Emotional Freedom Techniques vs Emotionally Focused Therapy

Our understanding of therapy is constantly evolving as we become more knowledgeable of the human mind and body. Two different EFTs are emerging to heal the human mind through scientifically supported techniques: Emotional Freedom Techniques and Emotionally Focused Therapy. These two EFTs are leading people to a healthy mind, body, and soul. Each comes with its own benefits and can help treat different problems or issues, so what is the best option for you?

What is Emotionally Focused Therapy?

Emotionally Focused Therapy is short-term psychotherapy used to improve adult relationships. This form of therapy involves a therapist and client(s) carefully examining patterns that exist in various relationships in the patient’s life. Steps to create new patterns are subsequently implemented to create healthier relationships and develop more trust within all interpersonal bonds.

Traditionally, this treatment method has been primarily oriented to couples seeking relationship intervention, but it is also effective in treating individual depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How does Emotionally Focused Therapy work?

Emotionally Focused Therapy centers on the client’s present and the implementation of three steps for improving relationships. First, the negative cycle of interactions is de-escalated and the therapist facilitates client awareness of the dynamics of their relationship. The most common causes for negative cycles in a relationship include personality traits, past trauma, and childhood dynamics. Second, interactions are restructured. This is achieved by both individuals sharing their needs and fears in the relationship. The couple should avoid any further conflict by using positive language. The bond is finally strengthened during the final stage of Emotionally Focused Therapy, during which both sides recognize how they wind up in negative cycles. The therapist assisting through the three stages of EFT will not only shows clients how they arrived at the cycle, but also how they have changed these patterns and can continue respectful discourse moving forward.

This type of therapy is strongly tied to observational skills in a therapeutic setting. The three stages of this therapy occur over 8 to 20 meetings and require a mental health professional who is licensed in Emotionally Focused Therapy. The International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy assists associates in providing certification to professionals.

Pros and Cons of Emotionally Focused Therapy

The Emotionally Focused Therapy process is based on attachment theory and emotional regulation as key to the health of relationships. Research has shown it is a highly effective route for couples, individuals, and families to improve communication problems that contribute to a negative cycle of interaction. For some people, however, this form of treatment can become stagnant. Furthermore, some may find it difficult to express themselves in front of a stranger.
Emotionally Focused Therapy centers on unpacking trauma, understanding dynamics, and dispelling negative patterns. The therapist is the one dissecting these problems, which can be a drawback, as the therapist can disrupt the process. Therapy through this route can help clients better understand themselves and their relationships while strengthening their personal bonds.

What is Emotional Freedom Techniques?

Emotional Freedom Techniques combines acupressure (tapping on acupuncture points) with psychology’s exposure therapy (focusing on whatever is distressing you) and cognitive behavior therapy (reframing). Tapping on the nine to 12 points takes only a few minutes. It’s easy to learn and the tapping points soon become automatic. EFT can trace its roots back thousands of years to acupuncture and the use of acupoints in Qigong, Shiatsu, and other ancient energy-based techniques. Acupoints are the points on the body’s meridians (energy channels), which form the basis of the medical practice of acupuncture.

Over 100 peer-reviewed medical and psychology papers about Emotional Freedom Techniques have been published demonstrating its effectiveness. Clinical tests of Emotional Freedom Techniques for anxiety, depression, and PTSD have shown significantly decreased scores in each condition after EFT intervention. In addition to reducing emotional distress, EFT is effective at alleviating physical pain.

Research has shown that Emotional Freedom Techniques can halt the stress response in the body. Studies show a reduction in cortisol, a primary stress hormone, after EFT application. If you’re angry about something, Emotional Freedom Techniques can help you get to a calmer state. Feeling stressed or worried about something? EFT can help ease your thoughts. The technique is simple. You just have to tap lightly with your fingertips on a short series of acupoints on your hands, head, and torso. This makes it a popular form of treatment for those who know the benefits of acupuncture but may have a fear of needles or don’t want to puncture their skin.

How does Emotional Freedom Techniques work?

Emotional freedom techniques work by stimulating energy points on the body by tapping on them, hence the “tapping” nickname for the treatment. These energy points are the same points used in traditional acupuncture. Tapping on these points can halt the stress response, which occurs in emotional states. Accessing and restoring your energy through tapping sends signals to the brain’s stress centers, reducing stress or negative emotions.

Tapping is divisible into five steps and repeatable for each unique problem.

1. Find the Problem

Focus on only one problem for steps 1-5. EFT works by focusing on one specific problem at a time, such as a headache or feeling anxious about a test you will take tomorrow. Focusing on one specific problem will enhance your tapping results.

2. Rate the Problem

Rate the problem on a scale of 1-10. This serves as the scale to determine how much the pain or discomfort is alleviated per tapping session.

3. Prepare to Confront the Problem

A conditioning statement is required to accomplish two goals. The first goal is to acknowledge the issue. The second is to accept yourself despite the problem. Conditioning statements pertain only to you and how they can assist you in feeling better. For example, a way to phrase a conditioning statement is “Even though I am deathly afraid of clowns, I deeply and completely accept myself for that.” Mold the statement to suit the obstacle, but only the person practicing it can be the subject of this mantra.

You also need a reminder phrase that sums up the problem, such as “afraid of clowns.” You will use this in tapping through the points.

4. Tapping Away the Problem

Next, the tapping begins. Tap lightly 5-7 times on the side of the hand point (the fleshy part between the wrist and little finger) as you repeat your conditioning statement three times. This point is on the Small Intestine meridian.

Tap 5-7 times on the following points, in descending order, repeating your reminder phrase at each point.

  • Top of the head (Governing Vessel)
  • Eyebrow (Bladder meridian)
  • Side of the eye (Gallbladder meridian)
  • Under the eye (Stomach meridian)
  • Under the nose (Governing Vessel)
  • Chin (Central Vessel)
  • Beginning of the collarbone (Kidney meridian)
  • Under the arm (Spleen meridian)


5. Rate the Problem Again

Rate your problem on a scale of 0-10. This shows you how much the tapping session alleviated your pain or discomfort. If your number has not gone down to 2 or less, repeat the steps as needed.

Pros and Cons of Emotional Freedom Techniques

Emotional Freedom Techniques comes with many pros and very limited cons. It is practicable virtually anywhere and can be self-administered, without the need for a therapist. (Note: for serious trauma, working with a certified EFT practitioner is recommended.). It is easy to use and the results are often immediately apparent, with quick alleviation of anxiety, trauma symptoms, and phobias. One of the problems in acceptance of this method in the field of psychology is disbelief that such a simple technique can produce such rapid results.

Emotionally Focused Therapy and Emotional Freedom Techniques are the two EFTs paving the way in improving the mental and physical health of people worldwide. At EFT Universe we can help you begin tapping today to decrease your pain, stress, anxiety, PTSD symptoms, depression, and other issues that may be plaguing you.

A Key Trait of Visionary Leaders

One of the great privileges of my life has been to spend personal time with some of the most amazing visionary leaders of our time. People like Joe Dispenza, Donna Eden, Tony Robbins, Jean Houston, and Jack Canfield.

I don’t just listen to their advice. I study their lives. What makes them so successful? One of the keys is consistency.

They plan for success, then they consistently take action on what will get them there. They don’t rely on happy accidents or wishful thinking. They take consistent concrete action toward their goals.

Wouldn’t you like that for yourself? Of course!

For that reason, I recommend you take 7 minutes a day for 21 days, and be inspired by their example.

In just 7 minutes each day, you’ll tap and meditate along with me, using a series of brief audio programs. This program is free, and it’s called the 21 Day Tapping Challenge

Challenge yourself to be consistent for just the next 21 days. Don’t skip a day. No matter how busy you are, you can afford 7 minutes. Register here now.

Here’s to celebrating your consistent success!

Ancestral Healing with EFT

Many of us are carrying shame, blame, anger, guilt, resentment and other negative emotions inherited from our ancestors. Research shows that ancestral trauma can even alter the expression of our genes. How do we release these multi-generational patterns?

Emotional Freedom Technique or “EFT” is a powerful self-help method based on research showing that emotional trauma compromises both physical and emotional health. EFT has a whole set of tools that bypass the level of conscious awareness to change brain pathways and body sensations that come from the past.

Join Dr. Dawson Church for the 2-day online program “Ancestral Healing with EFT” on June 14 & 15, 2022 to heal these traumas. Live your life free of the burdens of your ancestry!

When to Tap with a Practitioner and When to Tap Yourself

The great thing about EFT is that there are many issues you can successfully tackle yourself. For others, you’ll make 10 times the progress in 1/10th of the time when you tap with a practitioner. It’s important to understand which is which. Watch this helpful video by EFT practitioner Jackie Viramontez as she explains the difference.

Connect with an EFT Practitioner Today at MyStressSolution.com

Immunity and EFT

Psoriasis is one of the most widespread autoimmune diseases, affecting millions of sufferers worldwide. It is characterized by inflamed red patches and flaking of the skin. A pilot study by Patti Hodge, and Corinne Jurgens of Stony Point University, assessed 12 psoriasis patients for both physical and psychological symptoms, and followed their progress for three months. After EFT, their psychological health improved by over 50%. Their psoriasis also improved, and on follow-up their symptoms had reduced by 74.95% (p<.001).

Click here to read the study abstract.

To subscribe to the peer-reviewed professional journal Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, and Treatment, in which the study was published, click here.

Hands-on Healing with Bill Bengston

At an Energy Medicine conference I spoke at, I met Dr. Bill Bengston, a professor at St. Joseph’s College in New York City.

Dr. Bengston has conducted a number of provocative laboratory experiments on energy healing using mice. With animal subjects, unlike humans, the researcher doesn’t have to control for the placebo effect, which predisposes human beings to recover due to their beliefs.

Dr. Bengston injected mice with a cancer-causing substance which produced a 100% fatality rate within 28 days. Then he gave them hands-on healing. The results were astonishing: The mice recovered. The tumors turned black and imploded, and the mice lived a normal life span.

You can read about the study in his book The Energy Cure.

Yet there’s a lot more to the story. Dr. Bengston was recently interviewed by Dr. Dean Radin, chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, which partnered in an EFT study as well.

Click here for a transcript of the interview in which Dr. Bengston shares the origin of these energy healing insights in the pioneering work of Bernard Grad at McGill University in the 1970s, which I describe in my book Soul Medicine (co-authored with Harvard-trained neurosurgeon Norm Shealy, MD, PhD).

dawson-church-phd-headshotDawson Church, PhD, is an award-winning science writer with three best-selling books to his credit. The Genie in Your Genes was the first book to demonstrate that emotions drive gene expression. Mind to Matter showed that the brain creates much of what we think of as “objective reality.” Bliss Brain demonstrates that peak mental states rapidly remodel the brain for happiness. Dawson has conducted dozens of clinical trials, and founded the National Institute for Integrative Healthcare (NIIH) to promote groundbreaking new treatments. Dawson shares how to apply these health and performance breakthroughs through EFT Universe.

NIMH Dumps DSM Diagnosis

In a dramatic announcement, Thomas Insel, the director of the US government agency that provides grants for the study of mental illness, the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH), has rejected the “bible” of psychiatric diagnosis, the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual).

In a dramatic announcement Thomas Insel the director of the US government agency that provides grants for the study of mental illness the National Institutes of Mental Health NIMH has rejected the bible of psychiatric diagnosis the DSM Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

The DSM has been used for decades to define psychological conditions such as PTSD depression and anxiety and has become widely used even in areas for which it was never originally intended such as law and insurance reimbursement.

Insel writes that the NIMH will be reorienting its research away from DSM categories.

The fifth edition of the DSM has been more than a decade in the making and is just weeks away from publication.

Says Insel:

“While DSM has been described as a Bible for the field, it is at best a dictionary creating a set of labels and defining each. The strength of each of the editions of DSM has been reliability — each edition has ensured that clinicians use the same terms in the same ways. The weakness is its lack of validity. Unlike our definitions of ischemic heart disease lymphoma or AIDS, the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure. In the rest of medicine, this would be equivalent to creating diagnostic systems based on the nature of chest pain or the quality of fever. Indeed, symptom-based diagnosis once common in other areas of medicine has been largely replaced in the past half century as we have understood that symptoms alone rarely indicate the best choice of treatment. Patients with mental disorders deserve better.”

Rather than the DSM, Insel writes that the NIMH will use the Research Domain Criteria RDoC which use genetic neurological and cognitive data. According to a statement issued by the board of the International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry ISEPP the DSM supports the perpetuation of myths about mental emotional and behavioral disturbances in individuals which favor pseudo-scientific biological explanations and disregard their lived context.

The evolving editions of the DSM have been remarkable in expanding psychiatric labels for alleged mental illnesses with no scientifically substantiated biological etiologies.

Adherents of biopsychiatric explanations and pharmaceutical manufacturers are the primary benefactors of public acceptance of this myth.

ISEPP recommends public scrutiny and skepticism regarding the DSM as well as a constructive dismantling of the psychiatric pharmaceutical complex through which it is continually supported and redeployed. According to another ISEPP member, Insel’s statement is also an implicit admission that there is no real theoretical basis for drug treatments for mental illness.

See also this Scientific American blog post on the issue:

dawson-church-phd-headshotDawson Church, PhD, is an award-winning science writer with three best-selling books to his credit. The Genie in Your Genes was the first book to demonstrate that emotions drive gene expression. Mind to Matter showed that the brain creates much of what we think of as “objective reality.” Bliss Brain demonstrates that peak mental states rapidly remodel the brain for happiness. Dawson has conducted dozens of clinical trials, and founded the National Institute for Integrative Healthcare (NIIH) to promote groundbreaking new treatments. Dawson shares how to apply these health and performance breakthroughs through EFT Universe.

EFT Success is Knowing the Right Questions to Ask

Dramatic, life-changing breakthroughs often occur when EFT practitioners ask the right questions.

As an EFT Universe Trainer, I teach my students valuable questions to ask their clients.

In a recent EFT Level 1 workshop, a student released 25 years of back pain in less than 20 minutes by answering one simple question to help find the emotional cause behind the pain.

The question: “What was going on in your life when the pain began?”

In that workshop, Susan and I were paired up to practice techniques for using EFT for physical issues such as pain I was the practitioner and Susan as the client Before we began our work together I noticed that Susan was sitting tentatively on the very edge of her chair.

When I invited her to sit back and get comfortable she explained that she had not been able to sit without low back pain for the past 25 years.

Though it was not the physical issue she was planning for us to work on because it seemed so huge, I suggested we jump in and see what we could do. When we started her pain intensity was a 67 out of 10, just as it is during most waking moments of her life.

Susan described that she had been medically evaluated on many occasions but the doctors were unable to find the cause of the pain or a successful treatment to relieve it. She said her son thought it sounded a lot like sciatica. When I asked her how old her son is, she said 25.

Then I asked if her pain began before or after her son was born. Susan looked puzzled at first and then as if a light went off she realized for the first time the possible link between what went on in her life while pregnant with him and her 25 years of pain.

Then, of course, I asked her: “What was going on in your life when the pain began?”

She explained that when she was three months pregnant she was working in customer service for an airline at the airport. When faced with picking up a very large suitcase she looked around for a coworker to help her but since there was nobody nearby she lifted the heavy bag herself. Susan immediately realized that she should not have done that and the ensuing pain ultimately caused her to lose her job.

While telling the story she immediately began to feel anger at the airlines.

Twenty-five years after her claim for compensation for medical care and lost wages was denied, Susan was still filled with rage. She also felt anger at herself for lifting the suitcase against her better judgment.

Since the intensity of her anger at the airlines at 10 was more intense than the anger at herself at 7 we began using the basic EFT recipe to tap about the anger at the airlines. I used Susan’s exact words as we tapped on the feelings of anger and betrayal at losing all that pay, being unfairly judged, etc.

It took only five minutes to collapse all of her negative feelings about the airlines.

Then Susan became much more aware of her anger at herself, now an intensity level of 9. Again, using her own words, we tapped about the self blame that Susan was still feeling regarding lifting the suitcase. “I was foolish. I brought this on myself,” etc. It took only a few minutes to reach the point of forgiving herself and feeling peace.

Once the intensity was gone for the anger at the airlines and at herself Susan began to notice that her back pain was almost entirely gone. Over the next several hours, the pain totally disappeared and has remained gone for the first time in 25 years.

The most frequent question my students and clients ask me is: “What is the right thing to tap on to get the most effective EFT results?”

Knowing the right questions to ask, like in Susan’s case, is the best advice I can give. Receiving skilled instruction in the EFT foundational concepts, combined with supervised practical experience, is the most powerful way I know to learn those questions and many other valuable tools to becoming highly effective at using EFT.

Dale Paula Teplitz has been an EFT instructor since 2000 and a skilled practitioner for over 20 years. Trained by the EFT Universe founder, Dr. Dawson Church, and a recipient of his official EFT Certification, Dale assisted the Dawson in his workshops for ‘Mastering EFT’ and ‘EFT for Serious Illnesses’ and in the creation of practitioner trainings. She is featured in the documentary Operation Emotional Freedom, which describes the use of EFT with combat veterans for their war traumas.

EFT Improves Sport Confidence

by Dawson Church, PhD

A study recently published in a large peer-reviewed sports journal showed that EFT improves confidence levels in athletes.
Researcher Darlene Downs gathered data from 10 female volleyball players at a university, and I wrote up the results for publication.

We analyzed their levels of PTSD, as it manifested both physically and emotionally. We also measured their confidence levels, and their degree of trauma around a single adverse event.

They then received a single EFT session that lasted only 20 minutes.

Afterwards, their confidence levels improved, while both physical and emotional aspects of PTSD decreased. When followed up 60 days later, their improvements had held.

The improvements in mental health had high statistical significance, meaning that there was only 1 possibility in 1,000 that the results were due to chance.

This study confirms the results of two earlier randomized controlled trials of EFT for athletic performance, and contributes to the growing body of research demonstrating EFT’s effectiveness for a wide range of psychological and physical problems.

You can read the study abstract here, and visit the EFT research bibliography here.

dawson-church-phd-headshotDawson Church, PhD, is an award-winning science writer with three best-selling books to his credit. The Genie in Your Genes was the first book to demonstrate that emotions drive gene expression. Mind to Matter showed that the brain creates much of what we think of as “objective reality.” Bliss Brain demonstrates that peak mental states rapidly remodel the brain for happiness. Dawson has conducted dozens of clinical trials, and founded the National Institute for Integrative Healthcare (NIIH) to promote groundbreaking new treatments. Dawson shares how to apply these health and performance breakthroughs through EFT Universe.

The Dark Side of EFT

EFT is a remarkable transformational tool–with a dark and light side. Like the Force in the movie Star Wars, it’s powerful, but can be used for good or ill. In the movie, some Jedi knights master the Force, but are then seduced by the Dark Side. All their power is then harnessed in the service of the Evil Empire. The same phenomenon often occurs in EFT.

Learning and using EFT provides no guarantee that you will remain on the Light Side of the Force. In fact, experiencing EFT’s power makes it likely that you will be tempted by the Dark Side.

There are two sources of this temptation. One comes from the outside, the other from within.

The outer temptation comes in the form of success with clients. Imagine a mildly successful life coach or psychotherapist. Or perhaps even a quite unsuccessful and frustrated life coach or psychotherapist. They learn EFT, and suddenly their clients are obtaining breakthrough results. Their ego says, “Wow, now I’m a super-therapist, a super-coach. Look at me! Look at the power I have to help people.” The ego attributes their newfound results to itself as much as to EFT. Clients are grateful to the newly-successful practitioner, further feeding the ego. It swells up to a gigantic size. Perhaps the practitioner introduces some minor variation of EFT. The ego then says, “Look, I’ve improved EFT. My EFT is even better than the original EFT.” It swells up even bigger.

The second way in which EFT can produce a monster comes from within, as EFT clears emotional trauma. Most people have a large collection of emotional problems cluttering up their psyche. The poet Robert Bly likens it to a big bag, which we drag along behind us. We can’t make fast progress through our lives because we’re impeded by dragging this bag behind us. The bag impairs our effectiveness and happiness.

EFT is very effective at clearing emotional trauma. Research shows that in just a one-day workshop, psychological problems like anxiety and depression are reduced by an average of 45%. Physical pain is reduced by an average of 68%. The results hold over time. EFT makes your bag of sorrows much smaller and lighter. All the space in the mind, body and emotional realm that was previously stuffed with emotional trauma is now open. This creates a vacuum, and that vacuum must be filled.

What rushes into this newly-liberated psychic territory? If an individual has done diligent transformational, ethical, and spiritual work, then those qualities fill the space. If an individual has not done such work, then the ego rushes in to fill the vacuum.

Keeping the ego in check has been one of the primary focuses of transformational and spiritual schools since the days of the ancient shamans. They recognized the lure of the Dark Side of the Force. They recognized that, with increased personal power comes increased responsibility to keep the ego in check. As Voltaire said, “Power corrupts.” The shamans recognized that it takes constant vigilance and committed spiritual practice to keep the psyche clear of the Dark Side. They called this practice of identifying and cleansing the influences of the ego, “cleaning the bone.”

Sometimes people in the EFT community point to the actions of this or that EFT practitioner who is drugged by power, dominated by the ego, and acting outrageously. They ask, “How can he or she do that, it goes against all the values of healing and compassion?” The reason is that such a person has fallen under the spell of the ego, going over to the Dark Side. Such a practitioner is still getting excellent results with clients, and there may be no obvious signal to them that they’ve strayed from the path.

The more power you accumulate, the greater the temptation. Historians studying transformational schools are often dismayed at the behavior of their leaders. The history of transformational movements is littered with examples of leaders who’ve become drunk with power, seduced by the Dark Side, and committed shameful acts. EFT is no exception.

As part of our certification requirements at EFT Universe, we require practitioner candidates to document 15 hours of personal work on their own issues. Why do we do this? The purpose of this requirement is to highlight the importance of “cleaning the bone.” A practitioner who gets in the habit of soul-searching, of comparing their thoughts and behaviors to the highest standards, of ongoing and diligent spiritual practice, is less likely to fall into the trap of the ego.

Fifteen hours of personal growth work is very little. It simply points to the importance of a regular practice. As you move forward on your journey with EFT, it’s important to keep examining your words, thoughts, and actions. Are they consistent with the highest values? The Dark Side will beckon, but as you commit yourself to regular personal reflection, and a strong spiritual practice, you reinforce your allegiance to the Light Side of the Force.

COMING SOON: The Short Path to Oneness