Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) as Treatment for PTSD
One treatment for my posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) I am interested in is called emotional freedom technique (EFT). It’s a relatively new treatment – developed in the mid-90s – for various psychological issues and disorders. From what I have read about it, EFT for the treatment of PTSD symptoms seems to be gaining some momentum as a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practice.
Emotional freedom technique is a treatment method that offers patients healing from emotional and physical pain using a sort of acupuncture without the needles. Fingertips are used to stimulate different energy points on the body with a tapping motion. The technique, which can be practiced just about anywhere, was developed by Gary Craig. It came about from his thought that negative emotions are due to a disturbance in the body’s energy system.
The EFT treatment for PTSD is done by tapping on acupressure meridians of the body to release blockages. Once the blockages are released, the negative emotion can be released and move through the body. The following are the steps that occur in a typical EFT for PTSD session:
- You start by identifying the problem you want to work on.
- You then tap your “karate chop point” (the side of your hand, where you would strike something with a karate chop), while saying something like, “Even though I have this (problem emotion), I completely love and accept myself,” three times.
- You then cycle through the tapping points on the body, tapping each one seven times.
- Repeat the tapping cycle a second time.
- Now you rate the intensity of the negative emotion again to evaluate whether you need more rounds of tapping.
Benefits of EFT for PTSD Treatment and Recovery
According to what I have researched about EFT, there are several benefits to the treatment, some are specific to PTSD and others are more general.
Benefits or Emotional Freedom Technique for PTSD recovery are:
- Stress reduction. As the person becomes calmer, the body shifts all its systems into relaxation. This is one reason that EFT works well with other types of treatment such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).
- EFT is similar to EMDR in that the process relieves the strong emotional responses to the trauma. The memories are still there, but they are far less intense and they no longer evoke such a powerful emotional response.
- EFT actually modifies the way the brain processes emotional information about the trauma.
Some of the general benefits of EFT are:
- It often works when nothing else does.
- Relief is usually quick and long-lasting.
- It can be done by oneself.
- There are no medications or equipment required.
- It’s a positive and proactive experience.
Final Thoughts About Using EFT for PTSD Treatment
I admit I am intrigued by this treatment. I also think that it sounds a little bit too “out there” to work. But I thought that EMDR sounded that way too until I tried it and it helped. I’m going to keep looking into EFT and see if I can give it a try.
If you have done EFT, I would love to hear about your experience and whether you felt relief from the treatment. Please let me know in the comments below.
DeLoe, J. (2017, February 12). Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) as Treatment for PTSD, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/traumaptsdblog/2017/02/emotional-freedom-technique-as-treatment-for-ptsd
Author: Jami DeLoe
There is no reason in the psychological model for EFT to work, so it must be somatic, a body-to-brain reboot that modifies past experiences in the safety and trust of present moment. You can get a similar feedback disturbing-and-reprocessing effect by shaking yourself vigorously when negatively aroused for 5-15 seconds, and then just breathing coherently in stillness for a minute while opening your attention to the stillness, the breath, and the volume of your body in space.
This is no more than wishful/placebo thinking. We are mentally ill, not stupid.