EFT is one amongst many of the ‘meridan’ or ‘energy therapies’ such as Reiki, Reflexology, Acupuncture, Acupressure, Tapas Acupressure Technique, Shiatsu or Thought Field Therapy (TFT) available under the umbrella of alternative medicine. ‘One of the best ways to describe EFT to clients who are new to EFT is to compare it to acupuncture without needles.’ (Fone p255)
Various psychotherapies have been utilised relating to the domain of the mind. Meanwhile energy therapies attempt to unblock the meridian highways of the body. These meridian highways are known as ‘chi’ and the practitioner seeks to use techniques to facilitate the flow more effectively. EFT combines mind-body medicine with meridian based therapy concepts. The product is a purportedly painless and effective treatment, which is surprisingly easy to learn and use in almost any given situation.
Although a relatively recent phenomenon, both founded and established by Gary Craig in the mid 1990’s EFT has proved remarkably popular since it contains a number of advantages over other therapies in the ‘energy therapies tree’. Firstly EFT is painless as acupuncture needles are not required, yet the same benefits are derived thus removing associated fears. Secondly, significant improvements are claimed to be achievable quickly, more often than not within the space of one, possibly two sessions. Conveniently EFT instruction can also be carried out successfully via skype or telephone.Thirdly, EFT applications are comprehensive and within reason ca be applied in conjunction with almost anything and can be practised with or alongside other therapies.
For example in the case of hypnotherapy, ‘Hypnotherapy accesses a person’s subconscious in much the same way that EFT does. You can use EFT appropriately before and during a hypnotherapy session. Before the session you can calm and relax your client with EFT. (Fone p269)
EFT could be used with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy of which a central principle ‘is that thoughts, emotions, behaviours and physiology are part of a unified system.’ (Current et al p8)
Alternatively it could be used with Acupuncture where accurate diagnosis is determined by ‘the understanding of yin and yang and how their balance affects your health,’ (Hicks p95) to again enable the ‘chi’ to become unblocked and flow more effectively.
EFT balances the body’s energy system ‘treating physiological or psychological problems by tapping specific acupressure points with fingers’ (EFT-AT) Therefore there is no need for the practitioner to even touch the client as the practitioner merely has to advise where to tap and what the client should say whilst tapping. For someone that has been abused or traumatised that is another significant reason to use EFT instead of other psychological or energy therapies. Thus EFT aims at returning the mind, body and emotions of an individual to a balanced and harmonious state so that he or she is free from negative emotions.’ (EFT-AT)
Lastly EFT is far less complicated than its predecessor TFT and when the basic principles and techniques are understood an individual can practise on themselves, often without the need for assistance from qualified practitioners. A number of instructional EFT videos have been posted on you-tube that are easy to follow and could be copied and applied in much the same way one would carry out the exercises demonstrated on a fitness/workout DVD.
Origins and Development
Gary Craig, born April 13th 1940 is the founder of EFT and although he has been intensely interested in personal improvement via psychology since the age of thirteen, he is neither a psychologist or licensed therapist. Craig attributes the core of his finding EFT to Dr. Roger Callahan the founder and developer of TFT.
Craig writes ‘one who masters EFT can do everything that TFT does while covering a far wider variety of problems without having to use muscle testing.’ (EFT from TFT)
Concerning his background Craig comments ‘I am a Stanford engineer graduate and an ordained Minister and, although we don’t pound the table for God here, I do come at this procedure from a decidedly spiritual perspective… and ‘My ordained ministry is with the Universal Church of God in Southern California which is non-denominational and embraces all religions. I am an avid student of “A Course In Miracles” but at no time is any EFT’er asked to follow any specific spiritual teaching.’ (Emofree)
In essence TFT operates in a similar manner to that of EFT but requires the student to learn approximately a dozen tapping routines, known as algorithms. Once an algorithm has been learnt it can be specifically applied to a particular issue such as trauma or depression. EFT uses a single tapping routine for all issues therefore rendering algorithm diagnosis unnecessary and subsequently is quicker and easier to learn and use.
According to AAMET-Association for the advancement of Meridian Energy Techniques ‘This development involved showing people how to tap, press or rub acupoints on their body in easily accessible places. These easily accessible places mainly on the face and hands make this therapy easy to use at any time or in any place. The simplicity of this technique allows anyone to learn the basic procedure within minutes, and to use it on practically anything for the rest of their life.’
Craig trained with Callahan in the early 1990’s and was the first to receive training in Callahan’s voice technology. Callahan, PhD is a clinical psychologist and is a current fellow of the American Academy of Psychotherapists Treating Addiction and has demonstrated the Callahan Techniques Thought Field Therapy across the United States. Callahan utilised the Subjective Units of Disturbance scale (SUDS) developed by the psychologist Joseph Wolpe. The client rates the acuteness of their problem on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being barely noticeable and 10 being unbearable. Craig also uses the SUDS scale to evaluate his patient’s issues and also to enable them to assess accurately to what extent their problem has been reduced following a tapping routine combined with the repeating of phrases to cure the negative emotions.
Since there is no need to apply specific algorithms to particular issues the application of EFT is almost exhaustive. ‘you can directly tap on literally any negative emotion or feeling, problem, condition, belief or event using the EFT tapping sequence… EFT is fully open and accessible subject with no expensive and confidential levels.’ (Integrative clearing)
A Typical EFT tapping Routine
There are four elementary stages which comprise an EFT tapping routine, namely…
1) The Set Up
2) The Sequence
3) The Nine Gamut Procedure
4) Repeating the Sequence
1) The Set Up provides the foundation for the routine and is itself divided into four further stages which consist of.
i ) Identifying the problem and focussing on it
ii) Rating the problem out of ten using the SUD’S scale.
iii) Specifying a phrase to deal with the problem (which will be used whilst simultaneously tapping the sequence) For example ‘Even though I have this anger, I deeply and completely accept myself.
iv) To remove blockages enabling EFT to work, the Sore Spot (located between the nipple and the collarbone should be rubbed while repeating the phrase. Alternatively the karate chop (side of the hand) can be tapped, again while repeating the phrase to deal with the problem.
2) The Sequence is the stage where the participant taps the meridian points approximately seven times each whilst repeating the ‘shortened phrase’ to deal with the problem. E.g. Even though I have this anger…
A basic sequence would include tapping the eyebrow, side of eye, under the eye, under the nose, between lip and chin, collarbone, under the arm, outside edge of thumb, outside edge of index finger, outside edge of middle finger and outside edge of little finger.
3) The Nine Gamut Procedure is intended to fine- tune the brain by balancing the left and right hemispheres.
Whilst concentrating on the problem, the next phase is to roll the eyes, and hum a tune whilst counting and tapping on the Gamut point located at the back of the hand.
The nine steps are as follows…
a)Closing the eyes
b)Opening the eyes
c)Looking hard to the right with head stationary
d)Looking hard to the left with head stationary
e)Rolling the eyes with in a circle clockwise
f)Rolling the eyes in a circle anticlockwise
g)Humming a song/tune for five seconds
h)Counting both loudly and swiftly
i)Humming a song/tune for another five seconds
4) Repeating the sequence is carried out by tapping on the meridians with the shortened version of the EFT set-up phrase. Following a round of EFT the SUDS Scale can be used to assess the degree by which the intensity of the issue has hopefully been reduced. The idea is to bring the SUD level down to or as close to zero as possible. The sequence can be repeated until the issue is alleviated.
Does EFT actually work?
Whether EFT does work and if that is the case ‘the how and why does it work’ element is difficult to establish. Perceived improvements are measured by the SUD’s scale which is a significant measuring system based on how a person feels rather than observable, quantifiable data.
Also the whole setting up and process of EFT could act as a distraction from the issue, thereby temporarily alleviating the acuteness of the problem, convincing the individual that EFT has worked generating a pleasant experience of relief. Gary Craig is insistent that ‘the reality is if the present theories are accurate, then EFT could not possibly work as elegantly as it does. It would work once in a while but sputter miserably most of the time as the presumed requirement for “order” is violated.’ (masteringeft.com)
That is certainly a noteworthy point as EFT appears to have a high success rate according to its advocates. However EFT is as difficult to prove as it is to disprove and it would require time, effort and money to research. EFT’s success with issues relating to chronic or organic disease would demonstrate more clearly its effectiveness.
In all fairness though EFT’s proponents are not claiming EFT’s practise to be fail proof. I’m not saying here that EFT is perfect. We don’t get 100%. But it usually works well and the results are sometimes spectacular. Because of its unique approach, it can work where nothing else does and, to many, it represents a Doorway to a new Healing High-Rise.’ (Emofree.com)
The existence of meridian channels is questionable at best and there certainly doesn’t appear to be any rigorous scientific evidence in favour of EFT. Even an EFT enthusiast admits ‘The scientific community is dubious about EFT, mostly because of the claimed reason why EFT works. However, there is no doubt whatsoever that many, many people have benefited, some hugely, from the curious tapping of EFT.’ (Landau)
Lastly EFT draws on the theories of both Mind Body Medicine and Acupuncture thus it is again difficult to differentiate whether the benefits can be isolated to the use of EFT.
Is EFT compatible with Christianity?
The above question demands a verdict since Gary Craig is an ordained Minister and furthermore several ordained Ministers have posted articles on their blogspot’s to allay people’s concerns as to whether EFT can be practised alongside their Christian convictions. Others even claim to specialise in providing EFT tailored for Christians.
Gary Craig has written a series of articles entitled ‘The Palace of Possibilities’ using EFT to achieve one’s potential. Craig announces ‘This whole series can be reduced to one sentence…My consistent thoughts become my reality…This is not new of course. It is perhaps the most fundamental rule in all of psychotherapy.’ (Emofree)
At which point we must enquire how exactly can the theories of psychotherapy be reconciled with the Bible? Are not their roots and underlying principles diametrically opposed to Scripture? What does psychotherapy possibly have to offer the Bible believing Christian? ‘Theories about human behaviour mostly: what Sigmund Freud gleaned from Greek dramas, his speculations about infantile sex, psychic determinism, and the unconscious; Alfred Adler’s “masculine protest” and “inferiority complex” concepts; Abraham Maslow’s humanistic psychology, “hierarchy of needs” theory and New Age obscenities’ (Mc Mahon P19)
In his defence Craig quotes the Bible “As a man thinketh, in his heart so is he’ but also Ralph Waldo Emerson “As a man thinketh so he becomes” and worryingly A Course In Miracles “The World you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that. But though it is nothing more than that it is not less.’ (Emofree)
This is not Biblical. Instead of taking every thought captive and having the mind of Christ, Craig is attempting to manipulate the mind to achieve the desired outcome. The motive may be honourable and with the best intentions but the emphasis is on glorifying self as opposed to obedience to God and His word.
Interestingly Ralph Waldo Emerson is the founder of Transcendentalism whereby the ideal spiritual state can only be achieved through intuition. In addition, Dr. Helen Schuman founder of A Course In Miracles explains ‘Consequently, even though the language of the course is that of traditional Christianity, it expresses a non-sectarian, non-denominational spirituality. A Course In Miracles is therefore a universal spiritual teaching, not a religion.’ In other words Biblical terms and phrases are used and encouraged though the interpretation of what those terms actually mean is left to one’s intuition.
Also the phrases that are formulated to overcome an issue whilst tapping have an underlying emphasis on self and forgiving and loving oneself. Nowhere in Scripture are we ever instructed to forgive ourselves! Others can forgive us as we forgive them also, but the concept of forgiving ourselves is foreign to Scripture! Neither are we ever taught to love ourselves, in fact the Bible teaches that if we want to follow Jesus we must deny ourselves. This has nothing to do with failing to take appropriate personal care and the extremes of Monastic Orders, but consider what Jesus said to His disciples. ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let Him deny Himself, and take up His cross and follow Me.’ (Matt 16v24) Notwithstanding Paul warned Timothy ‘But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves,’ (2 Tim 3v1)
Why is there a need to turn to psychotherapy or alternative energy therapies when we have the word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ who is our Wonderful Counsellor (Is 9v6), the Holy Spirit who will guide us into all truth (John 16v13) and who Himself requires neither instruction or counsel form anyone? (Is 40v13-14) Why not request help from fellow believers who can support, encourage and pray with us? (James 5v13-14)
Maybe we’re feeling stressed, or worried or anxious? That’s not unusual! Yet we never read of sanctified Biblical characters requesting mind-body therapies to calm their anxiety. What would the Philippian believers have done in the above scenario? Paul wrote to them ‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil 4v6-7)
EFT is sometimes described as acupuncture without needles. Though EFT is a contemporary practice its principles stem from meridian therapies from Chinese medicine theories several thousand years ago. The basic premise is to unblock and aid the flow of chi around the body. This is based on the assumption that everything in the universe is a result of the balance of yin and yang. Chi is assumed to be the energy underlying everything in the universe which becomes matter when condensed and spirit when refined.
EFT and Acupuncture cannot therefore merely be categorised as pertaining solely to the mind and body as they also clearly involve a spiritual element. The concept of Chi is simply a counterfeit of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is omnipresent and personal (Ps 139v7-8, Is 63V10, Eph 4v30) certainly not matter when condensed and spirit when refined! Christians would do themselves a great favour by steering away from healing via spirit-matter forces in an effort to rebalance supposed energy channels.
EFT has proved appealing because the perceived dangers, relating to other therapies are minimal and its treatment appears to work much more quickly than similar techniques.
Sadly it has frequently been given the green light by ordained Ministers who have even strived to encourage its acceptance among other Christians. EFT is a combination of psychotherapy and energy therapies. Psychotherapy ultimately stems from a combination of Atheistic, Humanistic and Occultic origins from the likes of Freud, Jung, Rogers and others. Acupuncture is based on an entirely conflicting worldview to that of Christianity and is more akin to that of Ancient Chinese religions.
Although on the face of it EFT appears harmless it should not regarded simply as a ‘neutral’ activity up to the discretion of the believer. Since it is compatible with a vast array of other unbiblical practises, surely it would be prudent to avoid it altogether.
www.aamet.org AAMET –Association for the Advancement of Meridian Energy Techniques
www.acim.org A Course In Miracles published by the Foundation for Inner Peace
www.advancedtherapies.co.uk Emotional Freedom Technique-Alternative Therapy
Current, B., Palmer, S., & Ruddell, P. Brief Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Sage Publications London 2005
www.emofree.com World Center for EFT
Fone, H. Emotional Freedom Technique for Dummies John Wiley & Sons Ltd Chichester 2008
Hicks, A. The Acupuncture Handbook How Acupuncture Works and how it can help you Piatkus Books London 2005
Hunt, D. & McMahon, T.A. Psychology and the Church Critical Questions Crucial Answers The Berean Call Oregon
http://www.integrative-clearing.com.au/eft/eft_and_tft.html A Comparison of EFT and TFT
www.landau.ws/about/therapies EFT Paddy Landau
www.masteringeft.com/GuestArticles/EFTfromTFT.htm The Evolution of EFT from TFT Part I OF V