There are some psychological techniques which sound a lot like quackery, and when you go to the internet to find out more about them, you can still be left wondering.
One such technique is called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). It's also known as the tapping technique, or tapping meditation. That's because an integral part of the therapy involves tapping on acupressure points on your face, hands, and upper torso.
There's actually plenty of research to back it up, despite how odd it might look when someone engages the tapping when out in public.
I've been trying out a version of EFT for a while now, which utilises your imagination to do the tapping, instead of your fingertips (a type of Energy Psychology).
Why not try it out?
The acupressure points are as follows:
On the top of your crown
Between your eyebrows
Outside your eye creases
Either side of your nose, under your eyes
Just below your nose
The fleshy outside part of your hands
Under your clavicles
Under your arms, about halfway down your ribs (like hugging yourself)
Don't worry about getting it wrong, this is just about trying it out.
First, stand in front of a mirror. Just try gently tapping those head, face, hand, and body parts. Feel how it feels.
Plant the memory of the feelings inside your brain, in the middle, near the front.
As you gently tap, watch your finger tapping. Now close your eyes, and visualise that part of your head, face, hand or torso being tapped.
That's step 1: making the memory of the physical feelings of acupressure points being tapped.
Now, with your eyes closed, imagine the feeling of that skin being tapped, without your fingertips actually making contact with it.
That's step 2: using memory and imagination to elicit the feeling of your acupressure points being tapped, without any actual manual stimulation. * Imagine-tapping!
Now, in your safe space, think of something which makes you uneasy. Think of the event, and also think of how it makes you feel. Say those two things out loud: describe the event, and explain your feelings.
That's step 3: articulating that which makes you uneasy, and the feeling you get from it.
As you articulate the event and your feelings, imagine tapping those acupressure points. No need to use your fingertips, just use your mind. From the space between your eyebrows, generate the feelings of your acupressure points being tapped, and send those feelings (the "vibe") to the other acupressure points.
That's step 4: combining the thought of the uneasy event, the feelings you get from it, and the "vibe" - imagine-tapping your acupressure points.
Just repeat this step for a while, remembering to send the tapping vibe to your acupressure points, while articulating the event and your feelings about it. If the words you use change (or even if they don't), that's okay. Allow the thoughts and feelings to evolve, while still imagine-tapping your acupressure points.
That's step 5: empowering yourself and feeling better, through allowing the process to work for you. Don't force it; allow it.
Consider what score you would have had at the start, if 0 was "completely at ease" and 10 was "totally out of my mind with anxiety and fear"? Now, how would you score how you feel?
There was a case study of a member of the military with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), who underwent EFT for 6 sessions over 6 weeks. This participant went from extreme psychological distress to feeling pretty good about life, and getting on with the joy of living, at various time points over the next 3 years. I think if that's possible for someone with PTSD, then this technique is definitely worth trying.
While it does suit self-administration, there is something really wonderful that happens when you allow your Coach to guide you through the process. You're no longer alone! You have a support, and a witness, and a cheer squad. You have someone to hold the space for you, and care that you'll be alright.
Now, here's a quirky thing about EFT. There's been research into its usefulness into all kinds of chronic conditions, including anxiety and depression, but also other more physical ailments (like cancer and psoriasis). It's been suggested that the tapping of acupressure points, combined with exposure and cognitive therapies, can influence the body at the cellular and epigenetic levels. It impacts the immune and nervous systems.
It makes me think of sugar cravings! Or rather, the act of eating all the biscuits, because you're the only one in the house .. is that you? I know how it feels! I only do my grocery shopping once a month, to avoid buying all the highly processed carbs (otherwise, I'm worried I'll come home with biscuits, chocolates, cakes, you name it).
Would you to like to try EFT with me, to be free of this type of scoffing?
Well, I've only just realised what's going on for me, and now I'm keen to resolve this issue once and for all. It would be great to pair up with you, and see how well it will work.
So, to summarise, EFT works and can be learned by anyone. While the research supports actually tapping those acupressure points with your fingertips, this can be embarrassing if you have a panic attack in public. So, learning how to imagine-tap could be incredibly useful! It's also a deeply relieving experience, when done with your Coach. Why not book a free strategy session today, to discuss what you'd like to achieve?
* Why would imagine-tapping work? You see, we have a brain region, full of mirror neurons, that is devoted to this kind of activity - watching something being done, imagining yourself doing it, and being able to master it. So, you can do it. Just give it a try!
** Don't forget, your friendly psychologist can help with PTSD, other anxieties, and various other emotional/cognitive/behavioural stuff that might be concerning you. Why not chat with your GP for a referral?