Emotional Freedom Therapy for PTSD
Albert Einstein proved in the 1920’s that everything (including our bodies) is comprised of energy. Emotional Freedom Therapy (EFT) is a scientifically proven technique which can release any ‘blockages’ in this energy, which can be the source of emotional intensity and discomfort.
EFT is a form of ‘psychological acupressure’, based on the same energy therapies used in traditional acupuncture (but without the needles!), to clear the emotional block. It uses simple tapping with your (or your therapists) fingers to input kinetic energy onto specific points on the body while you think about your trauma and voice positive affirmations.
In The Brain that Changes Itself, Dr. Norman Doidge argues that that the brain is ‘plastic’ – it can adapt to the events that it encounters and alters its resources to meet changing conditions, suggesting that the events that change someone’s brain (such as trauma which causes PTSD) can be changed again. Doige acknowledges the benefits of neuroplasticity when reviewing therapies for PTSD such as EFT, but has acknowledged that ‘EMDR was the most promising treatment that he was aware of’.
How effective is EFT?
In just six sessions, 86% of sufferers in one study reported a dramatic reduction of their PTSD symptoms – and these improvements were permanent!
One PTSD sufferer also previously rated his anxiety levels as 8 (on a scale of 10) prior to therapy, but after EFT, they were reduced to 0, and said ‘after tapping, you still have the emotion, but it doesn’t own you. It’s not overwhelming. It’s just a memory.’ This is very similar to the outcome of EMDR.
How does EFT work?
There are 3 key reasons why EFT works so well to reduce PTSD symptoms.
- It reduces stress As you become calmer, your body responds by shifting all your systems to a more relaxed state of functioning. That’s why EFT works well in addition to other therapies such as EMDR.
- It reduces the intensity of emotional trauma In a similar way to EMDR, you can still remember the trauma, but it no longer evokes such a strong emotional response. This change in emotions is thanks to “memory reconsolidation” and studies in this field show that ‘there is a brief period just after a memory has been reawakened when its emotional content may be “untagged.” The neurological wiring governing our old response can be rewired during this window.’
- It modifies the way the brain processes emotional information relating to the trauma
Why choose this form of therapy?
Those who have undergone Emotional Freedom Therapy confirm it’s a positive experience, which often works when nothing else seems to! It can offer quick, long lasting relief from PTSD symptoms and can be undertaken by yourself too.
Although it’s acknowledged by the NHS National Institute for Clinical Excellence guidelines, that EMDR and CBT are the most effective treatments for ‘healing’ from PTSD, there are certainly many benefits from EFT for PTSD sufferers – and it if you’re waiting for CBT or EMDR treatment , it can be a huge help in the meantime.
If you’ve had any experience with EFT and would like to share your story with others, please contact us.
IMAGES: Taiwan. Taipei. Acupuncture by Tomás Fano
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