Healing Trauma with the Emotional Freedom Technique
By Jazmin Stearne
Traditional psychotherapy has many ways to address unresolved trauma. For years we have used Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectal Behavioral Therapy (DBT) among other therapy styles. Therapists are now utilizing a different approach for the resolution of trauma; it is called the Emotional Freedom technique, or EFT for short. This therapy style is called the Emotional Freedom Technique because it has the ability to do just that, free clients from negative emotions and traumatic memories.
EFT is mostly used to treat clients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and certain phobias. However, some therapists use this technique to treat depression, eating disorders, stress resulting from chronic illness, and even schizophrenia.
EFT is a revolutionary form of therapy that offers hope and healing from emotional pain. This includes relief from panic attacks and other types of anxiety disorders. The Emotional Freedom Technique is a form of acupuncture. Yes, that’s right. This therapy style is a form of acupuncture. EFT uses the fingertips to stimulate various energy points (otherwise known as “acupressure meridians”) on different parts of the body. If you have used acupuncture in the past, such as for the treatment of pain or stress relief, then you will be familiar with the various energy points on the body. If acupuncture helps you relax and feel better overall, then you will like the Emotional Freedom Technique.
EFT was developed by a man named Gary Craig and it can be performed literally anywhere. It is quite an easily mastered technique that the client can do himself. You can do this for yourself, and on your own. I think that is the best part of this new technique. According to Gary Craig, “The cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system.” In other words, sometimes these “energy centers” become blocked. This happens to everyone at some point in time. EFT works by tapping on your acupressure meridians to release or “fix” the blockages. When the blockages are released, healing can take place and that problem feeling (whatever feeling the client has that is causing distress) is released. That is why this technique can be effective with releasing trauma and other negative emotions.
This technique starts with a beginning statement. First, the client will state what the problem feeling is. This will include a complete acknowledgment and acceptance of that problem. To begin this technique the person will often say something like this, “Even though I have this fear (or sadness, any negative emotion) about (insert a statement about whatever situation caused you to feel this way; scrutiny or embarrassment in public for instance) I completely accept myself anyway.” This last phrase, “I completely accept myself anyway” might not feel genuine to the person as they say it. If that is the case, that phrase can be replaced with something like, “I am willing to learn to accept myself” or “I want to accept myself”. The therapist will then instruct the person to say this statement three times. As the person is saying this, they will then tap lightly on whatever meridian the therapist tells them to start with. The second part of this treatment will focus on the feeling (“fear,” for instance) in the body. The client will then give the feeling a number, rating it between 1-10 in intensity. The client will then tap on pressure points around the face while saying the fear simultaneously. It usually takes several rounds before the fear is rated as a 0. When the client’s fear is gone, the therapist will tell him or her to replace the fear with a positive thought or positive feeling.
The Emotional Freedom Technique is an effective way of clearing out negative, unwanted feelings by replacing them with positive and more helpful feelings. This is a great way to release negative beliefs and fears that will hold a person back or “block” them from living happy lives. After this technique is over, more positive feelings and beliefs can be formed. This will increase self-esteem, thus enabling the client to get his or her power back. This can be liberating, as one is no longer tied down by negative feelings, beliefs, or fears. This is a great way to help yourself overcome trauma or other unwanted memories. As I mentioned above, the best thing about this technique is probably the fact that once a person has learned the different energy points in the body, they can practice this technique on their own over time—without the aid of a therapist. This technique can be done by clients themselves and at any time!
I have tried this technique myself in the past. I believe EFT can truly help a person overcome trauma and negative self-talk. However, I think EFT will help most with milder forms of trauma or anxiety. I don’t know if it is just as effective for more severe trauma. Perhaps more research is needed on that, as EFT is relatively new to the field of psychotherapy. If you suffer from panic attacks, PTSD, depression, or any other psychological conditions I encourage you to give the Emotional Freedom Technique a try. It has helped many people and is a promising form of treatment.
If you are in need of counseling and/or would like to learn more about EFT give our office a call. Schedule your free 20-minute consultation today.
Team, G. (2018, October 10). Emotional Freedom Technique. Retrieved July 02, 2020, from https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/emotional-freedom-technique