What is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)?

Developed by Stanford University academic Gary Craig and building on the work of other academics in related fields, such as Dr Roger Callaghan and Dr George Goodheart, EFT, or Emotional Freedom Technique, forms part of what is called Energy Psychology in the English speaking world today. It is also known as Meridian Tapping, or simply Tapping.

Cutting-edge research into how the body stores and processes trauma, combined with advanced neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) techniques, and ancient Chinese knowledge of the body’s energy pathways (the meridian system), produce a gentle conversation-based therapy involving tapping on certain points on the upper body, while holding a thought or memory in the mind. EFT is a powerful way of regulating the nervous system, clinically proven in studies to reduce the stress hormone cortisol by between 43% and 47% in under an hour, eliciting a feeling of calm.

EFT has been proven in randomised controlled trials to be especially helpful with:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Food cravings
  • PTSD

Research into EFT is growing; there are now over 140 studies worldwide. Here are just a few of them:

EFT as a treatment for PTSD


A ‘meta analysis’ of randomised controlled trials on the use of EFT for the treatment of depression


EFT use for physical as well as emotional health


EFT can be used across a whole range of other emotional and physical conditions, as it is now widely recognised that many physical ailments have their roots in emotional disturbances. While everyone is different, typically between four to 10 treatments are needed to achieve most clients’ goals.

With the support of a practitioner, EFT can unwind years of stress and trauma stored in the body and mind. Some studies have also shown it to be an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) and – unusually for treatments for this condition – gains made with EFT are maintained afterwards. It’s also easy to learn and there are many resources out on the web. Integrating tapping into your day, even five or 10 minutes of self-care, can help you deal with the stresses and strains of modern life, retaining a grander perspective, and helping you to maintain your wellbeing long after treatment with a practitioner ends.

EFT combines very well with yoga and meditation and other therapies based on the body’s meridian system.

Who can benefit from EFT?

Anyone who does not have the time or ‘headspace’ to do written homework!

Anyone who prefers to (of course gently and with compassionate support) zero in on the root cause of their emotional and physical symptoms in a targeted way to eliminate the emotional charge/s associated with a thought or memory, while keeping the need for discussion to a minimum.

Anyone who would like to keep some painful information private during therapy. As long as you are willing to hold the thought or memory in your mind during the session, it is not always necessary to disclose the details to the therapist. EFT can still work even if you choose not to disclose all information.

Anyone who wants to take control of their health and wellbeing in a flexible manner. Once the client’s goals have been achieved with a practitioner, clients commonly continue practising self-care using EFT on themselves, occasionally coming back into therapy with a practitioner to take a deep dive into a particular issue.

Written by Julia Adams, a verified welldoing.org EFT practitioner in Stroud and online

Last updated 15 January 2021