EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or Tapping
Dr. Roger Callahan was a traditionally trained psychologist and is the original
founder of tapping techniques. He discovered that by tapping on meridian points on
the body, people started to feel better.
The story goes that Dr. Callahan had a patient named Mary, who had suffered from
a severe water phobia since a child –she was afraid of water in all forms, her level of
fear was so extreme that she couldn’t even bathe her two children. He had been
working on her case for 18 months, having tried many different therapeutic
approaches such as client-centered therapy, rational-emotive therapy, systematic
desensitization, hypnosis and other therapies, but she continued having nightmares
Dr Callahan, had at around this time been studying the body’s meridian points.
Meridians are the basis of ancient Chinese medical system of acupuncture, they are
defined as energy channels that carry the vital life force, or qi, to the organs and
other systems of the body. Each meridian is associated with a different organ. Each
meridian also has an “end point”, a specific location on the surface of the body where you can access the energy channels.
In one therapy session when Mary mentioned that thinking about water caused a
terrible feeling in the pit of her stomach, a flash of insight came to Dr Callahan that tapping on the stomach meridian endpoint – under the eye – might alleviate the
sensation for Mary. So he asked her to gently tap that spot with her fingertips.
To their mutual surprise, after just a few minutes of tapping on that spot Mary
exclaimed that the feeling in the pit of her stomach had gone. Dr Callahan took her
to the edge of his swimming pool to see if her fear had changed and discovered that
she felt no anxiety at being close to the water.
From that day forward, her water phobia and her nightmares about water were gone.
That was more than 30 years ago and Mary is still free of her fear today.
Callahan began experimenting with tapping meridian points and soon discovered
that by bringing in other meridian points to tap on he could increase his success rate from an alleged 20% to 97%. His ideas were initially known as “Callahan
Techniques” but later became Thought Field Therapy (TFT).
One of Dr Callahans students – a man named Gary Craig – a Stanford graduate
engineer, attended one of Dr Callahan’s TFT training courses. He later determined
that the sequence of tapping isn’t as important as simply doing the tapping. To make
tapping easier, he created a single sequence, which is the basis of what he later
termed EFT, short for Emotional Freedom Technique. The EFT sequence was
designed to hit all the major meridian endpoints, regardless of the issue.
How EFT / Tapping works
The stress response begins in the amygdala. The amygdala is one of the
components of our limbic system, or midbrain which is the source of emotions and
long-term memory, and it is where negative experiences are encoded.
If you think of the amygdala as a smoke detector, that activates every time we are
faced with a stressful situation, then when we tap, it appears that we deactivate the smoke detector. Tapping on the end points sends a calming response to the body
and the amygdala recognises that it is safe. This allows us to tap through threatening thoughts without the body creating the stress response. With repetition the limbic system gets the message that this thing that was previously filed as “dangerous” is not, in reality, a threat. This means that we still have the thought/memory but there is no longer an emotional charge to it.
Why should I choose EFT/ Tapping?
Nowadays we are rarely faced with a physical threat. Most of our flight/fight
responses are triggered internally, a negative memory from the past, a trauma or
conditioned learning from childhood are often responsible for stimulating the
When you are experiencing a negative emotional state – anger, upset, fear, worry –
your brain goes on alert. It prepares your body to enter a full-blown fight or flight response. All the body’s defence systems are turned on to support either fighting or running away from the danger. Your adrenaline pumps, your muscles tense and your blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar all rise to give you extra energy to meet the challenge.
On top of any prior experience or negative memories, daily life is filled with small
flight/fight experiences – urgent emails and phone calls, peer pressure, food choices, relationships etc. In all these scenarios your body is preparing you to fight or run away. Although it is not the adrenaline and cortisol rush you would get if you were physically running away from a sabre toothed tiger, it is a lower grade response, if you think of how many of these responses you will have in any given day the cumulative effect is massive. It becomes easier to understand why we are often left feeling worn down, sick, upset, stressed out and generally unhappy with our life situation.
The problem is we are often not consciously aware of what these triggers are and it
then becomes painfully challenging and time consuming to try and identify the
EFT or Tapping helps to calm the brain, create new neural pathways and takes away
the emotional charge to the negative situations. It is very safe to do and is something
that individuals can take away and use at any time.
You can access more information on EFT/ Tapping by using the links below: