Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a surprisingly simple but effective way of liberating us from beliefs and behaviours that do not support a positive attitude towards ourselves.
It engages with the meridian energy system (the guiding principle in acupuncture and reflexology) by gently tapping on certain acupressure points of the upper body whilst focussing on a particular emotional issue or event.
It is a gentle but powerful tool to help reduce the negative emotional energy or charge associated to painful or traumatic experiences with minimum risk of re-traumatisation. It can be used with any emotional state regardless of the intensity and gently guides us to greater awareness and release.
It is not uncommon to experience a physical sensation when feeling particular emotions i.e. a lump in the throat when sad. It is believed, and it is can be seen to be true when working with EFT, that painful or uncomfortable emotions experienced from birth to adulthood are held within the body if they are not understood and integrated at the time of the experience. Described as a disruption or blockage in the energy system, it could eventually present as a physical illness ie. psychosomatic in nature.
What is evident that these experiences do not need to be traumatic in the normal sense of the word but can be sufficiently disruptive, particularly as child when our understanding is limited. In an attempt to prevent a repetition of the same situation or emotion from being felt again we ingeniously create strategies to keep ourselves safe i.e. don't trust, don't make a fuss, don't relax, don't make mistakes, or form a belief about ourselves i.e. I’m not good enough, I don’t belong etc., which have the effect of inhibiting our natural self-expression and cause us to adapt our behaviour or personality. Beliefs are not always obvious and can be outside of our conscious awareness but still dramatically impact on our ability to feel happy and fulfilled.
Research has shown that EFT has a soothing effect on the amygdala, the emotional processor within the brain most commonly associated with fear and emotional reactivity. It receives sensory input from the external world i.e. sight, sounds, smells and instructs the other body systems to respond to the danger via the fight, flight or freeze response. The amygdala is responsible for forming associations with random or repetitive stimuli as can be found in phobias, anxiety and disordered eating, for example. It is this connection with the amygdala that allows memories to surface during EFT that holds the key to healing.
EFT is being used across the globe to help increase the wellbeing of children and adults alike. It is used in schools to help decrease anxiety, indeed the Slovenian Ministry of Education officially offered to 75% fund EFT training for all teachers and educational workers in Slovenia (June 2016). There is an ongoing successful EFT programme in Rwanda to ease the traumatic effects of the genocide. It has also been used in the NHS for its beneficial effects in the treatment of depression and anxiety.
EFT is an experiential therapy, in that you will invariably feel the release of emotional energy associated to past and present experiences during the session. This can be incredibly liberating, although it is not a one hit wonder. Often times our emotional issues will have many aspects to them and only one aspect may be available to be worked with at a given time but by working with your experiences layer by layer sometimes life changing effects can be felt.
This simple technique can be relaxing as well as energising as it helps to integrate lost, disowned or undiscovered aspects of our being. This can free up energy enabling more positive and self-supporting perspectives to arise. Once learnt it can be used as a self-help tool to immediately alleviate emotional discomfort.
What can EFT be used for
EFT is proving that it can be applied to any emotional issue and can be used to work alongside medical treatments* and talking therapies, if applicable.
*EFT should never replace medical treament but when used in conjuction with medical treament it may allow access to some of the limiting beliefs or emotions that may be hampering healing. It may also provide a self-help tool to increase relaxation and reduce anxiety about an illness.
EFT can assist with:
EFT as a standalone therapy is not considered counselling although the effects and goal of each are similar, however EFT can be incorporated into a counselling session.