The term EFT Tapping refers to the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). EFT is a tool that was developed by Gary Craig to help people overcome the unresolved emotions from the past that have a negative impact on our current lives.
It utilizes the acupuncture meridians that Chinese medicine has been using for over 2000 years, but instead of using needles in the meridians, we simply “tap” on them with our fingertips. Hence the common term “EFT tapping”.
Watch Gary Craig’s introductory video here:
EFT belongs to a category of interventions that are known as energy psychology (EP), and while EP is evidence-supported by over 100 research studies, it is not yet an evidence-based method, so it is still considered experimental. That being said, the Association of Comprehensive Energy Psychology (ACEP) has successfully campaigned to have EFT (and other EP methods) accepted as continuing education for members of the American Psychological Association and other professional organizations. Due to this, EFT is often used by licensed mental health professionals in dealing with severe trauma or other diagnosable mental health conditions and has been proven to be highly effective for PTSD, depression, anxiety disorders, food cravings and addictive behaviour and pain. To see the impressive collection of scientific evidence supporting the use and application of EFT and other energy psychology tools check out this page on the ACEP website.
In the twenty years since EFT’s inception, it has evolved and been refined by Gary Craig and his daughter Tina Craig and has become a very effective tool that can be used both as a self-help method and also as an intervention for professional coaches and therapists.
For those of us that aren’t suffering from serious disorders of thought or mental health conditions, EFT is an extremely safe and effective tool to quickly and permanently dissipate negative emotional reactions to events from our past. Gold Standard EFT, as taught by Gary and Tina Craig is built on the premise that unresolved emotional issues from our past have a negative impact on our current life as well as our health. When we release old hurts, angers, losses or false beliefs about ourselves and others, the quality of our life and our health, improves substantially.
BUT HOW DOES IT WORK?
That’s a great question and at this point we don’t have really definitive answers. There are some really interesting neuroscientific theories about how EFT and other EP interventions work, scroll down to watch the videos of Bob Schwartz and Michael DeMolina, two licensed therapists from ACEP discuss three of those theories below.
Here is a layman’s version of how we think EFT might work. For starters, EFT appears to lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is our body’s stress hormone, and in general, lowering it is a good thing. EFT seems to send a calming signal to the amygdala, which could be how it lowers our stress hormones in the first place. The amygdala (there are actually two of them, and the plural is amygdalae) are known as the fear centers of the brain.
You may have noticed that when we’re really stressed or scared, we may react on auto-pilot. Having a system that helps us survive in the face of fear or major stress is a really good thing. If you’re being chased by a bear, a large spike in cortisol could save your life by helping you to climb a tree or play dead, but if your boss is yelling at you and you sense that as a threat, a high cortisol response could cause you to give him a shove or yell back….and that may not be so good. That fear and/or stress could cause us to react poorly in the course of our everyday lives, or it could cause us to reach for a substance like drugs, alcohol or food to help us cope with it. Our modern lives generally don’t require the major responses we may have relied on in the earlier stages of human evolution and that can be hard to manage.
Evidence suggests that as EFT calms those fight or flight reactions in our brain, it allows rational and long-term thinking to come on-line to help us re-frame our problems, see them in a new way or at the very least, think about them more calmly and rationally so we can make better decisions without being influenced by fear/stress or other negative emotions.
I’ve experienced first-hand how powerful that is, but it’s not something I would want anyone to accept without their own experience of it. The very best way to understand and appreciate the power of EFT is to try it yourself.
For a great discussion on the neuroscience of EFT between two people that understand neuroscience and psychology check out this great video series from ACEP!
There are a variety of ways to learn EFT. If you’re looking to get your feet wet, I suggest beginning with the FREE EFT tutorial at EmoFree.com co-written by Gary and Tina Craig. While the basics of EFT are easy to learn and apply to oneself, getting to the deep roots of our unresolved emotional problems is best undertaken with someone that has developed skills at a professional level. Those dealing with very severe trauma such as PTSD serious disorders of thought and mental health diagnoses are most certainly safest working with a licensed mental health professional trained in EFT. If you’re not sure if you need licensed professional help or not, feel free to contact me and I can help you sort that out and refer you to an appropriate practitioner if you need one.
My own EFT training began in 2003 with the training that was being offered by Gary Craig. It has continued to evolve over the years and I had the great fortune of doing my most recent training with Tina Craig, through ACEP. I am currently the only Canadian certified by ACEP as an Advanced EFT Practitioner.