EFT: Hands-On Healing with Real Results
By Chrisi Spooner
Recently, Evolving looked at Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT, an alternative treatment that is useful for a range of issues, from minor aches and pains to complex emotional and psychological issues, along with the conditions and disorders at the confluence of those things. (Read the first installment here: EFT: A Hands-On Approach (evolvingmagazine.com).
EFT combines aspects of various alternative medicine disciplines, including acupuncture, neuro-linguistic programming, and energy medicine. In this simple process, practitioners tap on certain acupressure touchpoints, known as energy meridians, in a prescribed sequence that does not change, regardless of the ailment. So whether the problem is social anxiety, arthritis, or phobias, the program is the same. Only the script, which is customized to suit the need, changes to address the given issue.
Carol Henderson, Certified Hypnotherapist and EFT Practitioner at New Day Hypnotherapy, LLC, trained with EFT founder Gary Craig and knows the process and its results quite well. Although originally skeptical of this novel therapy, she became a believer after trying it on a patient and also on herself.
“EFT is a technique that can quickly reduce or eliminate worries, negative thoughts, traumas, including post-traumatic stress, sadness, grief, resentment, anger, and more,” says Henderson. “It is also used for physical ailments caused by underlying stress or emotions, like back pain or headaches. It has been proven to enhance and improve performance in sports, music, acting, singing, writing, public speaking, sales, school work, and so on.”
Backed by a growing body of well-conducted scientific studies showing promising results, EFT is gaining credibility… and followers.
Benefits and Challenges
Henderson regularly helps her clients with everything from pain, phobias, quitting smoking and even complex issues such as rape and abuse.
“EFT provides unbelievable rewards every day,” says Henderson. “People who have been in pain for years feel pain free. People with fears become free of that fear. People look at things differently.”
Like any other approach, EFT has its share of challenges. Chief among them is that people view it as strange and are therefore wary of it. And while most conventional talk therapy focuses on the positive and reframing issues or retraining thinking, EFT works on negative thoughts to eliminate them and dismiss limiting beliefs.
Says Henderson: “Once you tap something away, it will stay away, but there can be other aspects of the fear or anger or similar that may show up, and those issues can be dealt with as they arise.”
Indeed, she says that the possibilities for therapeutic results from EFT are essentially endless.
Real Success Stories from Real People
Henderson’s website for New Day Hypnotherapy provides an abundance of success stories such as these:
“Carol and I worked on my experiences with child abuse. I thought it would take several sessions, but it was only one. She asked me if I felt guilty, and I said, “No” because I have worked on this for years, by myself, and with counselors. I knew it made me feel differently from the way my friends feel about themselves. Carol worked on my feelings about what happened in my childhood with EFT, and little by little my feelings about the whole situation changed. I really began to see and feel what I was dealing with in those situations. That I was innocent, even though I used to believe what they told me about bringing it on myself. Now I can see how I was manipulated by the adults around me. It is a very healing feeling. I do feel differently about myself. I feel clean for the first time in my life. I had tried EFT before, but the way Carol does it, it releases so much. The hypnosis continued the healing. I totally forgave myself for not running away or screaming or telling anyone. I don’t think it bothers me anymore. It is now just something that happened to me. It doesn’t prove anything about me, but about the adults that cared for me.”*
“I took my daughter to Carol because of an issue she had with sports. She wasn’t able to perform. We didn’t know what had happened. She was one of the best on the team before, but then everything changed. We tried encouraging her, then punishing her, then went back to telling her we would buy her clothes and things if she would just do what she did before. She said she just couldn’t do it. We went to a psychologist, but it really didn’t help. We made an appointment with Carol. She introduced us to EFT, which I thought couldn’t work when I first saw it demonstrated, but to my amazement, my daughter seemed to change right before my eyes. She started laughing. I can tell you she hadn’t laughed for months. She felt better after the first session. It took four sessions with Carol to get her confidence back. She is the best on the team and it seems to just come naturally to her now. Carol also took away her fear of sleeping in her own room. She has no trouble with that anymore. That was a huge problem for our whole family.*
The Author Gives it a Try
So when Henderson suggested that perhaps I needed to experience the magic of EFT for myself, I didn’t hesitate.
I first heard about EFT many years ago, and while it intrigued me, I didn’t really pursue it. Until recently. I have struggled for more than a decade with unrelenting and unsightly eczema. About a year ago, in search of something, anything, that might help, I recalled EFT.
A quick search of YouTube produced a wealth of results for everything from quitting smoking to attracting wealth. After previewing several EFT videos, I settled on a facilitator with whom I felt comfortable and followed along, reciting the script out loud as I tapped through the prescribed sequence.
For a short while, the eczema seemed to retreat, only to come roaring back with more itchy, ugly inflammation that just would not yield to any intervention. I tried another practitioner for EFT for weight loss.
Still no results.
In doing my research for Part 1 of this story, Henderson suggested a try it. I was intrigued. During our interview, she asked me to think of a time when I felt particularly embarrassed.
I recalled one painful episode when I was in sixth grade. During the day, talk spread through the school, reaching all the way to the principal’s office, that a person I thought of as a friend (a 7th grader who attended a different school) was going to come find me after school and beat me up because I had, in her words, been “spreading rumors” about her.
I was floored. I thought Rhonda was my friend, and I never would have spread rumors about her. Yet, that was the charge against me. After school, kids gathered around me outside, waiting to see what would happen. Seeing the crowd, the principal came out, walked up to me, and demanded to know the problem. When I told him, he leaned back, folded his arms across his chest, and said, with a smug, reproachful tone, “Well, if I thought someone was spreading rumors about me, you know who I would come to?”
Already feeling stung, I said, “Me?”
With great satisfaction, he said, “That’s right.”
I felt the flush of hurt, anger, and embarrassment sweep through me.
I was shy and reserved, an awkward kid who tried hard but was usually an outsider and a target for bullies. But I was never an instigator or a troublemaker. And this principal was making an unfounded and unfair accusation against me with no evidence and for no reason whatsoever.
Many years later, even as an adult, it still hurt.
And this hurt was the focus of our EFT session. Henderson walked me through the program, starting, as always, with the point on the side of the hand. The script used phrasing that focused on the painful feelings and difficult thoughts caused by the event. The intent is to capture those feelings and neutralize them.
My session and script went something like this.
Point: Side of Hand: “Even though, on that day, I felt frightened and alone, I totally love and accept myself. People were spreading rumors about me that were untrue, and I was upset. They were saying terrible things, and I felt afraid and confused. When the principal confronted me in front of everyone, I felt ashamed and embarrassed. Even though I felt hurt and angry when the principal confronted me and accused me unfairly, I totally love and accept myself.”
Henderson says that this last critical phrase, “…I totally love and accept myself…” is part of the reprogramming designed for psychological reversal for the negative beliefs that are the underpinnings of the trouble an individual may be experiencing. And because so many people have trouble saying or evening thinking that they love themselves, the script can be altered to simply say “…I totally accept myself,” because most people can do this. It provides the necessary framework for producing results.
Henderson also says that it’s important to incorporate quotes of harmful comments because they hold a great deal of power, and “tapping through” the scenario using those quotes is a way to dispel that power and ultimately neutralize the emotional and psychological pain.
On each subsequent tapping point, the script then continues and evolves to speak to different painful aspects of the experience, changing as emotions rise and change, all while continuously tapping from point to point.
Point: Above Eyebrow: “Everyone was watching, and I felt embarrassed. All the kids were there, and no one helped me.”
Point: Side of Eye: “I tried to defend myself, but the principal didn’t believe me. He looked angry at me, and I felt like crying. I felt alone, and I felt hurt and confused.”
Point: Under Eye: “The principal was supposed to help me, and instead he accused me unfairly. I felt angry. I had done nothing wrong, and I didn’t deserve this.”
Point: Under Nose: “I felt hurt that someone I thought was my friend had spread such rumors and said such things about me. I didn’t do anything wrong, and now everyone was watching. They believed the principal, and no one believed me.”
Point: Chin: “What was happening was unfair, and I felt frightened and alone.”
Point: Collarbone: “I felt embarrassed, and nothing I said in my own defense seemed to work. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to run away. I was just a child, and he was a grown man, much larger than me. And the whole school was watching. I felt intimidated.”
Point: Underarm: “I felt like everyone was ganging up on me.”
Point: Top of Head: “I felt hurt, confused, angry and upset. I was just a child, and I had done nothing wrong.”
Each round begins again at the hand, and works through the same sequence. Right from the beginning, as soon as I started tapping, I felt a change. I started to feel better. As I worked through the initial and subsequent rounds of tapping, I noted a distinct sensation as these negative feelings rose, seemed to crest, and then wash down through my body from the top of my head and down to my feet, a catharsis of sorts. It was a distinct cascade of emotion and physical feeling associated with the physiological response to powerful thoughts and emotions.
Each round of tapping produced the same result, though less pronounced each time, as the tapping did indeed seem to be neutralizing wave after wave of negative thought, feeling, and belief.
Henderson says there is no set script or prescribed number of times to tap though a sequence. Instead, gauge how you feel at each turn, and let that feeling guide the progress. Some problems can be more persistent and can take longer to resolve. In fact, Henderson says that not sticking with it or not doing it long enough are chief pitfalls of EFT. She recommends continuing to tap through any problem until it feels gone. Often times, she will guide clients through approximately 30 minutes of tapping for a single issue. She has treated pain issues, such as migraines or injuries, in herself and others. She cautions that dealing with some traumatic events, such as sexual assault or child abuse, are better done with someone rather than alone, because extremely powerful feelings and responses can be frightening and difficult to manage.
And EFT works for continued progress, as new and emergent feelings and issues arise, or as people encounter leftover artifacts of previous issues. All can be resolved by taking them as they come and continuing to address the component parts of larger issues.
Ultimately, EFT can hold power and promise for anyone dealing with any kind of issue they would like to resolve in a gentle, non-threatening way.
*Disclaimer: There is no guarantee of specific results; individual results may vary.
Chrisi is a writer and editor with 20 years of experience that spans industries, disciplines, and genres. Her portfolio of work includes feature stories, investment writing, thought-leadership pieces, and technically oriented content. She has long been interested in well-being, holistic health, and metaphysical and spiritual matters, and she recently published a personal essay entitled “Expect Good” in Unity Magazine. She is happy to support Evolving Magazine and its readers.