How often during a day or week do you find yourself stressed? Deadlines at work, financial burdens, illness, parenting demands or disagreements with a loved one are all issues that can easily rob us of our inherent peace. We live in an extremely fast paced world and we are often isolated in our endeavors to manage all that our daily existence requires. Life can be very demanding and when the demands exceed our emotional and physical abilities to cope, emotions such as anxiety, anger, frustration, sadness, and a sense of overwhelm can easily arise.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were a way to help release these negative emotions, something that we could do on our own to bring us back to a sense of calm and clarity?
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT as it is more widely known is just such a method. EFT is a simple process which uses acupuncture points (no needles mind you) in order to clear emotional stress. Just as needles used in acupuncture help clear energy blockages, tapping with your fingers to stimulate specific acupuncture points can clear emotional blockages. I have used it on myself as well as with clients and I have found that this process consistently helps relieve stress. No matter what is causing the emotional upset, a few "tapping rounds" of EFT can bring a sense of calm.
I want to make it clear that EFT is not a magic fix. When there are deep core issues to be dealt with, it may take many rounds of EFT to actually clear out a negative life pattern. Still on a day to day basis EFT makes it easy to release difficult emotions that can weigh us down and keep us from performing at our best. When one can shift from emotional turmoil and defeating self talk to an inner sense of calm, there is more energy and clarity available from which better choices and decisions can be made.
EFT Application Examples
A client I'll call Jim had been without a job for quite some time. As the months passed, the stakes were getting higher as he was beginning to use up his savings. Understandably, Jim was becoming anxious on a daily basis and even more so whenever he had to go for a job interview. During one of our sessions, I took Jim through the EFT process. As is consistently my experience, in about 3 to 5 rounds of EFT, Jim became calm and relaxed. His whole demeanor softened. He was able to appreciate the challenge of his situation without judging himself. I taught him the EFT technique so he could then do it on his own. Jim started using EFT at home to relieve his stress as it arose. As he did so, he found that he was able to approach his challenge with a positive attitude. His work with EFT at home combined with the self awareness that came in his counseling sessions gave Jim a new way to positively deal with anxiety during this particularly difficult time in his life. The work he did also allowed him to have much more self confidence during job interviews. Although it still took several more months until Jim found a new job, during this time he was able to regularly release the negative, self defeating energies that had kept him stuck.
Another successful EFT story is of a 57 year old female client who was dealing with divorce after a 30 year marriage. Although the marriage had been "lifeless" for many years, Karen was still shocked when her husband announced that he wanted a divorce. As one would expect, Karen went through a range of emotions from sadness and grief to disbelief and anger. She was also terribly anxious about being on her own after so many years of being in relationship. I used EFT with Karen in each of her sessions and she regularly used it on her own. Because divorce was such a major life change for Karen, her difficulties did not go away overnight. There were many issues to deal with throughout her therapy. Nevertheless, Karen told me that she doesn't know what she would have done without EFT because not only did EFT keep her from getting lost in her emotions, it helped her to make constructive, life affirming choices. Having a technique that she could use outside of the therapeutic setting was very empowering. Many months later, she is now successfully living on her own, creating a new life as a single woman.
One last example showing the effectiveness of EFT is of Cindy, a 10 year old child whose parents brought her to see me because she had a very difficult time going to sleep in her room by herself. Although her parents were quite loving and wanting to help her, they really just didn't know how to handle the situation. In fact their way of coping made the situation worse in that they often allowed Cindy to sleep with them or one of her siblings. Cindy is a delightful child and was quite expressive in telling me about her fears. With her mother present, I asked Cindy if it would be okay if I played this "tapping game" with her in order to overcome her fear. Rather than have Cindy tap herself, I first gently tapped the appropriate points for her. I had her imagine going to sleep in her room by herself and as her fear came up, I used the appropriate verbal protocol and tapped the acupuncture points. With each round she became calmer until her anxiety level ultimately went away. I taught her to do the tapping on her own and instructed her to do it at home before bedtime. A week later when I saw Cindy's mother for her regular therapy session, she reported that Cindy happily did her tapping each night and was now sleeping in her own room with no complaints. In fact, she felt quite proud of herself.
Gary Craig, the founder of EFT states, "The cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body's energy system". In my experience, I notice that as the flow of energy is restored by using EFT, negative emotions are cleared. Just as certain herbs can clear toxins from the body, EFT can clear emotional toxins. It is also my observation that as one is doing EFT, the mind is focused and the incessant thought process ceases. When the mind stops, a sense of calm is experienced. If only for a few moments, we are experiencing the "now" moment and the peace that exists in this stillness.
Should you wish to learn more about EFT, Gary Craig generously shares a wealth of information on his website www.emofree.com. If you prefer to have assistance learning EFT, many therapists have incorporated Emotional Freedom Technique into their practice.
Shobana Nuland is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the Seattle area. She uses EFT to help her clients clear negative emotional patterns and beliefs. She also uses EMDR and many other energy therapies in her practice. She has been working with individuals and couples for over 20 years. 206-546-5390