Emotional Freedom Technique falls under the umbrella of Energy Psychology. According to Fred Gallo, when we experience a psychological problem, such as trauma, we also have an energy imbalance or disruption in our body’s energy system. This may show up in various systems in your body, including the nervous system, glandular system, meridian system, and the chakra system. Techniques (such as EFT) that shift these energies return your body’s energy system to balance influencing your health, emotions and state of mind, eliminating the problem.
Energy is the blueprint, the infrastructure, the invisible foundation, writes David Feinstein for the health of your body. Your body is composed of energy pathways (meridians) and energy centres (chakras) in a dynamic interplay with your cells, organs, moods and thoughts. Emotional Freedom Techniques (also called EFT or “Tapping”), works with the meridian system. The energy of the meridian system is called Chi or Prana.
How does EFT work?
The key component of EFT is tapping on a sequence of the body’s acupoints (the endpoints of the meridians), which engages and sends electromagnetic signals to the brain’s limbic system (the emotional centre of the brain and body) and the amygdala (the stress centre), to reduce its activity and arousal. This helps us lower cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone, so that we may feel calmer and heal the energy imbalance and disruption. It also affects the hippocampus, which is the memory centre of the brain.
As we are tapping on the acupoints, we also bring to mind what we would like to address, it could be a disturbing memory, a negative feeling, belief or thought, pain or sensation, fear, difficult situations that we are dealing with, etc. and then we go through the intricate EFT process. Studies have shown that this changes the emotional reaction to the memory (in the brain and body) and your brain’s response to the situation.
Fred Gallo says, “negative emotions associated with a memory are electrical and chemical processes that can be changed—often as easily as they were formed in the first place”. Further, EFT can change the structure and the meaning of the experience. We do not lose the memory, but the charge and the distressing emotions attached to it are no longer there. Once this is released, we will often see things very differently (cognitive shift) from the beginning of a session, and we can talk about it and think about it without being retraumatized. It’s truly remarkable!! Studies with long-term follow-up points are showing the changes last over time.
How EFT can assist with Outdated Thoughts, Beliefs, Limiting Beliefs, Fears, etc.?
Before the age of 7, we are basically in a hypnotic state, learning, absorbing, taking in, and believing what we see, hear, feel, and observe around us in our family systems and beyond. This becomes part of our unconscious programming and who we believe ourselves to be and can create a deep internal mess. Often, the people that we do this early learning and absorbing from are unconscious and wounded themselves. We develop and adopt strategies to adapt, navigate and survive in our complex early environments. Codependency is an example of one of those early strategies.
If left unchecked and unexplored, we can go through our lives playing out these unconscious beliefs, thoughts, wounds, traumas, and patterns, which then no longer serve us and our best interest, often resulting in more pain, wounding and trauma, which can stay firmly in place (and passed down to the next generation) if, or until, they are deeply looked at and deconstructed.
Hurtful words, constant criticism, control, circumstances, and events that were not processed through the body are still impacting our body, mind and emotions. Our fight or flight response can be still activated long after an event or situation (and all the time, as with PTSD and complex PTSD). An indication that the body has not yet fully processed could be feeling anger, hurt, unsafe, neglect, pain, shame, confusion, powerlessness, fear, a phobia, a grudge, unforgiveness, etc. EFT helps heal and process the fight or flight stress response in the body and difficult feelings and emotions.
What Might Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT, or “Tapping”) Assist us With?
-trauma dysregulates the brain- EFT helps to re-regulate and neutralize traumatized parts of the brain (EFTi glossary).
-healing energy disruptions and balances the body’s energy systems.
-calming the brain/amygdala.
-the resolution of unresolved childhood issues and traumas.
-transforming limiting, unwanted beliefs, dysfunctional and problematic emotions (such as fear, guilt, shame, anger, and jealousy) and emotional responses and behaviours and habits that shape our lives by altering the brain chemistry.
-feeling safe in our bodies.
-healing negative thoughts, feelings, behaviours and instil more positive thoughts, beliefs and feelings.
-anxious thoughts, fears and worries.
-sadness and grief.
-cultivating self-acceptance and self-love.
-the physiological response of a craving (chocolate, cigarettes, alcohol, and more) when the amygdala is calm the craving diminishes (Peta Stapleton)
-codependent belief patterns.
-increased understanding and connection with ourselves and others.
Craig Weiner (EFT Trainer) describes EFT as one of the most powerful somatic (body) release techniques.
Our state of mind and our bodies give us beautiful clues and indications about what is going on in our nervous systems. “EFT is an example of a Somatic therapy, which is a holistically orientated therapy that works to address the “bodily” memory of trauma by helping the client recognize where they are carrying physical tension.” EFT has been shown to decrease amygdala activation (in our brain), which reduces the stress response, moving away from sympathetic activation towards the optimal arousal zone, where the brain, mind and body are coherent.
EFT helps us find peace, inner stillness, clarity, being able to see things differently (it is common after a session to be able to able to see solutions and clarity gaining new understandings and insights so that we may come to an accepting place around our challenges and challenging feelings and emotions.
It is my joy to assist you in clearing any blocks or disruptions so that you may live a vibrant, peaceful, inspired, healthy, joy-filled life!!
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** EFT is not a substitute for medical, naturopathic or psychological care, it is a compliment to it.
- Gallo, Fred. Energy Tapping for Trauma (p. 5, 54). New Harbinger Publications. Kindle Edition.
- Feinstein, David, Eden, Donna and Craig, Gary. The Healing Power of EFT and Energy Psychology (p. 3, 14, 77). Piatkis, London, UK. 2005.
- Stapleton, Dr. Peta. The Science behind Tapping (p. 5-6, 12-13). Hay House. Kindle Edition.