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21 Oct, 2008

Tapping Your Way To Emotional Freedom

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coaching Articles

Advanced Emotional Freedom TechniqueAdvanced Emotional Freedom Technique Practitioner Sally Topham explains how EFT works and the profound effects it has had on those who have used it.

Water in any form terrified ‘Mary’: in fact, she was so phobic about the stuff that rain was enough to send her scurrying to a room in the middle of her house. A bath was only possible if the water was no more than a few centimetres deep. Her therapist, cognitive psychologist Dr Roger Callahan had worked with her tirelessly for 18 months and helped her to the point where she was at least able to approach open water but her intense fear remained.

Then Callahan had an idea that would change not just Mary’s life but also the lives of many thousands of people in the future.During one particular session, Mary said the very thought of water made her feel sick in the pit of her stomach. Callahan decided to incorporate some of what he had been learning about the meridian system of Chinese Medicine into Mary’s treatment – he applied pressure (by finger tapping) to a treatment point on the stomach meridian, just beneath the orbit of her eye whilst asking her to hold on to the feelings she described.

Almost immediately, her expression cleared and she exclaimed that her problem had gone. To his complete astonishment, she then ran out of the room and into the garden towards his swimming pool where she began dipping her hands into the water and splashing her face. Inspired, Callahan continued to work with Mary who went on to make a remarkable recovery. He developed what he had learnt and it became known as Thought Field Therapy (TFT).

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) emerged from Callahan’s original work through one of his students, Gary Craig, who had previously spent many years working with the techniques of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. After working with TFT for a while, Craig began to see the possibility of simplifying Callahan’s method. He developed a technique which incorporated tapping on all the meridian endings in one short, basic, easy to use sequence which could be used to treat all kinds of emotional, physical and psychological problems. Over time the treatment was refined and developed further and by the mid-90s, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) was born.

The Meridian Energy System

According to traditional Chinese Medicine, a system of subtle energy pathways called the ‘meridians’ flow through our physical bodies. These pathways are channels for a non-physical energy, which the Chinese call Chi and which is understood to be an energy that runs through everything in existence. The importance of maintaining its free-flow through the human body is deemed to be crucial for good health and well-being. Various methods of unblocking and rebalancing Chi were developed in ancient China, many of which are currently growing in popularity in the West. Acupuncture is a well-known example of these treatments that involves the use of needles inserted into strategic areas of the meridians to facilitate a more balanced flow of this subtle energy.

The meridian system is a connecting network between body and mind that runs through and affects every major and minor organ in the body. The meridians include 14 major channels that carry energy into, through and out of the body. Key points arise along each of these channels where heat and electromagnetic energy join to make a series of ‘gateways’. These are the acupressure points, which can be stimulated either by needles or physical pressure to allow energy to be redistributed along the subtle pathways. The endings of these meridian points arise close to the surface of the skin and it is these points that are tapped when using the EFT technique.

Gary Craig’s discovery statement is that: ‘All emotional reactions are a direct result of disturbances within the energy system.’ This disturbance becomes lodged within the energy pathways rather like silt or airlocks in a central heating system prevent an even flow of heating through the home. In just the same way, disruptions in the free movement of this energy can cause problems and imbalances in either body or mind or both. Recurring disruption can cause chronic physical complaints.

How EFT Works

EFT has sometimes been described as psychological acupressure because by stimulating specific points on the skin and simultaneously triggering a remembrance that brings up an unwanted or disabling emotional response, it is possible to shift the brain’s reaction to a problem.

The technique works by using a simple, painless procedure of tapping a sequence of acupressure points whilst saying specific phrases and affirmations to keep the mind focussed on the emotional problem that needs to be released. Unbelievable though it may seem, this enables access to the entire meridian energy system where the emotional disturbances or blocks become trapped. The tapping causes gentle reverberations in the energy system, which releases the original energy disturbance and restores the even flow; rather like tapping on the central heating pipes can discharge an airlock. This quick and easy process allows the possibility of swiftly working through layers of beliefs, memories and emotions, helping to dissolve negative thoughts and feelings. Blocks and stress can subside and in many cases, disappear completely as can some physical symptoms.

EFT provides a very effective means of doing this without recourse to any psychotherapeutic intervention. It is non-invasive, specific and has no side effects. It is simple and easy to use. It can also help unlock and release problems surprisingly quickly. Unlike the traditional ‘talk therapies’ there is often no requirement to go into the historical content of the problem. The focus of attention is placed upon how this emotion, this difficulty, is making you feel. By dealing simply with the emotional intensity associated with a problem and leaving aside any analysis, the disturbance can be dissolved and released.

How EFT Can Help

Since I have been practising, I have used EFT to help a number of people with a variety of problems including lack of self-esteem, parental and relationship difficulties, depression, negative thoughts and memories, grief and loss, stress, anxieties and limiting beliefs. I have also found it helpful in treating some physical symptoms and the general distress of learning to live with the debilitating effects of serious illness.

The changes and transformations that can be experienced from using this technique are usually often permanent, once every aspect of the problem has been addressed. It doesn’t matter whether your emotional problems are linked to events long past, are to do with overwhelmingly present challenges or are causing you anxiety about the future, they can all be tackled and helped to dissolve. Bringing about changes in our thinking and beliefs, our fears and difficulties need no longer be a lengthy struggle achieved only through years of therapy. By releasing our emotional attachment to a problem, insights occur and we see ways to let go of baggage that prevents us moving forward in our lives.

Contrary to many of people’s ideas, being released from the emotional intensity of a problem doesn’t prevent us from benefiting from the ‘lessons’ we could be learning from the situation. We will still have the memory of the event that caused the feeling, but it no longer dominates our consciousness and we are liberated from the disabling emotion it brought. EFT doesn’t suppress unwanted emotional reactions but simply releases and resolves them which still allows room for understandings to take place and those all important lessons of life to be learnt. Visit Gary Craig’s website: for countless examples of the way EFT has helped thousands of people and you will begin to understand how flexible and invaluable this technique can be.

EFT can ease you away from emotional pain to feeling a sense of hope, clarity and self-esteem. It helps dissolve the pain of negative emotions and can give you the impetus and confidence to move through blocks and obstacles in your emotional life.

It is a wonderfully self-empowering technique that is easily learnt and can be applied to many day-to-day problems without any difficulty. It is therefore an indispensable resource to have to hand whenever you feel the need. With more complex issues it is always advisable to work with a therapist. That way you can be steered through the tangle of emotions and negative thinking that surround the problems towards the emotional freedom you desire.

Sally Topham is an Emotional Freedom Technique Practitioner (Adv) and Reiki Master/Practitioner.

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