Updated: Mar 9, 2020
This past week I attended the Night of Hope, a fantastic event that is put on by the Peyton Reikhof Foundation for Youth Hope. I had the pleasure of sharing EFT with students, parents, and even other organizations that showed up to provide resources supporting mental health in our community. It was a great event for a great cause and I’m always excited to be a part of it. However, just when I thought it couldn’t get any better… it did!
Brooke Lawson, the Mental Health and School Counseling Coordinator for HSE schools, made my night by showing me a blog she had written about…..(drum roll please)….. EFT!!!!! Say what???
Four years ago, I would talk to people about how amazing “tapping” was and people would look at me like I was crazy! Today, people are still looking at me like I’m crazy, (HA!) BUT now more and more people are responding with things like: “Oh yea, I’ve heard about that,” or “I have a friend’s who’s kid knows a kid who has a cousin that does that.” My point is, it’s becoming more and more mainstream and FINALLY receiving the recognition it deserves for being a stress-reduction tool that can help so many!!!
Anyway, I wanted to share what Brooke wrote about EFT in schools because it’s super exciting for me….and because, spoiler alert, I’m the EFT practitioner who was divinely placed in the classroom next to Brooke, and granted the opportunity to tap with her before she nailed her presentation on mindfulness.
So here it is...
“Emotional Freedom Technique as a Coping Tool”
By: Brooke Lawson, Mental Health and School Counseling Coordinator, HSE Schools
“When I first heard about the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as “tapping,” I will be honest that I felt that it was very odd and wasn’t something that I would be using to cope with my own stress. That changed for me after attending a speaking engagement where my presentation was next door to an EFT practitioner.
The practitioner came into my room to introduce herself and chat. While she was doing that, I was feeling quite nervous about my presentation (I am not a huge fan of public speaking, especially when I don’t know my audience and at this particular event I was unsure who would be attending my sessions), so I thought what the heck, this can’t hurt!
She lead me and my co-presenter through a few rounds of tapping; and after the third round, the stomachache I felt had due to nerves disappeared, and I was feeling much more calm.
So, you may ask, “what is EFT and why would anyone think it was odd?” Well, in short, you think or talk about a negative emotion while tapping on a series of acupressure points and repeat certain phrases.
In Gary Craig’s “The EFT Manual,” he defines it as an “innovative technique that combines acupoint stimulation with traditional counseling methods such as self-awareness building, desentization, and strength-based cognitive reframing.”
After learning how to use EFT to manage my own anxiety and stress related to presenting in large groups, I decided to learn more about it. I met with the EFT practitioner who had originally taught me to use EFT to talk further. This got my wheels turning, and I began to think how EFT could help students in our school district struggling with stress.
In the Fall of this school year, we trained many of our school counselors and resource teachers who worked with students with emotional disabilities to use the technique in order to teach it to students and use it to manage their own stress. Our district conducted a training with nearly 30 teachers and counselors in EFT. These staff then used it to teach to students as well as for themselves.
Some of the feedback is listed below:
-“I myself could not buy in to this, but I taught one students and he shared his stress went down from a 6 to a 2 in one session.”
-“It was awkward at first, but once my students learned to use EFT, they were able to use it in stressful situations.”
-“I enjoy having EFT as another tool in my toolbox!”
-“I like how I can use this with a variety of students, even those that are non-verbal.”
We are excited to have EFT as another tool to help students (and some staff) manage stress. EFT is in the early stages of being researched, but Amy Gaesser, Ph.D. and O. Karan, Ph.D. conducted a research study comparing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and EFT interventions for students who were struggling with anxiety in grades 6-12. They found the students who were trained in EFT showed a significant reduction in anxiety in only 3 sessions!!
You can find the research article here:
Gaesser and her team continue to research the effectiveness of EFT with children and in schools.
At the end of the day, you can never have too many tools in your toolbox when it comes to helping teach students effective and appropriate ways to manage the stresses they face daily… even when you may be skeptical of them at first!”
THANK YOU SO MUCH Brooke and everyone else who's out there working hard to help support our young people! Special thanks also for being so open to an outside-the-box technique like EFT to help improve the mental health within our school community!