EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques)
EFT puts an end to unproductive thought patterns and difficult emotional responses, freeing the practitioner to take action and pursue activities that previously were difficult or impossible to do.
A round of EFT is completed by using your fingers to tap on specific points along the body’s energy meridians. These are the same meridians used in acupuncture. Tapping is done while focusing your attention on the specific issue (unproductive thought pattern or difficult emotion) you wish to release.
Steps for Using EFT
Step One – Centering
Before you begin using EFT, take a moment to
center yourself in your mind and in your body. Make sure you are sitting in a
comfortable position, and then take two or three long, deep breaths to help you
Here’s a brief exercise you can do center and focus your mind before you actually begin using EFT:
Sit in a comfortable, upright position. Place your hands on your lower belly. Slowly begin to take a long, deep inhalation. As you inhale, try to fill your belly first so that it presses out against your hands.
Continuing to inhale, place your hands on the sides of your ribs and feel your ribcage expanding as your inhale.
Then move your hands to your chest, and as you continue to inhale, feel your chest rise.
Once you’ve filled your lungs completely, pause for a brief moment, and then begin your exhalation.
As you exhale, begin by breathing out the chest, then the ribs, and finally the belly. Pause briefly, and repeat the process one or two more times.
Once you are centered, choose a focus for your tapping session. Then follow the remaining steps below.
Step Two – Identify the Negative Emotion
You begin your EFT session by identifying the negative thought or emotion that you would like to release and writing a phrase to represent it. This phrase can be as simple as a statement of your negative emotion. For instance, you might say, “I am so angry.”
Or the identifying phrase might be more specific. For instance, you might say, “I get so angry every time my boss criticizes my work.”
Step Three – Rate the Intensity of the Emotion
Once you have created your identifying phrase, you want to activate the negative feeling in your mind/body. Try to imagine you are having the negative feeling right now. If this is difficult, recall a time when you were experiencing the negative emotion.
Then rate the intensity of the feeling on a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being the most intense that the feeling could possibly be, and 1 being the least.
Step Four – The Set-Up
During the set-up, you insert your identifying phrase into a longer phrase, one in which you acknowledge and accept your self and your feelings. You will repeat this set-up phrase three times while tapping on a point on the side of your hand known as the karate chop point.
The set-up phrase goes something like this:
Even though I get so angry, I deeply and completely accept myself.
Your set-up phrase may differ, depending on the identifying phrase you have chosen.
Step Five – Tap through the remaining points
Once you have repeated your set-up phrase three times while tapping on the karate chop point, you’re ready for step five. In this step, you tap through the remaining EFT points on your body while repeating a simple reminder phrase. The reminder phrase can be as simple as “this anger” or you can repeat “I get so angry.”
Say the reminder phrase while you tap on each of the EFT points shown in the diagram below. Use your first two fingers to gently tap on each point. Tap each point for as long as it takes you to repeat your reminder phrase. Or tap each point approximately seven times.
It’s easier to remember the points if you tap them in order, starting at the top of the head and moving down to the point under your arm. But the order is not important. Just try to tap on each point before you move on to step six.
Step Six – Rate the intensity of the emotion again
When you have completed your round of tapping, take a deep breath and then try to access the negative feeling in your mind or body. You simply may not feel it any more, or you may feel it more or less intensely.
If the feeling persists, repeat step five, using the reminder phrase “this remaining anger.” Continue tapping until the intensity of the feeling is at a 2 or lower.
When you have completed a round of tapping you may wish to take a break. But many people find that once they have finished one round of tapping, other thoughts and emotions float up with unusual intensity. These thoughts and emotions can also be addressed with tapping.
You can continue tapping until you are no longer inspired to do so.
When you are finished, you may find it helpful to drink a glass of water before resuming your regular activities.
EFT was created by Gary Craig, a Stanford engineering graduate and an ordained minister. Though Craig has now retired, several people and organizations continue to promote EFT. You can learn more about the history of EFT from the following websites: www.emofree.com, www.EFTUniverse.com.
Very few negative side-effects have been reported by people who use EFT. These range from mild-nausea to extreme exhaustion. Some people recall disturbing memories once they begin practicing EFT. These memories may be accompanied by very intense emotions. For these reasons, people are urged to use common sense when practicing EFT and to take full responsibility for their physical and emotional well-being. This may include only practicing EFT in a safe environment and/or with the assistance of a certified EFT practitioner or another health-care practitioner (today, many therapists are also certified EFT practitioners).
EFT has been found to be useful for treating a variety of ailments, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and panic disorders, fears and phobias.
You can view a video of the basic EFT recipe here.