Traditionally, it is assumed that past traumatic memories are the direct cause of emotional upset.
According to EFT theory, they are not.
There is an intermediate step – a missing link – between the memory and the emotional upset. And that intermediate step is the disruption in the body’s energy system.
It is the energetic disruption, claims EFT founding father Gary Craig, that is the direct cause of emotional upset.
Negative emotions and energy flow
You can compare the energy flow in your body to that of a TV set. As long as the electricity flows through your TV normally, the sound and picture are both clear.
But what would happen if you took off the back of the TV set and started to poke around the electrical wiring.
You would, quite obviously, disrupt or reroute the flow of electricity and an electric “zzzzzt” would occur inside. The picture and sound would become erratic. In the same manner, when our energy systems become imbalanced, we have an electrical “zzzzzt” effect going on inside. Straighten out this “zzzzzt”with EFT tapping and the negative emotion goes away.
When some one is experiencing fear, for instance, the energy flowing through his or her meridians is disrupted.
That energy imbalance is what was causing emotional intensity.
Tapping on certain acupressure points sends pulses through the meridians and fixes the disruption. Once the energy meridians are balanced, the emotional intensity – the fear – goes away.
Now, let’s look at the fundamental theory that embodies the essence of EFT.
EFT and the Discovery Statement
It is referred to as the Discovery Statement, and it claims that, “The cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system.”
Notice that it does not say that a negative emotion is caused by the memory of a past traumatic experience. This is important to recognize because that presumed connection of traumatic memories to negative emotions is a mainstay in conventional psychotherapy.
Many traditional therapeutic methods attempt to “treat the memory” and, in the process, ask the afflicted individual to repeatedly relive some emotionally painful event.
EFT, by contrast, respects the memory but treats the true cause as a disruption in the body’s energy system.
Many times, when people ask for help they invariably start talking about the details of their past traumas. The vast majority of people have been led to believe that their memories are the cause of their problems and they now mistakenly think they need to share all these details in order to heal.
While there is no denying that traumatic memories contribute to unwanted emotions, it is important to note that they are not the direct cause. So when using EFT to neutralize unwanted emotions, a person doesn’t need to spend an unnecessarily lengthy amount of time painfully dwelling on their past traumas. During the EFT process, an individual is typically asked to briefly recall a problem while tapping one their acupressure points, and though there may be some discomfort in that, there is no need to relive the pain in any great detail.
In fact, with EFT, generating prolonged emotional discomfort is frowned upon. In this way, EFT is a radical departure from conventional methods.
This may be why some people tend to get worse when undergoing traditional therapy.
Conventional psychology aims to treat the memory and not its cause (the energy disruption). Requiring someone to vividly relive a distressing memory serves to induce more disruption in the energy. It can, and often does, aggravate the problem. However, if the energy system is balanced while the distressing emotion is triggered – as is the case with EFT tapping – a sense of internal calm replaces the negative emotion.
In the very least, EFT provides us with a fascinating approach to emotional wellness that appears to be worth exploring.