Emotional Freedom Therapy (EFT) is an evidence-based form of counselling intervention that stimulates acupressure points by tapping these points while focusing on situations that represent personal fear or trauma.
The modality is based on the belief that negative experiences and thoughts can cause disruptions in the energy system, which manifest in emotional and physical ailments. Realigning the disrupted meridians, or energy pathways, and addressing the underlying emotional issues eventually lead to emotional and physical healing.
Also known as Tapping, or EFT Tapping, EFT aims to reprogram or remove any established emotions in the body. In addition, it can also be used to provide relief from physical issues or chronic pain without exploring any emotional contributors.
Applying tapping pressure to the meridian points sends signals to the part of the brain that controls stress, ultimately restoring balance to your disrupted energy.
Think of your amygdala as a personal alarm system. When you experience trauma or fear, the amygdala is triggered and your body is flooded with cortisol, commonly known as the stress hormone. This intricate chain reaction – your stress response – significantly influences and sometimes even causes whatever it is that troubles you, whether that’s an illness, injury, emotion, or even an external problem such as an issue with a friendship.
EFT is like getting a massage during a psychotherapy session. In fact, it’s EFT’s ability to access the amygdala, an almond-shaped part of your brain that initiates your body’s negative reaction to fear, a process we often refer to as the “fight or flight” response, that makes it so powerful.
The beauty of EFT is that it can be easily learned during your psychotherapy session so that you can utilise this process at home, or anytime you are feeling stressed, anxious, etc.
Dr. Dawson Church
EFT can be divided into five steps. If you have more than one issue or fear, you can repeat this sequence to address it and reduce or eliminate the intensity of your negative feeling.
In order for this technique to be effective, you must first identify the issue or fear you have. This will be your focal point while you’re tapping. Focusing on only one problem at a time is will enhance your outcome.
After you identify your problem area, you need to set a benchmark level of intensity. The intensity level is rated on a scale from 0 to 10, with 10 being the worst or most difficult.
The scale assesses the emotional or physical pain and discomfort you feel from your focal issue. Establishing a benchmark helps you monitor your progress after performing a complete EFT sequence. If your initial intensity was 10 prior to tapping and ended at 5, you’d have accomplished a 50 percent improvement level.
Prior to tapping, you need to establish a phrase that explains what you’re trying to address. It must focus on two main goals:
The most common setup phrase used is: “Even though I have this [fear or problem], I deeply and completely accept myself.”
The EFT tapping sequence is the methodic tapping on the ends of nine specific meridian points. There are 12 major meridians that mirror each side of the body and correspond to an internal organ. However, EFT mainly focuses on these nine:
While tapping the ascending points, recite a reminder phrase to maintain focus on your problem area. If your setup phrase is, “Even though I’m sad my mother is sick, I deeply and completely accept myself,” your reminder phrase can be, “The sadness I feel that my mother is sick.” Recite this phrase at each tapping point.
At the end of your sequence, rate your intensity level on a scale from 0 to 10. Compare your results with your initial intensity level. If you haven’t reached 0, repeat this process until you do.
Watch Linda A. Curran walk through EFT in this short video.