This article in our series will highlight an energy psychology technique called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) which is being used by a vast and growing number of professionals around the world. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is an “emotional first aid” skill that can be used by individuals in almost any situation. It can not only keep negative emotions that lead to depression from piling up, but help us clear those that already have. It is called “Emotional Freedom Technique” because it can help free us from negative emotions that bind us. It is also a therapy tool that can be used by professionals as part of the treatment regime for a variety of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and trauma-related problems.
Prepared from the Foundation of the World (Alma 12:30)
Let’s review, for a moment, our previous assertions about our body’s light or energy system. Over 5,000 years ago, scientists in Eastern cultures meticulously mapped the flow of “life force energy” through the body. They acknowledged that this flow of life and light-giving energy came from a universal Creator. As Christians, we acknowledge this Creator as Jesus Christ who truly is the “light and life” of the world. True to the fact that there is “opposition in all things,” in addition to life force energy, negative energies also impact the human mind/body system. In this paradigm of health, all disease originates from either a block or disruption in the flow of life force energy, or the presence of negative energies which interfere with the flow of life force energy.
It is humbling evidence of God’s immense love that wise men who lived millennia before us prepared the foundation of healing tools that would provide vital relief for the challenges of our time. Knowledge of the spiritual and emotional nature of our bodies, in addition to the physical science of our bodies, is vital in our quest to overcome the modern epidemic of depression, anxiety, trauma, and other dis-ease. Building upon this 5,000 year old paradigm, pioneers of EFT discovered the connection of emotional distress and the body’s system of life force energy flows, or “subtle energy system.” EFT is based upon this foundational principle:
The cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system.[i]
EFT provides a way to acknowledge, soothe, and transform the distressing emotions that regularly impact our physical and emotional health. As explained by Feinstein (2004), “psychological problems have a counterpart in the client’s energy system and can be treated at that level.”[ii] (p. 17). The beauty of energy psychology techniques, such as EFT, is that as we clear negative emotional energies from our body, we increase the flow of positive, life force energy and light: as we do so, we activate our body’s abilities for self-healing.
By Small and Simple Means (Alma 37:6)
EFT is based upon the principles of acupuncture or acupressure. Instead of using needles on the acupuncture or meridian energy points, we simply use our fingers to tap on these specific points on the body. The tapping releases negative emotional energies and balances our body’s energy system. EFT is simple enough that it can be used by children, as well as adults.[iii] When individuals are presented with the idea of “tapping,” to work on emotional problems, they typically wonder how such a simple process could actually work.
Peggy says: Whenever I consider how such a simple process as tapping on the body can produce such profound and powerful results, I can’t help but think of the story of Naaman who was asked to simply dip himself in the waters of the Jordan River or the Israelites who were asked to simply “look” upon a brass serpent for healing. EFT is so simple to learn and use, and yet we have science to show that, because it can change the way the brain processes information, it can eliminate pain and distress rapidly and permanently. EFT has the ability to address core problems at the quantum level without causing a person to re-experience their emotional distress. This is important because many times we are afraid of getting “stuck” in our emotional pain and therefore choose to suppress negative emotions rather than clear them.
The Science Behind EFT
Many of us need to know there is scientific evidence to back up a particular therapy before we feel comfortable exploring its use. Even though the field of energy psychology is relatively new, professional pioneers of EFT have corroborated the effectiveness of EFT in numerous studies.[iv] EFT has met the American Psychological Association standards as an "efficacious" or "probably efficacious" treatment for phobias, anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
In one large scale preliminary study of 5,000 depressed patients over five and a half years,[v] Joaquin Andrade, M.D., compared the use of cognitive behavior therapy and medication, perhaps the most popular treatment for depression, with EFT. This study found that EFT was equally as successful as conventional treatment, but had two important benefits: (1) EFT was shown to create more permanent results. Brain scan images (EEG) of patients documented permanent change in activity associated with anxiety and distress. (2) EFT was found to work much more rapidly. Patients experienced a relief from symptoms in an average of three EFT sessions compared to 15 sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy and medication. In total, Dr. Andrade documented the effectiveness of EFT with 39,000 patients, in eleven clinics, over 14 ½ years.
EFT can create rapid shifts in emotional states since negative emotions are released quickly, giving place for new perspectives and new positive reframes. Peggy likes to call EFT “ramped-up” cognitive behavioral therapy since it reframes beliefs at the “energetic, vibrational” level as explained in our last article. EFT can accomplish in a few minutes what might normally take weeks with conventional therapies. One of the amazing benefits of EFT is that a person does not need to re-experience the pain of past distress for it to be released from the mind-body system.
Personal Experiences with EFT
About a year ago I was doing a phone therapy session with Peggy, using the tapping therapy. I was attempting to get down to the bottom of some irrational negative feelings I had been having about myself for as long as I could remember. I honestly had no idea where they had originated, or how to get rid of them. I only knew that no matter how hard I had tried, I still seem tied to an inner belief that I was inadequate and couldn’t trust my own spiritual discernment.
In only a few minutes, and without requiring me to re-experience the original distress, we discovered that I had concluded that I was “spiritually impaired” because of an experience I had at the age of twenty. For nearly three years I had been engaged to a wonderful young man and had faithfully waited for him while he served a mission.We had our wedding date set, but just before he came home he wrote me a thirty-page letter explaining that he couldn’t marry me, that he was homosexual, and that the Lord had kept him up all night letting him know that he mustn’t mess up my life with this long-standing problem he had not been able to solve.