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EFT: Western Psychology Taps Eastern Healing
The power of EFT as a healing tool comes from its rich blend of modern psychological principles and ancient Chinese wisdom. EFT takes modern psychological principles and lights them on fire with the mind-body connection. When your body's energy meridians are harnessed for emotional healing, you have a powerful tool that's hard to beat!
EFT, short for Emotional Freedom Techniques, is now used by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, but few are aware of its complex and intriguing history. In its modern form, EFT has only been around since the 1990s, yet its fundamental roots date back thousands of years. Those roots became tangled up with the principles of modern psychology—in a good way—back in the 1970s and 1980s, and the result is a fascinating mélange of Eastern and Western paradigms, one that works by capitalizing on the strengths of each.
Traditional Chinese Medicine, particularly acupuncture, provides the foundation for EFT and other forms of "meridian tapping."
Acupuncture is an ancient healing art involving the insertion of tiny needles, in order to stimulate the energy pathways (meridians) of your body. This practice remains widely used today, particularly in the East. Acupuncture was originally developed to treat physical problems, as opposed to emotional ones. However, the millennia have established its value for both.
EFT and other meridian tapping techniques have sprung from the mind-body model and are sometimes referred to as "emotional acupuncture." EFT has a distinct advantage over acupuncture in that it appeals to us Westerners who are averse to being poked repeatedly with sharp objects.
The first leap from acupuncture toward EFT came in 1962 from George Goodheart, a well-known American chiropractor. Intrigued by the possibilities acupuncture held for his practice, Dr. Goodheart incorporated those basic principles into an assessment method he was developing, which he termed "applied kinesiology." Instead of inserting needles into the acupuncture points, he decided to stimulate them manually by "tapping." In the 1970s, Goodheart's work was furthered by Australian psychiatrist John Diamond, who began treating his patients' emotional issues with a combination of positive self-statements and acupoint tapping. Diamond named his new method "behavioral kinesiology."
Essentially, Drs. Goodheart and Diamond laid the foundation for the field of Energy Psychology and all "meridian-based therapies" that followed. But it was American psychologist Roger Callahan who transformed meridian tapping into a distinct form of psychological treatment.
Dr. Callahan specialized in treating patients with anxiety and phobias. It was he who discovered that, if a patient tapped while intentionally focusing on his emotional issue, the specific fear would disappear quickly and often permanently. He discovered, largely by accident, that strategically tapping on certain combinations of points could bring levels of emotional healing that were impossible to achieve using traditional psychotherapy alone, achieving enormous success in his clinical work, as a result. Dr. Callahan devoted his practice to developing specific sequences of acupoints, or "algorithms,"—basically, a recipe for every type of emotional problem. He called his approach "The Callahan Techniques," but it was later renamed "Though Field Therapy," or TFT.
Dr. Callahan's algorithms were not without their drawbacks, however. It was necessary to muscle test every patient in order to determine the appropriate tapping points, and this was both time consuming and difficult to do—and certainly not an easy process to teach others. Two of Dr. Callahan's star pupils, Gary Craig and psychologist Patricia Carrington (independently and unbeknownst to each other) sought a way to simplify Callahan's methods and make them more accessible. In 1987, Dr. Carrington developed a "single algorithm" protocol called Acutap that did not involve any sort of diagnostic testing. She later incorporated Gary Craig's EFT into her protocol, and her "Choices Method" is widely used today.
In the 1990s, Gary Craig, a Stanford trained engineer, independently reached the same conclusion as Dr. Carrington that, in order for Callahan's methods to provide the greatest benefit to the greatest number of people, a single algorithm needed to be found.
As an engineer, Craig had a unique insight into the human body as a system. Craig's special skill set—meaning, his ability to see the body through an engineer's eyes, combined with his masterful powers of intuition—are what allowed him to bring EFT to the next level. He developed his own single algorithm protocol, which he called "Emotional Freedom Techniques" or EFT, and he found it to be every bit as effective as the more complicated protocols of Dr. Callahan. But EFT was far less time consuming and easier to learn.
Gary Craig simplified meridian tapping and brought it to the masses, morphing it into a tool that can be learned by just about anyone, even children! His EFT protocol is now the most influential in the field of Energy Psychology. To date, traditional EFT has been taken in a number of different directions by a number of different practitioners around the globe.
In the West, efforts are underway to establish EFT's legitimacy and credibility as a viable treatment method.
EFT practitioners and lay tappers alike will tell you that EFT works. But until its efficacy is established by science, EFT will lack credibility as a proven treatment modality and will not make it through the allopathic doorway. In order for EFT to be allowed into facilities like prisons and the VA, and for it to gain recognition by health insurance companies, there needs to be good science behind it. One person who has devoted a vast amount of time, energy and support toward this end is scientist and author Dawson Church, whose name you may recognize from a growing number of research studies, clinical reports and books about EFT.
In time, EFT is bound to wiggle its way into the heart of Western medicine—it's simply too effective NOT to. But for now, it's one of the world's best-kept secrets in the battle against the emotional baggage that stands between true happiness and us. I can't recommend EFT strongly enough, whether you are among the self-help mindset or not. It just works. Try it out! Give it a chance to transform your life.