Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) tapping points illustrated

What is emotional freedom technique?

Emotional freedom technique (EFT), frequently known as tapping, is a relatively new form of therapy, developed by Gary Craig in the 1990s. However, while Gary’s specific treatment may be new, it is linked to the principles of acupuncture dating back over 5,000 years. It also has a substantial body of recent research evidence showing its clinical effectiveness in a wide range of settings.

The actual process of EFT is straightforward, combining gentle self-tapping with words and phrases designed to focus attention on the matter in hand. Once you have learned the basic principles, you can continue to practice EFT at home. It becomes a handy self-help tool you can turn to whenever you need.

Although emotional freedom technique is easy to learn, it’s also incredibly powerful. It can allow you to transform and release feelings of hurt, shame, anger and fear. Even after just a few rounds of tapping, many people find they are calmer, lighter and generally feel better. Evidence shows that the effects of EFT can be transformational and long-lasting. It’s not just a temporary feel-good process but can provide long-term relief from even well-established conditions.

How does emotional freedom technique work?

EFT works with the body’s internal energy systems. It uses gentle stimulation of the meridians used in treatments such as acupuncture, while simultaneously focussing on the current difficulty. This dual attention helps your brain process whatever might be troubling you.

Western science has historically been sceptical of approaches such as acupuncture. However, recent research has revealed the existence of the primo vascular system corresponding to many of the meridian points. Further, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), studies have observed that EFT can make significant changes in brain function.

When we are stressed, the way our brain works changes. Activity in the pre-frontal cortex (linked to memory formation and retrieval, and cognitive processing) reduces — it goes “off-line”. At the same time, activity in the amygdala increases. The amygdala is like the body’s fire-alarm, responding automatically to what it thinks is a danger. When the amygdala becomes activated, it signals our bodies to ‘standby for action’. Our bodies release stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) that prepare us for fight or flight.

As evidenced by fMRI scans, EFT calms the amygdala. Thus, reducing our arousal, bringing us back to a quieter, more resourceful, state. Because you were focussing on the issue at the same as tapping, and your body relaxed, your amygdala learns that it need not set off the ‘fire alarm’. So, the next time you encounter whatever the issue might be, it has much less effect. Thus, emotional freedom technique leads to a permanent change in how you respond to the original problem.

Frequently asked questions

Does EFT work?

There have been many clinical trials which have consistently shown that EFT is safe and effective, leading to lasting change. You can find some of these studies referenced on Dawson Church’s website, EFT Universe.

Is it linked to any religion or religious practice?

No, EFT is in not connected with any religion. There is substantial evidence from fMRI and PET scans to show how EFT works from a neuroscientific perspective.

Can I use EFT as self-help?

EFT is a fantastic self-help resource, and we encourage clients to use EFT at home. Gary Craig, the originator of EFT, has some excellent free tutorials on his website, emofree.com. We have also linked some other resources below.

Do I need to see a therapist to use EFT?

While EFT is a great self-help tool, and simple to learn, it’s also a powerful therapeutic intervention. If you are experiencing mild-to-moderate difficulties, you may well be able to use EFT on your own. However, we would not recommend using EFT as a self-help tool if you have a history of trauma or PTSD. Similarly, it may be better to work with a therapist if you are seeking help with a long-standing issue. If you feel unsure about using EFT on your own, please contact us. We would be happy to assist.

Where do I go from here?

If you would like to talk with someone about your situation, and how EFT might help you, please contact us, phone on 0151 329 3637 or email enquiries@counselling-matters.org.uk. We would love to help.

Further Reading

Gary Craig’s official website: emofree.com
The science behind EFT: EFT International
EFT research articles: EFT Universe
EFT tutorials: EFT Universe