EFT and Emotional Freedom Technique Therapy

at Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids

EFT and Emotional Freedom Technique Therapy
In Grand Rapids, MI and West Michigan At Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids, MI

(Emotional Freedom Technique aka EFT)

If you are looking for something to compliment your current healing journey, EFT may be for you. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is also known as “the tapping technique” and uses gentle, self-applied, acupressure combined with other approaches to work with people suffering from things like chronic pain, difficult memories or intense emotions, or phobias, all without becoming too overwhelmed.  It can be a powerful tool that can help someone on their therapy journey and a skill that can be utilized in one’s life to help self-soothe or bring relief to certain symptoms.

When you’re in pain you naturally often tense around it, whether it’s physical, emotional, or mental. This internal resistance to the pain can in turn escalate the painful experience, and can eventually leave you feeling gridlocked inside your own body. EFT does not work by trying to get rid of pain, emotions, or memories, but rather by helping you to release the resistance around it – to expand your awareness around these uncomfortable sensations in a way that leads to acceptance and allows you to be yourself even when these experiences are present. The fascinating thing is that when people do this, the nature of the painful sensation typically begins to shift and become far more tolerable, and in some cases, even somewhat pleasant. The best thing about EFT is that it helps you to do this without getting overwhelmed.

“I myself used EFT for everything from stress to chronic hives and eczema. I’ve witnessed many clients use EFT to bring their chronic pain down, lessen a chronic sense of heaviness in their chest, lower or rid themselves of headaches, reduce back pain, reduce pain related to PCOS, and overcome a sense of chronic suffering. The line between suffering and the sensation of pain is everything when you’re in pain.” – Taylor Freund, LMSW  

Emotional Freedom Technique can be used by someone to help them in their life apart from therapy, or while they are in counseling or therapy with a licensed therapist.

What is Emotional Freedom Technique and what does it do?

  • EFT is based off of the acupuncture framework which has been around for approximately 2-3,000 years.
  • It helps you untangle “knots” and “blockages” that can build up and get clogged on the very real physical sensations you are experiencing.
  • It can lead to lasting changes in your perception of chronic pain.
  • Learn and tailor this technique to your specific needs, so that you can use it on your own with confidence for coping with chronic pain
  • Works well with someone in therapy (counseling) – You can continue using this with your personal therapist (if you have one) as a helpful addition during or between sessions.
  • This approach works especially well WHEN you are triggered, whereas many approaches won’t be as effective until you’ve calmed down a bit. For example, deep breathing won’t be effective when you’re currently in a 10/10 panicked-state unless you have had a lot of practice using it when feeling very safe.
  • This involves a person learning to tap on their own body in a safe way; the therapist does not touch the client. If any of the spots feel uncomfortable for you to tap on, we can customize an alternative for you when we meet.

What does the research say about Emotional Freedom Technique?

More than 100 clinical studies have highlighted the effectiveness of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) in various therapeutic settings. As studies have shown, it has a positive impact on mental and physical health, and therefore, it’s an efficient technique in modern therapy practices.

Specifically, a 2019 study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine found that participants who took part in a 4-day training workshop that involved EFT showed significant declines in anxiety, depression, PTSD, physical pain, and cravings, with a notable increase in happiness (Bach et al., 2019). These results demonstrate how EFT can contribute to overall health and well-being.

Other studies also outline the effectiveness of Emotional Freedom Techniques in managing PTSD symptoms. For example, in a 2018 study, EFT was an efficient treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder within a range of four to 10 sessions. Interestingly, EFT techniques also improved comorbid conditions like anxiety and depression (Church et al., 2018).

The latest meta-analyses also prove the significant positive outcomes of EFT as a psychophysiological intervention for treating PTSD (Stapleton et al., 2023), as well as for depression (Nelms & Castel, 2016) and anxiety (Clond, 2016), with no adverse effects. The researchers recommend EFT interventions as the primary evidence-based treatment for PTSD (Sebastian et al., 2016).

Other than physically administered EFT techniques, studies prove that online forms of Emotion Freedom Techniques are also effective. In particular, a study published in the journal Explore demonstrated that the group of nurses who received an online access-based EFT intervention showed significant reductions in stress, anxiety, and burnout (Dincer & Inangil, 2021).

Therapists For EFT and Emotional Freedom Technique Therapists in Grand Rapids

Caitlin Quantock

Mindfulness-based Strategies and EMDR to Promote Healing and Growth

Taylor Freund

Trauma Informed and Internal Family Systems informed Counseling for Adults

What do EFT sessions typically look like?

  • First session:
    • I’ll start by assessing what is going on in your life that brings you to want to learn the EFT approach. This will take between 10-30 minutes.
    • I’ll get an understanding of exactly what you want to use the approach for, answer any questions you have, and invite any skepticism you may have (I certainly had a lot of skepticism myself even as I was getting trained! This is normal and invited).
    • Give a brief but informative overview of how the mind and body are influenced by pain, especially chronic pain.
    • Identify the common obstacles to EFT being effective, so that you get the most out of the EFT tool.
    • Get you acquainted with how to use EFT by practicing together in session with any chronic pain you are experiencing that you feel comfortable trying it on. If you have more than one source of chronic pain, we will start with whichever one you feel most comfortable with.
    • I’ll provide you with a packet so you have pictures, instructions you can use at home, and a list of scholarly articles about the approach that you can research if you’d like to.
    • A brief assessment is required if you are paying out of pocket or are already a client at Health for Life, to get an idea of how I can best apply this tool for you and to know what I should be mindful of as we move forward. If you are using insurance to pay for this, a longer assessment is required due to insurance/legal reasons, so we may move to 3 sessions if more time is needed
  • Second session:
    • Continue EFT from last session.
    • I’ll make sure you feel comfortable and confident with how to use this yourself by answering questions and checking in on what we tapped on in the first session, as well as any additional things you would like to practice with.
      • This is a crucial part of the process where we start to release stuck tangles, so I will be there to prepare you for what you can expect and to be with you however you may need in the process. Realizations, relief, and joy are among the common byproducts.
    • Make adaptations you may need to your personalized EFT practice.
    • Practice in session any other applications for EFT you would like to try, as it can also be effective for panic attacks, anger, phobias, difficult memories, and more.
  • Optional third session:
    • Can be used to brush up on the technique, or tap together on anything that feels difficult to tap on by yourself.

Disclaimers about EFT Techniques and Training:

  • EFT is not to be utilized by anyone experiencing “acute pain.” If you have acute pain you must be seen by a doctor or urgent care.
    • Acute Pain: Pain associated with an injury that needs medical treatment to heal. Examples of acute pain: A broken bone, tissue damage, an infection, or pain caused by an unknown medical source.
  • EFT is not a replacement for medical care but can be a helpful tool that is able to be used alongside medical care and treatment. For example, EFT is not curing anything and it cannot cure cancer, but it could be used to ease pain and release potential traumatic emotional responses around your cancer treatments.
  • This therapist is not responsible for any misuse of EFT or uses that extend beyond the scope taught in our sessions. If you tell others about EFT (and you may want to as it’s very exciting!) this therapist does not bear any responsibility for any harm that could have been caused by misinformation, misunderstanding, or misuse by the other person.
  • There is no guarantee that your sensations of pain will go away or shift. If your mentality about the pain shifts through the EFT you will likely experience a shift in the perception of the pain but this cannot be guaranteed. There are three obstacles to pain perception that will be reviewed in session one, and you must accept full responsibility to be aware of those obstacles on your own behalf as these three obstacles influence the effectiveness of your EFT practice.
  • Know that EFT can open emotions, thoughts, or memory networks that have been trapped in a “tangle” and this release can lead to discomfort. The EFT practice is meant to slow the negative sensations and to reduce overwhelm. If you do not feel ready to process this, such as having little support outside of your sessions or very stressful life circumstances in which this could possibly throw you off balance at this time, then this is not the right time for you to begin with EFT. By participating in these sessions you take responsibility for knowing your current situation and needs.
  • This therapist is not responsible for accommodating the EFT technique for information you do not disclose in session.

EFT works best if you are currently participating in Psychotherapy. EFT is a technique that is not a substitute for psychotherapy or any other recommended treatment. However, it is often perceived as a useful adjunct technique to utilize while participating in treatments given by your doctor or psychotherapist.

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