EFT Background

The process of combining words and actions to effect change was developed by psychologist Roger Callahan in a series of protocols he called Thought Field Therapy (TFT). One of Dr. Callahan’s clients had been seeking relief from a water phobia for years, and in a moment of inspiration, Callahan asked if he could try something new with her. Because he had been studying how the body’s network of meridians affect emotions, and because chance favours the prepared mind, he connected Mary’s water fear with a meridian tapping sequence he thought might reduce the fear response. It worked so spectacularly that Mary’s cure lasted the rest of her life. Since TFT uses very specific meridian logarithms to address each condition, it requires a trained therapist for application.  EFT evolved from Gary Craig’s experimentation with the logarithms Callahan developed. Over time, he discovered that the complex, specific sequences could be simplified into one easy-to-use sequence for professional and personal use.  And so Emotional Freedom Techniques, EFT, was born.

The speaking part of EFT has its roots in Exposure Therapy, a technique widely used in clinical therapeutic settings.  This technique intentionally triggers clients who have suffered trauma by requiring them to tell the story of their traumatic events over and over again. The clinical assumption is that eventually, the retelling of events will exhaust the emotions attached to them and the client will be free.  This is a highly risky technique in that retraumatization leaves clients’ autonomic stress responses exhausted. 

In contrast, the gentle somatic intervention EFT provides calms the autonomic nervous system responsible for triggering the Fight, Flight, and Freeze response. Think of a hissing, attacked cat suddenly finding safe haven in a puddle of sunlight and you will successfully imagine the soothing effects EFT can have on stressed, reactive bodily systems. EFT story telling is also different from Exposure Therapy in that the client never has to speak of a painful event and is never forced to remember or to repeat any incident he or she is not ready to revisit.  Instead, calming phrases such as “I’m not ready; I don’t have to go there; I can stay safe; I’m okay in the here and now,” spoken while tapping assure the body that safety is always the goal of EFT.  For this reason, EFT is a highly effective method of self regulation.

Many practitioners have been influential in EFT’s continuing evolution, including Dr. Patricia Carrington, creator of “The Choices Method” EFT and Dawson Church, researcher, writer, EFT workshop facilitator, and go-to person for the most up-to-date clinical-trial studies documenting EFT’s effectiveness. Church’s www.eftuniverse.com, publishes science-based as well as anecdotal evidence supporting EFT’s value in the treatment of physical, emotional, and spiritual trauma.  Visit the information rich EFT International (formerly AAMET) site at  https://eftinternational.org/ to learn more about EFT uses, success stories, and trainings.   

Finally, Donna Eden and David Feinstein, a husband-and-wife team well respected in energy healing circles, are an essential facet of EFT’s continuing evolution. Together, they teach the relationship between energy medicine, Eden’s specialty, and energy psychology, Feinstein’s. Feinstein, a clinical psychologist, has written many evidence-based papers on the effectiveness of EFT, an energy therapy that calms the body’s energy and physical systems to facilitate emotional and physical relief. Learn more about books, study materials, and scientific papers for both energy medicine and energy psychology at www.innersource.net/innersource/.