The Emotional Freedom Techniques – or EFT – are spreading like wild fire within the personal growth community, and, slowly but surely, even within the medical world. If you’ve had your try with EFT, you are probably one of the many impressed with how fast, gentle and effective this method is for creating lasting emotional change. Fear of water: gone in ten minutes. Fear of flight: gone in five minutes (on the plane, before takeoff!); feelings of betrayal by an old flame: gone in seven minutes. Nothing is easier than tapping on an unresolved emotion to clear it.
Or is it?
EFT works wonders clearing authentic emotions. But when the emotion you are tapping on is not authentic, but a secondary emotion, EFT tapping won’t clear it. I’ll explain.
Let’s say a child named Sara has some unmet need, to which she responds with anger. She quickly learns from the adults that her response is unacceptable, and she represses the emotion. Anger becomes hidden in the ‘Shadow’ of Sara’s subconscious mind. The emotion of anger is disowned, becoming a split-off part of the child’s psyche. Sara grows up unable to access her anger; she sees anger as something that other have, but not her: ‘I am not like that’. Anger shows up in her boss, or perhaps her partner, and the other people’s anger triggers fears in her. Sara is terrified by her spouse’s or her boss’s expressions of anger.
So she decides to try EFT to eliminate the fear: ‘Even though I have this fear of my partner’s / my boss’s anger, I deeply and completely love and accept myself’. She taps every day on this fear, but the fear does not subside.
This is because the fear is the secondary emotion, and tapping on ‘fear’ is really like barking up the wrong tree.
Fear is the sign post which points towards the authentic emotion buried in the Shadow: Anger. To integrate the split-off part of her psyche, Sara goes through a process of owning her anger by facing it, talking to it, and ultimately becoming it. Then she uses EFT and other approaches to address the anger. Once owned and integrated, the anger ceases to scare her when others express it.
The Shadow Work is an important piece in identifying the EFT ‘problem’, and a crucial part in one’s psychological and spiritual development. Stay tuned for more…
I'm just learning a bit more about the EFT and I have to say you bring up and awesome point how it may not work for anger as it may be the shadow emotion behind fear and much harder to deal with. I find the people I work with that anger is the hardest emotion to manage, period as it is a very habitual monster to slay, it takes a long time. Thanks for some good insights on this.