What every newcomer needs to know before their first EFT therapy appointment…
1. What is EFT?
EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique and has been developed in California since the 1990’s. It blends Chinese energy medicine with western psychology in an extremely powerful method to release negative emotions stored in the body. The main tenet of EFT is that every negative emotion is caused by a disruption in the electric system of the body. By addressing the disruption, emotional distress either vanishes or is greatly improved. Since numerous physical conditions are due to an accumulation of negative emotions, it is also possible to address physical ailments with EFT.
2. What to expect.
EFT is so different from other therapies that it’s bound to surprise anyone trying for the first time. To avoid being drowned in confusion during the session, read the following description and get empowered with the knowledge of what to expect.
EFT looks and sounds extremely “goofy”. Your therapist – me – is going to have you rub your chest while repeating affirmations with unnatural emphasis; tap on your head, chest and hands; roll your eyes; hum; count; forcefully exhale, etc. This would seem seriously ridiculous to most, except for one insidious little detail: it actually works, at least in 98% of all cases, which is astounding compared to the results garnered by traditional therapy. So no matter how self-conscious or stupid you feel performing EFT for the first time, it would be a shame to deny yourself its benefits. Just give it a try…
3. What to do before a session.
Print out and fill in a self-exploration sheet. It helps you and your EFT therapist understand what causes the problems you’re seeking help for. When answering the questions on the sheet, keep in mind the two cardinal rules of EFT:
- Be specific.
- Focus on how you feel.
For instance, let’s say that Lindsay has a fear of public speaking. In order to successfully address her fear with EFT, she is to break it down into different events and isolate the negative emotions embedded in her memory. “When my second grade teacher made fun of me in front of the class for being shy, I felt humiliated and it still hurts today.” “When my husband pushed me to make a speech at our wedding party, I felt terrorized then I got angry at him because he knows I don’t like doing that. Now I feel ashamed of having felt anger towards him, especially on such an occasion.”
In this example, we’re focusing on two different memories in which she was afraid of speaking in public, and on how she felt about it.
By tapping on several such seemingly isolated events in Lindsay’s past, very often the big issue she wanted to treat – here, her fear of public speaking – collapses eventually.
4. What to do during a session.
EFT is no talk therapy. The more you talk, the less you tap, and that’s not the point of a tapping session, is it? Let your therapist – me, again – lead you in exploring your issues and don’t be put off when she interrupts you to focus on what you feel. Indeed, the way you feel now about an event from your past holds the key to healing through EFT.
A good way to get in touch with your emotions is to scan your body and witness the sensations that come up. Maybe a burn in the stomach is going to reveal that you’re holding on to anger or envy; perhaps a tightness in the throat tells you that you feel anxious or sad about something, even if you can’t remember what it is. Even if no emotion is associated with a sudden pain or discomfort flaring up during a session, your body is giving you clues that need to be followed, don’t ignore them, speak out.
Your thoughts too can give away useful indications. If memories pop up during tapping, even if you think they’re totally unrelated to the issue at hand, chances are they’re not; there’s probably a link that should be explored. Likewise, if you catch your subconscious in the act of talking you down, that too is worth being noticed and mentioned.
To sum it up, it is important that you pay attention to anything that comes up during a round of EFT, whether it’s an emotion, a sensation, a pain or discomfort, a memory, a thought, or some piece of negative self-talk; these evidences are invaluable contributions to the detective work you and your therapist are leading to unearth your emotional blocks and treat them.
5. What to do after an EFT session.
Whether you feel any different after the session, whether you can point out the benefits immediately or not, there are certain rules that I recommend you follow.
As with any energy technique, EFT can have profound impacts on your physiology. Some people report feeling drowsy, or sleepy right after a session. Some people can’t notice any difference even though their body is undergoing some readjustments. For some others, the treatment might stir up resistances, or new aspects of the same problem, which can provoke emotional or physical distress. Fortunately, the latter is rather rare and usually disappears with more tapping.
At any rate, be gentle with yourself. Don’t plan anything strenuous or physically intense right after an EFT session or the very next day. Do surround yourself with family members or friends. Get a lot of rest and drink plenty of water, your body needs it to function at its fullest potential and actualize the change brought forth by EFT. Pamper yourself, journal, do something pleasurable and low-key. To make it short, take care of yourself.