This article was first published in The International Therapist Magazine, (May 2007). the Membership Journal for The Federation of Holistic Therapists.
Emotional Freedom Technique - EFT
With its roots in applied kinesiology and thought field therapy, EFT is one of several 'Meridian Energy Therapies' that work with subtle energies circulating within the body. It is a simple, non-invasive technique that releases underlying energy that causes negative emotions. The originator, Gary Craig, developed this remarkable technique based on the discovery and principle that an upsetting experience or problem is associated with a disturbance in the body's energy system.
EFT is a form of psychological acupressure, working with the same energy meridians as acupuncture. However, where acupuncture uses needles to stimulate and unblock energy within the meridians, EFT uses a system of finger tapping.
What EFT can benefit
EFT has gained a well deserved reputation for giving rapid, long lasting relief from anxiety; stress; trauma of all descriptions; fear of flying, spiders, and heights; addictions; lack of self esteem/confidence; and a whole host of other human conditions. In my own experience, EFT can also be used to control or remove physical pain, asthma and Meniere's disease. It will often work where all else has failed and many therapists, counsellors, trainers and health professionals claim that it has transformed the way they work.
Meridian therapies such as EFT are without doubt changing the face of 'talking' therapies today, not necessarily as a replacement, but as a really effective, complementary treatment that often 'leapfrogs' people through their process. For others who come to meridian therapies as a first resort, the effects are often staggeringly, removing fears, phobias, and disabling beliefs in a short space of time. It is not unusual to hear clients talk of life changing experiences in a single sitting, which is quite an accomplishment, considering that the duration of an average session, including consultation, is usually about an hour twenty minutes.
EFT may be utilised by clients who are willing and able to express their feelings and emotions. However, the beauty of this process is that it may also be used in total confidentiality. It is not strictly necessary for the person to share anything with the therapist. The whole process may be conducted inside the client's own mind whilst following the protocol, or by substituting keywords for the painful memories or incidents. The results are self-evident in the physiological responses and signals when a session is at a close, by which time the client is usually relieved and relaxed, even when more sessions are required.
EFT does not profess to work miracles by eradicating negative memories and issues. What EFT can do is remove the debilitating feelings of anguish, guilt, sorrow, anger, fear, resentment, etc, which may have been engulfing a person for years, thus allowing them to view the original incident with a calm, detached attitude of "it happened, it's over and I'm OK", enabling them to move on, to experience life from a different, improved, often liberating perspective.
During the first session, clients are taught the technique for themselves, so that they become self-empowered and responsible for their own health and well-being.
The first step is for the client to name the problem, clearly, directly and truthfully. For example, "I've been in a real state because my mother forgot to send me a birthday card a couple of weeks ago and I am so hurt and angry".
The next step is for the client to decide how bad that problem feels right now, on a scale of 1 to 10.
The client then has to decide upon a 'set up statement', using their own words, about how they feel in the present moment. For example, "Even though I am hurt and angry with my mother for not sending me a birthday card two weeks ago, I deeply and completely accept myself". The client repeats this statement out loud three times whilst rubbing the 'sore spot'.
The sore spot is located on either side of the chest, where it would be typical to pin a brooch or medal. By gently feeling around this area, it will be possible to find a tender or slightly sore spot.
This sore spot is the master neurolymphatic point for the body and by rubbing it, the client stimulates all the neurolymphatic points in the body for each meridian. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) it is believed that all chi is initially stored and controlled by the kidney. As the sore spot Â? or K27, in TCM - is the last point on the Kidney meridian, it is very good for correcting, switching and reversing i.e. disturbances normally associated with emotional upsets, fears, and patterns of self-sabotage.
The way the set up statement is spoken can sometimes make all the difference as to whether or not the tapping works. Learning to say THE exact set up statement that will help THE exact problem being worked upon is a skill to be developed with practise.
The client chooses a shortened 'reminder phrase', for example: "I am hurt and angry", and says this as he or she taps each of the 13 specific meridian points of the face, upper body and hands, seven to nine times.
The client then completes the nine gamut procedure whilst tapping and holding the gamut point (located just behind and between the knuckles of the ring and little finger).
When this step is introduced to the client, it usually raises a smile or a furrowed brow. It involves looking up, down, down to the right, down to the left, and then circling the eyes all the way round like a clock, in one direction and then in the opposite. The client then has to hum a bar of a familiar tune, e.g. 'Happy birthday to you' and then count to five very quickly, before humming the tune again.
The thinking behind this process comes from both kinesiology and neuro linguistic programming, in that where you place your eye will influence which part of the brain is in use. For instance, when looking down to the right, the lower left portion of the brain is accessed (the kinaesthetic area where we feel emotions). The humming- counting-humming sequence is to switch between hemispheres quickly. The humming sequence engages right brain activity, and counting, left brain. Over all, this procedure is a very useful brain balancing exercise.
The client repeats step 4, tapping each of the 13 EFT points in sequence, 7 to 9 times, whilst saying the reminder phrase.
The client takes a deep breath in and out and re-evaluates, on a scale of 1 to 10, how they now feel about the problem. The number will usually have reduced. If it has not, more rounds of tapping are undertaken.
Once the client has mastered the process outlined above, it only takes about 2 minutes to complete. This seven step process is commonly referred to as the 'EFT round'.
When the issue is finally resolved, the client is left with the memory but without the associated feelings.
EFT with a practitoner is more in depth and includes mapping different aspects of the client's problem. An aspect is simply a different part of the problem that needs addressing before complete relief can be gained, and all aspects receive a score from 1 to 10. The higher the score, the greater the disturbance in the energy system.
Aspects of a problem often include related feelings, for example, fear may also be linked to embarrassment, guilt, and anger. There may also be related events so that several experiences may need to be worked upon. Aspects sometimes include unhelpful thoughts and beliefs. For example, "I don't believe I can do anything about it". This may need to be addressed first before starting with the issue scoring highest on the chart.
From a personal perspective, combining meridian therapies such as EFT with other modalities has transformed my practice as a therapist. I feel privileged to offer techniques that empower and enable individuals to be the best they can. The only way to understand EFT is to actually experience a session Â? I think you will be amazed.
I have worked with a client who had been unable to eat or drink in public places for over forty years, because of the panic attacks endured at such times. I recently received a call to say that the person had attended a crowded public function where they had enjoyed a meal for the first time with no feelings of stress or apprehension, even during the proceeding days. That was after four sessions of EFT. It really works, and can be life changing!
About the author:Sally Canning is an Advanced Practitioner and International Trainer of The Energy Cone Technique, (ECT), EmoTrance (ET), EFT, Tapas Acupressure Technique, (TAT), and is Trainers' Trainer for the Association of Meridian Therapies. She is Director of Inner Solutions-UK and has run a successful Private Practice in Nottinghamshire for over seven years.
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