EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) is such a new technique! It was developed by Gary Craig in the 1990s, and in the early days it was explained by means of the energy in the meridians (the body's energy channels in Traditional Chinese Medicine).
Gary, himself an engineer and not a research scientist or psychologist, was interested in what worked, and teaching it in a clear way to as many people as possible. He explained it in his original teaching as “The cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system,” therefore by working with the energy in the body, we can clear that disruption.
The cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body's energy system. ~ Gary Craig
While this makes perfect sense to many (including me!), it planted EFT firmly in the ‘new agey,’ ‘alternative therapy’ camp. With increasing knowledge of the effectiveness of EFT for a wide range of issues, I feel it is really important to bring it into widespread use, and this will only happen when it is scientifically validated. In the last 20 years, research into EFT has boomed. I think it is only a matter of time before it takes its rightful place in the mainstream as a beneficial tool in therapy and stress relief arenas.
Dr David Feinstein is a clinical psychologist who also practices EFT and has been involved in research about EFT for many years. He identifies 6 points about EFT, drawn from the body of scientific research to date:
1. EFT works
Over 100 clinical trials have demonstrated that EFT is highly effective, in particular for depression, anxiety and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). 10 studies comparing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) with EFT found that EFT is equivalently effective to CBT.
2. EFT is fast
Some issues have been cured or significantly improved in a single 30 to 60 minute session (during scientific research studies). PTSD took an average of 3 sessions to resolve during the research studies. (By comparison, CBT for PTSD took an average of 12-15 sessions, and was not as effective.) Other issues on average took 6 to 8 sessions to resolve or significantly improve.
3. The benefits of EFT last
77 out of 79 studies included a follow up study after a period of 1 month to 2 years and they showed that the initial effects of EFT lasted.
4. EFT affects biological markers
Physiological changes take place during EFT; it is not just a matter of subjective changes reported by the client. Beneficial changes have been documented in:
· hormone production
· cardiovascular function
· immune response
· gene expression
· brainwave patterns
· blood flow in brain areas
5. Tapping on the acupressure points is key
Although the words and therapeutic relationship are important, it’s the tapping on the acupressure points that is effective. 6 studies compared an identical protocol but replacing the tapping with either breathing, mindfulness, or tapping on sham points. In all 6, EFT tapping was much more effective.
6. EFT sends signals to targeted brain regions
Two brain imaging studies have shown that EFT can trigger either activating signals to brain regions (such as increasing confidence) or deactivating signals (such as calming a response to a stressor).
I feel these 6 points summarise really powerfully the benefits of EFT that are known to date. If you would like to chat with me about how EFT could help you, I’d be delighted to set up a free 20 minute meeting!
[I have summarised here a part of Dr Feinstein’s presentation in the Tapping Summit 2021, where he talked about ‘the Six Pillars of Energy Psychology’.]
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