5.4 min readPublished On: 13 May 20241077 wordsViews: 832

In recent years, the practice of Tapping has gained significant attention across various social media platforms and self-help circles as a simple and accessible technique for managing stress, anxiety, and other emotional challenges. Often shown in short videos and tutorials, Tapping has become synonymous with self-care and personal growth.

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is also known as ‘tapping’ because we tap on and stimulate various pressure points on the face, collarbone and hands as we verbalise our thoughts and feelings. EFT does involve tapping, but not all Tapping is EFT. While Tapping represents a valuable tool for those seeking relief and relaxation, EFT includes a broader spectrum of therapeutic techniques that are generally unfamiliar to the casual user.

Tapping by itself is a technique (singular) which includes gently stimulating acupressure points on the body with the fingertips while repeating specific phrases. Simply tapping can be an effective tool (again, singular) for reducing stress and down-regulating amygdala activation so the individual can access a sense of calm in the moment. As a self-care tool, clients can even use it by themselves between sessions with their practitioner.

EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Techniques, plural. That’s because EFT is made up of a comprehensive set of therapeutic protocols and interventions (again, plural), and is much more than the simplified version often seen in social media videos. When used by a professionally certified practitioner, EFT can be used with a wide range of psychological challenges, including traumatic experiences, chronic pain and anxiety. In its professional application, EFT involves a structured and multifaceted approach for safely, gently and effectively applying techniques tailored to individual needs. This helps the client safely navigate their specific concerns. 

Key differences between Tapping and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT):

Professional Guidance:

  • Tapping can be easily self-administered based on instructional videos and guides available online. It can be practised without the need for professional guidance and can often result in feeling calmer or more relaxed quite quickly.
  • EFT goes beyond providing temporary relief or relaxation. It is a powerful and systematic approach that aims to create fundamental shifts in one’s emotional and physical well-being by addressing the underlying causes of current issues. Professional guidance by accredited practitioners who have undergone extensive training and certification is essential to ensure the safe and practical application of EFT. 

Structure:

  • Tapping is a broader term that can refer to any technique that involves tapping on the body, on one or several different points. Tapping is also used in other modalities, for example, EMDR and Body Talk.
  • EFT follows a structured protocol. It involves tapping on specific meridian points on the body while using the client’s words, using detailed techniques depending on the issue being addressed.

General vs Specific:

  • Tapping scripts and videos usually offer generic phrases and ideas centred around a theme and the same phrases are repeated by everyone. This often brings relief and even memories or insights about what other experiences may be contributing to the current problem.
  • In EFT, getting specific is key. We consciously focus on specific emotions, intensity, thoughts and body sensations. The phrases are continually tested, and change throughout the session, based on the client’s response and the rate at which they process the information. When insights, memories or limiting beliefs surface, these are addressed with specificity. Getting Specific is a skill that is honed with extensive practice (see the point about training certification below) for effective EFT practice.

Depth of Work:

  • Tapping is primarily used for short-term relief from stress, anxiety, or emotional distress. It can be effective for managing immediate discomfort and fostering a sense of calm and relaxation, contributing to an immediate improvement in individuals’ well-being.
  • EFT is a therapeutic approach that helps to process and release deep-seated emotional issues – from anxiety and phobias to acute and complex trauma and even chronic pain conditions. EFT facilitates long-term positive change, genuine resolution and emotional freedom when guided by trained practitioners.

Affirmations:

  • Tapping may or may not involve the use of general affirmations while tapping on the points. For example, “I am abundant” or “The perfect relationship is now coming my way”.
  • In EFT, we typically refrain from using these types of general affirmations. Instead, we direct our attention toward negative feelings, thoughts or memories. This approach helps us to become aware of and acknowledge our felt sense and current emotional state. Awareness is the first step in moving towards acceptance, change, and ultimately, resolution.

Past experiences:

  • Tapping generally focuses on current thoughts or states of discomfort with the aim of feeling better in the moment.
  • In EFT, we specifically address past experiences which inform our current state. A foundational premise of EFT is that our internal response to any situation is determined by our past experiences.

Targeted Interventions:

  • Tapping typically involves voicing a specific issue or emotion while tapping on the body’s pressure points. It is a versatile technique that can be applied to various aspects of emotional well-being.
  • EFT utilises a variety of targeted interventions and protocols tailored to the client’s specific needs and goals. These include the Movie Technique, Tearless Trauma, Chasing the Pain, and Container Technique, among others. EFT inculdes a specific set of Gentle Techniques to manage intense distress and enable clients to process at their own pace.

Training and Certification:

  • Tapping does not require formal training or certification. Individuals can learn and practice tapping techniques on their own through online resources or instructional materials.
  • EFT: Becoming a certified EFT practitioner involves completing training programs accredited by organisations such as EFT International. Certification is an extensive process that requires practitioners to demonstrate proficiency in administering EFT techniques and adhering to ethical guidelines. Accredited practitioners are also obligated to engage in their own personal and professional development. They are required to participate in regular mentoring sessions and complete a specified number of CPD (Continuing Professional Development) hours each year. These requirements are essential for maintaining their professionalism and ensuring they continue providing effective services to their clients.

While Tapping and EFT are often used interchangeably, it’s crucial to recognise that the specific techniques of professional EFT differ significantly. Due to increasing popularity, observers will notice that specific application practices can vary widely as a result.

I hope this has been informative in helping you understand the differences between Tapping and EFT. My intention is for you to make informed choices about using Tapping for self-care or seeking professional guidance for more profound emotional healing through Emotional Freedom Techniques.

Last Updated: 20 May 2024

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