Posted on 09 September 2019
When clients come to my London or Henley on Thames hypnotherapy for anxiety clinics, I always spend time explaining the different tools and techniques I use.
I thought it would be a good idea to share some of this knowledge with my wider audience who read this blog. Over the next few months I will be blogging occasionally about some of these techniques.
I am going to start with Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as ‘tapping’.
EFT is quite new, it was developed in the 1990s, by Gary Craig. He has some excellent videos on You Tube in which he demonstrates his techniques. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wG2FA4vfLQ
The technique became very popular very quickly. Not surprising, in my view, as it is easy to use and it works.
What is EFT and how does it work?
The theory behind EFT revolves around the meridian energy points in our bodies.
We all have energy flows throughout our bodies. These are just part of being human. In an ideal state that energy flows freely and we are physically and emotionally well. But trauma and bad life experiences can disrupt this flow. Gently tapping on the body’s acupressure points can clear these blocks and restore health and balance.
How do I do EFT?
EFT works with the body’s main meridian points. You can see the major ones here: https://www.google.com/search?q=eft+meridian+points&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwja8uj27IHkAhVkz6YKHekLDw4QsAR6BAgHEAE&biw=966&bih=578
All you need to do is focus on what you want to change and then tap on these points while repeating phrases which acknowledge the problem and at the same time value yourself.
This can be the tough part. The technique itself is very simple, but knowing what assumptions, memories or beliefs you need to address can be difficult.
EFT professional practitioners
It is often best to see a professional practitioner if you want to use EFT. This is because you need the priming work to ensure that you are using the technique safely and to its maximum effect. You will almost certainly benefit from guidance about which issues to start with. Also, because you may be focusing on unpleasant memories and emotions, it is best to have expert support to take you safely through this process. Crying during EFT sessions is not unknown and having support through this emotional time matters. But once you have gone through this process, you can use the technique on your own.
How does EFT work?
EFT works with the meridian points on the body. Meridian points will be familiar to anyone who has ever used Chinese medicine, especially acupuncture.
They are the points on the body which are the junction points of our energy pathways. Any imbalance in these energy flows can cause emotional pain and problems. Imbalance can be caused if you have had a painful experience and not properly processed it.
By tapping on these meridian points, you can access your energy and send signals to the parts of your brain which hold memories and control your safety responses. With consistent use you can reduce the stress and negative emotion and restore your natural balance.
What can I expect in an EFT session?
If you come to see me, I will use EFT in the following way:
Firstly, we will focus on the issue which has brought you to my clinic. This can take some time and expertise. What is bothering you on the surface might actually just be reflecting something deeper.
The EFT techniques only work if you focus on your feelings about the issue which is causing the problem. It is important to focus on just one issue at a time. (It may be that there are a whole number of things you will need to deal with and we can talk about how they can be sequenced.) It is also important that you concentrate on your feelings, behaviour and responses rather than on other people or outside events. Often, you cannot change the rest of the world but you can change how you react to it.
After we have identified the issue on which to work, I will help you scale the intensity of your problem. I do this by using my own bespoke version of an emotional distress scale. If you feel fine you will register one, if you feel absolutely terrible you will register ten. The point of this is it enables us to test how well the EFT technique is working. During the session I will ask you to scale how you feel now, and then as we work, your level of distress will almost certainly come down. Feeling tired after an EFT session can sometimes happen, especially in the early part of the process. More often though, people feel energised and refreshed.
EFT and affirmations
This is the spoken part of the process.
So far, we have talked about the tapping part of the technique. There is also a very important speaking component of EFT and I will explain that now.
As you tap you will say a phrase which is going to help you. This consists of two parts. An acknowledgement of your feelings about the problem or issue you are dealing with, and an affirmation that you accept yourself despite this.
The standard form of this is ‘Even though I have (the problem) I completely love and accept myself.’ But if you feel more comfortable with a different form of words, we can use that instead.
For the first part it is important that you phrase things from your perspective, that reflects that you can change this thing. So, for example if you are being harassed by a colleague do not say: ‘Even though Jo is harassing me.’ Instead say: ‘Even though I am frightened because Jo is harassing me.’ – you may or may not be able to do something about Jo’s behaviour, but you can absolutely do something about the fear which is being caused. It is your responses to the outside world you can change with this process rather than the world itself. (I am not ignoring the world here. Once you have cleared your emotional blockages and fears, you will be in a much better place to deal with the world).
The EFT tapping sequence
When I use EFT, I focus primarily on these tapping points
Side of eye
Top of collarbone
It does not matter whether you use the right or the left. I usually encourage the client to go around the points seven or so times, tapping and saying their phrase and then check the distress levels.
I also add two other EFT techniques. One is to use the meridian points on the hand to reinforce the tapping sequence. I also get the client to hum up and down a scale and then I direct them to make certain eye movements. This helps the right and left sides of the brain, the logical and the creative parts, to work together.
I keep going with the process until distress levels, as measured on the distress scale are at a level you can cope with.
Is it worth trying Emotional Freedom Technique?
I have had great success with this technique as part of a wider programme of anxiety management. I also use it myself if I am stressed, uncertain or anxious about things in my life. I am always in favour of giving my clients the tools to help themselves and EFT is perfect for that.
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