EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique uses tapping on certain points on the body as a means to activate certain neural pathways of emotional memory (termed ‘meridian points’ in Chinese medicine). These points are clustered around the head and neck (eyes, nose and mouth) which, interestingly, correspond to the areas of vagal innervation, which as we’ve seen, is so involved in the social engagement system and deregulation of the parasympathetic system. In tandem with the tapping, certain phrases are constructed and spoken out loud whiles the subject concentrates on the subjective feeling that these evoke. Depending on what method you use there is either a fixed ‘set-up phrase’ (Even though I [state problem] I deeply and completely accept myself) or one that varies depending on subjective experience (i.e. how it feels internally). This is termed Faster EFT and in my experience can be better for people for whom structure is not so important (i.e. right brain types). This can be done at home alone, or looking in the mirror to fix eye gaze with oneself.
However, it is my clinical experience that working with another person has the greatest results When working with a trained therapist, who is able to monitor your eye and facial movements, areas of discord, or internal disagreement with the statement can be detected. The eye movements, according to NLP, show us where our internal focus is and often a movement up and away to the left indicates that the person is trying to connect what they are saying with an internal memory or view of themselves. If the gaze is not steady therefore I know there may be some change to the phrasing necessary. For instance, if the person says “I forgive myself” but actually they don’t, then we may have to change the phrasing to something that is more internally true e.g. “I’m willing to forgive myself”. Here lies the true art and power of EFT as it moulds precisely to internal experience, not as we would like it to be but as it really is. As we gain acceptance of where we are in our lives (still judging or hating ourselves) we are able then to acknowledge where we have been less than kind and are still limiting ourselves. This is the beginning of change.
This is an adapted extract from my book; The Scar that won’t heal. Stress, Trauma and Chronic Pain. Out now on amazon here.