Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What is Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)?

As published in The English Update  06 Nov 2013

by Rabbi Yosef Brown

You've heard of EFT as another effective self-help tool, but what exactly is it and how does it work? The following is EFT in a nutshell.

A Short Description
EFT (tapping) is a form of “psychological acupuncture” except that there are no needles. EFT is based on the principle that one cause of negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system. The energy in our bodies that runs along the meridians used in Chinese acupuncture can get blocked or disrupted and give rise to emotional and or physical pain and discomfort.

EFT aims to heal these disruptions and balances the energy system restoring health, vitality, and peace of mind in surprisingly short periods of time. EFT has successfully helped people overcome years of emotional and physical pain without medications or invasive treatments.

Some EFT History
EFT was founded by Gary Craig, a Stanford University engineer who has spent his life looking for methods that will create optimum spiritual and physical well-being and performance. He developed it after hearing about the discovery of psychologist Dr. Roger Callahan. During a treatment of a patient with a severe water phobia, Dr. Callahan tapped a number of times under her eye and found that the tapping not only relieved his patient of the physical discomfort in her stomach but also cleared the fear of water that she had experienced for years even while in therapy.

Dr. Callahan began to develop tapping algorithms that succeeded in resolving emotional issues he had been treating for years with conventional psychology. Gary Craig learned these methods from Dr. Callahan and proceeded to research and test them. His own findings and conclusions led him to simplify the tapping process with one comprehensive pattern. After producing great results (over 80% success rate) with this method, Gary began teaching these techniques to therapists and the public at large.

Today EFT is quite popular in the USA, England, and other countries around the world. Numerous publications and newsletters have appeared about this exciting and powerful field. EFT utilizes tools from cognitive therapy and NLP to create a medium through which relief is literally at your “fingertips.”

About the Process
As mentioned earlier, tapping on the specific tapping points, while carefully focusing your attention on the issue at hand, brings about the balance in the energy system. This is the basic method of EFT in a nutshell. As issues start to unfold and EFT begins to remove blockages in the energy system, core issues and a deeper understanding of our emotions will surface. Cognitive shifts and “new ideas” will occupy the space that was being occupied by a blockage. This is the “freedom” that is achieved by these techniques.

One of the many advantages of EFT is the ability to use it anywhere and anytime. Simpler issues like every day common stressors can be managed or totally relieved with a few rounds of tapping. Research shows that EFT significantly reduces anxiety and promotes an overall calm that can be felt immediately in many cases.

Learning EFT
Basic EFT is very easy to learn and there is a large quantity of information that is available for free that demonstrates how EFT works. Once you learn the tapping points and become a bit proficient with the “Basic Recipe,” you can begin tapping on issues that are bothering you.

My advice for beginners is to locate a part of you (or your body) that feels some tension or discomfort when you focus your attention on it. Take a moment and get a reading on the level of discomfort you are having. Give it a number between zero to ten, with zero being how you would feel if there was no discomfort and ten being how you would feel if the pain was the strongest it could be.

Begin tapping on the side of your hand while saying a set-up phrase that goes: “Even though I have this pain/discomfort in my (specify the location and quality of the discomfort), I deeply and completely accept myself.” Repeat this three times paying attention to what you are saying.

Next, you begin what is called the sequence. This part of the process involves repeating a “reminder phrase” while tapping around the points on your face and upper body. Here too you are to focus your attention on the issue you are working on while tapping on the points. An entire round of the tapping takes about a minute or so and you repeat the process after checking your discomfort level until some reduction or change is felt.

Adjustments are made in the words used in subsequent “set-up” statements and reminder phrases to fit the new set of feelings or sensations. A new set-up statement might go something like this: “Even though I have some remaining discomfort or pain in my (specify the location and quality of the discomfort), I deeply and completely accept myself”. During the sequence of tapping you would say “this remaining (specify the location and quality of the discomfort)” while going around the points.

The instructions I have given are brief but capable of getting you started. Remember to focus on what is bothering you and be persistent in your tapping. People have seen incredible results by working on their own in just a few tapping sessions. More complex issues do often require outside intervention to unpack deeper core issues that lie at the root of the problem.

EFT Compared to Conventional Therapy
EFT is not an invasive form of therapy. The techniques that are used by the practitioner do not require detailed descriptions of painful incidents that the client has experienced. The focused attention of the client on what is troubling him is the necessary component for the tapping to be effective. Although there are times when the session can become intense, the intention and success of the EFT model is to minimize discomfort while treating the problem itself.

EFT For All Ages
EFT can be used on people of all ages. Children respond exceptionally well to tapping and a number of master EFT therapists have developed techniques and materials to teach children EFT on their level.EFT has shown great success with conditions like ADD/ADHD, OCD, and other learning challenges. Educators and therapists have integrated into their standard practices the use of EFT to treat and manage children and adults who have learning difficulties with remarkable results.

EFT has demonstrated again and again that collapsing long standing emotional issues need not take years of therapy. Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, phobias and a myriad of other emotional suffering have responded exceptionally well to EFT. Governments and large organizations like the U.S. Armed forces have incorporated EFT as part of their comprehensive treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with its veterans.

EFT at Work On Pain
I would like to share a brief story demonstrating the power and relief you can experience with EFT.

A number of months ago, I was accompanying someone at the Hadassah Har Hatzofim Emergency Room and noticed a woman in her early forties struggling with what seemed to be excruciating back pain. She was unable to sit or lie down and was holding herself up by hanging on to her husband allowing her body to drape freely. It was agonizing to see her suffer.

I walked over to the couple and smiled while saying to the woman, “Are you willing to try something for the pain in your back?” She said “I’ll try anything.” I quickly explained to her about EFT, and she began to do the tapping on herself with my instructions.

We started with the following set-up statement: “Even though I have this unbearable pain in my back, I deeply and completely accept myself.” We repeated that three times and tapped around the points, saying “this unbearable back pain.”

After the initial round of tapping, I looked her in the eye and asked, “How do you feel?” She replied, “It changed the pain. It still hurts terribly but the pain is different.”

 “Let’s carry on tapping,” I suggested. We proceeded to adjust the wording in the set-up statement and reminder phrase by saying: “Even though I have this changed unbearable pain in my back, I deeply and completely accept myself.” We tapped around the points, saying “this changed unbearable back pain” at each point.

When we finished I once again asked, “How are you feeling?” She said, “It’s less painful”. I asked, “If before the pain was a ten on a scale of zero to ten, what is it now?” She said, “A six maybe seven.”

She had a look of some relief on her face and some surprise too. I said, “Let’s keep going.” She agreed and we tapped another round, saying: “Even though I have some remaining back pain, I deeply and completely accept myself and forgive myself and anyone else that might have contributed to this pain.” We repeated the set-up statement three times and tapped two more full rounds. After those sequences the pain dropped to a four and then further, to a one or two.

By this point, the woman was able to stand up straight without assistance and could sit down without any great discomfort. I asked her, “What had gone wrong and caused this pain in your back and for how long have you had it?” She explained that the day before she had a procedure that required an epidural in her spine. From the time the anesthesia wore off, she had been in horrible pain that kept getting worse as time went on.

I asked if she was afraid of the epidural before she got it and she responded “yes.” Here, we discovered an emotional driver for some really excruciating pain. EFT very nicely (with little or no emotional intrusion) collapsed the emotional driver and relieved the pain. Over the next hour or so while waiting for the doctor to decide what to do for her, she walked around freely with very little pain.

EFT at Work On Emotional Issues
Rapid relief of pain is not uncommon to EFT. Nonetheless, many issues do not respond with such quick results and take some persistence together with deeper detective work to resolve the issue.

An example of this would be a young client of early adolescent age who expressed an exaggerated fear of death. To distract himself from the anxiety that these thoughts were causing him, he developed a series of “sayings” that he would repeat to himself regularly. This quickly got out of hand, and he was demonstrating some signs of obsessive and compulsive behavior.

While tapping, we were able to bring up a number of incidents in his early childhood that provided the infrastructure for his core beliefs and the fears that grew from them. After a few sessions he was feeling improvement and the need to revert to his “sayings” to relieve his anxiety had diminished greatly. His overall demeanor and behavior in school had greatly improved to the point that a member of the administration called and commented to his mother, “This treatment your son is undergoing seems to really be effective”.

More About EFT
Free information about EFT is available at www.emofree.com with a tutorial set up by Gary Craig, the founder of EFT. In “How To Do EFT Basics” at that site, you will find the tapping points, along with some useful tapping tips.


I thank Rabbi Yosef Brown for his excellent article and The English Update for providing the article.
 The English Update is a weekly publication from Jerusalem that provides more than just excellent topics of interest, but also interesting information about what is available in Jerusalem.  Most of the time advertisements are boring, leaving the reader with a desire to skip over them to get to the interesting parts of the publication.  I look forward to the advertisements in the Update since it tells me about good kosher restaurants, real estate that is available, places of interest to visit and products and services that are available in the greatest city in the universe.  Even if you live outside of Israel, you will find this information very exciting in planning your next trip to Israel – especially for those making Aliyah (which should be all the Jews of the world soon with the Geula being imminent).

The English Update is available on the web at:  http://www.teu.co.il/   Take a look and enjoy.  You can click on the latest issue and turn the pages and review the entire magazine.

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