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  • Writer's pictureShelly Hoekstra

Emotional Freedom Technique

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), often referred to as Tapping, connects our psychological perceptions, along with freeing statements, to acupressure. Acupressure, for this particular treatment, is tapping with your fingertips at very specific meridian points. This process creates self-soothing by means of an electrical current that runs through the nervous system, retraining the brain, and dissolving the habitual responses we have unknowingly generated. With this, we become rebalanced and are able to heal, mind, body, and spirit.

We inadvertently create these habitual responses, which are energy blocks within our system, when we experience some of life’s greatest challenges. These energy blocks manifest in us as physical pain, critical illness, weight issues, mental health imbalance, relationship difficulties, financial issues, and other life disturbances such as career obstacles and limiting beliefs. With the EFT process, there is an innate self-soothing phenomenon produced that can resolve the root cause, releasing the underlying patterns.

Dawson Church, EFT author and researcher, further explains that when an individual thinks about their problem, the midbrain lights up on an MRI or EEG. Once that individual begins tapping, another signal is sent of self-soothing. Touch is a powerful tool. Our mind-body connection prioritizes the soothing signal and overrides the initial signal sent, calming the midbrain. (Colquhoun & Bosch, 2020).


The origin of EFT began with Roger Callahan’s work, Thought Field Therapy (TFT), one of the first modalities of energy psychology. During the 1980’s, Callahan bridged his exploration of kinesiology and meridian treatments with his knowledgebase as an American psychologist, and TFT was born.

In the early 1990’s, Gary Craig, through his comprehensive study of TFT, then developed the Emotional Freedom Technique. In essence, he added the verbalizations of the problem, along with affirmations, and with a less varied set of tapping patterns. This resulted in a more widespread and well-known technique.

The Process

There are many websites that describe how to perform this practice on your own and they can be helpful. However, for clinical treatment an expert practitioner is recommended. Guidance may be necessary to ask the deeper questions, to create the most helpful statements, to clearly identify the true underlying emotion, and to help dispel all aspects of an issue one at a time.

You begin the process by identifying the problem or event in your life, and rating it on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst. This helps to evaluate how effective the treatment has been upon its completion.

An initial setup statement is created that acknowledges the problem for what it is and includes a self-acceptance declaration. This is repeated 3 times aloud. Then a simplified reminder phrase is used and is repeated as the tapping sequence is performed.

There are different forms of EFT with varying tapping points. One of the short forms consists of tapping on the side of the hand (the karate chop point), the top of the head, on the eyebrow bone (at the bridge of the nose as well as the outside of the eye), under the eye, under the nose, in the crease of the chin, about an inch down and out from the collarbone, and a few inches below the underarm.

Once you have completed the tapping sequence, you determine the level of intensity of the problem once again. The objective is to notice a decrease in the severity level from your initial rating. You would continue to perform the sequence until the level of ranking reaches zero, a state of equilibrium. The number of sessions needed will vary depending on the individual and the severity of the problem.


With EFT being a novel treatment, more research is needed. However, one article found this modality’s efficacy in a systematic review of 56 randomized controlled trials. The article was published by Frontiers in Psychology, Psychology for Clinical Settings in 2022.

The review demonstrated that EFT was an effective treatment for a breadth of psychological and physiological disorders, including anxiety, depression, phobias, PTSD, pain, insomnia, autoimmune conditions, professional and sports performance, and cortisol levels. In addition to these benefits, it was also noted that EFT requires fewer sessions when compared to other treatments and it is a benign modality. (Church, et al., 2022).



Church, D., Stapleton, P., Vasudevan, A., & Okeefe, T. (2022). Clinical EFT as an evidence-based practice for the treatment of psychological and physiological conditions: A systematic review. Frontiers in Psychology | Psychology for Clinical Settings.


Colquhoun J. & Bosch L. (Directors), 2020. Transcendence Extended Interviews:

How to Heal Emotional Trauma Using EFT with Dawson Church. S2:Ep14 [Documentary] Gaia Television.


Phone: (413) 569-8048


© 2021 Shelly Hoekstra, Life Coach & Alternative Healing

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