Emotional Freedom Technique
E.F.T stands for Emotional Freedom Technique. It is a form of counselling intervention that draws on various theories of alternative medicine including acupuncture, neuro linguistic programming and energy medicine. It integrates the Chinese meridian system into the therapy process by tapping on meridian points with your fingertips.
Properly done, it reduces the conventional therapy process from weeks, months or even years to a fraction of that time. It is a revolutionary treatment method that offers healing from physical and emotional pain.
Studies have shown that E.F.T is highly effective for the treatment of anxiety, trauma, stress, guilt, anger, phobias, physical pain and much more. It is a highly focused energy psychology method that rapidly releases the emotional impact of stressful or traumatic life events in the body-mind system.
An E.F.T treatment involves the use of fingertips rather than needles to tap on the end points of energy meridians that are situated just beneath the surface of the skin. The treatment is non-evasive and works on the ethos of making change as simple and as pain free as possible. The technique works by releasing blockages within the energy system which are the source of emotional intensity and discomfort. These blockages as well as challenging us emotionally often lead to limiting behaviours and an inability to live life harmoniously. Resulting symptoms can be either emotional and/or physical and include lack of confidence and self esteem, feeling stuck, anxious or depressed or the emergence of compulsive and addictive behaviours. It is also now widely accepted that emotional disharmony is a key factor in physical symptoms and disease.
When you are experiencing a negative emotional state – anger, upset, fear or anxiety your brain goes on alert. It prepares your body to enter a fight or flight response. This response evolved to mobilise the body to face an external threat – e.g. a tiger coming after your ancient ancestor. The body’s defence systems are turned on to support either fighting or fleeing from danger, your adrenaline pumps, your heart beats faster, your muscles tense and your blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar all rise to give you extra energy to meet the challenge. Today the fight or flight response is mainly triggered internally. The stress response in the body takes the same form whether you are being chased by a tiger (external) or are emotionally triggered and/or have a negative memory (internal). What tapping does, with amazing results is halt the fight or flight response and reprograms the brain and body to act and react differently.
How it happens and works - the science bit
Our stress response begins in the ‘amygdala’ part of the brain. It’s our midbrain and one component of the limbic system, located between the frontal lobe cortex and the hindbrain (also called our reptile brain as it’s the source of emotions and long-term memory where negative experiences are encoded).
The amygdala is our body’s smoke detector. It spots whether something is threatening our safety and signals the brain to mobilise the body into fight or flight response. Memories of past experiences or present ones can set off the amygdala. The amygdala does not distinguish though real threat e.g. being chased by the tiger or what it perceives as a threat – all our daily and cumulative stressors of life and emotions.
Research at Harvard Medical School has shown that tapping on our meridian end points decreases activity in the amygdala and sends a calming response to the body. Tapping whilst experiencing, or even discussing an upsetting and/or stressful event counteracts the stress and reprograms the hippocampus. In M.R.I brain scans it has been clearly shown how the amygdala’s red alert is switched off when acupressure points are tapped and stimulated.
This treatment can be incorporated into counselling sessions or can be offered as a stand alone treatment.