EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques, of Emotional Focus Therapy) was developed by NLP therapist Gary Craig. It is primarily based on the energetic body. Some call it a body-oriented alternative therapy. Others compare EFT to acupuncture, only without the needles. EFT presupposes imbalances in the energetic body, which can be discharged (balanced) by “tapping” specific meridian points on the body. The tapping facilitates the discharge of energy, sometimes called emotional liberation.
EFT is actually a simplification of the Thought Field Therapy, which considers many meridian points on the (upper) body. Gary Craig noticed that there seemed to be twelve stable points on the body that collectively suffice to achieve the desired discharge (or emotional liberation). This discharge is required because the imbalanced energy represents unconscious resistance of letting go of emotional blocks. EFT holds that these energetic blocks can be balanced through a combination of consciousness/visualization, plus the tapping of two fingers on the twelve meridian points (the order of points is not significant). The bodily symptoms will not always disappear immediately, but the EFT tapping provided the required space for the self-healing process to manifest again. Generally, the EFT method is applied in five steps:
- Initial take-in: the first interaction involves an explorative conversation to get an idea of the emotional blocks and physical symptoms. To this end, the Subjective Units of Disturbance (SUD) scale is used. Each question scores on the scale of 0 (no stress/pain) to 10 (highest stress/pain).
- Affirmation: as with NLP, EFT employs affirmations, to at least reach a helpful level emotionally / mentally. An often-used affirmation would be: “I accept myself completely, including everything that is now, also…”, followed by a description of the symptoms or stress. The therapist can start the EFT/tapping or massage during the affirmations.
- Tapping: during the concentration on the negative emotion (or the discharge or balancing of it) the therapist taps the appropriate meridian points. These are often located on the facial area and the upper part of the body.
- Evaluation: Once again the SUD scale is used to measure the level of the blocks, from 0 to 10. If the treatment was effective (this involves both the patient and the therapist!), all scores should be down significantly.
- EFT emphasizes that not all blocks will dissolve in one session. Oftentimes, several sessions are needed before imbalances reach the zero level.
EFT critics state that any positive physical effect through tapping on meridian points has not yet been scientifically proven; an increased sense of well-being might be due to the placebo effect. Some validation experiments in which tapping was employed on random other spots on the body resulted in less stress as well. In our view, if a patient experiences positive effects on the quality of life using EFT, the method is usable. However, be cautious in relying solely on EFT in the case of severe symptoms such as Parkinson, cancer, muscularly degeneration, or any other symptoms that clearly require direct medical attention.