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EFT certification in India

I’ve been associated with EFT international (EFTi) for a long time now. Recently I received my MTOT ( EFT Master Trainer of Trainers) status with EFTi.

In the recent years, I’ve realised that a lot of people in India are not aware of the fact that you can get an internationally recognised EFT certification within India.

Let me tell you a little more about it.

EFT International, previously known as AAMET, was founded in 1999, by Dr Tam Llewellyn-Edwards, who was one of the 29 founding masters (a recognition given by the founder of EFT, Gary Craig), and is the only EFT organisation in the world that is registered as a voluntary organisation, meaning it has a charitable status.

It is run ethically by a board of members and volunteers, and benefits both the members and the public. Two of the original founding masters (awarded by Gary Craig) and earliest members amongst the trustees are Judy Byrne and Jacqui Crooks.

If you haven’t heard about EFT ( Emotional Freedom Techqniues) commonly known as tapping, you can find out more by going to my website. EFT has a solid research backing and the research is steadily growing in favour of EFT being an evidence based practise.

When I first came across EFT, I wasn’t sure about its efficacy. Now that I’ve practised it for 16+ years, I can vouch for its effectiveness, its gentleness and trauma informed approach in helping people resolve emotional issues.

I had the good fortune to have received the EFT course certificates by Gary Craig ( Founder of EFT). After that I went on to further train myself in EFT with EFT international.

I’ve been running internationally accredited EFT workshops in India ( both in-person and online) for the past 5 years and doing 1-1 sessions with clients for 16 years.

If you’re interested in getting an international certification in EFT with an organisation that has a clearly defined syllabus and list of competencies, you can contact me.

The certification process with EFTi requires 3 simple steps, all of which can be accomplished by taking mentoring sessions with me after your EFT L1 & 2 workshop.
You’ll need to take an EFT theory exam, finish 50 hours of practise sessions with friends/family/volunteers and submit case studies. Once you finish these EFTi requirements, you’ll become a certified EFT practitioner with EFT International.

I’m looking forward to having more certified EFT practitioners and trainers in India who can deliver skilful sessions and trainings in English and other regional languages within India.

Why is Mentoring important in EFT?

Why is supervision/ mentoring important in EFT?

If you are a psychology student, you already know about the importance of supervision. You know that a supervisor/mentor is needed to provide guidance and support, discuss difficult cases, encourage self-reflection, help you understand scope of practise & ethical code of conduct, provide constructive feedback to help you become better in your chosen area of specialisation, help you identify your areas of strength and limitations and a lot more.

EFT is the same. Once you finish your EFT course ( workshop) and desire to become a professional EFT practitioner, you’ll need guidance from experienced mentors for the same reasons as listed above.

The certification process is also like a mini internship where you get to practise EFT with friends/family/volunteers before you start working with clients professionally. In this process, you’ll need encouragement, support and constructive feedback. Students who apply for certification process and mentoring, have higher chances of delivering effective EFT sessions which in turn increases the success rate of EFT than those who don’t go for certification.

EFT may look very simple but like Ann Adams says, EFT is simple, people are complex.

Learning to customise EFT application according to the client’s issues is where the skill comes in. How to use the various techniques in EFT and when to use them is an important part of this skill set. EFT is a client-centric process.
It’s not just tapping on some points and saying some words randomly. That would be akin to applying CBT by just listening to 10 hours of lecture or reading a book.

Acquiring knowledge is different from having skills and expertise. Attending a lecture on how to practise EFT is different from sitting down with a client and applying EFT.

What you need in EFT, just like any other modality, is practise and guidance. Mentoring is the best way to achieve that.

All of us, practitioners and trainers, are required to have 6 hours of minimum mentoring hours every year along with 30 hours of CPD to maintain our membership with EFT International. This, in my opinion, is a very good practise to stay current with EFT and keep refining our skills.
Contact me to know more.

EFT Research: Reduction of Chronic pain in Adults

Watch a short video on this.

Effects of EFT on the reduction of Chronic Pain in Adults, a pilot study

This was published in the Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, and Treatment journal, and this study examined the effects of EFT on pain reduction in 50 adults and these adults were enrolled in a three-day EFT workshop.

There were two scales that were used. One was the Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS) and the other one was Multidimensional Pain Inventory (MPI) and these were used to measure the pain.

The findings were that there were reductions on each of the PCS item which is the Pain Catastrophizing Scale items scores such as rumination, magnification and helplessness. There was a reduction on these items and even on the total PCS score.

And, on MPI which is the Multidimensional Pain Inventory, improvements in pain severity, interference, life control, affective distress and dysfunctional composite were noticed. A six months follow-up was done and the reductions held over that period of time on PCS scale and only on one item of the MPI, which was the life control item.

The findings were that EFT helps in reducing pain intensity and it also helps the participants’ ability to live life with their pain. The reductions in pain were observed at a one-month interval. In the follow-up which was done after a month, there were reductions in pain but that didn’t hold on a long-term basis.

However, the findings reported that that there was an increased sense of control and ability to cope with the pain. Obviously since this was only a three days’ workshop and although after that, in the follow-up, there were reductions on several items on the PCS and one item of the MPI but the reduction in pain did not hold in the long term.

The reason for this is that you need to be persistent when it comes to EFT and when it comes to pain, which means we need to continue applying EFT. The benefit, like this study shows, is that there is an increased sense of control – you have an increased sense of agency, you don’t feel helpless, you are not always ruminating or magnifying the symptoms and at the same time you have an increased ability to manage the pain.

However, in order for you to keep the severity of the pain less, you also need to work on the emotional contributors of the pain. For example, When did the pain start etc? And you can check out my YouTube series on EFT for Physical Issues.

Full paper: https://energypsychologyjournal.org/effects-emotional-freedom-techniques-eft-reduction-chronic-pain-adults-pilot-study/

Self-care for Mental Health Professionals

As a psychotherapist how do you self regulate?

How do you keep yourself from getting burnt out?

When there are personal issues, because you’re human and you will have them, how do you balance personal and professional life?

If you’re triggered in a session, feel biased towards your client, have a sudden personal triggering memory pop up, feel agitated, suddenly feel unwell etc, how do you handle it mid-session?

Although we already have coping skills and knowledge about self regulation as psychotherapists, it’s really important to have quick tools that can help us self-regulate prior to, during and after a session as well as have a tapping self-care routine to prevent burnout. This form of regular self-care in turn helps your client. How?

By you being able to hold a safe space for your client during sessions. Being trauma informed means being able to hold a safe space for our clients and in order to do that we need to feel safe in our bodies as therapists, especially if we are working with clients with trauma history. And I believe mostly all clients have some form of trauma background.

Self-regulation also helps in your interactions with your client outside of sessions, for example, scheduling appointments, answering emails, handling conflicts with clients – all this requires you to be in a grounded and calm space.

Another essential aspect of therapy is to have empathy. However, consistently working with clients while being present and empathetic does take a toll on our minds and bodies, especially if we’re not careful and don’t engage in regular self-care practices. We need a form of self care that requires less time, is somatic and helps in processing feelings safely without analysis paralysis.

Let’s say you’re triggered right before a client session due to a personal issue. Now, what will you do? One of the quickest ways to feel calmer is to just tap for a few minutes. It helps in reducing your emotional intensity instantly and is even helpful during a session.

Consider learning foundational skills in EFT for quick reduction in stress and emotional distress.

While mechanical EFT ( which can be learnt just be reading a manual or attending a brief course) is helpful, for effective EFT application a solid base in foundational skills and experiential learning is necessary, otherwise you will not find significant improvements after EFT.

EFT is a research supported, evidence based, somatic-cognitive tool. Since trauma enters through the body and emotions are felt in the body, the best way for trauma and emotions to be processed is through the body and that’s where EFT comes in.

For a short video on this, click on the link below

https://youtu.be/eiJ_XXQ29io

Transforming memories: pros and cons

Do we need to Undo our past to Heal?

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Research shows that every time you remember a memory you basically edit it. “When you encounter a familiar experience, you are remembering the original memory at the same time, and the new experience somehow gets blended in…That is essentially what reconsolidation is” (Lee, n.d) It’s a known fact that memory is reconstructed over the years. When an event/incident takes place you think and feel in a certain way about it. It takes some time for the event to solidify in your brain. Once it solidifies and each time you retrieve the memory, meaning remember it, you basically alter it a little bit. However, it does not mean that the physical event did not take place. The way you think and feel about the event will change over the years – it would hurt less, you might not be as affected by it, but it does not become a false memory. It’s a reconsolidated and reconstructed memory.

Standard EFT and our memories

In standard EFT we neutralize the feelings towards the original event as the person remembers it. This helps as research indicates that “emotions are encoded along with memories in the brain, so connecting with the feeling, and healing it really helps change our perspective on what happened.”(N. Barron, 2013)

Movie technique/Tell the story technique or tearless trauma technique along with creative and gentle variations are used to tap on every aspect of that event, especially the emotional peaks, aka crescendos of the event. The significance of this process lies in the fact that whatever the person remembers, we tap on it. In this process of memory transformation, we don’t change the original story; we don’t substitute it with fantasy but work on the story as we remember it.

LeDoux (2005) says that the fewer times you use your memory, “the more pristine it is. The more you use it, the more you change it.” EFT requires re-telling the event while tapping on the various pieces/parts of that event. This leads to a decrease in the stress response tied with it and gradually we are able to nullify all the stressful feelings related to it. You can watch this video on a research where EFT led to reduction in the intensity of traumatic memories.

Example of using Standard EFT for memory transformation/neutralization of feelings: My client narrated in a session that when she was 8 years old, she was punched on her nose by her mother. She was in the back seat of her car and she said something and her mother punched her. When she recalled this event in the session, she could still feel the terror and shock of that moment. She had thought about it many times over the years and the memory was reconsolidated. She didn’t remember the exact details of the event; the date, where they were going, what she wore, what she had said etc, but she remembered being hit by her mother. With the help of EFT we worked on the aspects of ‘shock and terror’, by working primarily on what she remembered and gradually the feelings subsided, making her neutral towards the memory. We also used metaphors and inner child healing to release the pain and trauma from that memory.

EFT variations that end up disowning the story

Some variations of EFT use different ways of re-writing the story by “creating a happy ending” based on what you would have liked/wanted to happen (substituting the bad ending with a happy ending for a story). So if we worked on the “punching nose” event and used re-creation of the story, we would let the client choose a happy ending for her story and transform the memory into, for example, being touched gently on her cheeks by her mother – a fantasy. This will change how the client feels about the event but re-writing the story with a happy ending might make her uncomfortable as it is a lie, even though she has willingly re-created this childhood event in the session. She will have to say a lot of lies to herself to stick to the fantasy version of her story because the fact that she was physically abused throughout her childhood will not change and in order to change it, she might have to disown her story and re-create every memory that involved this abuse.

It’s true that we all perceive things in our own way but being punched by someone in the nose is a reality for that person and no matter how many different ways in which you want to see it, it remains the same. But yes, you can change how you feel about that memory. The memory of an event plays out in a certain way in the mind of the person. We tap on whatever we hold within ourselves. It’s our perspective, our understanding, our feelings about the event. But there are certain ‘unchangeable aspects’ of that memory that remain the same. For example, if someone’s relative died, then they died – it’s unchangeable. Similarly if someone is abused and would like to think that they were not, then it’s a lie. Suppose you were cut by a sharp knife and bleeding, re-creating this memory with a butter knife will not help at all! This distortion might help you in forgetting that you had a knife cut but you will be forgetting and losing out on what you can learn from it and get cut again by another knife.

Honouring Our Past

Our past guides us; we learn from our experiences. Our past can guide us in useful ways too. If we neutralise an upsetting traumatic memory, we can also learn or grow from it. We might learn that someone isn’t trustworthy, reliable and we need to set boundaries with that person, or create an emotional distance with that person. If we completely forget what happened by replacing all bad times with good endings, wouldn’t it be distorting our lived reality to the extent that we no longer know what happened? Someone with a history of psychotic episodes, using this kind of fantasy runs the risk of creating false memories that may have a deleterious long-term effects. We cannot undo what happened in our past. Physical reality and the psychological impact that happened cannot be undone and to heal we don’t need to undo it. We only need to process the memories, work through them, taking up each piece of the event and finally having left with a memory with no charge. The memory is there but it’s not upsetting you anymore.

We can honor our stories, learn from them, integrate them in our lives and heal.

Healing takes place when we accept whatever ending the story has without trying to convert it into an ending that suits us. “Disowning our story is not a healing move, being able to own it and accept it, while tough, is essential.”( N. Barron, 2013) Personally I prefer to work with changing ‘how I feelabout a memory, what I remember happening in that memory instead of changing ‘what actually happened’ in that memory.

As a practitioner, I don’t encourage or practice changing the memory into a fantasy memory or forcing positivity onto my clients. These ways of working with a client, especially those with trauma history , can retraumatise them. I stick with what the person remembers. So if someone was hit by a person , and they tapped on it, they might say – “Yes I was hit by so and so, but it doesn’t affect me anymore”. They wouldn’t have to lie to themselves saying that they weren’t hit.

Conclusion:

As Practitioners we need to tread carefully while working on memories and inform the clients about the process and the effect on memories. In my opinion, standard evidence-based EFT is a trauma informed approach and is a natural way of healing, not forced. Also, in advanced EFT, inner child healing and parts work is used to bring healing to our wounded parts and younger selves.

Using EFT we can simply neutralize the feelings towards an event rather than substituting it with a fantasy. It’s a far safer option in my opinion.

This article is an updated version of the original article that was published on 9th Nov, 2013, on my second blog. You can read the original article here.

References:

Barron, N. Personal Communication. Nov 08 2013 http://energyandintention.com/

LeDoux, J. (2005). Synaptic self: How our brains become who we are. New York, NY: Penguin.

Lee, J (n.d) In Discover Magazine: How much of your memory is true, retrieved November 1st, 2013 from http://discovermagazine.com/2009/jul-aug/03-how-much-of-your-memory-is-true

Using positive too soon in EFT doesn’t work

You would have noticed that tapping scripts and audios focus too soon on easing and releasing an issue. Instead of fully experiencing the reality of a particular situation and sitting with it while tapping, the focus is on easing it immediately. In EFT process when we evoke the issue in our mind, first the problem is activated as we are exposed to it and our emotional brain gets active. Then, when we tap on it, it sends deactivating signals to the amygdala and the problem (what you’re tuned in to) starts reducing in intensity.

However, if you don’t stay with the issue at hand, you don’t give a chance to yourself to fully process what is going on. Tapping on the positive may give you result but it won’t last. And more than that many a times you’ll experience resistance to tapping when you insert words like “ease” and “release” too soon into your tapping process.

In standard EFT, we encourage you to first tap on the reality of your situation, what you’re feeling, and only when the intensity subsides to do a positive round.

To know more, you can watch this short video here.

 

 

 

Procrastination

There’s always a choice point when we procrastinate. Although it may seem like it’s happening automatically and we might think we don’t have a choice, the fact is that we do. Either we act on the thought of wanting to do a task or give in to the urge to delay it. It’s at this critical juncture where thoughts play an important role. In that split second you’ve made a decision to delay the task and then your mind will give you umpteen justifications for your reasons to delay and that’ll become a habit.

Today when I was laying on the sofa watching Netflix and not feeling like getting up, I had a thought of sketching. I immediately went and picked up my drawing tools and sat down to draw. Hence the result is these two drawings. Now in that moment as I reflect, I had another thought, “let me watch one more episode”. That was the choice point – drawing or giving in to watching another episode and remaining in that place for the rest of the day.

I’ve had practise with catching my thoughts so I was able to quickly act on my action thought.

This may not be possible all the time. But over time if you practise you’ll be able to recognise your choice point – choosing whether to delay or act. Many a times, there are valid reasons for delaying like being burnt out, exhausted, needing rest, sleep etc. However many a times, what makes us procrastinate is not being aware of the choice point, and then we have these handy justifications that don’t help at all.

We have all these ‘ideal conditions’ that have to be met before we do a task. If any of these conditions aren’t met, we procrastinate. We think we need to do it perfectly and unless all the demands/conditions are met, we cannot do it. All conditions may be important but they aren’t necessary to do the task.

For example, if I think of drawing, I just need the drawing tools, hence even a pencil will do. All conditions like having a quiet corner for myself, being in the right mood aren’t necessary to draw. Also, we have this idealised and perfect image of tasks, like I might think I need the best markers to draw, I need to finish my laundry then draw, I need to do this and that and then… I procrastinate!

So try this. The next time you get a thought that prompts you to take an action, instead of ignoring it, act on it immediately. Once you act on it, you’ll gradually feel motivated to continue doing it. We cannot wait for the right feeling to come along to do something. You don’t need motivation to act, you just need to recognise the choice point and act despite the urge to delay. Also, become aware of the automatic thoughts that come up, the justifications that come up when you have the urge to delay.

Practise, telling yourself, I don’t need to meet all the conditions to do this task. All conditions don’t have to be met to complete this task or to start it. What I have is enough to do it right now.

Psychological reversals

Reversals or psychological reversals are a group of aspects that adversely affect the EFT process. They can come up when you are making progress. For example, you might feel fear or resistance when you’re on the verge of releasing a strong emotion, a physical symptom or condition. They can also come up right in the beginning as soon as you start addressing an issue for the first time.

They are conscious or unconscious resistance that we have towards healing something. They can show up as “conflicting parts and beliefs, secondary gains, protective parts”.

All of us have developed coping mechanisms to survive certain traumas and tough situations when we were younger and these coping mechanisms really helped. However, as we grew older these coping mechanisms became outdated , limiting and unhealthy.

These coping mechanisms can act as protective parts trying to hold on to what helped us survive. Gently addressing the fear and resistance around replacing old patterns and adopting healthier coping mechanisms can really help.

EFTi defines “Reversals as a specific group of Aspects that can negatively affect the EFT process. These can be conscious or subconscious and include secondary gains, resistance, conflicting beliefs or protective parts that stand in the way of progress. When EFT progress is slow or stalled (i.e. Intensity Levels are not dropping, emotional intensity is returning with frequency or presenting issues are not changing measurably), Reversals (i.e. hidden Aspects) are often present.” (EFTi glossary)