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Why it works: Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

Emotional Freedom Therapy

Drop your emotional and physical baggage with a therapy that you can literally tap into whenever you need it.  Here, Gill Crane explains Emotional Freedom Technique…

What exactly is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)?

It’s basically tapping on acupuncture points to relax the body and put it into a relaxed state.  When you’re in that state you can change things - like stress and food cravings.

The key is to have a really experienced therapist who can be creative with solutions.  It can work really quickly. Some things work in one session, some take longer. If it’s a physical problem then the key is understanding when it first started, finding the root cause.  

For example, it can work well on whiplash after a car accident. The beauty is that you can learn to tap yourself. So I teach people to do it themselves, so if they’re in a space that triggers anxiety then they can do something about it.  In short, it makes you feel better.

Where does it come from?

It was developed by Dr. Roger Callahan who was a psychologist in California.  He had a client who was scared of the water and he was trying to get her into the pool.  

She had a sore stomach, so he tapped on the acupuncture point associated with the stomach and when he did the stomach pain went away and so did her fear of the water.  He developed a process and then someone else simplified it and since then it has ballooned in popularity.

A government has looked into it to treat PTSD, and there are some studies on the NICE now, which is a good sign.

What is Emotional Freedom Technique supposed to do?

It’s supposed to calm the system.  There’s something about tapping, particularly on the collarbone, people say it’s like a heartbeat, and it’s relaxing.  Physical issues are interesting because clients can often feel a difference in the session and that can be huge.

It varies of course - chronic pain can take longer as there can be lots of psychological reasons for it.   It takes effort from the practitioner and the client. I do look at psychological side of pain as well as negative emotions as they can get stuck in the body.

For example, I had a client with whiplash, who had held onto it for 15 years. For those 15 years she was holding onto the resentment about her husband who had been driving the car, and when we tapped on the points associated with resentment, the pain started to go. In the right hands Emotional Freedom Technique is amazing.

I work quite intuitively, so I am looking for little clues all the time.  If you ask a lot of questions you get to the root of things. But it doesn’t have to be used for pain. I had a lady who came to me because she just felt flat. We’ve done a lot of work with self image and that has really helped her to move forward.

Is there anything you do to enhance the effectiveness of Emotional Freedom Technique?

I would say it’s good for a client to be fairly relaxed, comfortable and well hydrated for the treatment, that helps the whole therapeutic process.  It’s a fairly low maintenance treatment though. We sit together in a room, tapping. It works really well in groups where you harness the energy of a group as well.

Is there anything you recommend clients to do post-treatment to get the most out of it?

After sessions I sometimes give clients Skype sessions to keep them going and make them accountable.  I give homework as well as there’s a lot of resources out there now so I recommend books.  If something doesn’t shift quickly we just keep tapping and it doesn’t always have to be a big commitment time wise.

Is there anyone you particularly recommend EFT for?

In this day and age I think it’s good for anyone suffering from general anxiety and stress, which is most people.  They’re kind of the root of all evil, and a quick solution like tapping and breathing can really rewire your thoughts.  People start overreacting to stress, which can lead to poor decision making, especially at work. EFT helps you to stay balanced so you can make good decisions.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t have EFT and why?

I would recommend EFT to anyone, but it’s important if you have a very serious mental illness that you seek help from qualified mental health practitioner. Please note EFT is not meant to replace the advice of a  medical practitioner.

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