Are you familiar with EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or Tapping? Do you know that it can potentially help with a whole host of emotional, physical, and mental issues? Do you know that moms could stand to benefit from EFT most of all?
If you answered “No”, to any of those questions, then I would encourage you to keep reading. EFT is a relatively new technique, but one that has mounting evidence backing its efficacy. It is also simple to learn and use in your every day. But most importantly, it can lead to lasting results and deep healing.
What Is EFT (Tapping)
EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique, not to be confused with Emotion Focused Therapy which is a specialized therapy technique used by licensed counselors and therapists to help their clients work through issues by focusing on attachment and prioritizing emotions and emotional regulation.
EFT can be described as emotionally focused acupressure, as it works on the same energy meridians as acupuncture and acupressure. Those meridians (not coincidentally) correspond to our Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), which is responsible for controlling vital functions such as digestion, breathing, and heart beat. It is also involved in our stress response: fight, flight, or freeze. It is made up of 2 different systems: sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for our activation (fight of flight). While the parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for “rest and digest.”
EFT functions on the understanding that emotions are energy in motion. Therefore negative emotions and experiences can get “stuck” and create energy blockages that can cause suffering in the body such as chronic illness, aches and pains, autoimmune disease, and mental health disorders.
When you look at negative emotions and traumas experienced by people through the lens of psychology, many theories will emerge, but one that stands out the most is the Polyvagal Theory by Dr. Porges. Dr. Porges theorizes that when our nervous system is disrupted by physical or emotional danger, either our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) or parasympathetic nervous system (freeze) takes over, and all our bodily functions are diverted to ensure our safety. When this is a response to an immediate danger event, it’s a wonderful response, as it keeps us safe. But when this becomes a chronic response all our systems start functioning differently.
Chronic stress changes us at our cellular level and is responsible for a lot of chronic illnesses. EFT (Tapping) directly targets the nervous system, thus changing the stress response of your body. When the stress response changes, other functions start to follow and whole body healing takes place.
What Is The EFT Process Like
What I, personally, like about EFT is that it is both a healing and a self-help technique. Once you are comfortable with the process, you can tap on any issue yourself and receive benefits.
The process of an EFT session is rather simple. I will describe what I typically do with my clients, as an example of what the session may look like.
When I meet my clients, I usually ask them for the reason they are coming in. I will then ask more questions about the situation, so that I have a better understanding of what to tap on with them. After I feel that I have gotten enough information, I introduce the process of tapping, and we tap for the rest of the session. Simple, painless, and all done virtually.
SUDS stands for Subjective Units of Distress Scale, which is used to measure the intensity of the presenting problem. We usually measure it on the scale of 1-10. This is just a pure estimate made by the client. We use it as a rough guide to see whether the issue is clearing. If the number goes down, great. We are clearing out the issue. If not, we keep exploring other angles.
Creating A Set-Up Statement
The next step in the EFT process is creating a Set-Up Statement. The reason for the set-up statement is to keep the focus on the problem at hand. The typical set-up statement is as follows, “Even though I have this (problem), I deeply and completely love, accept and forgive myself”. We say it 3 times, while tapping on a specific point (either the karate chop or rubbing the sore spot), before we move on to other points.
The Basic Recipe + Checking Your Work
Next we tap through the points that comprise The Basic Recipe. There are 9 tapping points in the Basic Recipe. I often extend it to the finger points as well, but it’s not always necessary.
The points are as follows:
- Karate Chop Point
- Top of the Head Point
- Eye Brow Point
- Side of the Eye Point
- Under the Eye Point
- Under the Nose Point
- Chin Point
- Collarbone Point
- Under the Arm Point.
We usually do all these points, plus the hand points 2 times and then check our SUDS. We repeat the process as needed. There is not prescribed number or rounds to do on an issue. Depending on the severity of the issue, it may take multiple rounds of tapping and multiple sessions to truly clear it out.
Is EFT Dangerous?
No, EFT does not come with any known side effects. The only potential “danger” with EFT stems from accidentally re-traumatizing oneself when working with trauma. Because of that, I recommend to do trauma work only with a skilled EFT Practitioner. Feeling safe and supported in crucial in the healing process, so you don’t want to tackle serious trauma alone.
How Would I Know It’s Working?
This is an important question to ask. Because you’re doing this to heal yourself, not to waste time and money on yet another thing that doesn’t work.
There are many signs that show us that EFT is working during the session:
- feeling chills
- feeling energy move through your body
- feeling tightness in your body release
- feet feeling heavy
- feelings of lightness in your body
- not caring about the issue anymore
- feeling tired
- falling asleep
- feeling bored
- and other reactions that may be unique to you.
Sometimes not much happens in the session because your body needs more time to process and integrate all the work you did through tapping. That however doesn’t mean that nothing has changed. It just means that you need to do more work to get to the core of the issue.
Some signs to look our for post session:
- you feel physical pain disappear or lessen
- chronic issues start clearing up
- you have more energy
- you feel lighter
- less anxious
- less depressed
- you are not feeling as emotional about the issue,
- you feel braver
- more open
- have a better connection with your loved ones
- your overall quality of life seems better.
What is the real benefit of EFT for moms?
The reason why I believe EFT is an incredible healing tool for moms is because moms are struggling. The latest statistics from PSI tell us that approximately 21% of women suffer from Postpartum Depression and/or Postpartum Anxiety. That is an astonishingly high number of mothers struggling through a mental health disorder while trying to care for an infant and navigate one of the most intense life transitions. And to make matters worse, there is a severe shortage of mental health counselors, so many of those mothers don’t get help.
While motherhood can be a beautiful and long awaited life change, it can come with many unexpected difficulties. For one, motherhood can unearth childhood and generational traumas that you (the mom) were previously not even aware of. Your body stored it inside, but the birth of the child created a huge shake up in you energy and your nervous system, and your trauma has come to the surface. And if left untreated and not addressed, this trauma can become severe depression and/or anxiety, and start to stand in the way of healthy parenting.
EFT is also great for mothers because it works much faster than traditional therapy. While you can spend years in talk therapy trying to work through your trauma and get nowhere, EFT can clear things out in as little as 1 session. The reason it’s fast and it works is because you are engaging your body and nervous system directly. You are going to the source of where the traumatic memory is stored and creating an opportunity to process it in a safe way, thus allowing it to finally integrate into your existence as just an unpleasant memory, rather than a memory that is frozen in time and setting off your stress response.
And if you are like many other moms and feel like “Yeah, yeah. I’ll get to it once everyone is tended to and all my tasks are done”, I’ll let you in on a little secret. The key to having a peaceful household with regulated, happy, and peaceful children is to have a mom who is happy, healthy, healing, learning, growing, and able to regulate herself during stressful situations. So, if the thought of having a household that doesn’t explode into anger or doesn’t make you want to get in the car and never look back, doesn’t look appealing, I’m not sure what will.
Parting Words and Some Research
I hope that reading this article has peaked your interest about EFT (Tapping). EFT truly is a wonderful healing tool that has the capacity to help with not only emotional, but physical issues as well.
But if you are still not convinced that something as simple as tapping, while saying specific phrases can help you, I will leave you with some research articles for further exploration.