“More connected to my body.”
“Less identified with my thoughts.”
“Comfortable in my own skin.”
“More at ease.”
“A bit more accepting of myself.”
"I can get through this."
These are the responses I often hear from individuals and groups after guiding them through the EFT process. The states of being listed above connect us with our inner resources and support our capacity to tolerate uncomfortable feelings. They are particularly helpful to access when we are struggling. When we are feeling emotional or physical pain. When we are scared or our thoughts are racing. When we are overwhelmed by the physical manifestations of anxiety. When we are obsessing about the past, worrying about the future, or having a hard time disengaging from a critical inner voice,.
(Take a nice breath with me here if you like.)
Emotional Freedom Technique is a self-soothing tool that engages the body, mind, and heart. Once you learn it you can use it on your own whenever you like.
The Basic Recipe is the foundational structure of EFT. It has three parts:
1. Tapping on acupuncture points
2. Giving voice to a specific challenge
3. Holding ourselves with acceptance.
Through these three actions we are offering our brain and body a new input. One that affirms it is safe to face our challenges and that we can do so by soothing our nervous system at the same time.
How does this work?
First and foremost, EFT reduces tension in the body and the mind. EFT has been found to regulate the release of cortisol (a stress hormone) and intervene on the flight or fight response. This often slows our process down, reduces our resistance, and gives us more clarity. EFT does not take away our feelings or change what is happening in our lives. It offers an opportunity to shift how we are relating to ourself and our challenges.
Through the EFT process, we can generate feelings of safety within. This inner safety allows us to face difficult feelings and experiences. This means we do not have to avoid, push away, or numb ourselves to our difficulties. We can experience them, support ourselves in the moment, and reach out for help if we need it.
It helps us simplify our thoughts. EFT can produce a calm, meditative state and allows us to explore the layers of our experience. For example, we might start by tapping on symptoms of anxiety and then drop into the sadness that lies beneath the anxiety.
EFT is an evidence-based tool used for anxiety, panic attacks, physical pain, negative thought patterns, phobias, depression, and trauma resolution. EFT can be powerful for individuals who have a hard time feeling a sense of containment and safety. The structure of the process itself creates a natural container. This makes it a good match for folks with unresolved trauma and a lovely compliment to trauma-informed therapy.
EFT can decrease the overwhelm of fear and stress. It invites those with a strong inner critic to offer themselves kindness. EFT is effective for folks who get stuck in their thoughts. It's great for worriers. It helps with sleep. It can reduce physical pain. EFT is a great compliment to meditation practice, particularly for folks who have a hard time getting started or believe they are "no good" at meditation. It can be it can be used as a daily self-help tool or implemented in individual sessions with a practitioner to go deeper into our experience.
To be clear, EFT is not going to be for everyone. It is unconventional. But for those who resonate with it, it can be a game changer. It works (often quickly) and there is a growing body of scientific studies for its efficacy.
Studies have shown EFT with a trained practitioner to neutralize and resolve PTSD symptoms in trauma survivors. EFT has also been linked to reduced anxiety, depression, physical pain, and all types of cravings. These studies can be explored here and here.