Where/How did Emotional Freedom Technique originate?
In the 1970’s a psychologist named Roger Callahan made a major breakthrough discovery when he found that the Eastern energy adjustment techniques of acupoints could be applied to psychological problems as we as physical. Callahan developed an entire therapeutic school based on acupoint tapping that he used with his clients with great success, which he named Thought Field Therapy (TFT). TFT involves elaborate diagnostic procedures using muscle testing. A man named Gary Craig, studied Callahan’s technique. Fascinated with the success of TFT, Craig further refined the modality, doing away with the extensive diagnostics and narrowing in on what really worked, creating a highly effective and easy to use new modality. Thus, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) was created and has taken off as one of the biggest breakthrough’s in Energy Psychology.
Why do we focus on the negative during EFT?
This is a common and very important question. Most of us have been taught that focusing on the negative should be avoided at all costs and that positive thinking is the key to success. Well… how has that worked out for you? This belief is actually what causes us to create all sorts of coping mechanism to avoid feeling emotional discomfort of any sort (ie. addictions, distractions, overeating). The fact of the matter is, negative experiences and memories that have not been resolved, remain present whether we focus on them or not and it is precisely our avoidance of them that tends to make them shout louder in our lives. Our unprocessed emotions, beliefs and traumas will control our lives from a subconscious level until we address them, admit that they are there and work through them. Acknowledging and focusing on those things is a vital part of the process but we do it in a way that is gentle as possible while keeping feelings of distress at a minimum. Because the effects of EFT are so rapid, sometimes just a matter of a few minutes, the discomfort that one feels is minimal compared to the relief that is gained! Once a person recognizes the power of EFT for themselves, people often feel so empowered that they begin to happily go looking for any stored emotional trauma to uncover and clear.
Nick Ortner of The Tapping Solution says something brilliant, “Instead of calling the emotions we’re tapping “the negative”, we can call them “the truth”. They are the truth about how you feel right now; they are the truth about what happened; they are the truth about what you currently believe. You explore that truth to see how you can change it to a more empowering truth.”
What if I don’t believe it will work?
Results are not at all dependent on a belief in the technique, just a willingness to give it a try. The results always speak for themselves and usually quickly convert the client to a believer in the treatment. Working with skeptics is often fun because of this.
Is it safe/Are there any negative side effects?
EFT is considered very safe. There are no known negative effects of EFT. People do however have a wide range of benign responses. The body has a natural way of releasing or “off-gassing” accumulated stress and trapped energy from within the body. This releasing expresses differently for different people. Yawning, crying, laughing, tingling, burping, feeling waves of energy or heat coursing through the body are all possibilities that one may experience during a session.
Is there anything that prevents EFT from working?
Occasionally, the targeted issue is approached too globally which results in ineffective relief. EFT works best when tackling specific events, which the practitioner can guide you in uncovering. Another common reason for ineffective treatment is known as “secondary gain”. This is when the subconscious mind of the individual feels more secure in the disadvantaged state than going for improvement, because the person is receiving a hidden benefit from remaining just where/how they are. Skilled practitioners will able to guide you in uncovering any secondary gains and treat those first with EFT so that further improvements can be achieved. While not perfect, EFT has an extraordinarily high success rate of 85%.
Why use EFT rather than another form of therapy?
EFT often works when nothing else will
The results are often permanent when given the proper attention
EFT is extremely easy to use
No drugs, radiations, surgeries or other medical interventions
Relief can occur with EFT no matter your diagnosis (this does not mean ignore medical advice, but do use it in conjunction)
EFT is ideal for neutralizing and collapsing emotional issues
What if my problem is too painful to talk about?
There are specific ways of doing EFT that can be applied in these situations. The avoidance of re-traumatizing the recipient is a great benefit of this techniques. Working through a deep trauma is very possible with EFT and relief can be achieved without any detail being discussed.
In my opinion, one of the greatest benefits of EFT.
Will EFT work for children?
EFT works wonderfully for children. It is gentle, quick and light hearted. Children are known for responding very week to this technique. Language is tailored to the child’s age.
Can I treat myself?
Absolutely! I offer many references and educate all of my clients how to use EFT on their own. I encourage all of my clients to practice EFT no matter what they come to see me for. However, many people consult EFT practitioners for the objectivity and experience that will likely insure successful treatment until they feel confident in using it alone.
How long will the treatment last/Is it permanent?
It is difficult to predict this outcome; however, indications are that long-lasting results are routine when using EFT-Tapping appropriately. If you or the practitioner successfully treats the core of the problem, it has been shown to provide permanent relief.
How does EFT neutralize trauma?
To understand this, we have to look at how our brains work. The part of the brain that we will focus on is the mid-brain, which is located between the frontal lobes and the hindbrain/reptilian brain. The midbrain is the home of our limbic system which is the source of our emotions, long term memory and it is where negative experiences are encoded. The amygdala, a component of the limbic system is like our fire alarm, it signals us whenever a threat is present and initiates the “fight, flight or freeze” response. The hippocampus, another structure in the limbic system, controls contextual associations, so it determines what is seen as positive, a threat or as neutral. When we experience any sort of trauma or emotionally challenging situation, a “flag” is placed on that experience and all associated factors that our 5 senses picked up at the time of the incident so that if we encounter those same conditions, we can be warned of danger. For example, if a young child is attacked by a dog, and that incident is not resolved within the body, that child’s hippocampus will place a “flag” on “dogs” and any other factors that the mind picked up on during the incident. Later in the child’s life when they encounter a dog or anything else that was flagged as dangerous, the amygdala will trigger the stress response (fight, flight or freeze) in an attempt to maintain safety and security. This mechanism doesn’t just pertain to physical danger. Experiences that cause intense challenging emotions such as guilt, shame, grief, embarrassment, fear, anger, resentment, etc, can be encoded as dangerous, as well. For example, If a child spoke in front of class in third grade and someone laughed at them because they mispronounced a word or stumbled, that embarrassment may have caused their mind and body to associate public speaking with danger. After that, similar experiences, or even expectation of similar experiences can cause a fire alarm in the brain.
Once an experience is flagged as dangerous, it will remain that way until resolved. A conditioned response loop is created and will continue to repeat every time a trigger is experienced or perceived. This is where EFT-Tapping comes in! Tapping on the meridian points sends the signal to the amygdala that the autonomic nervous system can “stand down”, and that it can safely switch to a state of “rest and digest”. When a person focuses on a troubling memory or situation, the amygdala’s fire alarm goes off, the stress response is activated. Tapping while the fight-or-flight response is active, sends the message to the amygdala that it can de-activate, even though the threatening thought is still present. With repetition, the hippocampus gets the message that “this thing that was previously flagged as dangerous, is no longer a threat”. Doing this breaks the conditioned response loop and once it is broken, it is broken for good. The flag is removed, and hippocampus refiles the experience as neutral or “no big deal”. So, the next time that the trigger is encountered, the stress response will not activate. After clearing an issue, clients often report that they just can’t really connect with it anymore. The memory is always still there, but it holds no emotional charge. Often clients gain an entirely new perspective of the situation. Once the underlying experiences are resolved, the mind and body are primed for accepting and integrating new and beneficial thoughts, perspectives and beliefs.
Is EFT recognized at an efficacious treatment?
EFT has met the APA standards for an efficacious treatment for phobias. EFT has met the APA standards for an efficacious or probably efficacious treatment for several other psychological problems as well, such as anxiety, depression, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Research teams are conducting clinical studies to prove it’s effective results for other conditions.
How do I find out more about EFT?
There are hundreds of websites on EFT-Tapping. I recommend reviewing: EFT Universe, EFT Masters Worldwide, Tapping International, and the movie The Tapping Solution.