Emotional Freedom Technique

If you want a way to manage your emotions more effectively then Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) may be for you.

From a personal perspective I've used EFT for a number of years and don't know what I'd do without it. My only regret is that I hadn't discovered it sooner. Over the years I could have applied it to so many issues. My parents were both Polish refugees from world War 2 and my father was in Auschwitz. So, needless to say, I grew up with a lot of emotional baggage that has taken decades to clear! (Probably still working on it.) Also, at an earlier point in my life, I had 3 children under 3 and what I wouldn't have given for some help with anxiety then. However,  that's life. Still,  better late than never.

I've  previously written about EFT. However, in view of some new reasearch and information that I've recently become aware of,  I've decided to provide a more up to date overview for you. Hope it helps.

What is EFT?

EFT is a meridian energy therapy, which has been developed over the last 20 years. It is sometimes referred to emotional accupuncture without the needles, as it uses the same meridian energy points to influence change in the body. It is a simple yet effective self help therapeutic tool that works surprisingly well as both a first aid measure and for dealing with more long term issues.  EFT is good for stress reduction, as it takes the emotional charge out of a given situation/feeling and can  be used for physical as well as psychological issues in a variety of settings.  It's worth noting that EFT is not a belief system and can work on the most sceptical of individuals.

The actual process of EFT requires the user to identify a given issue, measure it's intensity on a scale of 1-10 and then verbalise and accept the problem. This is then combined with a sequence of tapping around the body at specific meridian points.  This combination approach stimulates the energy system  and with persistence reduces  the emotional intensity of any given feeling.

Does it work?

The simple answer is yes and now we have a wealth of studies that support the efficacy of EFT. More importantly for me there is masses of anecdotal  evidence out there that is a testament to it's effectiveness. Also, on the plus side, EFT  places you in the driver's seat; which in itself is empowering.  For me it's enough to know that it has worked well for me. It is also safe,  does not require expensive equipment, clothing, training and  no animals have been harmed in the development of this therapy.

EFT - the method

To break it down EFT works by -

  • Identifying/verbalising a problem
  • Tapping on the meridian energy points

There are 2 basic parts to EFT - 
  • The Set Up
  • The Sequence
The Set Up consists of 2 parts  -
  • Affirmation
  • Tapping on the side of the hand
The set up is designed to prepare you for tapping along the meridian lines. 

There is no fixed language for the affirmation and it can vary from one teacher to another. However, the basic premise is that the affirmation helps to address any blocking/negative thoughts. So, lets say one is wanting to apply EFT to eliminating pre-interview anxiety, the affirmation might be - "Even though I'm anxious about the interview, I accept myself and how I feel." The affirmation statement needs to be said three times whilst, at the same time,  tapping on the Karate Chop point of the hand. (This is the fleshy part of the outside of either hand between the top of the wrist and the base of the little finger.) 

The Sequence

This is the tapping part of the process. By using the fingertips to tap on the end points of the major energy meridians any negative emotion is softened and released. 

Tapping tips -
  • You can tap with either hand - although the dominant hand is commonly used 
  • Tap with the fingertips of your index and middle fingers
  • Tap 7 times on each of the tapping points
  • Most of the tapping points are on either side of the body. It doesn't matter which side are used 
  • The Tapping Points (the short cut sequence)
In acupuncture each energy meridian has 2 end points. For EFT  it is only necessary to tap on one end of the meridian to achieve the necessary effect. Below are the meridian points to be tapped on - starting at the eye brow and finishing at the top of the head.

Face and Body Meridian Points 
  • At the beginning of the eyebrow, just above and to one side of the nose
  • On the bone bordering the outside corner of the eye.
  • On the bone under the eye about 1" below the pupil
  • On the small area between the bottom of the nose and the top of the lip
  • Midway between the point of the chin and the bottom of the lower lip
  • The junction where the breastbone and collar bone meet
  • Under the armpit at a point on a line with the nipple
  • Top of the head
The Reminder Phrase

Whilst tapping on the meridian points it is necessary to articulate a shortened version of the affirmation statement (referred to as the reminder phrase). So, sticking with the pre-interview anxiety issue, the reminder phrase for this might be "anxious about the interview". The reminder phrase will help your unconscious mind keep the disruption pattern going so that it be neutralised by the tapping. 

Subsequent Round Adjustments

In most cases more than one round of EFT will be required to take the charge out of any given issue. To get the best results  in subsequent rounds adjustments may need to be made to both the Set Up Statement and the Affirmation eg "Even though I still have this anxiety, I accept myself and how I feel". 
Affirmation - "Still have this anxiety".

Then, as my EFT teacher Andy Hunt says,  rinse and repeat until the desired outcome is achieved.

Measuring your progress 

In EFT at the outset when an issue is identified it's level of intensity  needs to measured. This is done by ascribing to it a subjective unit of discomfort (SUDs) level 0-10.  Then, as you are progressing through the rounds of tapping, it will be necessary to  assess progress and effectiveness along the way. So, if we go back to our pre-interview anxiety, lets say that the SUDs level is high at around  9. After several rounds of tapping  it should be possible to reduce this to a more manageable figure like 2, or less. 

That my friends is the basics. However,  it's very over-simplified and, if you want to be able to use it for yourself, I would recommend doing further reading. A good starting point might be The EFT manual by Gary Craig. You can find this and other helpful guides in my shop.

On a final note I make no grand claims for EFT. It's certainly  not  a replacement for seeking medical help, when that's appropriate. And it's up to others to say whether it will  make you wealthier, slimmer, more attractive or cure life threatening disease. However, one thing I can say is that  I find it  a great self help therapeutic tool that can complement more conventional treatments and it's quick and easy to incorporate into your every day life.

If you're looking for an EFT professional to help  The Association for the Advancement of Meridian Energy Techniques (AAMET) is a good starting point.

EFT for performers - my new website for singers, musicians, actors & other performers to help them overcome stage fright & performance anxiety.

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