Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) as Treatment for PTSD

February 12, 2017 Jami DeLoe

The emotional freedom technique (EFT) helps treat PTSD and other anxiety disorders. Learn more about EFT and how it can help you treat PTSD symptoms. Read this.

One treatment for my posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) I am interested in is called emotional freedom technique (EFT). It’s a relatively new treatment – developed in the mid-90s – for various psychological issues and disorders. From what I have read about it, EFT for the treatment of PTSD symptoms seems to be gaining some momentum as a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practice.

Emotional freedom technique is a treatment method that offers patients healing from emotional and physical pain using a sort of acupuncture without the needles. Fingertips are used to stimulate different energy points on the body with a tapping motion. The technique, which can be practiced just about anywhere, was developed by Gary Craig. It came about from his thought that negative emotions are due to a disturbance in the body’s energy system.

The EFT treatment for PTSD is done by tapping on acupressure meridians of the body to release blockages. Once the blockages are released, the negative emotion can be released and move through the body. The following are the steps that occur in a typical EFT for PTSD session:

  1. You start by identifying the problem you want to work on.
  2. You then tap your “karate chop point” (the side of your hand, where you would strike something with a karate chop), while saying something like, “Even though I have this (problem emotion), I completely love and accept myself,” three times.
  3. You then cycle through the tapping points on the body, tapping each one seven times.
  4. Repeat the tapping cycle a second time.
  5. Now you rate the intensity of the negative emotion again to evaluate whether you need more rounds of tapping.

Benefits of EFT for PTSD Treatment and Recovery

According to what I have researched about EFT, there are several benefits to the treatment, some are specific to PTSD and others are more general.

Benefits or Emotional Freedom Technique for PTSD recovery are:

  • Stress reduction. As the person becomes calmer, the body shifts all its systems into relaxation. This is one reason that EFT works well with other types of treatment such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).
  • EFT is similar to EMDR in that the process relieves the strong emotional responses to the trauma. The memories are still there, but they are far less intense and they no longer evoke such a powerful emotional response.
  • EFT actually modifies the way the brain processes emotional information about the trauma.

Some of the general benefits of EFT are:

  • It often works when nothing else does.
  • Relief is usually quick and long-lasting.
  • It can be done by oneself.
  • There are no medications or equipment required.
  • It’s a positive and proactive experience.

Final Thoughts About Using EFT for PTSD Treatment

I admit I am intrigued by this treatment. I also think that it sounds a little bit too “out there” to work. But I thought that EMDR sounded that way too until I tried it and it helped. I’m going to keep looking into EFT and see if I can give it a try.

If you have done EFT, I would love to hear about your experience and whether you felt relief from the treatment. Please let me know in the comments below.

Find Jami on Facebook, on Twitter, on Google+, and on her blog, Sober Grace.

APA Reference
DeLoe, J. (2017, February 12). Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) as Treatment for PTSD, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 16 from

Author: Jami DeLoe

Jami DeLoe is a freelance writer and addiction blogger. She is an advocate for mental health awareness and addiction recovery and is a recovering alcoholic herself. Find Jami DeLoe on her blog, Sober GraceTwitter, and Facebook.

February, 13 2017 at 10:07 am

My therapist uses this technique with me. It does take a few minutes, but I do find it calming and effective for me.

Diana Ruth Nichols
February, 16 2017 at 10:55 am

3] Bakker, Gary M. (November 2013). "The current status of energy psychology: Extraordinary claims with less than ordinary evidence". Clinical Psychologist. 17 (3): 91–99. doi:10.1111/cp.12020 -
This is no more than wishful/placebo thinking. We are mentally ill, not stupid.

Rex Jantze
April, 27 2017 at 12:27 am

I'd been using EFT on myself since 2005 with a long list of positive results that I can explain in another comment or email, but most significant was I am sure I cured my own depression; or more specifically, I no longer have the feedback of depressive symptoms in my brain or biology (the mind "system"), symptoms from a long, enduring hyper-sensitivity to negative stimuli. That is my own theory, of course. And it is also just a theory that what i think was happening is I had been disturbing and reprocessing biological subconscious conditioned feedback loops in the entire mind system. I also used diminutive forms of EMDR, NLP, and Open Focus, largely because they were accessible to normal society. I figured out the "hacks" in these processes and combined them--as rapid somatic and attentional shifts--to a greater effect at affecting and disturbing these feedback loops (in my personal hypothesis) between procedural memory and the reflexive system--the conditioned subconscious.
There is no reason in the psychological model for EFT to work, so it must be somatic, a body-to-brain reboot that modifies past experiences in the safety and trust of present moment. You can get a similar feedback disturbing-and-reprocessing effect by shaking yourself vigorously when negatively aroused for 5-15 seconds, and then just breathing coherently in stillness for a minute while opening your attention to the stillness, the breath, and the volume of your body in space.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

S. Hammond
May, 22 2017 at 9:53 pm

I would be very interested in more information about the hacked system you devised. Anything to speed up the clearing process- I have quite a few issues backlogged.

June, 25 2017 at 10:20 pm

Placebos tend to have a lot of positive effects actually. If it works it works.

March, 15 2018 at 12:52 am

What a pile of crap, from pretend my awful life is great, to this nonsense, there really is no hope is there?

November, 29 2022 at 1:07 am

I was skeptical that such a seemingly pseudoscientific technique could work but a recent systemic review of randomized clinical trials and meta-analyses found that EFT was in fact an evidence based treatment. It was published in a highly reputable peer-reviewed journal.
Bakker's review seem to have only one citation which is a review in favor of EFT. Such an unimpactful review makes me doubt of its relevance.

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