Emotional Freedom Techniques

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is based on the premise that the source of all negative emotion is caused by a disruption in the body’s energy system. * Energy disruptions are caused by upsetting events and the emotionally-charged details within these events. EFT targets these energy disruptions so they can be cleared. When our energy system is balanced, we feel calm and at ease.  

Western medicine has acknowledged the body’s electrical system through the use of such tests as the EKG (electrocardiogram) and EEG (electroencephalogram). Meanwhile, Eastern medicine has a long history of working with the body’s Chi, or energy system as a whole, through an understanding of the body’s meridian system and the use of various acupuncture (and acupressure points). Emotional Freedom Techniques work with these same acupuncture points, though not as many.

Our body and our subconscious mind automatically retain the historical origin of our current difficulties and instinctively ‘know’ the feelings and events that are most in need of attention. Emotional Freedom Techniques allow both body and subconscious to ‘tune into’ the experiences that will be most significant for our healing so these experiences can be tended to and released.

EFT emphasizes working on specific events and the triggers or emotionally charged details within an event, since it is the actual events of our lives that cause energy disruptions in the first place.  Experiences that are currently the most triggering for each of us are often connected to one or more upsetting events from our past, whether we consciously remember these events or not. By asking ourselves what past event might feel similar to a current trigger, we can do the ‘detective work’ that can unearth the past event that is affectively tied to the present.

Past events that retain their negative charge can contribute to the development of core beliefs that may become thematic (“I can’t catch a break,” “I’m not good enough,” “people always disappoint me,” etc.). Beliefs like these can seem like an accurate take on reality, while reality in actuality, is being filtered through “the handwriting on our walls,” to use a Gary Craig metaphor.

The act of tuning into an upsetting event, expressing our authentic ‘take’ on a situation (through use of the EFT Set up statement) while manually tapping on a sequence of meridian points works to clear underlying energy disruptions while deactivating the body’s fight or flight response.  Along with the release of energy disruptions we experience the pleasant sensation of the body being relieved of its negative charge. Moving forward we can then recall the event without reactivating the body and therefore the rest of us.  EFT can become an ongoing process of self-care, releasing unwanted past and present experiences and living more fully in the moment.

Outstanding Features of  EFT

EFT meets us right where we are with whatever we are thinking, feeling and going through. With EFT there is no such thing as being ‘too negative,’ we are simply telling the truth of the moment.

EFT gives us the permission to fully and completely express ourselves.

With EFT we can become progressively more comfortable in being honest with ourselves about what we really think and feel.

EFT allows us to be kind to ourselves even as we address material that may be painful or unpleasant. EFT provides us with a variety of techniques with which to address an issue, gently and effectively.

This allows us to recall an experience and release its negative charge with a minimal amount of discomfort.

EFT is fast and effective. With EFT, we don’t have to remain in a negative internal state any longer than we want to. We gain greater confidence in facing and moving through emotions and psychological sensations we might have otherwise repressed.

EFT also offers exciting surprises in that valuable discoveries often automatically arise in the process of clearing an energy disruption – our recognition of a significant connection, the spontaneous recall of a meaningful event, and so forth. Without EFT such discoveries may not ordinarily come to light.

Cognitive shifts, or seeing a situation or person from a different perspective, occur naturally within the EFT process. Therefore when these shifts in perspective arise, they tend to feel more emotionally ‘valid’ and ‘grounded’ than those that are pursued outright.

EFT gives us the opportunity to live more of our day in peace with the pleasant feeling of being in a physiologically neutral state.

EFT allows us to experience a sense of well being, even when there are things in our life that are not the way we would like them to be.  Through EFT practice,  we see that our well being can exist independently of our current situation or anything outside ourselves.

Issues Addressed by EFT Include:

Performance anxiety

Creative blocks

Resistance / Fear of taking action

Recurrent or chronic negative thinking

Fight, flight or freeze (physiological over-arousal)

Problematic emotional, behavioral or relationship patterns

Physical symptoms




* (The EFT Manual, Gary Craig, p. 71)