EFT combines mindful attention to memories, bodily sensations, and feelings with a gentle tapping on the face, hands and body.
Although based on familiar concepts found in acupuncture and acupressure, EFT sets itself apart from its many therapeutic cousins because it can be very easily taught to others.
Chiropractors, acupuncturists and holistic health practitioners are augmenting their practices and teaching it to patients for self use.
Teachers are learning it and teaching it to their students. Coaches are learning it to use it with their athletes for better performance. Parents are learning it to use with their children. Physicians are learning it for pain management with their patients. Family and marriage therapists are using it alongside conventional therapy with great success. Massage therapists are blending it into their existing practices and their clients are reporting greater satisfaction.
Should you “try it on everything?”
When you consider the facts, common sense wouldn’t lead you to expect negative side effects from EFT. This is because EFT involves absolutely:
- No surgical procedures.
- No pills or chemicals.
- No needles.
However, EFT is still in its beginning stages and we have much to learn about how EFT works and why it works so well.
Theoretically, it is possible that using EFT could be detrimental to someone if used without the guidance of a more experienced tapper. Accordingly, you should assume that EFT is still in the experimental phase and you should know when to use EFT with appropriate caution and when to consult a professional.
You may already be familiar with the well-known EFT motto “Try it on everything!”
This phrase appears in Gary Craig’s original EFT manual and its purpose is to open up our minds to the many possibilities EFT provides. Obviously, it should not be interpreted as a green light for irresponsible actions.
The vast majority of people interpret this within a reasonable context and do not, for instance, use EFT to get someone to breathe underwater.
The bottom line is that you should not apply it to yourself or other people with serious issues unless you have the appropriate experience to do so. While the efficacy of EFT gives us much cause for enthusiasm, we must keep in mind some common sense precautions.
Possible negative side effects of EFT
There is no way to accurately count how many tapping enthusiasts there are now using EFT but it is safe to estimate that it has been applied over 1 million times worldwide.
While it is common to hear an experienced tapper reporting positive results, what some people are unaware of is that, very infrequently, there can be negative side effects or even “abreactions.”
This seems to almost always occur in people who have been so badly traumatized and/or abused that they have developed severe psychological problems including:
- multiple personalities
- schizophrenia and other serious mental disorders
While there have been numerous reports that EFT has been extremely helpful even in such severe cases, in these types of situations EFT should only be applied by a qualified professional with experience in these disorders.
A person new to tapping should always use common sense and never try to alleviate problems that are beyond his or her training and/or experience level.
Sometimes an “abreaction” can cause a person to go out of control.
During an abreaction a mentally ill person can be harmful to themselves and others and, in a worst case scenario, may even need to be sedated or hospitalized. Clearly not something an EFT beginner can handle…. no matter how enthusiastic a person might be about tapping.
As of yet, no research has been done to investigate the issue properly, so it’s impossible to know whether tapping actually causes this type of abreaction or if it is the resurfacing of a disturbing memory that triggers the dangerous behavior.
Nonetheless, if you have no experience in these areas, please don’t go where you don’t belong.
On some occasions, negative side effects show up when people doing EFT find themselves crying or showing others signs of distress (i.e. sweaty palms, racing heart, upset stomach) as they recall troublesome memories.
A small percentage of tappers report that physical pain may seem to intensify momentarily before a feeling of relief sets in. A proficient and experienced professional will regard any such negative side effects as normal and appropriately apply EFT until a resolution has been reached.
Finding an EFT Practitioner & Certifications
EFT is not traditional psychology, or conventional therapy, and even if an EFT practitioner claims to be “Certified” he or she may have no licensing or formal training in a university setting.
Remember, EFT trainings and certifications can help you distinguish which practitioners have experience using this personal improvement tool but it should not be confused with training in psychology or psychotherapy – unless your practitioner specifically states that he or she is licensed as such.
If in doubt, consider trying EFT under the supervision of a qualified therapist or physician. It is your responsibility to find out what degrees and qualifications your practitioner has and decide whether you are comfortable with his or her experience level before committing to a paid session.
Some of the most effective EFT Practitioners often call themselves Personal Performance Coaches.
Be sure to find out what kind of EFT training they have received because the title of Personal Performance Coach is a very broad label. Keep in mind, however, that Personal Performance coaches may actually be able to provide some of the best EFT guidance money can buy because their belief systems aren’t clouded by the professional training that may cause more formally trained practitioners to over diagnose, over analyze and generally “get in the way” of the functionality of EFT.
Above all else, if you feel you are ready to work with a professional tapper but don’t know how to find the right person to work with – trust your intuition.
Do an internet search (you can find EFT practitioners here) and you may find that you are drawn to a particular listing, you may find that you “click” with a particular EFT practitioner over the phone and for many people it is only by that gut feeling that they can truly tell whether they have found the right professional to work with.