Just what is EFT all about it?
Whether you call it EFT, or the Emotional Freedom Techniques or Tapping, over 10 million people worldwide have already tried EFT and the numbers keep growing as it revolutionizes the way people work with their sense of well-being and effectiveness in their lives. It is a highly focused, evidence-supported self-help method that effectively and rapidly releases the negative emotional impacts of stressful and traumatic events on one’s life. This can be true with regards to relationships with families, partners/lovers/spouses, childhood and adult relationships. Memories of such negative experiences have been shown to have detrimental effect on a person’s self-esteem and profoundly affect how people view their ability to lead satisfied and healthy lives. Trapped negative emotions and of often unconscious patterns and belief, along with their related disruption of the body’s energy system, can affect an individual’s physical and mental/emotional health, the quality of their relationships and the effectiveness of their performance in a wide variety of endeavors.
Over 20 clinical trials have been published in peer-reviewed journals, and continue to be published with increasing frequency, supporting the effectiveness of EFT for conditions such as physical pain, anxiety, phobias, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, new studies point to its ability to enhance sports performance, increase life satisfaction, reduce food cravings and assist with weight loss.
The technique in its basic forms, can be taught to anyone, so that you may self-apply it as a self-management tool for a wide variety of stresses. In the hands of a trained practitioner, whether that be a coach, social worker, psychologist, educator, etc., even more challenging problems can be resolved.
The technique itself, draws a person’s attention to specific distressing memories or symptoms that may have ongoing implications into their current life situations. While that is happening, specific statements are spoken and gentle tapping on acupuncture meridian points is performed. Research indicates that this combination of activities appears to reduce levels of stress hormones, while stimulating natural healing in the body. It is common after tapping for a person to feel relief from their complaint, have obtained significant insights into their situation and experienced cognitive and emotional shifts. Some things can be tapped on by oneself, though more challenging and difficult issues may require a qualified tapping professional.
Let’s make this practical for a moment. First find an issue you wish to work on. Let’s say for example that you wish to forgive your boyfriend for not paying attention to you when you tell him about things that are important to you. It’s important to understand that with EFT, the more specific you are, the more effective it will be. So, find a specific memory of a time in the past that you tried to tell him about his not paying attention to you while you were sharing something significant to you. In this example, we will recall a time that you overheard your manager make a disparaging remark about your performance that you were not supposed to hear, but you were eavesdropping and did hear it but were unable to address it directly. When you told him about your distress and not knowing how to handle the situation, he responded with a nod that obviously made it seem that he was not really listening to you.
Step One: The Setup. Begin by thinking of the event and noticing what emotion comes up for you. Perhaps it’s anger because you felt betrayed because you had just paid full attention to him as he talked about his day. Next, notice if you can feel the anger anywhere in your body. Lastly, guess at how strong that emotion is on a 0-10 increasing intensity scale. That is what we need to get started.
Take four fingers of your dominant hand and gently tap repeatedly on the outside “Side of Hand” point of the other hand and repeat the following: “Even though I feel____ (i.e. this anger) thinking about ______(i.e. the look on his face as he nodded), I still deeply and completely accept myself.” Repeat three times.
Step Two: Tapping the Points. Next, you will be tapping several points, one after the other, perhaps three to seven times; it doesn’t have to be exact. It doesn’t matter which side of the face and upper body you start with, and you may alternate sides if it is easier for you. The points are: top of head, third eye-point, side of the eyebrow, side of eye, under eye, under nose, chin point, collarbone, and under arm (see illustration at right).
Using your middle and index finger, tap these points while saying a reminder phrase to keep the mind focused on the problem. Use the reminder phrase “this_____,” filling in the blank with the emotion. In this case “this anger.”
Step Three: Assess and Continue. Measure your progress by checking how intense the feeling is now after a round or two of tapping the points. You may continue for another round of two by modifying the phrase slightly to, “Even though I still have some remaining _______ (anger), I deeply and completely accept myself. The reminder phrase for this would be “this remaining_____(anger).”
All these steps become second nature after you have practiced on yourself several times. As you begin to release the emotional intensity and energetic blockages associated with past unsuccessful and related experiences, you’ll be amazed at how much more easily changes can occur without baggage attached. That being said, given the fact that most of the associative learning and memories in our neural networks are below the level of consciousness, it is incredibly helpful to have a trained coach/practitioner to help guide you in connecting the dots for those blind-spots that you cannot see. Also, when one considers working on past traumatic events, one should not attempt doing this alone and should either consult with a professional trained in these techniques or consider becoming more competent by attending a clinical EFT workshop.
Whether it’s a misunderstanding, a forgotten promise, an argument or something else that is hard to let go of that still causes you negative feelings, consider that there are methods like EFT that can significantly increase your odds of winning your life’s jackpot.
Alina Frank and Craig Weiner, D.C., are certified trainers and teach EFT and EFT Matrix Reimprinting workshops to individuals and professionals across the U.S. For an upcoming schedule of trainings and videos, go to www.EFTtappingtraining.com.