Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

Leonora O’Farrell, LICSW

Leonora O’Farrell, LICSW

Have you tried therapy with limited or no lasting results and still can’t get the monkey off your back? Sometimes talking isn’t enough. If this has been your experience or you just want to try something new, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT, also referred to as Tapping) is a safe, fast and proven technique to feel better.

EFT balances the meridian energy in our bodies which when used in a clinical session quickly and easily neutralizes negative emotions. EFT is an evidence based technique effective in working with clients with a range of disorders including but not limited to depression, anxiety, PTSD, phobias, eating disorders, addiction and somatic conditions.

How does EFT work?

From eastern medicine, we know that energy flows through meridian pathways in the mind and body and that sometimes the energy flow becomes unbalanced or blocked when we experience negative events or emotions. Many clients have previously tried traditional talk therapy to resolve negative feelings or memories with minimal results. EFT effectively treats symptoms by rebalancing the energy system while simultaneously recalling events and feeling emotions.

Where are the meridian points?

EFT connects with the pathways at areas of the body called meridian points where the energy flow is close to the surface and can be accessed by applying light pressure. Using acupressure, clients use fingers, hands or forearms to repeatedly “tap” on 10 spots (top of head, inner eyebrow, outer eyebrow, under eye, under nose, chin, collarbone, under the arm, wrist and outer hand).

What’s the process?

The client identifies a negative emotion and explores with the clinician a specific aspect of the emotion and then develops what’s called a problem or reminder statement. An example of this for a client with anxiety about work performance is “I’m afraid my boss is going to fire me”. The client then rates the intensity of the emotion on a scale of zero for no intensity up to 10 for severe intensity.

Next, the clinician guides the client through an affirmation sequence during which the client repeatedly taps his/her outer hand using the opposite hand (think of making the karate chop movement) while repeating an affirmation related to the problem identified. Using the above example the affirmation statement would be “Even though I’m afraid my boss is going to fire me, I truly and deeply love and accept myself”.

The clinician then guides the client through a sequence of tapping on the 10 spots while repeating the problem statement and feeling the emotion related to the problem. After 2 rounds, the client assesses the level and intensity of the emotion and then compares it to the initial rating. EFT is effective at reducing the intensity incrementally and with repeated tapping sequences can clear the emotion to zero. For clients who have experienced chronic symptoms sometimes lasting years, the relief and satisfaction they feel is tremendous and long lasting!

Once clients work with clinicians trained in EFT to achieve emotional stability, clients are then encouraged to use this technique going forward to maintain wellness in real time, in real life. Clients have the internal resource to address emotions, events, conflicts, symptoms as needed avoiding a piling up of negativity and unresolved emotions.

EFT is a simple, effective treatment method emerging from the energy psychology field of study. To learn move about EFT, visit the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology website.

Leonora O’Farrell uses EFT in her clinical work at BETA in treating depression, anxiety, PTSD, phobias, eating disorders, addiction and somatic conditions. Depending on a client’s needs and interest she draws on a range of treatment modalities including Narrative Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, Brief Solution Focused Therapy, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Structural Family Systems Therapy.

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