Image of ripples on water.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a safe complementary therapy.

Although (as with any therapy or medication) there are no absolute guarantees of success, EFT has helped many people to address emotional problems resulting from trauma (EFT has been used to help post-disaster victims in Kosovo, Rwanda, the Congo, South Africa, Sandy Hook and New Orleans, as well as miltary veterans from Viet Nam, Iraq and other war zones, and former child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and has been used to address deeply-entrenched phobias such as insects, heights, claustrophobia etc.

Many people have used EFT to address physical pain. Others have experienced improvements in a wide range of sporting activities including golf, athletics and tennis.

At Actuality Counselling, I offer EFT as a therapy in its own right and also to complement counselling and coaching.

The theory behind EFT is that negative emotions are caused by a disruption to the body's energy system and that, in order to remove the negative responses, this disruption must be addressed.

The basic EFT technique involves focusing on a disturbing memory or emotion while simultaneously tapping on a series of 13 points on the body (a subset of the meridian points used in acupuncture).

The meridian points are linked to a series of threadlike channels inside blood and lymphatic vessels. These channels have been compared to fiber-optic channels and it has been suggested that they may carry an extremely high density of information far beyond the limited, one-way signals of the nervous system or the diffusive information carried by hormones in the blood stream.

Image of girl tapping on eyebrow meridian point. Image of girl tapping on cheek meridian point. Image of girl tapping on underarm meridian point.

The amygdala is a part of the brain where our emotions are stored; it is also acts as an alarm and is responsible for the 'fight or flight' response which is activated when we perceive danger (real or imagined). When our experiences are emotionally-charged, we do not always process them fully and, as a result, when similar events occur, memories are sometimes triggered as though they are happening in the present.

"the interactions of life's earliest years lay down a set of emotional lessons [which are] so potent and yet so difficult to understand from the point of adult life because they are stored in the amygdala as rough, wordless blueprints for emotional life. Since these earliest emotional memories are established at a time before infants have words for their experience, when these emotional memories are triggered in later life there is no matching set of articulated thoughts about the response that takes us over. One reason we can be so baffled by our emotional outbursts, then, is that they often date from a time early in our lives when things were bewildering and we did not yet have words for comprehending events. We may have the chaotic feelings, but not the words for the memories that formed them."

Daniel Goleman in 'Emotional Intelligence' (1995)

When we practise EFT and focus on an uncomfortable emotion or memory, the amygdala is re-activated. By tapping on the meridian points, we calm the amygdala and facilitate an 'unlearning' of the emotions associated with the trauma, enabling us to return to normal functioning. The simultaneous pairing of tapping and mental activation appears to alter the learned response and reduce hyperarousal. This strategy has been shown to extinguish a range of maladaptive conditioned responses such as phobias.

Research into EFT and other energy therapies continues to gather momentum, and the technique has been trialled in the NHS.

You can hear more about the science behind EFT in this interview with David Feinstein, and in the videos on the right.

Image of hands doing EFT tapping.

At EFT Universe you can find useful information about EFT and read how it is being used by therapists, doctors, nurses and other health professionals.



ARTICLE: Energy Psychology: Snake Oil or Designer Tool for Neural Change?

An introduction to, and exploration of, energy therapies (including EFT).

Psychotherapy Networker

Read the full article.

Tel: +44 (0)7941 488 550

"EFT has helped many people to free themselves from deeply-entrenched phobias, emotional distress and physical pain."

The following video provides a brief introduction to EFT.

In this excerpt from one of Nick Ortner's EFT workshops in California, he introduces EFT.

ARTICLE: Does Tapping Really Work? Research Says Yes!

An introduction to the science and research behind this evidence-based approach to stress relief and healing.

The Tapping Solution

Read the full article.

In the following video, Robert Schwarz explains the background to EFT and how it has been used successfully to help people address trauma issues.

ARTICLE: Breakthroughs in Energy Psychology: A New Way to Heal the Body and Mind

An article by Nick Ortner about how new findings in the field of energy psychology, especically EFT, are taking our search for holistic solutions to an exciting new level.

The Huffington Post

Read the full article.

The following excerpt from one of Nick Ortner's EFT workshops, illustrates how we can acknowledge our feelings in the present moment and incorporate them in subsequent rounds of tapping, gradually reducing the distress caused by previous experiences.