Emotional Freedom Technique (also called EFT, or tapping) is a psychological acupressure technique developed by Gary Craig. It utilizes acupressure points to help optimize emotional health, part of a large family of energy psychology, a new, quickly evolving non-traditional approach to psychotherapy. While its scientific research and documentation are still being refined, EFT has been used since the ’90s, allowing for excellent results globally. Many studies demonstrate its efficacy as an evidence-based self-help therapeutic method(1).
EFT works with fourteen traditional Chinese medicine acupressure points on the body, called energy meridian points. These points are tapped on with your fingers while thinking about specific problems or emotions. You then voice affirmations to help clear emotional blocks and ingrained belief patterns from your body’s bio-energy system. It is easy to learn and can be an effective self-help tool, allowing you to take charge of your healing process.
Many of the emotional pains we experience and never deal with become stored in our bodies and minds. These become our thought patterns and belief systems. Our stored emotional pains become the glasses we see our world through; our subconscious, automatic responses. These unhealed pains become negative beliefs that constrict our personal development and wellbeing. This limits and disempowers us, lowers self-esteem, fuels overreactions and negativity, weakens resistance to physical illness, and diminishes overall quality of life. It can contaminate peace of mind, inhibit capacity to love, and block all ability to overcome obstacles. Learn more by reading Feelings Buried Alive Never Die (Karol K. Truman).
EFT can effectively ease suffering by clearing these stored pains and helping extract the negative emotional residue of our painful experiences. Research has shown it is highly effective for stress, phobias, anxiety, PTSD, emotional abuse, depression, trauma, panic, childhood-related issues, relationship issues, and some addictions (2).
I discovered EFT through a life coach in 2013 and have used it ever since. It’s done wonders for my own negative feedback loops and issues. It can feel completely silly and strange at first. Once I got over how silly I felt, however, I started feeling and seeing things differently than I once did. It helped me heal in many ways.
How to Tap
- Use your fingertips (if you have long fingernails, use your finger pads). Traditionally the index and middle fingers of one hand are used. Some practitioners suggest using all fingers to cover more area. Either works. Choose what is most comfortable.
- Tapping points exist on either side of the body. Switching sides is okay.
- Watches and bracelets should be removed as well as glasses if possible.
- Tap solidly, but don't hurt yourself.
- Tap on one point about 5-7 times, about the length of one full breath. I prefer to tap as long as it takes me to say one phrase.
Points to Tap
- KC or karate chop: the outside fleshy side of the hand, below the pinky finger
- TH/CH or top or crown of the head: top center of the head
- EB or eyebrow: the inside beginning of either eyebrow
- SE or side of the eye: the occipital bone bordering the outside corner of the eye
- UE or under eye: about 1” below the pupil
- UN or under nose: the area between the bottom of the nose and top of the upper lip
- CH or chin: the direct center of the chin
- CB or collarbone: from the U-shaped notch directly in the center of the clavicle, then go down 1” and left or right 1”
- UA or underarm: fleshy part next to the armpit
- HC or heart center: the center of the chest
Try first looking up a video or script online on how to do this part so you can get a good idea of how this is done. Phrases and affirmation statements are spoken out loud while tapping on the designated points and focusing on a particular issue, emotion, or memory.
Even if you do not fully believe the statements you’re saying, say them anyway. Say them with emphasis. While it is best to say them out loud, you may also mutter quietly or in your head. This process is broken up into four parts: a setup phrase, a reminder phrase (negative belief), a positive reframe phrase, and a gratitude process. You should only do what feels right and safe. Do not enter into emotions or memories that feel threatening until you are ready. You may even locate a therapist who may go through this process along with you.
- Be specific when thinking about the emotion you are feeling.Try to feel where in your body it manifests. Do you feel nauseous when you think about the memory?
- You may want to disconnect when the emotions come up. If it is safe to do so, however, stay with it. Notice your triggers and tap until it becomes less intense.
- Recognize how you feel before, during, and after. What changes did you notice? Did the way you see the problem change? Watch for root causes or memories. Listen to the negative self-talk that comes up. It may take a few rounds to feel a difference, depending on how deep your emotional pain is.
- Have intention when tapping. Create a special space and carve out time without distraction, so you may give it your full attention.
- Practice positive reframe affirmations often. It’s recommended to do so right before going to bed.
- Practice forgiveness of yourself every day. For example: “Even though I reacted badly to my emotion and lashed out, I forgive myself. I was doing the best I could.”
- You can tap alone or in the dark, but the most effective way is tapping while looking in a mirror and staring into your own eyes.
- Be persistent, consistent, and patient. When you first go through this, the affirmations may not feel true. Affirmations are like planting seeds in your mind. They take time to grow, just as healing takes time.
- Keep a journal or pen and paper nearby to write down what comes up during this process. Have a glass of water nearby in case your mouth gets dry while speaking.
- Check out available resources, books, YouTube videos, online scripts, and practicing therapists. Pursue any and all sources that may assist you in practicing.
This is an example template of an EFT for Self-Love I created. There are many to choose from. Pick or create one you like best.
Old Program: “I hate myself, I am not worthy, and I am not lovable.”
Intention: “My intention is to heal my wounds from not feeling loved.”
Set the intention to heal:
Tap the side of your hand or heart center point and say:
“I have the intention to deeply love and accept myself. I intend to live my life loving myself and radiating love.”
Rate your emotional intensity on a scale from 0-10. 10 = “I feel terrible.” and 0 = “No intensity at all. I feel happy.”
EFT phrases may trigger memories and emotions. Tap them away until your emotional intensity is low.
While tapping on the KC (karate chop) point say the following:
“Even though I was somehow programmed not to love myself, and ‘they’ could not love me as the precious child I was, I now recognize that is their loss. I choose to remember that I came to this world full of love and I can love myself.”
“Even though I may currently believe I am not lovable and that I am defective, I know it is a lie. I am lovable because I exist.”
“Even though my actions show I do not accept myself, I now choose to take care of myself. My behavior will prove I accept and value myself.”
Take a deep breath.
Tap on the following energy points while repeating the negative reminder phrases.
TH: “I am not worthy of love.”
EB: “I cannot love myself.”
SE: “They could not love me as I was.”
UE: “I just don’t love myself.”
UN: “They could not love the person I was.”
CH: “They suggested I was defective and I believed them.”
CB: “I show with my actions that I don’t accept myself.”
UA: “My behavior says I don't value myself.”
TH: I don’t feel safe loving and accepting myself just the way I am.”
Take a full, slow, deep, healing breath and release your old false programming. Rate how you feel. You may need to repeat this until the intensity drops to continue.
To move on, know that you are taking responsibility for your own wellbeing.
Positive Reframes, and Choices
Take a deep breath.
Tap on the following energy points while repeating the positive reminder phrases.
TH: “Deep within me, there is an abundance of love.”
EB: “I am generous with my love as I am learning to love and accept myself fully.”
SE: “It was their choice to love and accept me. They are responsible for what they did or did not do.”
UE: “I am leaving pain from the past behind me, clearing out any need to suffer.”
CH: “I realize the more love I project, the more love I attract.”
CB: “I am feeling safe in the world.”
UA: “I am being true to myself as I love and accept myself completely.”
TH: “Love is my true nature.”
Take a deep breath, relax, and let the new phrases set in. You may need to repeat this until the emotional intensity is lower.
Make a fist and gently tap on your heart center while repeating the following:
“I am thankful for my wonderful mind and body.”
“I am grateful because I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”
“I am grateful because I am worthy of radiating and receiving love.”
“I choose to feel grateful because it helps me feel better.”
“I am infusing my mind and body with the healing energy of love and acceptance.”
“I am grateful because I accept myself just the way I am.”
“I appreciate that I am finally safe and free to love and accept myself fully.”