Everyone has felt emotional pain at one time or another, and everyone knows how unpleasant it can be. And merely ìunpleasantî is if youíre lucky.
Often, emotional pain can be downright debilitating.
When I learned about EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) in 2006, my first thought was that it looked ridiculous. My second thought was that it seemed too good to be true. Was I to believe that one could simply tap on oneís face and body, say a few phrases, and get relief from emotional pain, traumatic memories, stress, phobias and even physical issues?
But the truth is, EFT works, and there have been thousands of success stories that prove its efficacy, many of them at the EFT website www.emofree.com.
Yes, the ìit looks strangeî and “it seems too good to be true” elements of this tool sometimes hold it back, preventing people from even trying it. Fortunately, something pushed me past my resistance and skepticism to try it, or I would have missed out on the benefits of an incredibly easy tool for stress reduction and an overall higher quality of life.
The Roots of EFT
EFT’s predecessor is another meridian therapy called TFT, or Thought Field Therapy, developed by Roger Callahan in the 1980ís. Roger Callahan was a therapist working in California who became aware of the growing popularity of acupuncture there. It led him to begin studying the acupuncture meridian system on his own and looking for applications in his counseling practice.
One day while working with a patient named Mary, a 42 year old woman with a lifelong water phobia, Callahan was inspired to try an experiment.
He asked Mary where she felt her water phobia in her body. Mary responded that she felt the fear in her stomach. Knowing that the meridian point closest to the skin for the stomach meridian was located under the eye, Callahan had Mary think about her fear of water and her stomach discomfort while tapping on the meridian point under her eye.
The result was nothing short of a miracle. Moments later Mary was heading down to Callahan’s pool and playing in the shallow end, saying, “It’s gone! My fear is gone!”
Mary’s lifelong water phobia had been eliminated in less than a minute.
After this stunning success, Roger Callahan was inspired to continue with his meridian studies, and eventually developed numerous tapping sequences called “algorithms,” which offered relief on just about any negative emotion.
For instance, after treating for Reversals, the algorithm to relieve anxiety is to tap 5 times each the stomach meridian (under the eye), the spleen meridian (about 5 inches under the arm), and kidney meridian (just under the collarbone.) The algorithm to relieve anger is to tap 5 times each the heart meridian (tip of pinky) and kidney meridian (just under the collarbone.) The algorithm to treat depression is to tap the triple warmer (fight or flight) meridian (on back of hand, between 3rd and 4th knuckles) 30 times, and then the kidney meridian (just under the collarbone) 5 times. Each algorithm was then followed by the 9-Gamut procedure, a brain-balancing exercise which involves tapping the triple warmer meridian point while doing a series of eye movements as well as humming and counting.
Callahan began to teach this new miracle cure with a price tag of $100,000. One of his first students was Gary Craig.
The Birth of EFT
Gary Craig was a Stanford engineering school graduate, NLP master, ordained minister and retired financial planner looking to do something to contribute to society during his retirement years. At the urging of his friend and collaborator Adrienne Fowlie, he paid the $100,000 price tag and took Callahanís TFT training.
Gary was amazed by the TFT process and the results — but also thought it was too tedious to have to remember all of those tapping algorithms. Since it only took a few extra seconds to tap all of the points, he proposed tapping all the points (treating all of the meridians) every time, for every issue. Instead of muscle-testing for the presence of Psychological Reversal, he proposed doing the simple Reversal treatment every time. In recent years Gary Craig has all but stopped using the 9-Gamut procedure, and has added the Top of the Head point to the basic sequence, a sort of ìcatch-allî point where all of the bodyís meridians intersect.
Thus EFT was born ñ a simplified, more user-friendly version of TFT.
Why It Works
The meridian system is comprised of 12 meridians and 2 channels running primarily vertically throughout the whole body. Each meridian corresponds to either an organ or system of the body. Each meridian has many acupoints all along it. The meridian system was identified by the Chinese over 5,000 years ago and has been used in acupuncture, healing and maintaining wellness ever since.
The points that are used in present-day EFT and other meridian therapies were chosen because they are the closest to the skin for each meridian, and where tapping or holding them has the greatest energetic effect. Electromagnetic resistance at these points has been measured at only 1/2000th of the skin on rest of the body.
Tapping the points while tuned in to a bothersome memory, emotion or discomfort in the body has the effect of balancing the disrupted meridians and thereby neutralizing and dissipating the charge of that “thought field.” The energy blockage in the affected meridian(s) is cleared, and a new association to the thought is formed. Instead of triggering the old, uncomfortable, negative emotion, the new association to even the most painful memory can be a calm, balanced meridian system, and a calm, balanced feeling in the body. The memory or thought does not go away, but the unpleasant or traumatic feeling does.
The Art of Delivery
While EFT and other meridian therapies can yield extremely quick results in many simple phobia cases (like Mary’s water phobia), other issues can take regular, persistent tapping to fully resolve. This is usually because the issues are more complex and layered, and have more aspects to them. Sometimes a person is not consciously aware of the key aspects of a problem initially. This is where what Gary Craig calls “The Art of Delivery” comes in to play.
Getting to the root of a complex issue is key in collapsing its negative charge or effect with efficiency. If something is bothering you in the present and tapping on the present issue isnít yielding results, it’s beneficial to ask yourself, “When is the first time I ever remember feeling this feeling?” and do some tapping around whatever memories come up. Many of our present emotional issues have their roots in foundational childhood experiences, where behavior patterns and core beliefs are formed.
Another obstacle to EFT’s effectiveness is the “Psychological Reversal.” In a nutshell, it is an unconscious or partly conscious belief that runs counter to our conscious desire to get well, and can often sabotage our efforts at healing. Psychological Reversal is present approximately 50% of the time so we address it every time we tap. This is done via the Setup portion of EFT, where we state the problem along with an affirmation, i.e. “Even though I have this problem, I deeply and completely accept myself.” This procedure corrects the energy of the Reversal so that EFT can work.
Psychological Reversal is most commonly present in issues of depression and addictions, where part of us may receive some benefit from keeping the problem. A depressed person may actually like the extra attention they receive from being sick, or enjoy not having as much expected of them. An addicted person loves the high their addiction affords them. “Deserving” and “safety” are also common Reversal themes. If you want to get over something but part of you feels you don’t deserve to, or that it’s not safe to, then you will not get over the problem until the Psychological Reversal (counter-belief) is addressed. EFT will not work if you are Reversed.
EFT Master Carol Look is fond of asking these questions if someone is blocked in getting relief with EFT: “What is the DOWNSIDE of getting over this problem?” or “What is the UPSIDE of keeping this problem?” Your answers to these questions will reveal a Reversal if one is present.
Being aware of core issues and the possibility of Reversals are important parts of The Art of Delivery. Their proper treatment can increase the EFT success rate dramatically.
EFT and Spiritual Growth
While EFT works very effectively as a mechanical tool for eliminating fears and phobias, clearing past traumas, reducing stress and moving past comfort zones toward thriving in life, there is another aspect of EFT that fascinates me even more — its applications for spiritual growth.
It has been said that calming the “monkey mind” and “becoming the watcher” of the chatter of our everyday thoughts is one of the keys to transcending mundane, earthly reality and tuning back in to our true nature ñ our higher, spiritual self.
It seems to me that EFT is one of the best tools to help us do this. EFT can calm down and neutralize the anxious wanderings of the mind, which likes so much to distract us, causing us to fret about the past and worry about things in the future which may or may not happen. EFT can help turn down the volume of all this chatter as well as soften grudges, taking away the need to blame other people or past experiences for our present circumstances.
In short, EFT can help you to live more fully with gratitude and happiness in the present moment, in the ìnow.î When the energy of doubts, fears, stresses, past traumas and limiting beliefs is quelled and we are free of the static of negative self-talk, we can be more of who we truly are, right now. We are free to live as our essential spiritual selves.
It has been said that perfect (unconditional) love casts out all fear and disease. What is keeping you from living in a state of unconditional love, grace and gratitude in your life? Make a list and use EFT to start tapping away the charge of each issue. Gary Craig calls this “The Personal Peace Procedure.”
EFT can help you to neutralize and release all that isnít serving you. The strengthened connection to unconditional love that’s possible with regular use of EFT is more than worth the effort!
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