Can you, like Prince Harry, Mel B, Kate Garraway, get Relief from Trauma and Stress by Tapping?
You will have seen in the media photos of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, from a documentary on Apple TV about mental health, "The Me You Can't See", tapping his upper body. Both he and other celebrities have recently revealed that they have done a “bizarre”, “outlandish” form of therapy involving tapping and eye movements and that this has been the only thing to help them with bothersome thoughts and feelings, traumatic memories or PTSD.
The therapy Prince Harry used to get over the bothersome feelings related to the trauma associated with his mother’s death and funeral is Eye Movement Desensitising Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR sessions are available at significant cost from psychologists and psychotherapists with additional EMDR training, but did you know there is another comparable therapy available that comes across as equally bizarre and has been shown in clinical research to be equally as effective for PTSD? However, this other therapy is more readily available, often at lower cost. It is called Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and is often colloquially referred to as “tapping”, since it involves tapping with fingertips on acupuncture points on the hands, face and upper body.
So, what are the similarities and differences between EFT and EMDR?
Both are used to treat PTSD.
Both have been initially dismissed by critics as pseudoscience but actually are supported by many peer-reviewed published research papers in which they are considered clinically effective for PTSD. One of these papers (Karatzias et al., 2011) directly compared the two and found them to be largely equivalent in effectiveness.
Both involve tapping movements and eye movements
Both involve bringing bothersome or traumatic thoughts to mind, whilst also doing something that seems either to calm the mind and/or enable it to reprocess and recode the bothersome thoughts/memories.
Both have been reviewed by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and found both effective and highly cost-effective (for the latter, in certain circumstances EFT more so than EMDR). Whilst EMDR has already been recommended in the NICE Guideline for PTSD for use in the NHS, EFT is the newer kid on the block and is still at the stage of NICE initially recommending further research into EFT for PTSD, prior to any resultant recommendation for its widespread use across NHS mental health services. It is currently available in just a limited number of NHS settings.
The biggest difference is that EFT tapping is also used for numerous other emotional and other challenges, besides PTSD and trauma. Furthermore, anyone can learn the basics of EFT for self-help for free, although for any serious issue it is best to work with a well-qualified EFT practitioner such as those accredited by EFT International. EFT International’s advanced practitioners complete a trauma-informed module within their Level 3 (advanced) training. However, for every day, if feeling a bit anxious or nervous, or for life’s disappointments or frustrations, anyone can go ahead and follow an online tutorial or follow steps in a book telling them how to tap and get some relief from bothersome feelings, often quite a lot of relief.
There is no limit to which problems you can apply EFT to - the motto has always been, “Try it on Everything”. It is simple, safe, quick; you have nothing to lose and much to gain.
For the treatment of PTSD, EFT can also be gentler and safer than EMDR. Gentle approaches that ensure safety from re-traumatisation are emphasised within EFT International’s practitioner training at both basic and advanced levels. All good EFT practitioners work from a basis of empowering their clients to heal themselves and, from the outset, teach their clients to do their tapping home-care between sessions. This means that, should bothersome memories or emotions surface between sessions, the client is resourced to “tap” them down and quickly established a comfortable emotionally regulated state. This gives clients a practical tool and builds confidence in recovery.
If you would like to learn more about EFT and get resources to empower yourself to help yourself feel better, EFT Devon offers a range of live, interactive workshops and courses, as well as providing step-by-step self-help how-to-tap instructions on our website and, of course, 1:1 sessions.
Go here to find out about introductory workshops, including a free weekly tap-along
Go here for details of a full self-development training course that leads on to accredited practitioner certification with EFT International or
Go here for details of Advanced Practitioner training accredited by EFT International.
Go here to book your free 20-minute ‘discovery’ consultation.
This is the link to just sign up for more information about EFT Devon’s new online tapping tutorials as each becomes available.
To find out more about the EFT International Charity, registered in UK, serving 1600 members worldwide, go to eftinternational.org