Hello, my name is Richard MacKenzie. I am a Hypnotherapist and author, and a practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming and Emotional Freedom Technique. In this article, I shall cover my thoughts and findings on Emotional Freedom Technique from over the years that I have been a practitioner of the process.
Many Emotional Freedom Technique practitioners (including the creator of EFT, Gary Craig) believe that this process deals with meridian energy lines that run around the body. They believe that blockages within these invisible meridian energy lines could be the cause of certain emotional disturbances, which can range from things like phobias to depression.
Emotional Freedom Technique is a process of tapping on these points where the blockages can occur and clearing any blockages that you may have. The process also calls on you to hum a tune, count out aloud and move your eyes around in certain directions all while thinking of the thing that is causing your emotional disturbance.
Before we get onto my thoughts and observations of Emotional Freedom Technique, I really do want to stress that I don’t and never have doubted the amazing effectiveness of Emotional Freedom Technique. It is a process that astounds me every time that I see its swiftness in dealing with a whole range of issues and a lot of the time working where nothing else has!
So the bottom line for me is that Emotional Freedom Technique is effective; maybe not 100% of the time, however in my experience it is pretty close to that mark. I truly believe that it is one of the greatest tools that we can have at our disposal as modern day therapists.
So, now we move onto my thoughts and observations on Emotional Freedom Technique. First of all, while reading this article I want you to put a big cheesy grin on your face and see how it feels! For most people that do this will feel uplifted, even if just a little. Some may even feel a little giggly and may even want to laugh out loud. Here is my point; by doing something that is a little quirky we are able to lift our spirits. The next time that you are feeling a little run down, try this simple exercise and you should notice a ‘lift’ in the way that you feel.
So why does this happen? Well, when we are in a state of happiness, the minimum that we tend to do is smile, and of course the maximum is probably to roll around on the floor laughing in stitches. It is a physical response to an emotional feeling. And the best thing is that this is a process that we can use in reverse. So, for instance, if we are not feeling particularly happy, you could smile, firing off this brain/body link in reverse. First we smile, and then emotionally we feel happier! This link between emotions in our mind and our physical reactions is something that happens in many other areas of our lives too.
OK, so what does this all have to do with Emotional Freedom Technique? Well, say for instance that you have a phobia of spiders. Usually, when people experience a phobia, they may get sweaty palms, their hands might shake or they might even find it hard to breath, their tummy might be feeling really heavy, almost like lead. These are all typical phobic responses and usually they are there to either help us fight the situation or run away from it – you have probably heard of the flight or fight response, and this is it. I think that you will agree that these are negative physical responses, particularly when we understand that all phobias are irrational. If you feel that your phobia is rational then chances are that it is a fear and fears are generally good things to have! For instance, a fear of touching something that is very hot is excellent as it protects you from being burnt.
For most, even when thinking of their phobias, they will be able to experience the negative onset of these phobic responses and in fact an Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner will encourage you to imagine your phobia, thus allowing you to understand just how negative it feels to you. One important thing to note is that as we begin to think of our phobias, the psychical responses that we get are automatic. Just like a computer program, they are preloaded so that every time we face our phobia we get that feeling in our tummy or feel dizzy. They are all responses that just happen automatically.
After getting you to imagine your phobia, the Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner will ask you to take a measurement of that fear from zero to ten. Zero means non-existent and ten means the worst it could be. Once they have this measurement the practitioner can work with you on reducing this feeling, this negativity and this phobia. First of all the practitioner will take you through a series of affirmations. These typically can be, “Even though I have this [phobia], I fully respect and accept myself”. The practitioner will lead you through various tapping routines, tapping an assortment of different parts of your body. These usually start on the face and move through to the chest, under your arm and the on to your fingers. Then you will be asked to tap a certain spot on the back of your hand and whilst doing so, moving your eyes in certain directions, humming tunes and counting out aloud from one to five.
It has been my experience (although not all of the time) that many clients find this process a little strange, even a little quirky. However, in this process I believe that two very important things occur. The first is that while you are doing these quirky actions, you are still thinking about your phobia, but slowly your mind is being taken off of it by trying to follow the practitioner’s instructions. Also humming a tune (usually “Happy Birthday”), which, just like a smile, allows us to feel a little uplifted if not daft. So basically we are beginning to change those physical feelings or responses that we associate with our phobia by mixing in new ones from what we are doing through the process of Emotional Freedom Technique. So before, our mind just had the set responses of butterflies in our tummy or a restriction in the chest, and now, it is experiencing something different and has more options on how it could feel about situations that trigger your phobia.
The second and what I believe to be the most important aspect of what I believe is occurring is that while doing all of these things you are using various parts of your brain, such as you coordination by tapping on certain parts of your body, and you’re using your memory and other parts to hum a tune. You are also using a different part to count out aloud, allowing your body and your brain to be in a different ‘environment’ from it would be when you usually experience your phobia. This gives it a new set of experiences to attach to this phobia, thus allowing your body and brain different options in responses to the phobia.
So, there it is… I believe that Emotional Freedom Technique is as simple as that; after all, isn’t it nearly always that the simplest answer is the most effective? You see, phobias, like many other negative things that occur in our minds, are just beliefs. Maybe beliefs that certain things are going to happen when we face our fears. I used to have a phobia of public speaking and although I never used to partake in it, often it effected me greatly. Every time that I thought about doing it, I would begin to feel my own phobic responses and would start to feel nervous and embarrassed. I was feeling all these things because I believed that if I did speak publicly, I would stumble on my words and that I would look ridiculous and blush. Because this belief was active, I experienced all of the physical trappings that went with this phobia, until I decided to work on it and create a positive belief to have in its place.
I hope that this article has begun to challenge your beliefs about how effective processes like Emotional Freedom Technique actually work. However, I also hope that whatever beliefs you have in life will also be challenged! Once upon a time, the world’s leading minds thought that the world was flat. That belief was challenged, and now we believe it to be round. Some days I wonder whether the things that we believe today about the universe, about love, happiness and success aren’t just beliefs waiting to be developed, aren’t just hypotheses waiting to be disproved. If you take nothing else away from this article today, please take away the fact that Believing is Seeing – when we believe, we will see. When we have limiting beliefs, we will be limited in our achievements. When we have beliefs that are positive and well formed, we can break through our limitations and achieve the life of our dreams!