Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a therapeutic approach to discharging excess emotional distress and liberating one’s natural growth process. It has its roots in ancient Chinese medicine and the modern science of Applied Kinesiology. The basic theory is that the cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system. By correcting the disturbance on an energy level we simultaneously correct it on the emotional level. These techniques are gentle, rapid and startlingly effective. New or old emotional upsets can often be released in less than half an hour! Similarly, life long phobias, compulsive behaviors and unhealthy patterns of belief can be eliminated. This method of treatment never ceases to amaze me. When I first heard of EFT, it sounded too good to be true – until I experienced the results – personally as well as with friends and clients. The process itself is actually quite simple. While holding a problem in mind and feeling the feelings associated with that problem, you tap with your fingers on specific acupuncture points.This opens the meridians and balances your energy.
EFT has a success rate of about 85-97%, depending on the problem. As a psychotherapist I am quite enthusiastic about these techniques.Many issues which previously may have taken months or years of work with more traditional approaches, can be worked through in half an hour. In fact, these techniques are so unintrusive, so painless, that clients will often say, “Thank you for your time, but it seems the problem went away by itself.” That is what, in EFT, we call the “apex effect.”
The more complicated issues often have a number of different facets or layers to them, which we call aspects. We may be feeling sad and angry, as well as hurt over a feeling of betrayal or abandonment either current or in the distant past. Each one of the aspects of that emotional upset will need to be balanced in turn. Each aspect characteristically has a slightly different feel or emotional quality to it so that one can usually tell when another aspect has arisen. The idea is simply to persist with the treatment until all the relevant aspects have been released and desensitized.
When working with long standing belief systems or trauma, you may find that more aspects show up over the course of time. It may appear, then, that an issue is stubbornly persisting but the fact is that another aspect has most likely surfaced. In this case, we follow a regular schedule of treating the issue several times a day for as long is necessary to root out all the aspects. Like the layers of an onion, we peel off one layer at a time until all the layers have been revealed and appropriately treated. Deeply rooted behaviours or beliefs will necessarily take longer to eliminate but ultimately these techniques will rid us of excess emotional baggage so that we may be free to get on with our lives and realize the full range of our potential.
To add a word of caution, a session of EFT may rid you of a phobia but you still must still demonstrate fitting caution in the face of real danger. You may have alleviated your back pain but you must realize that in the case of real physical injury, you must take appropriate care not to do anything which would exacerbate that injury.
- Addictive Cravings (food, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs)
- Anxiety and Panic Attacks
- Compulsions and Obsessions
- Depression and Sadness
- Enhance Your Self Image
- Fears and Phobias
- Grief and Loss
- Negative Memories
- Pain and Symptom Management (fibromyalgia, arthritis, back & neck pain)
- Physical Healing
- Peak Performance (golf, tennis, public speaking, performing in public)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Sexual Abuse Issues
Using EFT on Fears and Phobias
About 10% of the population suffer from one or more phobias. What is a phobia? A phobia is any “excess fear” over and above normal caution or concern. They can cause intense fear and often severely limit the lives of those who have them. There are hundreds of possible phobias and EFT can be effective on all of them. Below are some of the more common ones:
Snakes, spiders, bees
The first manifestation of an emotion, either positive or negative, is a change in the body’s electrical state. EFT is a wonderful self-care tool that can be learned in minutes because you use only your fingers. While acupuncture is used by doctors, chiropractors and therapists, it requires years of education and experience to use properly. EFT, like acupressure, makes use of the same system that is used in acupuncture. Points on the body, known as meridian points, are stimulated to assist healing. The techniques are gentle, quick and painless. They often bring about rapid and lasting relief.
Acupressure works by neutralizing disruptions in your body’s electrical system, which then stops the chemical chain reaction and frees you from emotional and physical discomforts. As you gently tap or press on a point, neural receptors under the skin convert the pressure to an electrical impulse that is transmitted to the brain. It is the same as using a VCR remote control or tapping a key on a keyboard to send an electrical signal to the computer.
Our thoughts are constantly creating patterns of electrical energy that cause the release of neurotransmitters, hormones and other chemicals in the body that we feel as emotions. When there is a disruption in the body’s electrical flow, such as the fight or flight response, we feel it. If the disruption continues, it can lead to emotional distress and eventually physical problems. When the disruption is removed, the distress stops.
Acupressure has been practiced for over 5000 years in the Orient. Today, it is used to treat a wide range of issues, including physical pain, stress, anxiety, fears and phobias, trauma, anger, depression, migraines, fibromyalgia, asthma and addictions. Acupressure is also used to improve personal performance in academics, business and sports by removing anxiety, doubt and negative self-talk.
There is now a great deal of research that supports the idea that the body’s “energy system” is primarily electromagnetic and that it can be directly adjusted just like VCRs and computers. Using discoveries from quantum physics, orthopedic surgeon Robert Becker mapped the entire meridian system in the late 1960s. In the 1977, researchers Fritz Popp and Walter Kroy demonstrated how cells in the body communicate using low energy light photons and microwaves. In the 1986, Stanford cellular biologist Bruce Lipton described the interface between the mind and the cells of the body. Around 1979, after studying applied kinesiology, including the work of George Goodheart and John Diamond, psychologist Roger Callahan, combined elements of quantum theory, kinesiology and acupressure to begin curing people with phobias and traumatic stress disorders. Initially, Dr. Callahan thought of his method in terms of cognitive therapy but later changed his view and referred to his technique Thought Field Therapy™ (TFT).
Emotional Freedom Techniques™ (EFT), evolved from TFT under the guidance of Gary Craig, one of Dr. Callahan’s first students. Gary is moving EFT away from Roger’s scientific model, where TFT has its own rules and terminology, into a more holistic context. For instance, he teaches the importance of a supportive relationship between therapist and client and he stresses the value of persistence in treating various aspects of a problem on order to resolve all parts of it. While Roger promotes different combinations of tapping points for different issues, Gary uses one, all purpose sequence which is easier to learn and remember. Both are extremely effective, however and the differences between them are simply a matter of personal preference.
We don’t actually consider TFT and EFT acupressure although there is some resemblance in that they both address the acupuncture meridian system. Unlike acupressure, these therapies are specifically psychologically oriented.
Almost everyone is skeptical when they first hear about these Tapping Therapies, as they should be. Our society is constantly bombarded with rave reviews about new products and services and the alternative health community is especially vulnerable to bogus new discoveries. The claims of TFT and EFT fly in the face of everything we thought we knew about psychology and emotional healing, It sounds too good to be true. Despite my own initial skepticism, I have been using EFT successfully on clients as well as on myself.
Although nothing is perfect and even these techniques are not always completely successful, their success rate cannot be ignored. It is estimated that about 85% or more of emotional issues treated with these processes are eliminated within four sessions with the majority of them being resolved even more quickly.
Why is it that more people are not aware of these techniques? First of all, it is difficult to describe them in a way that sounds convincing. There is nothing familiar with which to compare them and the tapping procedure itself can sound rather absurd. There are no clinical studies available to empirically prove the validity of these tapping techniques to traditional professionals. Most of the evidence of success for these techniques exists in the reports of hundreds of therapists around the world who have successfully treated thousands of patients. It may take some time for this span between energy work and psychology to prove itself solid and reliable enough for the traditionalists. Meanwhile, alternative therapists and lay people alike, are quietly embracing these techniques to heal themselves and others.
Chinese health providers have been using acupuncture for at least 5,000 years. It has only been accepted by Western practitioners – and tentatively at that – for the past twenty-five years. In order to explain how acupuncture/acupressure works, the ancient Eastern practitioners theorized that a life force called ch’i dominates every living organism. Opposing forces within the body, designated yin and yang, must be in balance or harmony before ch’i can get our vital functions – spiritual, mental, emotional and physical – to work normally. The ancient Hebrews referred to this life spirit as chai, the Hebrew word for life. Ch’i is said to flow along fourteen invisible, interconnected main channels, referred to as meridians, on each side of the body. These meridians crisscross the arms, legs, trunk and head and course deep within the tissues. These meridians surface at various locations on the body called acupoints or energy points. At least 360 such points have been identified and we now believe that there are thousands. Each meridian attends one or more specific organs such as the kidney, liver, gall bladder, colon or heart which can be influenced by stimulating the appropriate acupoints. Dietary changes, emotional crisis, sexual malfunction, physical injury, physical stress, cancer, infection or any of the six pernicious influences of wind, cold, fire, dampness, dryness and heat can interfere with or reflect an altered flow pattern of ch’i. The resulting imbalances between yin and yang and the five elements of the universe – wood, fire, earth, water, metal – cause lactic acid and carbon monoxide to accumulate in the muscles. This makes them stiff and creates abnormal pressure on the circulatory system, lymph glands, nerves, skeletal system and other body tissues. By stimulating the appropriate acupoints the accumulated lactic acid is dissipated and the yin-yang balance is restored along with the flow of ch’i.
Western scientists have another explanation for acupressure’s effect. They believe that stimulating an energy point causes the release of opiates known as endorphins, within the brain. These natural substances reduce one’s perception of pain as effectively as any combination of narcotics but without the side effects.
Even though there is no convincing objective evidence of meridians, when looked at microscopically, the acupoints reveal a greater concentration of nerve endings than do other skin locations. These points, upon examination, also generate measurably more electromagnetic energy.
Everything old is new again. Up until very recently, physicians would deal only with what the establishment referred to as “real” diseases. Diseases that could be seen – as with a skin lesion, heard – as with a heart murmur, felt – as with a lump, smelled – as is characteristic of certain diseases or documented in a so-called objective blood or urine test, X-ray, EEG or ECG. Complaints that had no measurable or discernible physiological basis were deemed “all in the head”. Those patients were regarded as not really being sick and were referred to a psychiatrist. Today, more doctors and patients alike, are convinced of the link between physical disorders and emotional stress. We now realize that serious disease can cause depression and that chronic depression can cause serious illness.
It is not necessary to do double-blind, placebo controlled studies to know that people can literally die of fright – that when you’re scared the heart pounds, the blood pressure rises, the mouth becomes dry and we may lose control of bodily functions or break out into a cold sweat. When you are embarrassed or angry, your face may become flushed, blotchy or red – very much the same as what occurs during an allergic reaction. Put all these observations together and you’ve made a case for the unity of mind and body. The truth is that symptoms resulting from emotional stress are often indistinguishable from symptoms of organic disease. A temporary blush or transient rise in blood pressure, heart rate or cholesterol in response to a short lived emotional crisis may not be harmful in the long run. However, such reactions will do you no good if the stress is ongoing.
The immune system co-ordinates our mental processes and bodily functions. It controls how effectively we ward off infection, cancer, heart attacks, strokes and virtually every other illness that may befall us. It even controls our rate of aging. Many of the chemicals, blood cells, hormones and other components of the immune system have been identified and can be measured. This has lead to the development of psychoneuroimmunology which is a new and important medical discipline devoted to the understanding and documentation of the mind-body relationship. Eastern cultures have been aware of this unity for thousands of years and have evolved techniques to influence it. In our modern society this has largely been the domain of practitioners of alternative medicine.
As the caveman was walking through the jungle, he passed a big rock. As he passed the rock a tiger jumped out at him.
His body was equipped to deal with this emergency through a hormonal response that caused his heart to beat faster, blood vessels to constrict and he was pumped with adrenline to have the energy to fight the tiger or run from him. He ran back to his cave; he had survived! He rested for a few days and then went walking through the jungle again. What do you think happened when he saw the big rock? His brain had saved all that information, including sights, sounds, smell, feelings, thoughts, and physical sensations. It saved the information as part of the survival instinct. Any time one of those aspects are triggered, the body, mind and emotions will immediately respond as if back in the original situation and give him the energy to protect himself. EFT will help discharge those old emotions, so that one does not have to respond to “big rocks”. When dealing with clients, I point out what triggers or big rocks they seem to have. All my clients have responded positively to this analogy.
Of course we must still fear the tiger, be aware and proceed with caution. EFT does not take away realistic fears.
When Nothing Else Works…
EFT: Emotional Freedom Techniques™Rapid Relief From Stress and Distress
Sessions Available by Phone
Sharon Cass-Toole, DCEP, RP
I am available to conduct EFT sessions by telephone. Here are some of the advantages of telephone sessions:
- No matter what your geographical area, you can still seek help – I help clients worldwide
- It saves driving for hours in traffic to see your therapist
- You can be helped in the comfort and safety of your own surroundings
- For those who suffer from agoraphobia the ability to use EFT over the phone is an immense plus
- It is also of great advantage to if you are a shut-in or have limited mobility
- You can call your therapist right when the “problem” is happening, such as a panic attack, an addictive craving, the surfacing. of an unpleasant memory and so on This is an ideal situation because the issue and its aspects are right there to be dealt with on the spot.
I have helped clients worldwide with such problems as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, chronic pain and fibromyalgia, as well as with the onset of suicidal feelings.