Category: <span>EFT</span>

Benefits of Practice Sessions in Training

Answering a question that I’m often asked.

How are practise sessions conducted in the EFT training course and how do they help?

1) The practise sessions are not role plays but require students to work with others in the group on real issues. Although smaller issues are taken up, a lot of attendees have told me that it transformed certain areas of their lives.

2) These sessions aren’t recorded and they are held in breakout rooms (online training). In these rooms you can practise the EFT skills that you learn on that day.

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3) In each class whatever you learn on that day can be practised in these practise sessions. These sessions are usually in dyads or triads. For example, if you’ve learnt the basic recipe and how to be specific, the concept of shifting aspects etc, you’ll be practising that with the participants.

4) The practise sessions in most classes follow the demo. You’ll be shown how to handle a real life problem in a demo session in a step by step manner.

5) With each class you’ll learn a new set of concepts and skills to deliver more effective sessions. It’s like Maslow’s hierarchy – unless you know the basics and then the foundational skills, you cannot deliver effective eft sessions or practise EFT skilfully on yourself.

6) You’ll get personalised and compassionate feedback after each practise session by me and/or my experienced student(s).

These practise sessions are best for trying EFT and making mistakes. In real life situations where you work with clients, you won’t get many opportunities to really learn from your mistakes, as your client may not give you a direct feedback. These sessions are also help to assess and understand your strengths and limitations.

Let yourself shine

Inspired by today’s EFT session

What holds us back? Why do we hold back from shining? Why do we feel we’re unworthy? Why are we uncomfortable with visibility in our respective fields? How does that impact our relationship with money and opportunities that come our way?

Think back to the times when you were told that you should be subdued or that you shouldn’t show off. What about the times you observed that being visible, letting yourself shine and take the spotlight was seen as flashy or something that you shouldn’t do?

In our culture we are taught to be subdued, more so if you are a woman, to hold back, to dim our brightness and to be invisible.

Haven’t we heard these messages from our parents, caregivers, teachers, relatives, media etc while growing up that it’s not okay to be visible? No one tells us we’re unworthy, but these shaming and outdated messages end up making us feel unworthy and undeserving of great things in life.
These cultural messages, these limiting beliefs and non-expansive ideas hold us back.

What if we could let go of these limiting beliefs – these restrictive ideas- that stop us from shining, from realising that just by being born we are truly worthy and invaluable beings?

A lot of my work with clients is on recognising these limiting patterns and ideas, and releasing and transforming them. In order to do so, we dig deeper and take a look at the programming that comes from our childhood, the incidents that shaped these beliefs, and start processing them.

For a garden to flourish you need to take out the weeds. In order to take out the weeds you need to pull them out with the roots, and not just trim them. Similarly, in order to recognise our worthiness, we need to uproot the limiting ideas and let go of old conditioning, and we can do that with EFT.

We’re worthy to shine.
We’re worthy to share our creativity with the world.
We’re worthy to speak up when needed.
We’re worthy to say no
We’re invaluable and infinitely magnificent.

EFT as an assistive approach for MHPs

How can EFT help you in your practise if you are a mental health professional?EFT can be used as an individual as well as an assistive tool to help your clients with emotional and psychosomatic issues.

Here are just a few ways in which EFT can help your clients. I’m highlighting the most common benefits of using EFT with your clients and introducing it into your therapy practise.

1. Clients often get dysregulated while talking about their issues or processing their issues in the sessions. EFT helps in regulating your client’s nervous system during a therapy session. Tapping helps by sending deactivating signals to the limbic brain and that in turn calms the mind and body. Imagine how much more your clients will be able to process, if they were able to get back into a regulated state easily and gently during a session! It also helps them self-regulate in between sessions.

2. Handling difficult persistent negative feelings is easier with EFT. You can creatively combine any modality that you use with EFT to help your clients cope with and manage their difficult feelings, in the session as well as on their own in between sessions.

3. EFT can help in unearthing and transforming limiting beliefs. Limiting beliefs keep clients stuck in negative patterns and EFT utulizes a unique method to change these unhelpful beliefs – the unhelpful conclusions the clients have arrived at about themselves, the world and others.

4. Anxiety and stress are two of the most common presenting issues that clients bring to the table in our profession. EFT helps in easing the symptoms of GAD ( Generalized Anxiety Disorder). Clients can also learn the basics of EFT and apply it on themselves while they’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety such as heaviness in chest, increased heart rate, sweating etc. EFT is very effective for social anxiety as well.

5. Most clients have had some form of trauma in their lives. A specific technique in EFT is used for disarming troubling, stressful and traumatic memories and reducing the emotional charge associated with them. This is turn helps in improving their quality of life. There are many emotional and physical consequences of trauma, and working on adverse childhood experiences with EFT has proven to be very beneficial.

6. Goal setting & improving performance is another area where EFT can help either by itself or along with CBT and REBT.

7. Stress management is another area where EFT is very effective. I’ve conducted a lot of stress management classes, and tapping helps in reducing stress rather quickly. Research in EFT shows that tapping can reduce cortisol by approx 43% in a one hour tapping session.

8. EFT can complement the top-down approaches that most mental health professionals practise. EFT is a bottom-up approach which also incorporates cognitive shift and exposure. Since the body component is involved, EFT can help in decreasing body based anxiety and processing stored trauma responses in the body.

9. Talk therapies can sometimes be very overwhelming. I remember being very overwhelmed after a few of my talk therapy sessions. It felt like opening a tap and not closing it before the session ended. EFT can help in closing the tap by the end of each session. It has containment techniques than can effectively lessen the client’s overwhelm by the end of the session.

10. EFT can also help in positively resourcing a client at the start of the session.

EFT is a trauma informed approach and with increasing research backing its effectiveness, it’s time more MHPs considered learning and applying EFT. Since MHPs already have a solid background in psychology, in my opinion, they can master EFT skills easily.

There’s no deadline for recovery

“There is no deadline for recovery” were my client’s exact words in a session. She described how safe she felt during our psychotherapy & EFT sessions. She was able to be open up about her feelings and patterns, and she didn’t feel pushed to change. She felt she wasn’t given a deadline to heal!

Unfortunately a lot of people never experience safe connections with their caregivers while growing up. Because of early childhood trauma and neglect they develop a faulty neuroception wherein their ability to detect safety and danger get mixed up. As a result of this, they may feel safe in risky situations and threatened in totally safe situations.

To develop the ability to detect safety in safe situations and caution in threatening situations requires a therapeutic alliance where they can experience safety and acceptance without the fear of being told off or abandoned by their therapist. If a client starts sensing that their therapist will disown them if they don’t meet the preset goals, they will lose that opportunity to develop a healthy neuroception.

It’s only through a safe therapeutic alliance that the damaging effects of past unsafe relationships can be repaired and clients can begin to heal, grow and seek healthy connections in their lives.

Being trauma informed is not a one time pill that can be taken by attending a single or multiple courses. It requires reflection on our part as therapists after every single session to see whether the client felt safe in the session or not.

For example, do they feel safe enough to bring up their issues with you as a therapist? Do they feel they’re being heard in the sessions?

And most importantly, how do you handle critical feedback from your clients?

Rupture is a part of any relationship and repair is only possible if the rupture is acknowledged.

I made so many mistakes as a rookie therapist when I started out, but I made it a point to keep learning from those mistakes and honing my skills. Becoming a trauma informed practitioner is a life long process and your client is your best teacher.

EFT certification

The following are the EFTi Certification requirements to become an Accredited Certified EFT practitioner.

1️⃣ Attend the EFT Level 1 and 2 course provided by an EFTi Trainer. You’ll receive a certificate of attendance certificate by EFTi.

After this you can choose to take up the certification package.

Sign up for the certification package with the trainer. (I have a short questionnaire for screening candidates who are eligible to become certified EFT practitioners.)

2️⃣ Join EFTi as a student member. Fees to be paid to EFTi = £12 (This is a discounted cost for students from India) Discount code will be provided by Trainer.

3️⃣ Pass the online multiple-choice Practitioner Exam via the EFT International website. Fee to be paid to EFTi = £7 ( after student discount)

4️⃣ Receive a minimum of 6 hours supervision/mentoring with Trainer. ( Part of certification package)

5️⃣ Submit a minimum of 4 case studies: 3 Client Case Studies (on separate individuals) and 1 Personal Case Study to Trainer for review and feedback.

6️⃣ Provide an in-person OR audio OR video demonstration of an EFT session, and discuss this session with Trainer.

7️⃣ Complete a minimum of 50 EFT sessions (or “practice hours”) working with at least 20 different individuals. Each EFT session must be a minimum of 45 minutes in length.

8️⃣ Complete any additional, discretionary requirements as outlined by Trainer. There may be additional case study requirements and book readings.

Please note
❌ EFTi trainers don’t ask you to first become practitioners with their own organisations before applying for EFTi certification. EFTi certification doesn’t require this.

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.

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