. EFT helps relax and focus the mind, and often memories surface that we had forgotten about which helps explain things. Why do we always go for the cigarettes when someone has shouted at us? Maybe as a teenager, if our parents were rowing, we would escape to our friend’s and enjoy a cigarette, making us feel loved and secure. So reaching for that cigarette makes us feel loved and secure. No wonder we find it impossible to give up that cigarette!
A self-help tool.
I use EFT on myself on a daily basis as it is so good for clearing negative emotions. Emotions are like dust. If we don’t dust the ornaments regularly the dust builds up. If we don’t resolve our negative emotions, however trivial they are, they start to “clog up” our subconscious and start to affect us physically. EFT is so good to use in the moment. Ever walked away from someone and felt so angry with what they have said? By tapping on that emotion you will start to feel calmer quicker and to see the situation more realistically. Or maybe you have a phone call to make, but can’t get yourself to make it. Tapping again will help you.