When people come to our practices, they do so because they are in some type of distress. For all types of practices, teaching clients how to ground themselves and relax can help bring more successful treatment results. Relaxation helps to soften muscles for better manipulation, lower blood pressure, and slow heart rate and breathing. A relaxed state can lead to better sleep. Teaching relaxation can also be a part of building rapport with a client. A relaxed client is more receptive to treatment suggestions. Relaxation helps to make any treatment more effective.
Pain can occur in the body due to a physical condition, due to emotions, or due to a combination of the two. In my own practice, I’ve had people come to me with physical conditions where they were using medication daily to reduce pain. With a physical condition, EFT will not permanently reduce or eliminate pain, but when used regularly, EFT can reduce the intensity of the pain. Reducing pain from a high intensity to a more moderate intensity can be a game changer for the lives of many people.
People also may experience pain in their bodies due to an emotional situation. This can show up in the body as an overall sensation in a region of the body or as a sharp pain in a very specific area of the body. Uncovering the underlying life experience and feelings associated with it, often completely eliminates the pain permanently.
Pain can also be a mixture of a physical injury or condition combined with emotions surrounding that injury or condition. For example, a person came to see me about lower back pain and identified that they injured their back a couple of years earlier while lifting some debris after a storm. The person was taking pain medication 1 to 2 times a day, every day to manage the pain. The person explained they were supposed to have an assistant but the assistant never showed up and the person had to lift the debris alone. We used EFT to address the pain and the emotions surrounding the incident. While in the office, the pain completely disappeared. The client reported more than six months later that the pain had permanently reduced and it only occurred if they had to stand for more than 8 hours on their job. The person was able to reduce their pain medication from seven days a week to just one or two days a week.
Many practices have clients who come in with phobias about obtaining medical treatment or negative cognitions which can range from needing to be perfect to never getting better or recovering from their symptoms. The placebo effect tells us that if the mind believes something, then the body will respond to that belief. EFT is very effective in reducing and often eliminating negative cognitions and phobias. The source for both of these may be readily apparent, or the source may be underlying trauma which has been suppressed. In some cases, the client will not be aware of the source and after using EFT, their subconscious mind will reveal the source to them.
Example: Sarah has been coming to see you for months to help her reduce her desire to be perfect in every situation. As her therapist, you’ve helped her learn about challenging and reframing her thoughts, or perhaps you’ve explored her past to uncover when she first felt the need to be perfect. The two of you have talked about perfectionism from every conceivable angle, yet Sarah still feels she must be perfect. EFT can be used to address those thoughts of perfectionism and lessen Sarah’s need to be perfect.
Upsetting events and trauma are a common part of life. Everyone experiences loss, anger, disappointment and other upsetting emotions. Those are normal. Our global society encourages people to suppress their emotions because to do otherwise is often construed as a sign of weakness. But suppression results in stress placed on the body and long-term stress can lead to a wide variety of physical manifestations in the body. The goal is to allow the person the opportunity to acknowledge and then release the emotions they have been holding onto, sometimes for decades. Helping clients to release some or all of the stress related to upsetting events results in a relaxed body and a more positive emotional state.
Example: Ahmed is an immigrant from a country which has been at war for many years. He came to the U.S. when he was 18 to attend college, but he is finding life challenging. He has been having explosive angry outbursts and has been arrested a couple of times. He can’t identify why he is having these outbursts, but he wants to stop them before he hurts someone else. He has reported many traumatic experiences and you have helped him face those by using TF-CBT, but the relief from the explosive anger he was looking for hasn’t appeared. For some of his trauma experiences, the TF-CBT seems to have intensified the trauma instead of reducing it. EFT is a very effective way to gently reduce the intensity of feelings from traumatic events. The client does not have to approach an event head-on, but from a more indirect approach.
While the scenarios described above are different and require different approaches, they highlight that many clients don’t always respond to commonly accepted techniques and need a different approach. The Emotional Freedom Technique, also called Tapping, Thought Field Therapy, or Energy Psychology, is a technique which can be combined with theories you currently use to allow client to remove blocks preventing them from making progress.
Increase Feelings of Wellness
While reduction of distress is the primary goal for medical practices, increasing feelings of wellness is also a goal. EFT can be used to increase positive feelings of joy, achievement, and happiness. EFT can also be integrated with movement such as yoga or dance.