Wednesday, April 22, 2009

PTSD Treatment: Emotional Freedom Technique

John R. Garrett is a Vietnam Vet (1970-71), Retired Deputy Sheriff (2002), Realtor, and Andalusian Horse Breeder. He lives in Parker, Colorado, and… he’s a pro at the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Because of this, I asked him to do an interview that would lay out the basics of EFT for us. We’re in luck because the MindGuy (as he’s called on Twitter) responded to my questions with an extensive explanation and background on EFT so that we can really see what this PTSD treatment option is all about.

What is Emotional Freedom Technique?

The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is an energy psychology process where the individual taps energy meridian points to release negative emotions surrounding an incident or issue.

How was EFT developed?

EFT was developed by Gary Craig, an engineer by education. EFT is based on the Thought Field Therapy techniques developed by Dr Roger Callahan in California in the late 1980s. You can visit the Emofree site for additional information.

Why does EFT work?

When an individual experiences a physical or mental trauma, the body reacts to the circumstances with various physical changes. One of those is a disruption in the flow of energy. Once the threat abates, the body then reverts back to its normal condition, most of the time. There are times, however, when some part of the energy system gets “stuck”. Then, when the person is exposed to a similar set of circumstances, the person’s reaction is affected by the “stuck” portion of the system.

In EFT, we stimulate the energy points while thinking of the upset and overcome the “blocks”, clearing the pathways. This results in the elimination of the negative emotions attached to the memory. It doesn’t change the memory, just the emotional reaction to it.

Is EFT effective?

EFT is effective in that the relief experienced by the client is, at times, immediate and in follow-up contacts, the changes were holding. There are quite a number of studies that show that effect. Another study showed that the levels of cortisol (a stress relieving hormone that is secreted into the body when it is stressed), which saw little or no change after other traditional techniques, or no treatment at all, was reduced by an average of 25% after one hour of EFT. There is a 19 minute video that people can view at, which shows the speed and effectiveness of the process.

What is the process of EFT?

The Basic Recipe of EFT is:

Determine what issue you are going to work on.

Establish your Subjective Unit of Discomfort Scale (SUDS) level.

Set-up: While tapping the Karate Chop Point, state your situation three times:

“Even though I have this (Your Issue), I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

Create your reminder phrase, (2-5 words to stay focused).

Sequence: While stating your reminder phrase, tap 5 – 9 times at each of the following points:

1. H - Top of Head, 3”-4 “ from forehead.
2. EB - Eyebrow: Point of the eyebrow over the nose.
3. SE – Side of Eye: Bone of the outside corner of the eye.
4. UE – Under the Eye: Bone under the eye.
5. UN – Under the Nose: Area between bottom of the nose and top of upper lip.
6. CH – Chin: Midway between lower lip and point of the chin.
7. CB – Collarbone: Point where the collarbone and first rib meet.
8. UA – Under the Arm: Side of body, approximately 4” below armpit.
9. KC – Karate Chop: Side of hand, middle of fleshy part between wrist and little finger knuckle.

After each round, re-establish your SUDS level. Continue to tap until the level is 0 or as low at you are comfortable with.

What are the benefits of EFT?

The benefits of EFT are that it is effective, easy to use, easy to learn, and if used in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic incident, can prevent further emotional distress. Another benefit is that the speed of the process compared to conventional therapies is amazing. One study mentioned that the mean number of visits for EFT was 3 versus 15 visits for conventional therapies.

As I mentioned earlier, most clients experience positive results almost immediately. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are done, just that there were improvements. Each individual’s issue is made up of various aspects. We may need to tap for each aspect to completely eliminate the issue. An additional benefit may be that other incidents in the clients history may contain similar aspects and those will be cleared as well.

Gary Craig, in 1995, worked with several Vietnam Vets who were being treated by the VA in California. All were on various medications and other traditional treatments. One vet said he had a number of memories of incidents that caused him emotional distress. After working on several of those memories, all negative emotions attached to the others were gone. He could talk about the incidents without any distress. So, the benefits of working on one memory can extend over into another memory.

What type of emotional issue(s) is EFT best at relieving?

EFT can be used for anything at any time. In fact, it is very effective in the immediate aftermath of an incident to ease the immediate emotional distress and prevent further distress. Since EFT is self-administered (the client does the tapping, the therapist just guides the process), once the client learns the procedure he can use it anywhere, both in and out of the practitioner’s office. Some people, who have used EFT for some time, have even been equally successful in just thinking about the tapping point, which activates it, while reciting the reminder phrase.

John Garrett began as a hypnotherapist after using hypnosis to stop a 30 year smoking habit. He learned about and received training in EFT in the mid 1990s. He attained the EFT-CC designation in 1995 and EFT-ADV in 2008. For over 14 years, he has used EFT, hypnosis and other techniques to help people overcome negative habits, eliminate negative emotional attachments and beliefs about Columbine, Combat, Shooting Incidents, Equestrian Issues, and other blocks to personal and professional performance. John's web site can be found at He can be reached at 303-884-3566.

To see EFT in action click here.

(Photo: John Garrett)


Ian Stone - Founder Metaphysical Institute said...

John you have explained things extremely well and EFT is a valuable resource in the treatment of PTSD.

From my understanding EFT actually removes the body mind connection to the Automatic Program which is stored and runs from the Super-conscious Mind. EFT does not actually change this program it only stops the physical and emotions connection from triggering this program.

The original program can quite easily be changed so it will not run again however this must be done on a different level.

With Love for I Love You
Ian Stone – Metaphysician & Founder of HEART Energy Healing System,
Human Energy Assessment Release Treatments
Heal Yourself Instantly DIY Automatic Program to Heal Your Human Life Energy Fields
Metaphysical Institute

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