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3 Reasons Tapping is the 4th Wave

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I believe EFT Tapping enjoys 3 features that distinguish it as a 4th wave therapy: It is a true mind-body approach in that it includes direct interventions at the level of the body; it changes brain activity very rapidly; and it has special advantages in quickly and permanently shifting outdated emotional learnings. Let’s look at these features in depth.

  1. A Somatic Intervention. Therapists who are effective in working with people who have been traumatized have long recognized that talk therapies are not enough for healing the damage that is caused by abuse and catastrophe. The title of an influential paper and subsequent book, The Body Keeps the Score, by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk underlines this point. The physiological changes to the body and brain following trauma become “encoded in the viscera” and require treatments that “engage the safety system of the brain before trying to promote new ways of thinking.” Effective therapies for severe trauma must address the body as well as the mind, and being able to do so is a great strength of somatic therapies.  It is not just tapping on the skin that makes EFT a somatic intervention. Tapping initiates a cascading series of events in the brain and body that, as you will see below, impact hormone production, brain waves, blood flow within the brain, and gene expression in ways that enhance emotional health. And tapping has this impact not just for treating trauma but also in addressing everyday anxieties, upsets, and goals.
  2. Rapid Results. A decade-long research program at Harvard Medical School looking at what happens in the body when various acupoints are stimulated found that certain points almost instantly decrease the activation of the stress response in the brain. This research is described in more detail below, but suffice it to say that with elevated stress responses being part of many emotional disorders, the capacity to rapidly reduce them is a cornerstone in the speed and effectiveness of EFT. You will also see that EFT seems to require fewer sessions than more conventional therapies for equivalent outcomes.
  3. Enhanced Information Processing. David Feinstein’s paper “How Energy Psychology Changes Deep Emotional Learnings” builds on the way the speed with which tapping (a central feature of “energy psychology”) sends deactivating signals to the brain. This rapid response combines with the brain’s capacity to reprogram itself through a process called “memory reconsolidation.” The outcome is that unhealthy responses to triggers, such as to the tone of your boss’s voice, can be rapidly and permanently eliminated. Because much of the human experience involves responding to what life presents, being able to make shifts that promote healthier emotional responses and behaviors helps in overcoming a broad spectrum of emotional problems and also helps you to live a more successful and fulfilling life.

These three qualities come together to make EFT unusually rapid and effective in comparison with first-, second-, and third-wave therapies.

To read more, head over to The Science Behind Tapping.

References:

Feinstein, David. “How energy psychology changes deep emotional learnings.” The Neuropsychotherapist 10 (January 2015): 1–11.

How Long Does it Take to Reduce Food Cravings with Tapping?

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I have spent the better part of the last decade researching EFT Tapping for food issues (including looking inside brains!).

But do you wonder how long it takes to achieve NO CRAVINGS? Are shorter programs are as effective as longer ones?

We did look at this –

In study one, 96 overweight and obese adults were randomly allocated to a 4-week treatment for their food craving or waitlist condition. In study two, an 8-week EFT program for 47 adults, the same variables were measured as per study 1.

Participants were assessed for degree of food craving, perceived power of food, restraint capabilities and psychological symptoms at pre-, post-, 6- and 12-month follow-up.

Outcomes indicated significant reductions in food cravings, subjective power of food, dietary restraint, Body Mass Index, and weight for both interventions. There were no significant differences between the intervention groups in terms of the effect size of outcomes for the variables measured, thus indicating that the 4-week EFT treatment could achieve the outcomes that the 8-week program did.

And that is the answer 😁

Here is the paper for you to explore.

Energy Psychology:  Is it the Most Promising 4th Wave Approach?

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Individual psychotherapy is considered to have developed in three great waves: psychoanalysis; behavioral approaches; humanistic, experiential psychotherapy; and cognitive therapies). The emergence of brief psychotherapies that include a somatic component, are now being considered psychotherapy’s 4th wave (e.g. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).

There are three features that distinguish Energy Psychology as a 4th Wave therapy.  It is a true mind-body approach in that it includes direct interventions at the level of the body; it changes brain activity very rapidly; and it has special advantages in quickly and permanently shifting outdated emotional learnings.

These three qualities come together to make Energy Psychology unusually rapid and effective in relation to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Wave therapies. Emotional Freedom Techniques for example, results in changes in the brain, DNA expression, hormone production, brain waves and blood flow, and is it remarkable swift.

The latest research and science behind the somatic components of Energy Psychology (EFT Tapping) can be watched in my TEDx talk – Is Therapy Facing a Revolution?

and also in my latest book The Science Behind Tapping – Hay House (or any great bookstore).

The Words We Say

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Given we live the words you tell yourself in your mind, I want to share 3 hacks for mindset and life.

1. Change the way you view stress – research says when you think of stress as ‘bad’, then it is physiologically bad – you can die prematurely from the BELIEF stress is bad for you and your cardiovascular profile matches (stays blocked). When you think of stress as your body’s way of coping with a challenge, then your heart stays open, the cuddle hormone oxytocin is released and you will live longer. Watch this brilliant TED for more detail on how to make stress your friend.

2. Notice the inner critic (itty bitty shitty committee in your head) – we all have one – separate from it – see it as something separate to you. Talk back to it in your mind (to take back control) – and replace it. Focus on your own positive qualities (I am ….)

3. What went well – end of the day, say 3 things around the dinner table (you still eat at that right?) – what went well today? No need to focus on the highs AND lows (what went well ties more in with gratitude) – this exercise has been validated in random-assignment, placebo-controlled experiments (by Prof Martin Seligman). They have been conducting trials since 2001 and show this exercise improves life-satisfaction and depression levels. Kids love it too.

For sound evolutionary reasons, most of us are not nearly as good at dwelling on good events as we are at analysing negative events. Those of our ancestors who spent a lot of time basking in the sunshine of good events, when they should have been preparing for disaster, did not survive the Ice Age. So to overcome our brains’ natural catastrophic bent, we need to work on and practice this skill of thinking about what went well.

EFT Tapping and Menopause

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In a recent blog post we explored ideas relating to menopause and cultural differences that may exist. So the next question is: if you were to apply tapping to anything related, what would you say?

I want to share a brilliant (annotated) post form Gary Craig (founder of EFT) – where a lady emailed her story in about using EFT to Menopausal symptoms. You can read the whole story here.

Let’s hear from Nancy –

I am in the midst of menopause and with it comes the frustration in making the decision on how will I handle these annoying “hot flashes” (hopefully without Hormone Replacement Therapy, if possible).

So I started intuitively tapping and began my journey with globally saying:

“Even though I suffer from these menopausal symptoms, they are a part of the natural aging process, and I accept them because I truly and completely love and accept myself “

I then eventually added the following to the end of the above statement….

“and I want these symptoms to stop now”

I then moved to more specifics:

“Even though I have these ____ (i.e. horrible, annoying, exhausting, tiring, embarrassing, etc.) hot flashes, I truly and completely love and accept myself and I want them to STOP now”

“Even though I am still having some_____ hot flashes I understand this is normal, and I want them to STOP now, because I truly love and accept myself”

….

It is with sheer delight that I can say that the night sweats diminished substantially the first night after that one session of tapping. And almost completely gone the second day and second session of tapping on that list. I would say my 0-10 intensity levels are now about 0-1 for both “hot flashes” and the ” night sweats” ….Truly remarkable.

An interesting caveat here is that while my hot flashes and night sweats were clearly under control, I was then starting to deal with “chills” . At first I thought I was getting the flu or some illness…. and then I had to laugh, because I realized while I was being very specific about the hot portion of my issues ….. “HOT flashes” …. I neglected the rest of the culprit which is that all of my hot flashes were followed up with a round of the “chills”. So while I adequately addressed the hot part I failed to recognize or be specific about the cold or “CHILLS” part.

It has now been 2 months since I first addressed this problem and I am basically without hot flashes or chills. If I do get a “flare-up” I simply do a round or two of EFT and they are history.

 

I hope this might inspire you to applying tapping to any symptoms you may be having, and here’s to your stories of success!

 

 

 

Stages of Life: Menopause

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In our coming series of blog posts, we explore how to use EFT Tapping for different stages of life. This post is all about Menopause!

The Western view of menopause is largely biomedical and changes that occur attributed to hormonal fluctuations. But did you know research shows this experience may not be universal; menopause may be strongly shaped by social and cultural factors.

The meaning we make of menopause, our attitude, how our culture views the experience all impacts what we actually go through (e.g. our symptoms!).

In an early study of 483 Indian women of the Rajput caste in India, researchers found that few women had any problems with menopause other than cycle changes1. Other research of  Japanese women has found that rates of hot flashes and night sweats are low in comparison with those reported in Western cultures2. And there is actually no Japanese word for “hot flashes”.

Interestingly, Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a Professor in obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive health at Yale Medical School has been noted to say “In societies where age is more revered and the older woman is the wiser and better woman, menopausal symptoms are significantly less bothersome”.

For those of us yet to be revered and perhaps still have symptoms of menopause, there is still hope. EFT Tapping has been explored for a range of different issues and research consistently shows how it can change gene expression, cortisol (stress hormone) levels and mood concerns.

An EFT study of cortisol showed that after just 1 hour of tapping, anxiety reduced by 58.34%, depression by 49.33%, the overall severity of psychological symptoms by -50.5%, and a significant decrease in cortisol level by 24.39%. This was all achieved after just 1 hour of tapping!4

In 2019 my team replicated this trial and after just 1 hour of tapping cortisol levels were reduced by 43%! We achieved twice the effect.

So perhaps the idea of tapping for menopausal symptoms may not be too unusual. What could you apply it to? Anything related to mood, physical issues (e.g. sweating, hot flashes), emotions of any kind (libido?) could be targeted. Any beliefs about the menopause process could be tapped upon too – often families pass on beliefs about certain issues/stages of life and as children we easily adopt these as our own. Perhaps have a think about what beliefs about this stage of life you might have – and ask where did they come from.

In the next blog we will explore words to use and ways to tap!

1. Flint M. The menopause: reward or punishment? Psychosomatics. 1975;6:161–163.
2. Lock M. Ambiguities of aging: Japanese experience and perceptions of menopause. Cult Med Psychiatry. 1986;10:23– 46
3. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/07/980727080103.htm
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Journal+of+Nervous+and+Mental+Disease,+200(10),+891%E2%80%93896

 

From Surviving to Thriving During the Festive Season!

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Unfortunately stress, anxiety, and depression are common during the festive season.

While a study by the United Kingdom’s Royal Society for Public Health showed 84% of 2,000 respondents said that spending time with family improved their mental well-being at Christmas, 76% said that family arguments have the worst impact on their mental well-being during the festive season.

The truth is Christmas has been “formally identified” as a source of stress.

In 1967, psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe decided to study whether or not stress contributes to illness. They surveyed more than 5,000 medical patients and asked them to say whether they had experience any of a series of 43 life events in the previous two years.

Each event, called a Life Change Unit (LCU), had a different “weight” for stress. The more events the patient added up, the higher the score. The higher the score, and the larger the weight of each event, the more likely the patient was to become ill.

The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale became a psychological tool that measures the amount of stress you are under.

And guess what? There are 43 life change units that were ultimately identified and made the list (meaning they had to potential to make us ill) – and Christmas is on the list.

The scale lists life events and assigns a score to each event. Christmas scores 12 points on the scale.

You tally the scores for each event you have experienced in the past 12 months, the higher score the greater the chances you have of becoming ill from the stress you have in your life. You can see or take the test here.

So for some, Christmas represents a very stressful time – there are potentially financial strains with the extras (presents, food, time off work), children home from school, visitors, obligation, lack of sleep, too much food/drink, too little exercise ….. the list goes on.

Just thinking about it can raise the stress hormones, so we can use some tapping to calm your nervous system.

Exercise:

Write down everything you can think of that might make you feel overwhelmed, flustered, stressed etc during the Christmas period:

When you are done, go back and rate them out of 10 for level of intensity (e.g. 10 = the most intensity and 0=very calm).

Now let’s tap:

While tapping the side of the hand point (on either hand), repeat these phrases out loud, (or change the words to fit your exact situation).

“Even though I feel completely overwhelmed at the moment, I accept myself anyway.”
“Even though I feel stressed with the thought of everything I have to do, I accept how I feel.”
“Even though I feel sad, depressed, lonely, overwhelmed, tired, exhausted……., I accept this is how I feel right now.”

Now for the reminder phrases

Eyebrow: “I feel so tired”
Side of Eye: “I’m feeling overwhelmed.”
Under Eye: “I feel angry.”
Nose: “I feel stressed.”
Chin: “This is overwhelming.”
Collarbone: “I am SO exhausted.”
Under Arm: “I feel so much resistance.”
Head: “I don’t know how to change all of this.”

Tap around and see how your body feels after a few rounds. Try and identify areas which might be holding tension, emotions or overwhelm. Keep tapping until you are a 0 or a 1 out of 10 (10 being the most overwhelm, and 0 being complete calm). Jot down your notes to check in later.

Remember to change the words to describe exactly how you feel – it is veru important to be specific.

Remember you can download more ideas to cope with the festive season using tapping right here in this free ebook

Merry Christmas everyone.

As the Year Winds to a Close ….

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Now may be a wonderful time to pause and reflect.


Step 1: Locate a notebook and pen.⁠

Step 2: Read through the list of personal reflection questions provided below.⁠

Step 3: Begin by writing the first question at the top of the first page of your notebook. Spend 5-10 minutes writing a response to this question. There is no limit!⁠

Step 4: Continue in the same manner until you have completed all ten questions.⁠


1. What have I learnt over the last 12 months? (What new skills, knowledge and insight have I gained?)⁠

2. What has been my biggest accomplishment to date? ⁠

3. What might I do differently if given a second chance? Why?⁠

4. What have I done right? ⁠

5. What am I particularly proud of?⁠

6. What am I most thankful for?⁠

7. Am I different this year than I was at this time last year? How so?⁠

8. What motivates me?⁠

9. What gives me energy?⁠

10. What am I striving for?⁠

Take this time just for yourself – to reflect and plan, ponder and appreciate. 2020 will be here before you know it.

Time to Reflect and Pause – A Practical Exercise

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Take three or four deep diaphragmatic breaths. Notice how the breath feels in your throat, as it fills your lungs, and as it stretches your diaphragm. ⁠

While breathing slowly, notice how you feel inside your body, particularly your stomach and chest. Notice your neck and shoulders and face. ⁠

Now notice how you feel emotionally. Just keep your attention on the feeling till you have a sense of it. Describe that feeling to yourself. Label it. Notice the strength of the feeling. Find words to describe the intensity. Notice if the emotion is growing or diminishing. If the emotion were a wave, at what point of the wave are you now— ascending on the leading edge, on the crest, beginning to slide down the far side? ⁠

Now notice any changes in the feeling. Are there other emotions beginning to weave into the first one? Describe to yourself any new emotions that have appeared. Just keep watching and looking for words to describe the slightest change in the quality or intensity of your feelings.⁠

As you continue to watch, you may notice a need to block the emotion, to push it away. That’s normal, but try to keep watching your emotions for just a little while longer. Just keep describing to yourself what you feel and noticing any changes. ⁠

And breathe.⁠

Being a Reflective Counsellor

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“As important as methods may be, the most practical thing we can achieve in any kind of work is insight into what is happening inside us as we do it. The more familiar we are with our inner terrain, the more sure footed our [work] – and living- becomes.”
~ P. J. Palmer

How do you reflect?⁠

Reflective counselling practice is mindful practice. ⁠

Reflective counsellors are aware of their own strengths and limitations. They conduct counselling with purpose and intention. They monitor their own levels of stress and are mindful of personal matters that may interfere with their performance. Reflective counsellors take the time to evaluate and refine their performance after each counselling session and are committed to ongoing personal growth and professional development.⁠

There are many processes that contribute to effective reflective practice. Some of these may include:⁠

1. Evaluating own performance⁠
2. Developing self-awareness⁠
3. Monitoring potential for burnout⁠
4. Ensuring adequate self-care⁠

There are a number of strategies that can be implemented to assist you in monitoring and/or improving the way you conduct your counselling sessions. Here are a few examples:

1. Self evaluation
This is the process of reflecting on your own skills, your professional strengths and limitations. Awareness in these areas will enable you to choose professional development or training activities to fill any identified skill or knowledge gaps. Self-awareness of this nature will also enable you to identify clients that are beyond your scope of expertise and will ensure that you refer responsibly.

2. Client feedback
Providing client with the opportunity to review the counseling process can be tremendously beneficial for both counsellor and client alike. Not only does it acknowledge the client’s opinion as valid and valued, it also provides an opportunity for the counsellor to evaluate his or her current approach and adjust or continue accordingly.

3. Peer review
Peer review enables counsellors to come together and discuss individual cases, ethical dilemmas and brainstorm intervention options. It is a process that can increase counsellor accountability and improve the quality of service offered to clients (please ensure confidentiality policies are appropriately upheld).

4. Professional supervision
Supervision is an integral part of counseling practice. Within supervision, counsellors can enhance their skill and knowledge base, ensure responsible and ethical practice and monitor their self-care and professional competence. Supervision acts as a mechanism to ensure that a counsellor’s approach is aligned with professional standards and reflects the requirements of the industry.

What are your go-to practices and processes?⁠

Read more here –

Skovholt, T. M. (2001). The resilient practitioner: Burnout prevention and self-care strategies for counselors, therapists, teachers and health professionals. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon

Schon, D. (1983) The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. Avebury Press: Aldershot.

Access Chapter 4 from The Science Behind Tapping here free

EFT researcher and author Peta Stapleton, Ph.D., brings together the history and cutting-edge research of tapping. She also shows how tapping can be used for a whole host of ailments, including anxiety, weight issues, depression, trauma, and more. Dr. Stapleton’s own groundbreaking study involving food cravings in overweight adults helped establish EFT as an effective, valid form of therapy.

Access Chapter 4 below - EFT Tapping for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Thank you! Here is your free chapter.