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Emotional Freedom Technique
What is EFT?
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a “no needles” version of acupuncture that can effectively give you relief from emotional and physical issues. It involves a two-stage process whereby you first “tune in” to your specific issues and then tapping with your fingers on certain meridian points on the body.
It is a simple and non-invasive process which uses elements of exposure therapy, cognitive therapy and somatic stimulation. Specifically, it incorporates the exposure therapy element (the focusing of your thoughts on a negative emotion, physical sensation, issue or event) coupled with the tapping (the sending of electrochemical impulses to the limbic and cortical regions) so that the brain can neutralize fear and stress and release endorphins which have a calming and soothing effect.
Origins of EFT
Developed by Dr Roger Callaghan in the 1970’s to eradicate phobias in a single session, his method was later greatly simplified by Gary Craig and gained worldwide popularity. EFT has proven consistently effective in the treatment of phobias, depression, anxiety, performance and trauma, especially Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is currently being offered to war veterans through the Veterans EFT Tapping Project in the United States.
Ongoing research has been showing how EFT affects both the amygdala (stress centre in the brain) and hippocampus (memory centre), which play a role in the decision process when something is perceived as a threat. Tapping has also shown results in lowering cortisol levels, the stress hormone, essential in maintaining a strong immune system and a whole physical wellbeing.
How Does it Work?
The tapping on specific acupressure points sends electrochemical impulses to the limbic and cortical regions of the brain that control stress or fear and disrupts the conditioned emotional response to the stress or fear. In this way it breaks the connection between the cognition of a memory and any emotion associated with it. EFT has been shown through scientific research to effectively break the neural links in the brain associating the distressing emotion, physical sensation, issue or event with trauma. It is safe and gentle with no harmful side effects and it does not re-traumatise the client as so many talk therapies do.
What Does A Typical Session Include?
The client and I begin to identify a specific event or emotion that is causing distress. We then rate this specific event in terms of emotional intensity on a 1-10 scale and then to start tapping various meridian points. After a round or two we then re-evaluate the intensity level and continue working until the level has reduced to 0 or as low as possible. During tapping rounds stored emotions or memories will surface and this is when we both reframe events, thus reducing the intensity around them.
For the last several years I have been working with a variety of clients on a diverse range of issues either on a one to one basis or within a therapeutic community setting. EFT is applicable to practically any event or issue and I have specialised in trauma, addictions and relationship issues. As a former actor, I also work with those wishing to address performance anxiety issues and stress reduction.