What if change is possible?
Nancy Privett - Energy based therapies

An EFT Primer

by Nancy Privett, MA, EFTCert-I, BBSH
Illustrations by Alyssa S. Wood

What Is EFT?

EFT is short for the Emotional Freedom Technique. It is an energy-based therapy which involves fingertip tapping on specific acupuncture points on the head and face, torso and hand while you are thinking of what is bothering you. It was developed by Gary Craig and is based on Dr. Roger Callahan's Thought Field Therapy.

Essentially, EFT is used to align your energy field. You know when your energy field is misaligned, because you feel bad. When your field is aligned, you feel good. EFT is a very efficient and effective tool to use to bring your energy field back into alignment.

EFT is used for many challenges. It is an excellent energy-based remedy for emotional upsets, including those caused by trauma; it has been shown to be effective in the treatment of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). It is effective with anxiety and long-standing negative emotions. Because of the body-mind connection, EFT can be used for physical ailments. It can be used for negative beliefs and persistent negative thinking. It can be used for sports performance and test-taking. To see a more comprehensive list of applications, and also the latest scientific research, go to the EFT website at www.eftuniverse.com.

Brief Overview

To do a round of EFT, you will be using two or three fingers to tap on specific points on your head and face, your torso and your hand. These points are located on meridians (energy roadways) which are also used in the practice of acupuncture.

You can use either one or two hands when tapping. If you have both hands free, you can use both, since many points are symmetrical on the body.

The general rule is to tap hard enough to hear it, but not hard enough to hurt.

You will begin by bringing to mind something that is bothering you, and rating how much it is bothering you on a scale of zero to ten.

You will then use a statement called the "set-up affirmation" while tapping a point on the side of your hand. This statement is repeated three times.

You then tap a series of points, beginning at the top of your head, while repeating a "reminder phrase," which is a phrase related to the set-up affirmation that just helps you bring the challenge to mind.

When you are finished tapping all the points, you take a deep breath and close your eyes to assess what has happened.

If you notice something that really grabs your attention, tap the next round on that. Continue to do rounds of tapping until your zero-to-ten rating on your original issue is a zero or one.

More specific instructions follow. First, let's look at where the tapping points are located.

Where the Tapping Points Are

The Karate Chop Point (KC) is in the middle of the fleshy part on the outside of the hand between the top of the wrist bone and the base of the baby finger. You tap this point on either hand.

The Top of the Head Point (H) is located at the top of the head, slightly behind center. Tap the Head Point with one hand.

The Eyebrow Point (EB) is where the eyebrow hair starts, right above the inside corner of the eye. Tap one or both sides,

The Side of the Eye Point (SE) is on the corner of the temple by the eye, right at the edge of the bone by the eye socket. Tap one or both sides.

The Under the Eye Point (UE) is on the edge of the bone right below the middle of the eye. Tap one or both sides.

The Under the Nose Point (UN) is halfway between the bottom of the nose and the lip.

The On the Chin Point (Ch) is in the little indentation on the chin.

The Collarbone Point (CB) is to either side under your collar bone. Find the little u-shaped notch in the middle of your collar bone. Go down about an inch, and then an inch out to either side. You can tap one side or both at the same time with your fingers, the flat of your hand or gently-closed fists.

The Underarm Point (UA) is about 4 inches down under the arm, usually in the middle of the bra strap. For men, it is right across from the nipple. It is commonly tender. Tap one or both sides.

The Back of the Hand (9G) is also called the 9 Gamut Point and is on either hand, between the pinky and ring finger, in the indentation between the bones. You tap this point on either hand.

What To Do

NOTE: When you begin practicing EFT, it is better to practice with a small challenge, until you become very familiar with the protocol. If the idea of tapping on something is upsetting to you, begin with that.

STEP 1: Choose a problem that has a charge for you today. If you begin with a very broad challenge, like "I was hit when I was a child," you will need to do subsequent rounds of tapping on the specific aspects of what happened in specific situations.

STEP 2: Rate your anxiety or discomfort on the zero to ten (0 to 10) scale. (0 = no discomfort; 10 = maximum discomfort)

STEP 3: Say the following Set-Up Affirmation out loud three times while tapping the Karate Chop Point. Substitute your challenge for this problem in the sentence below.

Even though I have (this problem),
I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

NOTE: The Set-Up Affirmation wording can vary slightly each time you say it. Make it be the perfect words for you.

If you have trouble saying "I deeply and completely love and accept myself," change the wording so you are comfortable. Maybe, "I would like to love and accept myself."

STEP 4: Tap the following points as you repeat a Reminder Phrase, which is a short phrase that brings the problem to mind. The Reminder Phrase can change as you tap, as long as it is focused on the problem. You will be tapping about 7 times on each point, but don't try to count. Just tap and say the reminder phrase.

  • CHIN (CH)

STEP 5: Take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale out your mouth. Close your eyes and check inside for a moment. You want to be aware of:

  • A change in the zero-to-ten rating you started with;
  • Any physical sensations in your body;
  • An emotional feeling that has arisen or gotten stronger or weaker;
  • A memory;
  • A thought;
  • An image.

STEP 6: Rate your anxiety or stress again.

Rate how uncomfortable you feel about the problem now on the 0-10 point scale.

If you are higher than a "1," repeat Steps 3 and 4 until your rating drops to a "0" or "1."

If a feeling or memory or thought or uncomfortable physical sensation came up strongly, you may want to tap on that and then go back to your original statement and give it a 0-to-10 rating.

What If Nothing Is Happening

If your zero to ten rating is not moving, there is a reason for it. Check the following.

  1. Are you hydrated? If not, drink some water and try again.
  2. Are you sleep-deprived? If you are, go to sleep and try again.
  3. Is there a strong allergen near you? Did you just eat something you are allergic to? If so, you need to get out of the allergen's environment, or with food, wait till it is out of your system and try again.
  4. Have you done enough rounds? Sometimes it takes several, or even a dozen rounds to get energy realigning.
  5. Has something else come up for you while tapping? If so, tap on what came up, then go back to the original statement.
  6. The problem today may be linked to something historical. Ask yourself: Does this remind me of anything? And tap on the answer.
  7. Get more specific with your set-up affirmation.
  8. You may have something called a Reversal going on. A Reversal is a sabotaging part of your psyche that tries to keep you safe by making sure you follow the old routines, even if they are negative ones. If there is a Reversal, you probably want to enlist the help of a certified EFT practitioner, since Reversals can be very tricky.