I was recently asked to do a temporary counselor position for a couple weeks at a local high school. As an EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Practitioner, I was beyond excited for the opportunity to share this amazing tool with so many students.
If you’re not already familiar with EFT Tapping, it is a simple yet powerful research-based stress reduction tool that combines ancient Chinese medicine with modern day exposure therapy. While Tapping on certain points on the body, the brain’s stress alarm is turned off, allowing a person to experience a sense of calm and clarity. EFT is quick, effective, and teens love it most because they don’t actually have to talk about what’s bothering them in order to feel better (SO HUGE)!
I was MORE than pleasantly surprised by how receptive these kiddos were to trying out the technique. And, I was astounded by the results I was able to witness in just minutes of Tapping. I honestly just wish I would’ve had this tool when I worked in schools years ago because it was so incredibly effective… And, best of all, they were then equipped with a healthy way to manage their stress for the rest of their lives!
For many, simply having the awareness their bodies are affected by their emotions was a revelation for them. Many minds were blown when I’d asked them questions such as: “Does that sad feeling in your chest have a color… temperature... picture…?” It was so beautiful to watch them initiate such an important conversation with their bodies. It was incredible to watch them shift from “This is so weird,” to “This is so cool.”
EFT Tapping is an absolute game changer when supporting students’ mental health. It’s currently being integrated into schools’ social emotional curriculums across the globe, and was even taught to the students affected by the Sandy Hook tragedy years ago. It is my belief that not equipping children with a loaded toolbox for healthy ways to cope with stress is like sending a soldier off to war without a weapon. I also believe that a stress management class should be taught to every child, right alongside other important subjects such as reading and math.
I want to share with you three of my favorite moments, while tapping with these amazing teens…
From “No Thank you,” to “Thank you” within Minutes...
I heard a young boy sobbing outside the door and the secretary asking him if he wanted to see his counselor.
He replied: "No, I don't want to talk about it."
So, I entered into the room, sat next to him, and said, "Honey, I teach a technique that helps to calm you down and make you feel better. What kids love most about it is that you don't have to talk about anything. It's seriously awesome. Would you be open to trying it?"
He agreed to come to my office and give it a try.
We did 2 rounds of just tapping and breathing, before he looks up and says "Wow, that really does work!"
We did two more rounds focusing on the tightness he was feeling in his chest.
He then looked up at me, put his hand out for me to shake it, and said: "Thank you so much for that, truly, thank you!"
Afterwards, he walked out and began scheduling his classes for next year with his counselor, looking COMPLETELY different from when he walked in. This was after only five minutes of Tapping!!!
It was so surprisingly quick that I think even the secretary looked a little confused (HA)!
A New (and Healthier) Way to Cope with Stress!
I had a young girl come down feeling stressed about a family member, about infectious diseases, about school… Just all sorts of stress.
This young girl had a history of self-injuring as a way to cope with those overwhelming feelings.
After about 30 minutes of Tapping, she reported that she loved that this was something she could do for when she felt those intense feelings… And, best of all, she wouldn’t “get in trouble” for this.
Cutting was something she had done in the past to cope with that in the moment intensity, but then the feelings of shame for the scars, and the fear that someone would find out immediately popped up after. Tapping was a way for her to feel calmer, and without all the negative emotions after… So powerful, right?
Warning, Tapping May Cause the Following Side Effects: Happiness
A young man entered my office, very quiet and timid at first. He had something that was stressing him out, but wasn’t even sure where to start.
My response: “Let’s just start with how you’re feeling, just thinking about that thing.”
He replied with “Nervous,” and he felt that as a tightness in his chest.
We did 3 rounds of Tapping, focused on what he was feeling….
He then began laughing, and asked “Is happiness a side effect of this technique?”
I said “It absolutely can be.”
I will often describe this to clients as moving dark clouds out of the way. Once we’re able to do this, the sun will often very naturally pop its way through in the sky.
He then went on to tell me: “Because of the medication I’m in, I don’t feel really sad, but I also don’t get to feel that happy. I haven’t felt this happy in a long time.”
Melt my heart… Tapping for the win!!!
Casey VanPutten, MA, LSC
Certified EFT Practitioner