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EFT - Tapping

The emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a novel therapy that combines both cognitive and somatic elements.

Developed in 1995 by Gary Craig, EFT tapping, also known as Tapping, is a self-help therapeutic technique that combines elements from ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology. It is a brief intervention combining elements of exposure, cognitive therapy, and somatic stimulation of acupressure points on the face and body.

It can be used as a stress relief tool for emotions and minor pain. The tapping is used in conjunction when an emotion arises or a memory. You tap on the acupressure points as you guide yourself through phrases that are targeted to your current issue.  It is easy but also more complicated as it can be used to manage deep-rooted emotions and past issues.

Studies show that EFT reduces stress, anxiety, depression and pain. Neuroscience studies demonstrate that EFT rapidly calms the brain’s emotional centers, and takes your body out of fight-flight mode.

EFT has you stimulate 13 acupressure points with your fingertips while focusing your mind on stressful events. This re-trains your body to respond with calm, rather than stress, to negative experiences.

First, clients bring their attention to distressing memories and symptoms. Second, practitioners walk them through a process of voicing specific statements while tapping on a series of acupuncture meridian points. This activation appears to reduce levels of stress while stimulating the processing of previously stuck emotions and habit patterns. 

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Helpful PDF basic manual overview-This is the one I recommend 

Here is Dr. Stapleton on her description of EFT. I like how she expresses how she felt about EFT when she first was introduced to the technique.  I know the first time I saw EFT,  I was like, no way that's even too crazy for me (I'm pretty open-minded) so I ignored it for about 8 years! But I decided during a very stressful time in my life...what the heck I'll try (as my friend used the technique in her practice). To my surprise, it worked!!  Then I learned the WHY and I was like Ohhh ....if only I was introduced to the science behind the silly tapping then I might have been more open-minded - and this is coming from someone (me) who studies energy systems I can understand how westerns would totally be skeptical.


 Our culture determines pretty much our reality and has a big influence on our belief system. Even though I understood energy systems,  I still grew up in very western culture. If we are not introduced to a concept, idea, belief, or even food while we are young we have a hard time accepting things that deviate from our normal (this is natural normal human behavior for genetic survival).  Dr. Stapleton dives a little into this in her Ted Talk, video on the science of why EFT is helpful.

Its evidence-based practice now.....tons of research behind the method. It does work with your energy system but even if you don't believe in energy/meridians as in acupuncture (though NO needles in EFT), it can also be explained as a somatic approach that incorporates neuropsychology as it impacts our nervous system, deactivation of the stress response in limbic/amygdala part of our brain along with reprocessing of memory in the emotional centers of our brain. Its a multilevel approach also using cognitive reconstruction, affirmations and mindfulness.  It is not too far off from EMDR, but EFT is a gentler approach (but EMDR is a fabulous modality as well!). 

While energy psychology as a field is still relatively young and new, its evidence base continues to grow in both quantity and quality. As of August 2020, over 115 research studies,  5 meta-analyses and 13 review articles have been published on EP methods in peer-reviewed journals. These modalities have been researched by more than 200 investigators in over 12 countries. 

Energy Psychology  Efficacy, speed, mechanisms

Good Website on Energy Psychology Research - From the association of Energy Psychology

List of related APA research with additional information!

The effect of emotional freedom techniques on stress

Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Improves Multiple Physiological Markers of Health

EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) and Resiliency in Veterans at Risk for PTSD

The Effectiveness of Emotional Freedom Techniques in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized and Nonrandomized Trials of Clinical Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) for the Treatment of Depression

Emotional Freedom Techniques for Anxiety: A Systematic Review 

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