What is Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)?
Emotional Freedom Techniques (or EFT) is an emotional healing technique, which is based on a revolutionary discovery that violates most of the beliefs of conventional psychology. It contends that the cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system.
Essentially, EFT is a form of “psychological acupressure” – except that we don’t use needles. The approach relieves symptoms by tapping on various body locations. This tapping balances energy meridians that become disrupted when we think about or experience an emotionally disturbing circumstance. Once balanced, the upset is usually resolved – the memory stays but the emotional charge is gone. Typically the result is lasting and is also accompanied by positive changes in thinking. The technique is easy to learn and ideal for self-help.
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) evolved from Thought Field Therapy, which was created by US clinical psychologist Roger Callahan. Callahan discovered that stimulating acupressure / energy points lead to psychological relief for an anxious client, and through experimentation was able to discover a series of useful points.
Gary Craig, who studied with Callahan, identified a comprehensive set of “all purpose” energy points that could be applied to treat any emotional problem. He called this Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), and achieved excellent results with this approach on a wide range of emotional as well as physical problems.
EFT has been successfully applied to treat a wide range of emotional problems and issues, including anxiety, fears, phobias, trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, grief, anger, guilt, etc. It has also been applied to enhance performance and improve relationships. In relationships, EFT can help us by reducing the emotional upsets towards our partner, many of which have their origins in our past. Using EFT, couples can overcome many of the barriers to friendship and closeness.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about EFT is that anyone can learn this approach and use it to help themselves. While some problems require persistence with the technique over a period of time, and some will require the intervention of a skilled therapist, many ordinary people can learn EFT and apply it successfully to the general problems and stresses of living.
Note: Whilst EFT has achieved excellent results with many physical conditions the technique should not be seen as a substitute for appropriate medical care and should always be used in conjunction with medical consultation and intervention for such conditions.
How to Use EFT
Begin by rubbing on the sore spot (see diagram below) and repeating the self-accepting statement shown, inserting the words that describe your problem (eg. “Public speaking fear”). Then tap on each of the points about 7 times while remaining focused on your problem. Proceed through all of the aspects of the problem that are troubling. To use the technique most effectively, it may be necessary to consult a trained professional or attend a workshop. See our practitioner list and workshop calendar for information about people and programs near you.
Some excellent results are being reported in research studies being conducted worldwide on EFT. A study at Curtin University in Western Australia by psychologists Steve Wells, Kathy Polglase, Henry Andrews, Patricia Carrington, and Harvey Baker found EFT to be successful in treating specific phobias and the results were superior to a more traditional treatment. Behavioural shifts achieved in the 30-minute treatment sessions were maintained at follow-up 6-9 months later. This study was published in the prestigious peer review journal Journal of Clinical Psychology, September 2003 edition. If you want to read more about this research click here.
Researchers in the USA are mapping the physiological effects of the approach and finding that major changes in functioning can occur when people tap on the meridian points. Most people start to relax almost immediately, and report that their traumatic experiences are less bothersome after EFT treatment.
For a summary of research that has been conducted on Energy Psychology techniques such as EFT, see this excellent article written by David Feinstein, PhD:
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