EFT, short for Emotional Freedom Technique is one of the newer kids on the block. The idea is you tap at certain points of your body and your problems will vanish. According to its inventor Gary Craig, a Stanford Engineer, you can use it basically to cure everything from phobias, depression, fear, panic, negative thoughts, stress, tension, anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, social anxiety, to bereavement – Is there anything else that distresses people? Truly it’s hailed as the silver bullet of the 21st Century. Or isn’t it?
Wouldn’t you think that serious mental illness such as depression or anxiety disorders need to be treated with interventions that are based on a solid grasp of psychopathological concepts and not on the musings of an engineer? When you go to Gary Craig’s website you will be assured that thousands of people have been helped with EFT. He is careful enough not to state in what ways exactly. You have to take his word for it, because you won’t find any research cited that backs up his statement that “EFT is the best self-help technique ever”.
What exactly is EFT? Well, it’s called a ‘meridian therapy like acupuncture just without the needles’. One wonders why acupuncturists still poke people with needles if they could achieve the same result without them. I transgress, let’s get back to EFT. It works by you or an EFT therapist tapping certain points (Meridian Points) of your body – just about a dozen – several times. This simple, yet supposedly powerful procedure will make changes to your body and your thoughts. It’s said to work on the ‘subtle energies’ of the body that then bring about the significant changes. There you have it! It’s not even important in what order you tap yourself. By covering all meridian points you will by default hit the right button.
Of course you can see a trained EFT therapist, but according to Craig’s website you can go through the basic training (free download from his site) and start tapping yourself. It’s not rocket science.
I find it particularly sad that there are still some people who make a living from selling snake-oil to people who struggle daily with emotional or mental problems. The tragedy is that people with serious psychological problems go from one hoax treatment to another in the hope to get better. Yet without any significant relief from their problems they may give up hope that they will ever get better. Indeed, failed treatments only highlight that they failed in yet another area – their recovery.
Let me make an adjustment here after having been critical so far. Can EFT be beneficial? Of course it could. Like any other exercise that involves you taking some time out, thinking of your problems and reflecting on your needs, EFT is able to provide a sense of well-being in which decisions can be made that promote better health. One of my clients told me today that EFT helped her in times of panic to distract herself from any racing thoughts/panic she would have and helped her to focus on the tapping sequence. She found it helpful to experience moments of relief, even if these moments did not last for an extended length of time.
Being a hypnotic exercise, EFT is probably equal to visualisations, relaxation exercises, or hypnosis. There is, however, no evidence that EFT is more effective than listening to a relaxation tape you can buy for $12 in a new age shop. Read more critiques of EFT on http://www.skepdic.com/eft.html