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Emotionally Focused Therapy and Tapping

There are many approaches to psychological therapy and it can be hard to know what method will be most beneficial for you. In the coming months, we will be covering different therapy techniques, outlining their defining features, and identifying who the treatment is aimed towards. The couples therapy treatment Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and its counterpart of ‘tapping’ are starting to gain more notoriety, learn more about how they work below.

Emotionally Focused Therapy or Emotional Freedom Technique

EFT is a structured, evidence-based therapy that’s primarily used in couples therapy. It was formulated in the 1980s as a strictly empirically-based treatment and has developed as the science on adult relationships and bonding has increased. Research shows that approximately three-quarters of couples engaged in EFT move from distress to recovery and 90% show significant improvement. Due to the therapy’s proven efficacy across different kinds of clients and couples with co-morbidities like depression and PTSD, it is also used for individuals with similar issues. Recent research has been conducted on couples with trauma and stressful events. Functional MRI scans have shown that EFT physically changes the way threat is perceived by the brain. These kinds of breakthroughs have led to studies with veteran couples as part of a comprehensive trauma and PTSD treatment methodology.


EFT as part of a trauma therapy programA component of EFT is ‘tapping’. It is a combination of Eastern medicine that accesses pressure (or meridian) points, like acupuncture, and Western psychotherapy. According to Nick Ortner, author of The Tapping Solution, “the practice consists of tapping with your fingertips on nine specific meridian points while talking through traumatic memories and a wide range of emotions.” The talk therapy of EFT accesses the stress areas of your brain on an emotional level, and tapping accesses the physical stress felt by the body. Tapping can help alleviate that in-the-moment physical craving, like the desire to smoke a cigarette. Continued EFT therapy can help address the root causes of the addiction like trauma or other emotional issues.

In conclusion, while EFT began as a couples-specific therapy, its scientifically-proven benefits have led therapists to use the same techniques for individuals struggling with trauma and/or addiction.


JMC: 2018.11.01

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Thank you for everything you’ve done. You’ve truly gone above and beyond your job description for me while Brad entered treatment. I took in the Family weekend, and Couples day, and I would definitely do it all over again.

In the beginning, I was truly ignorant to the way treatment was designed there. And in being that way, it hindered my healing process. After the weekend, I have a whole new perception on everything, my role in everything, as well as what I need to change for the future. I truly think it should be mandatory for family to take in that weekend. I know it’s not possible to enforce everyone to be present for a family weekend, but I don’t see how recovery can be successful if they don’t.

- Jennifer

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