Emotional Freedom Techniques

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Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT for short) is a psychotherapeutic tool developed by Gary Craig, aimed at solving emotional, health and performance issues. The procedure involves tapping on certain points in the body, known as meridian points or acupuncture points, while saying a certain phrase and holding a disturbing memory or thought in the mind. According to EFT Founder Gary Craig, EFT uses the same meridian theory of energy that forms the basis of acupuncture and acupressure.

Because of insufficient validation of EFT by peer-reviewed, independent scientific studies, EFT is not currently accepted by the medical/scientific community as an established therapy. The three peer-reviewed studies of EFT done so far have all shown positive effects of the procedure, but one of these studies has raised questions about whether the success of the procedure stems from the meridian theory of energy.


EFT is a derivative of a method called thought field therapy (TFT) developed by Roger Callahan. Thought field therapy involves the same central ideas as EFT: holding a distubring memory or emotion in mind while tapping on certain points. The key difference is that TFT also utilizes elaborate procedures of muscle testing to determine the order of tapping.

In his account of the history of EFT, Gary Craig states that after learning TFT from Roger Callahan, he experimented with many variations and discovered that the order of tapping is irrelevant to the quality of results produced. Craig developed a shorter and easy-to-learn version that he dubbed Emotional Freedom Techniques.


The Emotional Freedom Techniques procedure, as outlined on the official website, has the following steps:

  • Pick on a certain memory, emotion, or other issue that creates an emotional intensity.
  • Evaluate the intensity on a SUDS (Subjective Units of Distress Scale) from 0-10
  • Formulate a sentence of the form Even though ...., I deeply and completely accept myself
  • While saying this sentence out loud, and holding the emotion in memory, tap on various parts of the body
  • Repeat this procedure

The EFT Manual lists a number of caveats and alternative approaches, and EFT proponents have come up with many variations that they claim yield faster results.


Two peer-reviewed scientific studies have concentrated on the effect of EFT in addressing specific phobias. The third study analyzed the effects of attending an EFT workshop on a number of issues.

The official EFT website, and websites of other EFT proponents, have case histories and anecdotal evidence of the application of EFT to issues including specific phobias, allergies, stress management, weight loss, and improving personal performance.