Habits can be formidable obstacles to self-improvement when set against us, however, they become powerful allies if we can harness them to our benefit. EFT (tapping) can be used to harness this power and overwrite old mental programs that lock us in destructive patterns of behaviour. The great thing about EFT is that it is easy to do and it works!
EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique and was invented by Gary Craig in the late 1990s. It is also known as Energy Therapy, or simply ‘Tapping’. The technique draws on many theories of alternative medicine including Acupuncture, neuro-linguistic programming, energy medicine, and Thought Field Therapy. In a nutshell, it uses a combination of psychological “talk therapy” and tapping on particular points of the body claimed to be energy meridians.
In Episode 76 of “Living outside the Matrix”, I interview Corah Clark from Sundridge in Kent, UK. She offers her knowledge and her perspective as a practitioner of EFT (tapping) for many years, as well as her background of psychology.
Many claim a scientific basis for EFT and expound upon the merits of energy therapy that employs diverse methods to modify and manipulate the flow of energy within the body with the intention to realign, replenish or stabilize the amount and the quality of energy within the human body, the truth is that no one really knows how it works. But it does work and can be used to address all kinds of past traumas, phobias and irrational fears as well as set up new and desirable habits.
The Mechanics of EFT (tapping)
According to Corah Clark, a psychotherapist and EFT practitioner, generally, the therapy consists of being guided through tapping on a series of points on the body with the tip of the fingers. At the same time, phrases are spoken by the practitioner and repeated by the ‘patient’ that guide the patient through the process of reprogramming the mind.
- To begin with, the problem, or issue, is brought to mind while tapping the ‘karate chop’ point on the hand(s). This is a logical first step that calls to mind the issue and the feelings associated with it. After this, the full sequence of tapping points (energy points or meridians) is cycled through repeatedly.
- While the points are being tapped the next goal is self-acceptance, an establishing of the psychological recognition of the condition being addressed but specifically disassociating it from any personal criticism or judgment. The words used are “Even though this (whatever it is) is happening, I completely and fully love and accept myself”.
- Once acceptance is complete a form of words is chosen to set about changing the way the problem is viewed and setting it out in different terms presenting the intention to change. This essentially amounts to overwriting the mental conclusions surrounding the issue. This part of the therapy varies with different practitioners, or it can be self-directed. The purpose is to acknowledge the problem, and accept one’s self in spite of it, and then to state the intended changes to be made.
The Tapping Points
There are several tapping points on the body. Here is a description of some of the most often used points that seem to be common amongst many practitioners.
- The edge of the hand or ‘karate chop’ point, or the top of the hand next to the thumb, can be used to call the issue to mind.
- The top of the head
- The side of the eye
- The midpoint between the eyes
- Under the eye
- Above the lip under the nose
- Below the lip on the chin
- On the collar bone (either side or both sides)
- Under the arm, at nipple height
Some energy therapists subscribe to a mystical view and claim that the shaman or healer is tuning in to the energy of the subject and heals from the spiritual dimension, perhaps even invoking other lost parts of the patient’s spirit etc. I don’t take these kinds of claims seriously, however, we are undoubtedly energetic beings, more specifically electromagnetic beings (hence the need to carefully manage our exposure to EMF’s) We know EFT works, so something is achieving the results.
Apparently, it has been shown with brain scans that the Amygdala in the brain becomes active during tapping on particular points. This part of the brain is associated with the ‘fight or flight’ response. So there is some effect of tapping within the brain. According to Corah (and many other EFT practitioners), no one really knows how EFT works but the fact remains that it does work. People get results and lives are changed.
The Role of the Subconscious Mind
The subconscious contains all of our stored knowledge; our conclusions, our premises, learned behaviour, assumptions, generalisations, convictions and the total of our automatised learned behaviour. Ideally, all of this data would form a consistent and non-contradictory sum of knowledge that correlates with reality, and it would be regularly revised and updated by a process of conscious thought. But this is seldom the case. For many people that do not make a habit of thinking for themselves, it is most often programmed with a mess of contradictory slogans, catch-phrases, unwarranted generalisations and assumptions. All this is absorbed from the surrounding culture, from social interactions, TV, film and popular culture over decades.
Most importantly, conclusions formed in early years are not usually revisited in the light of adult understanding, to correct unwarranted generalisations and false conclusions. Most notably, much of the data stored in the form of conclusions about self, other people or reality, in general, is incorrect. This is where tapping comes in.
How does EFT work?
Given that presently no one has come up with an adequate scientific explanation of how EFT works, what follows is my own explanation from my knowledge of psychology and philosophy. Take it or leave it, but to me, it makes perfect sense and it fits in scientifically with what we already know.
It seems extremely likely that the combination of events during tapping is directly reprogramming the subconscious and potentially overturning a problematic “filed away” conclusion.
- Firstly, tapping anchors the individual in the here and now as well as tunes them into themselves.
- Secondly, by tapping on energy meridians (or significant parts of the anatomy) the amygdala is engaged which shows us via brain activity that the mind is engaged – specifically the fight or flight part which is deep within the programmed recesses of the subconscious. It could well be the case that tapping any part of the body would suffice and that so-called ‘energy meridians’ may have little to do with it.
- Thirdly, deliberate intent is brought to bear. The individual is purposefully and deliberately engaged in the specific process of making changes to self, changes to conclusions filed away by ‘self’.
- Fourthly, self-acceptance acknowledges ‘what is’. It acknowledges the problem, a key step to solving it, and it gets the preconceived notions in the form of the old programming out of the way. It effectively lowers any defence barricades. It gets the ‘old self’ out of the way.
- Lastly, the path is clear for the issue to be addressed and overwritten in the form of well-chosen words that express the desired change and the commitment to change. This with the added power of engaging the Amygdala while expressing, or stating, conscious intent.
In this way, the stored conclusions or generalisation are over-written. A new program is created that updates all relevant mental files within the super computer of the subconscious mind. It was the old stored conclusions and generalisations that were responsible for what was percieved as the problem. Re-writing the programs in the mind corrects the problem.
A key aspect of this process is that it is done in full consciousness. I consider this to be the reason it works so effectively. You have to really participate in the healing process. More than that, you have to drive the re-programming with conscious acknowledgement of the issue and conscious deliberate intent for the new program.
This is why thinking is another way to over write old programs. Thinking can be sufficient in and of itself. But the individual has to be in the habit of thinking and know how to do it effectively. Since the process of EFT is done in full consciousness – as thinking is – it has the same power. Tapping or EFT then is a way of bringing the required thinking to an issue and combining it with action that anchors the individual into the present moment.
The heart of the matter is the individual facing the issue and bringing it into their conscious mind. Because the conscious mind is the ultimate programmer of the subconscious mind. When the conscious mind is active it overrides the automatic and unconscious process of hardwiring implicit conclusions into the ‘operating system’ of the subconscious. I submit that EFT is reprogramming our mental operating system – our philosophy.
The reason EFT works has little to do with energy meridians. The physical action of tapping engages the individual and the subconscious mind. All the mystical and energetic explanations from people like David Feinstein and others are off the mark. They are a classic case of substituting invention for scientific (rational) enquiry.
I hope this helps you pick up a useful tool for making lasting changes in your life. Join in the conversation and leave a comment below.