On the eve of the launch of our new and improved Online EFT for Weight Management Program, I am reflecting on my journey into the Emotional Freedom Techniques. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, Emotional Freedom Techniques, often shortened to “EFT”, and also simply called “tapping” is a unique process of combining focusing statements about a problem with tapping on acupressure points to help the problem clear away*.
That’s a bit weird, isn’t it?
As a specialist weight management psychologist, let me tell you about my journey into tapping, and how I am now convinced it is “a missing piece within the missing piece”…
EFT has is not actually a new therapy, and people have been telling me for years I “needed to get into it”. My polite response was “at Weight Management Psychology, we base our work around evidence-based therapies, and, while it may be very helpful, we can’t ethically do it if research doesn’t show that it works in my area of work (insert evidence-based practice spiel here)”. In my mind I was thinking “What a freaky therapy, that won’t work, even if my clients were willing to give it a try”. At that time, I was aware of evidence showing tapping helped with a range of issues, including trauma, stress, anxiety, and depression, but not with food or weight issues, so I was safe behind my scientific rationale…but then something happened…
After asking a routine question in a client’s first session “do you have any problem foods?”, I received an abnormal answer “I used to have a problem with Chips, but now I don’t. Haven’t had one in ages!” My ears pricked up. What happened, I thought. Cravings didn’t just disappear, did they? The obvious question, “how did this come about?” had an even more surprising answer “I was part of a clinical trial of EFT for food cravings. I focused on reducing my cravings for chips, and now I don’t eat them”. Of course you did – you tapped away your food cravings – that’s normal, right? I had heard that a Professor from Bond University had been planning to run the first clinical trials into EFT and food issues, and had been interested in the findings, so this person being in my office seemed serendipitous…
I hunted down the study, and the results were AMAZING. Not only did food cravings reduce, but remained reduced at one-year follow up. People felt better, and those improvements lasted as well. They even reduced some weight, and, no, surely not? Amount of weight reduction increased over time. I always worry when I see weight loss, as it tends to be as a result of dieting (which paradoxically causes weight regain afterwards), but that too was measured and people actually became less diety over the program and beyond. Wow, this seemed too good to be true, but there it was, in black-and-white (and more importantly, a peer-reviewed journal). For a weight management research geek like myself, this was the equivalent of hearing the new Star Wars films being announced!
I started looking into, reading about, and learning some EFT, with some pretty good results with my clients with food cravings. The process was easy to learn, and clients seemed to like it, as when you do the tapping you feel better (I think they find it more fun than other psychology-based homework, which can be a bit dry!), but I knew I needed to learn more…
Sometimes, things are just meant to happen, and a couple of months later, more serendipity, an email came in from the Australian Psychological Society College of Health Psychologists asking me to present a half-day workshop on expert techniques for healthy eating. Cool, but who was doing the other half? None other than Professor Peta Stapleton, the Professor that conducted the first ever clinical trial into EFT for food cravings! So I get paid to learn….BONUS!!!
I must admit, I was a bit nervous being on the same bill as Peta, she’s a superstar academic, world-leader in a new and innovative technique, and incredibly experienced trainer of psychologists, but I soon realised how lovely she was (she didn’t even mention that I was late to my own workshop, and she took the morning session with me taking the afternoon one!). We had a great time, saw the obvious synergy in our approaches, and I was back in the office using all I had learned to even better effect, mainly with reducing food cravings and stress, which I had learned as a wider application of EFT!
After tapping for a few more months, and directing my clients to some good online tapping videos, one of my clients said “Glenn, you should do your own tapping videos!” I thought, not me, I don’t know enough…but I know who does! I called Peta offering to develop an online EFT program together, thinking she would politely decline, but she said yes, and the rest is history!!! Towards the beginning of filming I learned that the tapping has even wider applications – we were doing videos not only on reducing food cravings, but also increasing cravings for healthy foods, not only on reducing stress, but all uncomfortable emotions, we were tapping for drinks, for physical activity, and mindful eating! Developing the online program with Peta was my perfect apprenticeship, and I began using tapping for the whole variety of issues I was working with my clients on, and even more effectively.
Now, a couple of years down the track, my pendulum has swung from Doubting Thomas to evangelistic advocate of tapping for weight issues (see my latest Media Interview on psychology for weight, tapping features prominently) – the cool thing is, though, there’s actually very little faith required to get benefit from the tapping – there’s something in the tapping technique that changes your brain patterns, emotional state, and behaviours. And I am excited to be bringing the tapping technique, and Peta’s expertise and brilliance, to the world, through our first Weight Management Psychology – Expert Intervention Series – EFT for Weight Management. I firmly believe that we have developed the most comprehensive, interactive, and effective online program for food and weight issues there is – but I don’t expect anyone to take my word for it, we’re now four weeks in to the first ever clinical trial of Online EFT! We keep on learning about what issues it works for, why it works, and how to best make it work…I wonder if you will learn that it can work for you too?
I have believed for a long time that psychology provides the missing piece of the weight management puzzle. But we can also consider the psychology of weight management a puzzle in itself, and I now feel that tapping is a missing piece of that puzzle. A missing piece within a missing piece. If you have felt that changing your mindset is the key to success with weight management, but not found the success you want with affirmations, food awareness diaries or goal-setting, maybe tapping is what you’ve been looking for. Like me, you may be pleasantly surprised!
* For more on what is EFT, see Peta, the world-leading expert explain it – she does a much better job than I 🙂
Click here to view a longer discussion between Glenn and Peta on tapping and where it fits into the psychology of weight management