EFT – a passing fad or a valuable resource?

A therapy cloaked in pseudo-science  >  There is talk nowadays about emotionally focused therapy. But what is EFT and is it yet another therapy fad?

Basically this therapy, which is ‘included within the field of Energy Psychology, proposes that emotions themselves have an innately adaptive potential that, if activated, can change problematic emotional states or unwanted self-experiences. Emotions themselves do not inhibit the therapeutic process, but people’s incapability to manage emotions and use them well is seen as the problem’.

To Tonic’s therapists this sounds like pseudo-medical mumbo-jumbo.relationships 2

So let us hear what the EFT practitioners say …. ‘the technique works by releasing blockages within the energy system which are the source of emotional intensity and discomfort. Treatment involves the use of fingertips rather than needles to tap on the end points of energy meridians* that are situated just beneath the surface of the skin. Tapping is non-invasive and works on the ethos of making change as simple and as pain free as possible’.

None the wiser? So when we read further that ‘it is at the heart of the re-joining of the old and new paradigms’ the snake-oil salesman alarm bells start ringing. We know there will be howls of anguish from the brown bread, knit your own sandal brigade, but we are always wary when such New Age language is used to describe a therapy..

But to be constructive, EFT was originally developed for couples and is claimed to be effective for solving relationship conflicts. Participants are encouraged to express their experiences and emotions in a non-judgmental and secure environment.

By witnessing the release of feelings and anxieties of one partner, the other is able to gain new insight and perception into the validity and emotional state that their own actions and experiences have on the relationship as a whole. Without criticism or consequences, the partners are permitted to voice their deepest concerns and conflicts in order to address them and move beyond to develop more productive and collaborative behaviours.

It all sounds convincing, but as EFT can require up to 20 paid sessions to work, the resulting financial strain is likely to cancel out emotional gains!

So, yes, we are biased and we recommend you play safe by keeping to mainstream complementary therapies that have a proven track record and are recommended by the Government. Tonic hopes to hear from you soon …

Footnote:  *  Most psychotherapies are best regarded as forms of emotion suppression therapy (EST). In contrast, emotion focused therapy (EFT) seeks to resolve unpleasant emotions by working with them. It regards many unpleasant emotions as sources of useful information.  *  Medical research into energy meridians is scarce and many medics refuse to acknowledge their existence. 

14 thoughts on “EFT – a passing fad or a valuable resource?

  1. drum-man 3 says:

    Bigots. Crass idiots. Blind fools. Why criticise an idea that sets out to help people in need? And, anyway, what is wrong with brown bread and sandles?

  2. Lotus says:

    Because the techniques are so simple does not mean they should be riduculed. They can be used effectively as a self-help tool, which empowers people to actively contribute to their own healing and development process. This facilitates a much faster relief process, previously believed impossible by healthcare professionals who advocated lengthy (& often painful) hours in psychotherapeutic or medical care, often with limited results. These techniques do not discredit the medical and psychotherapeutic professions, but rather serve to contribute to a holistic healing process.

  3. Yvonne (Tavistock) says:

    your frank honesty of your opinion is refreshing, though not 100% sure your are right
    anyway, what’s the robot photo got to do with the subject?

    Moderator responds > No idea. The Editor said no obvious photo came to mind to illustrate the story, so she thought an esoteric image would complement an esoteric Posting. Surely more creative than a cliche pic of a pile of balancing pebbles on a beach, or something similar!

  4. Candice T says:

    EFT draws on attachment theory, which asserts that humans are hardwired for strong emotional bonds with others. According to EFT, couples have relationship problems when they have experienced emotional disconnection with their partner at key moments, which then leads to struggles” with negative cycles of criticism and anger. Therefore, the aim of this therapy is to help couples overcome these negative cycles, re-establish their connection, and strengthen their emotional bond.
    These are well intentioned motives and I do not see why you guys at Tonic feel so threatened. Worried about a little competition?

  5. Terry Jones (Client 89) says:

    Tapping therapies are many and varied but they are based on one principle – physically tapping on certain points on the body makes you feel better! And this aspect of EFT should have been stressed in your Posting.
    During an EFT session, you will be asked to bring a problem to mind. As you do so, you will tap on specific points on your body. This brings about change on the physical level, which in turn influences your experience at the emotional level. It is sort of acupuncture without the needles.

  6. In my experience lack of persistence and not getting to the core of the core of the matter are two of the main reasons why it may not work for beginners.
    However, with EFT you should be getting partial results along the way immediately. For example, if you have a fear of spiders, in the first session itself a good and experienced practitioner may have chosen to work on one, more, or all of these example aspects (which I plucked out of previous client experiences as examples) and reduced them in intensity (preferably to zero) …
    One time that a spider was encountered
    A parent´s fear of spiders and the need to mimic their behaviour
    An incident of being abused or bullied as a child
    A death in the family
    Fear of being bitten and given disease

  7. Ollie (therapist) says:

    In my clinical experience EFT does not require client’s belief in it for it to work well. I was a sceptic myself when I first reluctantly tried it some years ago, and many of my clients are the same; they still get positive results most of the time. Believing in EFT does help a bit when I give clients homework to tap for themselves.

  8. Laura Eves (therapist) says:

    My experience with EFT has been some relief initially, but with a return in equal intensity later. In fact, the EFT practitioners I’ve worked with simply assume it’s one of few scripted “negative, limiting beliefs”. Maybe it is, but how do we really know without checking it out? Everything about the culture, marketing, and language of EFT (especially it’s strong association with the law of attraction) smacks of catering to the controller. For those with little or no awareness of the multiplicity of selves, it seems a dis-service.

  9. EFT is yet another highly marketed quick fix. Affirmations are very shallow, if they worked our world would be sane. And I don’t think that meridians have anything to do with anything when it comes to psychology.

  10. T. Kell-Manning says:

    It is important not to discredit the fact that long-term success has been seen with the use of EFT techniques. The objective of EFT is to trigger an emotion, memory, belief, etc. and then access the neurological pathways or energy fields in which this emotion, memory or belief was recorded in order to replace the negative emotions with the neutral emotions of the present moment. When we choose an issue to work on using EFT, inevitably we are triggering a part. Often times EFT encourages being “flooded” by the part, or feeling any emotions that come up and then tapping on the meridian points as you are feeling the emotions. The reason EFT has such inconsistent results, is that’s it’s shooting in the dark. You never know if the system is on board, or if the part triggered is open to healing. If, however, a part is open to healing, and you tap on the meridian points while the part is flooded with you, then the negative emotions of the part may be permanently replaced with the neutral emotions of the present moment. It’s almost the same process as the part giving up it’s burden to fire, wind, or water. There are many therapeutic techniques that all use the same tools, just in a different way. The beauty of IFS therapy is that it takes the guessing out of it all, and is therefore much more effective and efficient.

  11. Patrick O says:

    EFT blends affirmations with meridian tapping. It’s like a modified acupuncture, with finger tips instead of needles, and an element of chat built in. I think Tonic’s claim that it is expensive is misleading as the basic information is given away for free. There’s no commitment at all save the willingness to try something new.
    I also dispute that there is no medical evidence that it works. There is a lot of work being done right now to validate tapping therapy. Also, remember there is a long history of the body’s energy fields – Asian medicine in particular has made use of this model in acupuncture. We know through contemporary physics (especially quantum physics) that the mind is more powerful – and its effects more broad-reaching – than we originally understood.
    In a nutshell, if you believe in EFT, then it IS going to produce results for you.

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