EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques/tapping)

A powerful set of tools integrating acupressure and thought/physical awareness techniques to gain long term relief from emotional and related physical pain.

Typical Benefits reported by clients and study participants include:

– Free the conscious and sub conscious mind to resolve challenging work, social and relationship issues.

– Relief from PTSD; See clinical study in combat veterans’ PTSD below.

– Address and take control of subconscious assumptions and triggers which damage work, social or intimate relationships.

– Heal underlying causes of short temper and hot anger.

– Surprisingly painless and often rapid relief from traumatic memories and experiences.

– Relief from feelings of high stress or burnout.

– Relief from anxiety, social anxiety, and panic.

– Relief from phobias.

– Access, identify and rewrite self-limiting beliefs and fears which drive repeated self-sabotage behaviors.

– Address the roots of chronic procrastination.

– Effectively address root causes underlying a susceptibility to depression.

– Relief from stress related physical conditions such as IBS/stomach aches, chronic headaches, neck, and back pain.

– Relief from guilt feelings for situations we cannot control or change.

Emotional Freedom Techniques or tapping are a set of powerful tools for the healing of stress, mental, emotional, and often physical pain. For many, these techniques have safely and quite painlessly offered relief from issues which had remained challenging; even after decades of medications and/or psychotherapies of various kinds.
Well known health proponents such as Dr Deepak Chopra MD, Dr Peter Levine and Dr Peta Stapleton MD among many others continue to be fans of EFT and more and more studies are being conducted and published in medical journals around the world.
For those seeking higher performance or dealing with anxiety, phobias, guilt, stress, repeated self-sabotage, burnout, or PTSD etc. I suggest having at least a few sessions with a qualified and experienced EFT practitioner you connect and feel safe with. Clients unable to come to my office, report EFT sessions via computer cams, to be very similar to being here in person.

What is EFT and how does it work? 

EFT is a series of techniques to allow the conscious and unconscious mind to communicate in a safe environment using simple acupressure points, cognitive awareness, and physical awareness techniques. These allow the practitioner and client to work together to remove the negative emotional burden from thoughts and memories.

When experiencing negative thoughts or reactions the subconscious mind links emotional responses to all previous negative events which seem related. This often triggers puzzling self-sabotage patterns, or fight, flight or freeze reactions which seem far out of proportion to the actual situation.

Neurologically, when researchers connected EFT practitioners and their clients up to EEGs to record their brain waves, they found that once well into the session, both displayed brain activity typical of highly skilled meditators. Both practitioner and client are wide awake and in complete control of themselves during sessions, but their minds are in a meditative state. This allows for a unique and tremendously effective dialogue between the subconscious and the conscious mind while the use of special acupressure points bleeds away the emotional charge around traumatic or painful memories, experiences, and associated emotions.
During sessions clients learn to use many of these tools to improve their daily lives. EFT is beneficial both for current experiences and as a daily habit to continue processing the backlog of not fully reprocessed negative life experiences.

Why is EFT so important?

Everyone experiences physical, mental or emotional harm at times, and all have differing abilities to bounce back. We’re designed to remember that something hurt physically and/or emotionally. That helps us successfully navigate life and avoid repeatedly getting burned. We’re not designed to remember the actual physical or emotional pain. In an ideal world, we learn whatever lesson is necessary, let go of the hurt, then the knowledge is retained as a nice compact easily retrieved memory file. When the no longer needed negative emotional responses or shock are not fully processed away, that little memory file is instead wrapped in cotton batten and barbed wire. Every time our conscious or subconscious minds reach for that memory they’re challenged and re-traumatized.

An excellent example everyone’s experienced is stubbing a bare baby toe. You’re shocked, mad at the furniture, mad at yourself and for good measure irritated with anyone else nearby. The logical part of your brain then goes “That really hurt. Keep your baby toes safe when you’re in bare feet.” The energy of that surge of shock and anger is processed and dissipated while the useful memory remains.

When negative experiences, memories and emotions are not fully processed, pain and/or shock are internalized, and things begin to go wrong.

Even considering addressing some memories or emotions can feel intimidating, but it’s important to remember the subconscious is working to protect us. During sessions buried sensations and memories are not normally fully released to the conscious mind until enough of the baggage has been sorted and properly filed away that the subconscious feels safe to let them into the light of day.

After a successful session, the troublesome memory or experience we’ve worked on has typically lost its grip so completely that clients literally cannot find the pain anymore. They have a hard time believing it had been such an issue until then.

Unlike traditional psychotherapy, EFT simply uses verbal awareness as a tool to isolate the issue at the top of the pile at that moment, adding acupressure to certain skin points with decreased electrical resistance to remove the power of negative memories and or subconscious programming. Once done, we move on to the next piece the subconscious feels safe to offer up.

EFT or “Tapping” clients often comment on how powerful and notably painless this technique has been for them. One example is a mental health professional who having come with anxiety, stress, and hyper irritability, said at the end of her second session “I was afraid to come to see you. I’ve been in therapy for much of my life and it’s been so painful. But this didn’t hurt. It just gently lifted off the pieces one by one and took away their power.

Our view of the world, our place in it and our sense of safety is always colored by what the subconscious mind believes to be true. Remember, the subconscious wants to keep us safe. The problem is that from birth to the present, people are writing on the walls of our heads. These subconscious programming’s influence every aspect of our thoughts and actions.

Unfortunately, the more recent knowledge and opinions formed by our big logical forebrains are often seriously at odds with the subconscious beliefs; and the subconscious always wins. In many cases our subconscious beliefs are either entirely erroneous or no longer fit our current reality. As Mark Twain said “It’s not what you don’t know that’ll kill you. It’s what you do know that ‘taint necessarily so.”

Clients are often curious as to why we initially concentrate on the negative. The answer is that positive affirmations are like putting latex paint on an oil-based wall. If you don’t prepare it first it doesn’t stick very well. When the conscious mind is saying “I’m thin, I’m happy, I’m successful, attractive” or any of a thousand affirmations, but the subconscious is saying “I don’t think so”, guess who wins. Once that negative, faulty, or no longer relevant subconscious programming has been made willing by removing all the negative charge, then and only then can we easily accept affirmations and positive feedback as the healthy well integrated beings we were meant to be.

The following clinical study in American veterans suffering PTSD illustrates just how powerful these techniques can be:

Psychological trauma symptom improvement in veterans using EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques): A randomized controlled trial

Dawson Church, PhD, Foundation for Epigenetic Medicine, Crystal Hawk, MEd, Therapeutic Touch Network of Ontario
Audrey Brooks, PhD, Psychology Dept., University of Arizona at Tucson.
Olli Toukolehto, MD, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
Maria Wren, LCSW, Veterans Administration Connecticutt Newington Campus
Ingrid Dinter, Healing Now, Hopkinton, New Hampshire, Phyllis Stein, PhD, Washington University School of Medicine.


This study examined the effect of EFT, a brief exposure therapy combining cognitive and somatic elements, on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and psychological distress symptoms in veterans receiving mental health services. Veterans meeting the clinical criteria for PTSD were randomized to EFT (n = 30) or wait list (n = 29). The EFT intervention consisted of 6 hour-long EFT coaching sessions concurrent with standard care. The wait list and EFT groups were compared pre- and post-test (at 1 month for the WL group, after 6 sessions for EFT group).

EFT subjects had significantly reduced psychological distress (p < .0012) and PTSD symptom levels (p < .0001) posttest. In addition, 90% of the EFT group no longer met PTSD clinical criteria, compared with 4% in the wait list. Following the wait period, WL subjects received EFT. 60% no longer met PTSD clinical criteria after 3 sessions. This increased to 86% after 6 sessions for the 49 subjects who ultimately received EFT and remained at 86% at 3-months and 80% at 6-months. The results are consistent with other published reports showing EFTs efficacy at treating PTSD and co-morbid symptoms and its [EFT’s]long-term effects.

Citation (APA Style): Church, D., Hawk, C., Brooks, A. J., Toukolehto, O., Wren, M., Dinter, I., & Stein, P. (2013) Psychological trauma symptom improvement in veterans using EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques): A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 201, 153-160.

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