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Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) was developed by American Gary Craig during the 1990s. Craig's EFT is based on the Thought Field Therapy (TFT) system created by psychologist Dr. Roger Callahan. Callahan's main inspirations for TFT are acupuncture and the Chinese philosophies about life force (chi) and the body's energy channels (known as 'meridians').
Craig trained with Callahan and studied his advanced TFT procedure of voice technology. Impressed by the results of TFT, Craig believed the system could be simplified so he set about developing his own form of meridian energy technique that people could use at home. In 1995, Craig released a training video and public guide to EFT that became internationally renowned. He followed these guides in 1998 with a training pack called 'Steps towards becoming the ultimate therapist' that refined his techniques further.
Gary Craig is still involved with the development of Emotional Freedom Technique but the therapy's continued evolution has had contributions from many other notable practitioners including Fred Gallo.
In ancient Chinese philosophy it states that balance of the body, known as Yin and Yang, is regulated by life energy or qi (chi) flowing through meridians under the skin. EFT proposes that 'energy fields' within these channels can be affected by external events that cause negative emotions. Negative emotions disturb the body's energy fields resulting in psychological disorders and phobias.
Emotional Freedom Technique aims to overcome this problem by 'tapping' the body's meridians while thinking about a negative event. The EFT tapping technique is used on 12 precise meridian points on the body (15 if you include the 'karate-chop point', 'gamut spot' and the 'sore spot'). Where Emotional Freedom Technique differs from Thought Field Therapy is that TFT uses algorithms for tapping i.e. a specific sequence of tapping points for a particular problem - the sequence having been identified using muscle testing (kinesiology). EFT uses a comprehensive tapping sequence for all problems.
As the patient taps, the energy field is taken over, or deactivated, and therefore unable to deliver its information to the brain. The patient effectively reverses their negative thoughts or emotions and overcomes their problem.
Be prepared It is advisable to choose an Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner who is a member of, or is accredited by, an association or professional body. This ensures your EFT session is carried out in a suitable environment and by someone who has received formal training and ongoing development. Members are also bound to a code of ethics and practice. The main Emotional Freedom Technique organisations are listed at the foot of this article.
On finding an EFT practitioner, ask about their expertise and testimonials from previous clients. Before your appointment, think about what you hope to achieve with Emotional Freedom Technique and make a list of the problems you hope to overcome.
What to expect Emotional Freedom Technique will typically take place in a quiet and relaxed environment. There are no drugs, needles or invasive methods involved and it is completely pain-free. The EFT practitioner will begin by discussing your problem so they can hear the negative emotions you hope to overcome. They will then show you the tapping technique that will be used during your session.
The EFT practitioner will then ask you to clearly think about the event that causes your emotions. If there is more than one event, they will be dealt with one at a time. As you think about the event, the EFT practitioner will get you to gauge its intensity on scale of 0-10. You'll then begin a round of tapping points on the body to bring the intensity of your emotions down to zero. During the process you may be asked to say certain phrases that are associated with your problem.
As you do this, the energy field and negative emotions are activated and taken over. This releases the negative energy and any distress diminishes. Many people often release their energy through yawns, giggling, crying, or laughter - this is just a sign that the energy is being released. Throughout the process you'll remember the problem but there is no longer a negative emotion attached to it. The effect is fast-acting and often felt within minutes.
Your Emotional Freedom Technique session will end with the EFT practitioner discussing the experience with you and then instructing you on methods you can use at home should your problem re-occur. If further sessions are recommended, they will advise you about follow-up appointments.
The first session with an Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner may take longer than usual as they gather information and an understanding of your problem and explain the process involved with EFT. Expect this appointment to last around 90 minutes. A follow-up session can be anywhere up to an hour long.
Emotional Freedom Technique costs vary but as a guide expect to pay £40 - £60 for a session depending on your location and practitioner's overheads. It is advisable to check these costs before making an appointment.
A single session of EFT may be all that is required to overcome your problem but expect to attend an average of three sessions with your EFT practitioner. Some people have disorders that are more complex and require further sessions but this will be discussed during your treatment. Due to its simplicity, Emotional Freedom Technique sessions can also take place over the phone. Consult with your local practitioner to see if they offer this service.
Emotional Freedom Technique is a safe and non-invasive therapy for psychological problems that has proven results and a high success rate. Children in particular have found EFT beneficial due its simplicity over more conventional treatments that can make them anxious or nervous.
Consult with your GP and EFT practitioner about any problems or concerns you have as they are trained to recognise what can and cannot be treated with the therapy.
We always advise with any conditions, ailment or health problem you take independent medical advice from your GP before considering a complementrary therapy, alternative medicine or alternative treatment.