Lorraine had always dreamed of having a comfortable and reliable car. When she received an unexpected windfall in a bequest from an uncle, she decided to treat herself. One of her neighbours who had been a friend for 25 years had a business selling just the kind of car she had in mind. She knew his business had suffered badly during a recent international economic crisis, and thought that she would do him a favour and buy the car through him. A good deal was very quickly done.
Sadly, a few months later, it emerged that the car had been stolen. The police became involved and confiscated it immediately. Lorraine was devastated. Her friend maintained that all the registration papers had been in order and that he’d had no idea that the car was stolen. But nevertheless, Lorraine had to take legal proceedings against him in order to recover her money. She had no money to buy another car, and being a widow of senior age she could not secure a loan from any bank.
For health and geographical reasons, Lorraine was dependent on a car to get around. When she was advised that she might not get any money back for several years, she was thrown into a deeply anxious state. Friends could not get her out of her house, or stop her from repeatedly blaming herself for having been too naive and impulsive, and also obsessively worrying about the court case and how she would manage without a car.
Luckily, one of Lorraine’s daughter’s friends was a counsellor who had just done a course in a relatively new therapy called the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). She offered to help and persuaded Lorraine to try it out. Much to everyone’s surprise, it worked. Lorraine’s emotional equilibrium quickly returned, and although she still had her practical problems to solve, she was able to return to her normal active life. And, very importantly, the risk of her slipping further down into a serious agoraphobic or depressed state was avoided.
What is EFT?
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
is one of the new “power therapies”, also known as “energy psychology”, which uses the ancient Chinese meridian energy system.
EFT is based on the premise that negative emotions are the result of a disruption in the body’s energy system. In principle, it is similar to acupuncture
but doesn’t use needles. Instead, well-established energy meridian points on your body are stimulated by tapping them with your fingertips.
The process of tapping these meridians clears blockages by sending pulses of energy to rebalance the body’s energy system. Shifting this natural energy changes the way in which the brain processes information about a particular issue, and tapping, while tuned in to the issue in question, is like rewiring the brain’s conditioned negative response.
Sandra Nathan, a counsellor at the Hale Clinic in London who specialises in EFT gave me a simple technique you can try on your own. It can be used on an everyday basis to prevent worries and self-destructive self-talk from taking a hold on you.
Self-help tap technique
Before starting, please note:
- that you do not need to tap hard; you are just trying to create a gentle vibration on the meridian
- you must tap seven times on average at each point
- you can use either hand and either side of the body, but you will find greater success when using both hands and tapping on both sides of the body at the same time
Think about the issue that’s worrying you, then grade the intensity of the feeling (e.g. sadness, guilt, fear, etc.) that you are experiencing in relation to your specific issue on a simple scale of one to 10 (where 10 is the worst/highest level).
Tap on the outer side of either hand (below the little finger) while saying a positive reminder or affirmation such as: “Even though I have this feeling of (...), I completely and utterly love and accept myself.” Repeat this step three times.
Repeat your feeling statement and reminder phrase while tapping on each of the following points:
- the top of your head
- the beginning of your eyebrow (nearest your nose)
- the side of your eye on the bone
- under your eye on the bone
- under your nose
- between your bottom lip and chin
- your collar bone
- under your arm (about 7.5cm below armpit)
- wrist point (on your arm, 2.5cm from the wrist joint)
Repeat this sequence.
Take a deep breath, stretch, and check the intensity level of your feeling again. It should have reduced considerably. If you want to chill out even further, you can continue to repeat the technique from step two until the intensity level of your feeling reaches zero.
Extract taken from Weathering The Storm: How to Build Confidence & Self-Esteem in the Face of Adversity
by Gael Lindenfield, published by Trigger, RRP £9.99.
Read How to use EFT for anxiety
Learn more about EFT and the benefits of tapping
. Connect with a therapist by simply browsing profiles and when you find a person you resonate with, send them an email.
If you're worried about your own or loved one's mental health, you may benefit from speaking with a counsellor. Learn the benefits of talking therapy and find a counsellor near you or online on Counselling Directory
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