Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) was developed by Gary Craig, a Stanford biomedical engineer and later an ordained minister. EFT is a simpler version of Thought Field Therapy (TFT), which was developed by Dr. Roger Callahan in the 1970s and is a type of energy psychology, a relatively new field within the general field of psychology.
The basis of energy psychology is the fact that our physical bodies, though appearing solid, are made up of building blocks of atoms, which emit positive and negative energy. We are, in essence, masses of energy. Illness, trauma, and our own thoughts and emotions can throw the energy out of its normally balanced state. The practice of energy psychology encompasses the traditional Chinese medicine practice of acupuncture. Acupuncture applies needles at points along the body’s meridians (energy channels) to restore the proper flow of energy. In EFT, you use your fingers to tap on these points. Like Thought Field Therapy, EFT combines the physical effects of meridian energy therapy with focusing the mind on healing the underlying problem, for example, the emotions associated with a past trauma. EFT makes the most of the theory that many physical problems are psychosomatic in origin, or put another way, energy-based.
For the purposes of EFT, the meridian points to tap are at the inner end of the eyebrow, just above the eye, on the bones under the eye, in the indentation under the nose, on the collarbones, and in several other symmetrical points on your body down to your fingertips, ending up on the nine gamut point (the part of your hand just below and between the baby and ring fingers).
As a simplified illustration of how EFT works, think of a problem you would like to overcome. Let’s assume it is a fear of spiders. We can begin by an affirmation statement that goes something like this: “Even though I am afraid of spiders, I deeply and completely love, accept, and forgive myself and I want my fear of spiders to go away.” As you say this affirmation three times, you gently rub a point on either side of your sternum with your fingers. Then, repeating the reminder phrase, e.g. fear of spiders, you tap each of the EFT points with your index and middle fingers together. Once you have reached the nine gamut point, you tap on it while continuing to focus on the problem during each of the following nine steps: (1) Close your eyes; (2) open your eyes; (3) look hard down at the floor to your right; (4) look hard down at the floor to your left; (5) roll your eyes in a complete circle, going right or left, doesn’t matter; (6) roll your eyes in a circle in the other direction; (7) hum (don’t sing the words) five seconds of a song (such as “Happy Birthday”); (8) count to five; and (9) hum (don’t sing) another five seconds of “Happy Birthday.” Stop tapping on the gamut point and take a deep breath in and out. End of round one.
EFT seems to work best for traumas and specific fears. Before you begin a round of EFT, it is advisable to rate the extent of your fear or the emotional distress associated with the trauma on a scale of one to ten, with ten representing the greater emotional response. After you do a round of EFT, retest yourself to see if your fear or distress has decreased. Continue doing EFT until the fear or distress no longer registers.
Yes, it works. Not all the time, not necessarily the first time, but it works if you keep drilling down to the core issues. One morning I woke up the day after a house guest had left. My blood pressure was sky high but I didn’t know why. I was worried that I would have to go to the hospital. After two rounds of tapping that produced no relief, I hit upon the idea that my sick feelings were linked to a delayed reaction to the pressure of the visit. I tapped on that specific issue and my blood pressure returned to normal.
With schizophrenia, it is difficult to determine where the trauma lies. EFT alone will not get rid of the cluster of symptoms called schizophrenia, but can be useful in detecting and overcoming many deep rooted emotions at the base of this condition.