Emotional Freedom Technique

EFT or Tapping is a highly effective tool for releasing emotional and physical distress. How do you do it?

  1. Tune-in. Think of a specific problem to work on. It may be a situation or event that has occurred, a current feeling or thought or physical pain or discomfort.
  2. Narrow it down. Think about the problem and narrow it down to the most important or distressing aspect to work on. Be as specific as possible. If something pops into your mind spontaneously, explore that as the possible aspect to work on. This is your unconscious mind guiding you to the problem for work (even if it’s not what you think it should be). Sometimes the current problem is rooted in something from the past that seems unrelated but is really the root cause of your current distress.
  3. Feel it in your body. Put yourself back into the problem in your imagination for a few minutes. Notice where you feel it in your body. Notice any emotions or thoughts that come up.
  4. Note your starting intensity of the discomfort, emotion or thought (0-10), with 0 being no intensity and 10 being very intense:  If you don’t know, guess. It helps you tune into the problem and how it does or does not shift after the tapping.
  5. While continuously tapping on the karate chop point, emphatically say your set-up statement (or affirmation) three times. This statement typically includes the first part that states the specific problem you are working on (“Even though I am angry that Julie ignored me”) then the second part states the change you will make (“I’m okay… I love and accept myself… I am a kind friend…”). The two parts of the statement acknowledge the problem (exposure) and create self-acceptance (cognitive restructuring). It is important to say the statement with enthusiasm  in order to connect with your emotional energy. This helps your unconscious mind turn your affirmation into reality, simply by stating your intention to accept yourself as you are. Accepting “what is” can lead to profound change. You may not believe the affirmation at first, but say it enthusiastically to plant seeds in your unconscious mind.
  6. Tap on each of the points (see diagram) for the length of one in and out breath,  re-stating just the problem (first part of your statement). Use the fingertips of both hands, alternating tapping with one hand then the other.
  7. Tune in again and note current intensity of discomfort, emotions or thoughts. Notice any changes in the intensity or location of your physical and emotional response as well as any shifts in thinking. You may find that you look at the problem from another perspective or something new or unexpected comes up. If so, tap that! It is probably the underlying root cause of your problem.
  8. Repeat tapping until intensity is down to a zero.  Shift your set up statement/affirmation if needed for each round of tapping. It may be something like “Even though I still feel a little angry about….” or perhaps you will tap about another aspect of the problem. When your issue or problem has resolved completely you are done tapping it.
  9. What just happened? By tuning into the problem you are exposing yourself to the trigger to distressing thoughts or emotions that are blocking your body’s energy system; therefore causing dysfunction in the body. When you release blocked energy and clear your system by tapping, you allow for better, healthier functioning.
  10. Mirror work. Each night before bed sit or stand in front of a mirror and tap the acupressure points as you state an affirmation with meaning, allowing yourself to release any negative energy from the day and set up your body and mind for healing as you sleep. For example, “Even though I yelled at my mom, I love and accept myself”.
  11. What if tapping doesn’t seem to work? It is likely you are tapping on something too global or general. It is important to be as specific as possible. For example, “I have low self-esteem” is too general. Try making a list of all of the events from the past that contributed to the low self-esteem. You may list things like “my mom called me stupid when I failed a test”, “dad yelled at me when I forgot to feed the dog”, “my teacher rolled her eyes when I got the answer wrong”. You might notice that some of the specific events happened years ago. Tap on each of the events until you have reduced the event to a 0. You probably won’t have to tap each event because as you resolve earlier events you should notice the global feeling has also been resolved.
  12. How can tapping help with a major trauma? If you have had a very traumatic experience it is important to break it down into the various aspects of the event to completely resolve your distress. The reason for this is because the highest emotional charge is usually related to one or two chunks of the event rather than the entirety of the event. For example, tapping on ‘I had a car accident” includes all of the various aspects but you are not tuning into each aspect of it individually, allowing for psychological reversal. Dig deep when tuning into the different aspects of the event. Consider what you saw, heard, smelled, felt, tasted to really get at the emotional charge. Tap on each aspect of the event until you neutralize the memory of the event.
  13. Tapping on core issues. Sometimes what we feel in the present is related to something that happened in the past. We are only bothered by what happened today because it resembles something that negatively impacted us in the past. When you tap on the past event and neutralize the emotional charge, you may find that you are no longer triggered by similar events in the present. To identify the core event ask yourself, “Does this remind me of something that happened when I was a child? When is the first time I felt this way? What is the worst similar experience I have had? If  I wrote my autobiography what chapter would I want to delete as if it never happened to me?” If you can’t think of a similar event from the past, make one up. You will likely be tapping on something that happened that is similar.
  14. The movie technique. Identify an event that has a big emotional charge and give it a title. Create a setup statement using the title as the problem. Tune into the title and rate your distress. Tap on the title until your distress is at a low level. Picture the event in your mind’s eye as a movie, and run through the movie scene by scene starting at a neutral point before the problem occurred. When you reach a part of the movie that has a big emotional charge, stop the movie, rate your distress and tap on that scene until your distress drops to a 0 or maybe a 1 or 2.  Then start the movie again from the beginning neutral point and continue to stop and tap on any scene that is distressing. If you sail through the initial stopping point with no distress you have released the emotional charge. Continue with this process until you can review the entire movie from the neutral point to the conclusion of the event with no emotional charge. This will mean you have resolved the memory. To truly test yourself run through the movie one more time and exaggerate the sensory input (sights, sounds, smells, tastes, feelings etc). Or speak the movie out loud instead of running it in your head silently. When you can not possibly make yourself upset you have resolved the event. Be sure to use this technique on events that lasted only a few minutes. If it is an event that lasted hours or days you are being too general.
  15. The personal peace procedure. List every specific, troubling event in your life and tap on each one of them one by one. You will probably not have to tap on the entire list because of EFT’s generalization effect. Once you have released the emotional charge from one event, you may find that the emotional charge from similar events released as well.

EFT Tapping Points

  1. Karate chop- corrects for emotional reversal/small intestine
  2. Top of head- activates all meridian points for healing- entire body
  3. Middle of forehead- intuition, imagination/eyes
  4. Inner eyebrow- trauma, frustration, sadness/bladder
  5. Outer side of eye- rage, resentment and loss of power/gall bladder
  6. Under eye- anxiety, fear, emptiness/nausea,  stomach
  7. Under nose- loss of control, shame, embarrassment/governing vessel (yin)
  8. Chin- not good enough, uncertainty, confusion/central vessel (yang)
  9. Below collarbone- too hard on self/kidney
  10. Sore spot- feeling stuck, indecision, worry/kidney
  11. Thymus gland- balance/immune system
  12. Ribs- survival mode, unhappiness, bitterness, anger/liver
  13. Under arm- future worry, obsessions, guilt/ spleen, pancreas
  14. Wrist- grief, loss, shame, regret, nervousness/lung
  15. Gamut spot (between ring and pinky fingers)- depression, ability to manage stress/physical pain, fight flight response
  16. Tip of thumb- negative thinking, grief, loss/lung
  17. Index finger- difficulty forgiving self, letting go of past hurts/large intestine
  18. Middle finger- anger, jealousy, stubbornness/circulation
  19. Pinky finger- “pissy anger”, over excitement/heart
  20. Heart- sincerity, calm/ heart
  21. Top of head- inner critic/”seals the deal” with all meridian points and body


Give it a try!

Karen, Calm4Kids