EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) are ways of eliminating intense emotions that serve no purpose, and just make the situation and life worse. I see EFT and EMDR as a way of normalizing emotions surrounding issues or situations that could have been caused by trauma. By using EFT and EMDR, my emotions are less intense and more within what I think is normal. If you have severe PTSD or trauma, I suggest you consult with a therapist before trying the suggestions in this blog.
I do not expect to be free of negative emotions, since I believe negative emotions are not only a reality of this earthly life but also necessary, as I pointed out in my blog on Shame and Guilt. Negative emotions like anger and fear can give us the motivation to make changes in ourselves and our lives that are important and necessary. But some of us have too much negative emotions – too much anger, fear or sadness. Getting rid of that excess negative emotion is what this blog is all about.
EFT is essentially tapping on the meridian lines as defined by Chinese Medicine. These are the same meridian lines used in Acupuncture. Here is the tapping sequence as defined by Gary Craig – the founder of EFT. There are diagrams on this webpage and a video to help simplify the process. It took a bit of time, both in reading and practicing, for me to get the EFT tapping routine down. But once it became a habit, it became easy and quick to do.
My method is very much like Gary Craig’s Peace Program. I write down everything – any issue, problem, situation, person, people, that is causing me to have intense emotions. Gary Craig recommends to write down all these problems early in the “program”. But during this process I would write down problems and issues as they come up. Each day, I would think of new problems or issues I need to deal with. I ended up writing these all down in a Word file on my tablet.
I work on EFT and EMDR first thing after I wake up in the morning. Usually I have some problem that is “in my face” that I need to deal with. If not, then there was likely a problem “in my face” the day or two before, that I wrote down already. On occasion, if I don’t have any problems “in my face”, I go through issues that I’ve written down in my Word file.
The procedure is simple. I define what is bugging me. For example, political divisiveness, climate change, somebody in my life, or Covid. Since this is just for me, I don’t filter anything. I try to call a spade a spade, since doing so gets to the heart of the matter.
Next, I list all the emotions I have surrounding what is bugging me. Usually I have at least 8 or 10 different emotions, but with you it may be different. My “idea” of emotions contains regular emotions like anger, depression, anxiety, frustration, hatred and so on. But my idea of emotion is likely broader than how psychologists or Gary Craig would define emotions.
For example, one “emotion” I’ve written down is “scapegoated”. That is when I feel like someone is using me as a scapegoat for their problems or the group’s problems. Examples of other like-minded “phenomenas” I list as emotions are: invalidated, violated, cheated, domineered, lied to, lacking a foundation, out of control, dumped on, chaos, psyched-out, harsh and disunity. If this “broader” conception of emotions doesn’t fit with you, I suggest just stick with the standard definition of emotions.
I try to write down as many emotions I can think of before I start the EFT tapping, but usually other emotions will come up as I am tapping. I always try to write down the emotions, for future reference, and because likely I will need to tap for the same issue in the future.
As with Gary Craig’s EFT, I say aloud the problem that’s bugging me first, at each tapping spot. Then I follow that with one emotion. I try my best to visualize how the problem feels like when combined with the emotion, but I don’t sweat it either. Part of my philosophy is moderation in all things, and one step at a time. If a particular emotion has a lot of energy, I will use that emotion for the next tapping point, or several tapping points.
I tap on my left side first, do the gamut procedure, then tap on my right side. After I covered all my tapping points, I hold on to my TheraTapper paddles and go through the list of emotions, or stop after I start getting tired or my hands get annoyed from feeling the electrical vibrations. I have the older, less expensive TheraTapper model, so I can’t comment on the new model with audio. Here is a video of a psychologist (or psychiatrist?) extolling the virtues of the TheraTapper for people dealing with PTSD or trauma.
Lastly, I go through each emotion while looking at my EMDR Android app. The Android app I use is free and is called EyeMove X EMDR Trauma Therapy. By this time, I am usually tired, and only do a few emotions. In my formula, I first use EFT, then the Thera Tapper, and lastly the EMDR app, but you could switch it around as you like. I use this order because I find EFT is usually the most helpful, Thera Tapper is not as helpful, and I often don’t get much relief from the EMDR app. I do the important things first.
This is a follow up on my previous blog on EMDR and EFT.