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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

5 Steps to Emotional Freedom: Placebo or Panacea?

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Sep 9th 2009

Now, whenever something claims to be "a natural healing aid you can use for almost anything" as the the World Center for Emotional Freedom Techniques does, I get a little more than skeptical. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is often called acupuncture for your feelings and the purpose of EFT is to help people suffer less from limiting thoughts, difficult emotions, and physical pain. Critics say there is no real conclusive evidence behind it and it might just be a temporary fix that is led by a technique founded in distraction. However, more than a million people how downloaded the manual apparently and I have heard many reports from people that I know that it has been helpful with their emotional and physical pain.

The technique is fairly simple and many suggest you can even do it on your own. Although, it is often helpful with any new technique to first get support from someone who has experience in the field.

The 5 Steps

  1. The Question: Ask yourself what do I want to clear from my system? Take this time to write down specific about the thoughts, emotions, or physical pain. The more specific you are, the more effective it can be and this will become the focus.

  2. Intensity Score: On a scale of 1 to 10, what level of intensity is this issue?  A score of 1 is labeled as a very low in intensity and a score of 10 being extremely high in intensity.

  3. Setting Up the Phrase:  Here is the phrase you will be saying while doing some tapping I'll tell you about in a moment. The phrase starts "even though (insert problem), I deeply and profoundly accept (or love) myself."  So you might say, "even though I'm really frustrated with Sally because of what she did yesterday, I deeply and profoundly accept (or love) myself." Basically, the underlying message is, no matter what, I'm ok. Now, while saying this phrase you begin a series of tapping on specific body parts.  You begin with the side of the hand; some call the part you would use to karate chop with.

  4. Staying Focused: You can now shorten the phrase of the issue down to one or two words while continuing to tap (i.e., "this frustration). Now continue with the tapping at the inner parts of the eyebrows, to the outer parts of the eyebrows. Then continue to the areas under the eyes, under the nose, in the groove of the chin, and down to the collarbone tapping either side or both sides. Then continue to tap two inches below the armpit and then the top of the head.  Each time you tap continuing to say the shortened phrase you created.

  5. Checking In: After doing that, take a deep breath and check in with the intensity of the issue. Has it lowered or stayed the same? If it has lowered, you may just stop and go about your business. If it has stayed the same, go ahead and do it again.


If you'd like to learn more about this technique, go to World Center for Emotional Freedom Techniques.

However, don't take anyone's word for it, try it out for yourself and let your experience guide you.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction here provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.


Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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