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Emotional Freedom Technique (aka EFT)

To understand how EFT works, why it may work for some folks and not others, please see Memory Reconsolidation New.

EFT is often used as a form of Trauma Work New. It works on basically any emotional disturbances, but also note that emotions are physiological, so it can affect physiological symptoms or discomfort as well.

What is EFT

This is a tool used both by professionals & laypeople, and thus can be very helpful for folk who cannot work with a therapist and are looking for a tool to use to assist in processing triggers and trauma. We highly recommend getting the book (or requesting it from your library) EFT for PTSD by Gary Craig (Amazon affiliate link) because it includes the modifications needed for EFT to work with complex trauma. Chapter 6 & 11 are relevant for C-PTSD associated with DID.

This is a tapping technique to deprogram triggers and free up emotional "chokepoints" in life, developed by Gary Craig.

EFT can serve as a type of self-administered EMDR-replacement for those who either cannot work with a therapist, or for whom EMDR is overwhelming and they need to take 100% control over their deep-trigger-work without external intervention.

Where Can I Learn EFT?

The "Gold Standard (Official) EFT Tapping Tutorial" is available for free from his website although the free booklet may be a little dense and confusing. It's highly recommended that you read the booklet to learn how to use the bare-bones original basic technique. It is easier to learn the technique from people, but Gary Craig no longer teaches this technique. He has videos online you may be able to find.

Crisses created & have shared their EFT cheatsheet and suggest you print out 2 copies, one to take notes on while reading his pamphlet, the other to save for when you have the basic technique down and no longer need all of your notes. This cheatsheet does not include the modifications needed to do deep trauma work.

Gary Craig has since moved on to another technique that may be less effective as a do-it-yourself EMDR. It's fairly new, and the authors aren't sure.

EFT Technique Modifications

EFT frequently uses SUDS Scales New to do pre- post- and mid-technique subjective assessments to gauge whether more rounds of EFT are needed. Understanding what SUDS scales are used for, how they work as a subjective measure, etc. is helpful for understanding how EFT works.

One modification we would recommend is working on the "Movie" method (per Gary Craig's instructions with notes on the cheatsheet linked above) starting with a recent incident where the issue got triggered (not the original trauma). Play forward until you-now feel any stirring of reaction, such as a point-5 (0.5) or one (1) in 10, and start tapping to get it down to a 0 again. This is something we were reminded of when using ART therapy (Accelerated Resolution Therapy) with our therapist — that you don't have to start with the anxiety higher and work your way all the way down to 0. You can play the movie from a totally neutral point and work on anything that comes up as you play the movie forward, however small.

"Science" Behind EFT

Is EFT proven? No, yes, maybe? I'm not sure we care because it works for us. There are many things in the world that aren't proven but work for people. The placebo effect exists but they still don't know why. And often it's more effective than many medications out there, but people don't fill their medicine cabinet with sugar pills and subconscious beliefs. Folk with faith in specific religions find it works for them. Doesn't work for us. So your faith may affect it. Or not. But there are people who swear by EFT and it's very effective for some people, it gives more selves-control and selves-agency than EMDR and is gentle if you allow it to be. Use it wisely like any other tool in your toolkit. — Crisses

As we said before, EFT likely works by the same mechanisms that any technique works to resolve trauma and change physiological processes in the autonomic nervous system by way of Memory Reconsolidation New — as such, if the tool works for you, it works. And if this tool doesn't work for you — it won't. It's more important to hit on the steps required to engage with memory reconsolidation — the tools are how we get there, and MR is the neurological mechanism behind the changes. This may not work as well in a laboratory, or when people are resistant or skeptical — and can be very successful when folks are sincere and using it outside a lab condition.

There are simpler ways to achieve MR, but if you already know EFT, and it works for y'all, carry on! It's as good a tool as any so long as it actually works for you.

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