Learn About EFT for Anxiety Relief
Have you heard of EFT for anxiety? EFT stands for “Emotional Freedom Technique.” It’s a procedure that was first developed in the 1990’s by a variety of teachers practicing in a field known as “energy psychology.”
In a nutshell, the premise of EFT is that by tapping on certain pressure points in the body (just as is done with acupressure), you can release negative emotions that are trapped in your body.
How does EFT come into play for social anxiety? It has been argued by some that the roots of social anxiety may be found in events from your past that haven’t been properly processed and let go of.
So one example might be that if you were made fun of by a teacher in school for blushing or stuttering, the memory of that event could become lodged in your body in a physical way. And, anytime you face a situation that brings up similar feelings to that original situation, you experience the same anxiety that you felt at the time.
In this way, the premise of EFT is much the same as another technique that I have discussed on this site: Imagery rescripting for social anxiety.
Does EFT work? There’s some research to support it’s effectiveness for certain conditions, and one small study that suggests it might be helpful for social anxiety.
The thing is—it’s really hard to know what it is about EFT that might be working. And a lot of people argue that it’s not the tapping on your body that helps (yes, you tap on your body while you do EFT), but rather all the cognitive work that goes along with it. I tend to agree.
That being said, if you want to try EFT for social anxiety, I really don’t see the harm beyond perhaps spending money on learning how to do it (if you don’t have the money to burn).
And, there’s certainly potential benefits to be had. Below I outline what I perceive to be the main benefits of EFT for anxiety.
Processing Traumatic Memories
I suspect that part of the reason EFT might be helpful is that for social anxiety, it often involves going back to traumatic memories and re-processing them. This is very similar to another therapy that does have research support – imagery rescripting.
If you can view past situations in a new and different way, that could help you to unlock feelings of shame that have become associated with that situation. When those feelings of shame disappear, clearly it will be easier to feel more at ease and comfortable about yourself in social situations.
Changing Neural Pathways
It has to be said that anytime you are doing a procedure that involves using affirmations or repeating the same phrases to yourself over and over, what you are in essence doing is reprogramming your neural pathways.
Instead of constantly telling yourself, “I’m an idiot and people don’t like me,” you might start to find it easier to tell yourself, “I have social anxiety, but I fully love and accept myself.” Which one, over time, is going to give you a better shot at feeling less anxious? This part isn’t rocket science.
Placebo Effect (Also Known as “Doing Something”)
Did you know it’s better to do something than do nothing? A lot gets said about the placebo effect being bad, but that’s only the case if the treatment you are doing has side effects, is costly, or there is something better that you could be doing instead.
In the case of social anxiety, there are so many people who will NEVER DO ANYTHING ELSE. Sorry to yell at you, but it’s true! You won’t go see a professional, you won’t take medication, you can’t afford therapy—whatever the block is, the fact of the matter is that you are essentially stuck and doing nothing.
And what’s better than nothing? Something. And, EFT is just another something that isn’t all that hard to do.
(Want to see EFT for social anxiety in action? Watch the video below with EFT practitioner Brad Yates.)
Just like you would experience with meditation, it’s been shown that EFT tapping can help to reduce your stress. This isn’t surprising, given that in some ways it really does resemble meditation. Tap repetitively on your body and focus on repeating a phrase? Eventually, you will probably enter a meditative state that will help to relax your brain.
Feeling Like Somebody Cares
My final point—if you learn to practice EFT through a practitioner, then you will be taken under someone’s wing. And you will feel like somebody cares about you. In clinical psychology, this is known as the therapeutic alliance, and it plays a huge role in the effectiveness of therapy.
And, I can’t help but think this is doubly so for someone with social anxiety. Someone who cares about you getting better, has a strategy for you to try, and who might also have experienced social anxiety themselves (and somehow overcome it?) Of course that’s going to make you feel better.
I’m not going to claim to be an expert on EFT for social anxiety, because what i know is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to learn more, I suggest listening to the Social Anxiety Solutions podcast by Sebastiaan van der Schrier.
Sebastiaan has the combination of having lived with social anxiety and also having studied EFT extensively. Combined together, I think that makes him the best source for information on this topic. Sebastiaan also offers a complete program to teach you how to do EFT specifically for social anxiety.
Related Articles about Therapy for Social Anxiety
- 5 Benefits of CBT for Social Anxiety
- 5 Types of Therapy for Social Anxiety
- Benefits of Art Therapy for Social Anxiety