Increasing your effectiveness with EFT, part 106.
I like to constantly reflect on different ways to express what it is that EFT Tapping does and how it works. This is useful both for explaining the process to my clients, but it’s also useful to me as a practitioner to better understand what we do and why. Today I’d like to share a description I came across in a book I’m currently reading.
The book is called “Official EFT from A to Z: How to use both forms of Emotional Freedom Techniques for self-healing”, by Gabriëlle Rutten and Gary Craig (the founder of EFT).
In it, they explain that EFT Tapping involves “gently tapping on easily accessible acupuncture points to stimulate the body’s relaxation response, while simultaneously focusing on the negative emotion associated with a stressful experience using exposure, thereby extinguishing the stress response. This process effectively severs the link between the trigger and the associated stress response”.
Let’s examine this definition a bit more closely. According to the authors, tapping on those easily accessible acupuncture points “stimulates the body’s relaxation response”. Why does this happen? From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective (on which acupuncture is based), it’s because the tapping helps clear “energy disturbances” in the body’s energy system. From a neuroscience perspective, according to research done with fMRI, stimulation of acupuncture points has an effect on the amygdala and limbic system, which are parts of the brain that have to do with activating our stress response, causing the excessive stress response to become deactivated.
The authors then say “while simultaneously focusing on the negative emotion associated with a stressful experience using exposure”. It’s worth clarifying that this exposure is usually “mental exposure”, meaning, we ask the client to think about the issue/experience in such a way that activates that unpleasant stress response.
Then they go on to say “This process effectively severs the link between the trigger and the associated stress response”. This part is particularly useful if we think about the first part of the setup statements with which we begin each round of tapping. “Even though I feel (a certain stress response) when I think about (a certain trigger)”.
The “trigger” in this case is that which I’m focusing on while tapping, that I’d like to feel differently about. The more specific this is the better. For example, “the look on my girlfriend’s face when we started arguing yesterday”.
The “associated stress response” is what tends to shift round after round, and what we measure and keep track of. In the example above, “I feel this sadness in my chest”.
Therefore, if the setup statement is “Even though I feel this sadness in my chest, remembering the look on my girlfriend’s face when we started arguing yesterday, this is just where I’m at right now”, the two main ingredients are:
- The sadness in my chest (the associated stress response).
- The look on my girlfriend’s face when we started arguing yesterday (the emotionally charged aspect within that memory, in other words, the “trigger”).
What EFT does, as we keep tapping on it, is it “severs the link between them”, so that eventually we can think about the trigger (the look on my girlfriend’s face) without it bringing up the associated stress response (the sadness in my chest).
I hope this definition and my thoughts about it provides a bit more clarity as to what EFT does and how it works.
And that’s it for today! I’m Bruno Sade, a compassionate, open-minded clinical psychologist, and certified EFT practitioner. My approach is tailored to your individual needs and preferences, always respecting your experiences, beliefs, and background.
What are your thoughts on today’s topic? What do you think about the definition of EFT I shared above? Feel free to share your experiences, questions, or suggestions for future topics. You can either leave a comment below or send a private message.