I admit I was cynical about EFT. I had heard of it a few years before and it sounded like a bunch of psychobabble woo-woo, so I rolled my eyes, blew it off, and moved on to the next best thing that I thought would help me.
So, what changed my mind? Well, for one, going through multiple "next best things" and finding they didn't do squat for me. This article from a PhD psychology professor at UCSF in the Huffington Post that established some scientific backing and the author's relating her experience with trying it helped remove some barriers as well.
I remember lying in bed in total darkness, trying to sleep, when I found Brittany's video. I thought, What could it hurt? Certainly, I could turn to another "next best thing" if it didn't work, right? God knows I'm getting to be an old hand at that!
But... something happened. I felt what many EFT practitioners call a "shift." I literally felt a change happen in my brain. It was a very similar shift to what I experienced when an EMDR session would finally "click" after my brain processed the memory my former therapist chose to work on for that session.
I didn't have to wait for an appointment to make it happen, though. I didn't have to search for a certified therapist. I didn't have to get to know someone new after having to relocate 800 miles and leave behind a good counselor I'd come to trust intimately. I didn't have to take the risk of seeing a counselor who, like the one who treated me with EMDR, began projecting her personal problems into our sessions and expected me to support her more than she was able to support me. I didn't have to wonder if my hard-earned money - be it through my insurance plan or co-pays - was going to waste as I went in every week or every other week feeling like I'd made no progress after months or years, like I had experienced with way too many therapists from years past.
I experienced this in the comfort of my home, on my time, when I was ready, and it didn't cost me a dime. Well, okay, I probably technically spent a dime on the electricity my tablet used and my wireless services, but you get my point.
Pardon my language, but my thought after following the video was, Wow. This shit works. Especially when I found that not only did I experience a shift that night, but I began to resist cravings that normally prowled and dominated me like a raging, all-devouring monster.
It is not to say that this was an overnight cure. I continued to have problems with binge eating, with craving foods, and I caved, over and over.
Yet, I stuck with it. I signed up for Brittany's newsletter, in which she provides free webcasts for learning about what she calls weight loss blockers, and free tapping seminars where you can learn about the Push the Food Away technique. This ended up being one of the most powerful weapons in my battle with emotional eating.
It took the better part of a year of trying, stopping, trying again, lather, rinse, repeat, because I had so many layers of pain and trauma tied in with the food, and then something finally clicked. The weight began coming off as my binging and craving decreased, and I turned to healthier foods as I discovered a way of eating that worked for me and my body, beyond just going gluten free. I also began desiring exercise and after trial and error, started a regime that I liked and was easy on my body.
I eventually signed up for Brittany's Think-and-Thin six week program, but by then, I was over halfway toward my goal weight. Her techniques were already helping; I signed up to merely ensure I had completely gutted the pumpkin, if you will. I wanted to ensure I'd gotten out all the slimy residue that might be lurking and preventing a light placed within from shining outward.
When I finished The Think-and-Thin program, I was in a healthy weight range for the first time in several years. I reached my goal weight shortly after the beginning of the year and I have maintained since.
So that is my story so far with using EFT in a nutshell. I have also attended a virtual tapping summit hosted by Nick and Jessica Ortner that I found very beneficial in working through emotional pain connected with my former marriage, an estranged relationship with my daughter, and other matters.
The more I use EFT, the more it helps me function emotionally and spiritually in my everyday life, and my husband and son have begun to benefit from using it for their own needs. I can't begin to say what a relief it is to be able to tell my son to go to his room and "tap it out" when he is on the verge of an autistic meltdown or gets into a state of circular anxiety. It sure works better than locking horns with him over and over, dealing with endless frustration - and, worse yet, sometimes giving in to that frustration by engaging in shouting matches or blowing up - when all of us end up feeling stuck and exasperated. We aren't consistent in using EFT in the heat of the moment, but we are slowly getting there.
With that, I'd like to provide a short FAQ on EFT that I hope will help you make an informed decision about if it right for you:
What is EFT?
EFT, also known as Emotional Freedom Technique, psychological accupressure, or "tapping," is a method by which you tap on certain pressure points on your body. Most people use it while identifying emotions surrounding a memory, reaction to a situation, and/or limiting belief system.
While a lot of people are still skeptical of EFT's effectiveness, more scientific studies are proving its benefits. The Huffington Post article I linked above is a good place to start in finding supporting evidence; HuffPo also has other articles by Nick Ortner, Brad Yates, and a few other experts who either use EFT or support it through studies. Well-known self-help authors Jack Canfield and Wayne Dyer have also gotten on board with promoting EFT as a valuable tool.
Perhaps what is so remarkable about EFT is its versatility. The most common issues that people have reported successful treatment with EFT are emotional/binge eating and PTSD; however, people can also use EFT
Do You Need a Counselor to Use EFT?
The beauty of EFT is that you can do it on your own, and it is a simple technique that does not require a therapist performing it on you. You can start experiencing the benefits within minutes in the privacy and safety of your own home.
That said, I would recommend seeing an EFT coach or practitioner if you are in a place where you need a lot of guidance or extra help to get started, or if you are in a very vulnerable state and there is a risk that any emotional fallout could trigger something you are not sure you could handle and you need the extra support. Dawson Church's website, EFT Universe, has a directory of specialists you can find in your area.
How Do You Use EFT?
Brittany's video above provides a good demonstration of the tapping points and is pretty easy to follow. If you would like a more watered-down tutorial not tied to working on food cravings, Jessica Ortner's how-to is a good place to start:
Isn't EFT Spiritually Dangerous?
You may have read articles in which someone describes using EFT in alignment with certain spiritual or religious beliefs, such as with chakras. Some Christian authors have attempted to argue that this means EFT is a spiritually dangerous practice. I have found Christian websites and videos where people try to convince readers and viewers at length how using EFT will put their mortal soul in danger. Another aspect mentioned often with EFT is the Law of Attraction, which is primarily a New Age concept, and again used by various Christian, anti-EFT sites, videos and articles to discourage their faithful from giving it a try.
My experience with using EFT is that it has not only not been a risk to my spiritual development; my connection to God, and my deepening of my Catholic faith, has actually increased as I work through traumas and experience emotional healing. My theory for this is as I heal, I am letting go of vices that I have used to numb myself and live in a false state of feeling in control. This, in turn, allows me to turn more of my life over to God and be more open to listening to Him guide me where He wants me to go. It is opening the door for me to experience metanoiete - to go beyond the mind I have - by giving me more time and energy to serve others in the way God intended, rather than being stuck in the prison of trauma and addiction and unable to grow in my faith.
I can also tell you that since I started using EFT, I have not found myself drawn to beliefs concerning chakras or associated belief systems, nor do I give credence to the Law of Attraction. Those things simply do not resonate with me when I read about them and I therefore do not incorporate them into my belief system.
I do believe in miracles, and I believe EFT in itself is a miracle. I also believe that unexplained mysteries can occur in our lifetimes that we can only attribute to the Divine. That said, what I believe in are things that align very much with my faith traditions and that align with many other Christian traditions. So, again, no, I do not think EFT has created a spiritual rift between me and Christ; if anything, my faith has increased for the reasons I have stated, and I believe it will continue to do so.
What EFT Resources Do I Recommend?
I have already mentioned Brittany Watkins, and she is fantastic (click her name at the top of my post to go to her website); however, as she would say herself, she specializes exclusively in helping those with emotional/binge eating struggles. If you are looking for EFT scripts or treatment to address other issues, the following may be a good fit or may provide jumping points for locating what you need, or if you're simply curious and want to learn more.
Brad Yates - Brad provides hundreds of YouTube videos containing tapping scripts for almost everything under the sun. He covers every emotion, issues with sex, money, exercise, food, you name it... and they're all free. He has even created EFT videos to go along with the Serenity Prayer and the Prayer of St. Francis that are lovely. You can also download his mobile app for just a buck and he has a great newsletter. He is currently doing a tap-along tour around the country, so you can also try to see him live. He's also written an adorable book that teaches tapping to children called The Wizard's Wish, which you can purchase here, or you can listen to Brad read it:
Nick and Jessica Ortner - Nick and Jessica are the founders of The Tapping Solution Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping others heal from trauma and achieve life goals using EFT. Nick has also written a book called The Tapping Solution that has been a New York Times bestseller and provides more in-depth information on how to use tapping for a variety of issues. The Ortner siblings have been doing their work for well over ten years and their successes include helping surviving victims and their families following Sandy Hook, where they make their home, as well as traveling around the world to provide EFT in a charitable spirit.
Gene Monterastelli - Gene hosts a seminar called Tapping Q and A every Wednesday, which you can listen to through his website or on his mobile app for free. Gene is also the author of Comprehensive Anger Management, a book he wrote as part of a successful anger treatment program he heads for prison inmates. Gene is also Catholic and serves the Lord by evangelizing through APeX Ministries, and he has a special place in his heart for autistic children and their families, so he scores extra brownie points in my book!
Do you think EFT is right for you? If so, how will you plan to use it? If not, how can you keep yourself from falling for the "next best thing" so that you can experience metanoiete?