I have recently been re-introduced to an excellent mind-body therapy, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT, sometimes called tapping). When I first met this form of therapy almost 15 years ago, I was skeptical; it seemed a little strange.
What I witnessed was a client and therapist working through a troubling, disturbing feeling originating from a painful event in the client’s life, while the client literally tapped on specific points on the face and body. After observing this process, I was able to learn more about it, and came to understand the approach that was being followed.
The first step in the EFT process was for the client to identify the troubled feeling or thought and then to pinpoint the event in which this feeling or thought was experienced. After talking through this material, the client was instructed to tap on the specific meridian points in a specific sequence. While tapping, the client was also asked to pay attention to his internal experience — what thoughts, images, and feelings came up. These in turn were tapped on.
This process helped the client reduce significantly the impact of the memory and the related emotional pain. The memory itself remained intact but the pain was reduced or removed. The results of this gentle process were both rapid and long-lasting –strange-looking, perhaps; unconventional, possibly; yet ever so effective.
During the intervening years I have seen EFT used successfully to address fears, anxiety, negative emotions and thoughts, cravings, and other issues. I now understand that this therapeutic process belongs with the other therapy modalities on the mind-body healing spectrum. The mechanics of EFT actually evolved from the same concepts as acupuncture. Through tapping on various physical pathways, or meridians, the mind and body are de-sensitized and become more relaxed in the remembrance of the original stressful experience. With EFT there is a decrease in the arousal of the amygdala during contemplation of the frightening scene, and thus the brain re-balances to a “new normal.” This new normal allows for a corrective experience of old emotions and thoughts. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of EFT is that once a person is familiar with the steps and meridian points, they can use the technique independently as a self-help process.
As we have all experienced, a new method or idea may seem strange and weird at first, but then, with time and understanding, it becomes accepted as positive and normal. To learn more about this technique and read about efficacy studies being done at Harvard, visit these websites: www.energypsyched.com or www.eftuniverse.com.