Fed up with the constant disappointment of yo-yo dieting and feeling like I had no willpower, I decided to examine the reasons why I can’t seem to stick at staying in shape rather than sign up to a new fad diet. I hooked up with an Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner, Julie Mann, to see what the technique could do for me.
I have blogged previously about my journey with Slimming World and losing 15lb. Through a series of time management issues, holidays and general lack of commitment, I put the weight back on with the obligatory ‘extra’ pounds one seems to accumulate with yo-yo dieting. Slimming World’s healthy eating plan works for many. It instills the principles of a balanced diet and watching excessive fat & sugar intake. But after falling off the wagon yet again, it was obvious my relationship with food is rather complex and feel I need to explore that before committing to another weight loss club or plan.
I’d never heard of EFT before speaking to Julie. Since using hypno-birthing techniques for pain management during labour with my second child, I experienced first hand the power of ‘positive suggestion’. I started to accept the brain is a delicate creature that needs encouragement and nurturing. I have always strongly believed in counselling and psychotherapy for a range of problems. Feeding your soul is vital for stress relief and coping with life’s ups and downs, in my view.
So if I’m relatively self-aware, why do I still put barriers up? I consider myself a fairly perceptive person with a great deal of emotional intelligence. But could I be too self-aware and over-thinking everything? That may be true and after a few sessions of EFT I could see I was a classic case of giving great advice but not taking any myself. Hardly breaking news, most of us are probably guilty of it. But I can’t afford to employ a counsellor on an on-going basis. I need a structure of self-help mechanisms to train my brain, to accept my feelings and let myself be who I am.
What is EFT?
EFT uses tapping on meridian points on your body while exploring vocally, particular issues you’re looking to address. For example, we started off by talking about food and my fears about my eating habits.
The first session was awkward. I couldn’t get my head around the tapping. Despite being intensely therapeutic, it felt silly to start off with. But as the session progressed we started to emotionally tap into some of the stresses and blocks that prevent me from changing the behaviours I so desperately want to. I very quickly realised how hard I am on myself for a variety of perceived failures. It’s that guilt and fear which renders me stuck in a rut, a notion that isn’t groundbreaking but it was in relation to the specific areas I had fears around.
Having seen the effects of the first session, I went into the second with an open mind and body. I felt much more comfortable and we addressed a number of ideas which are the roots of my barriers to changing behaviour.
After my sessions, it was clear my confidence was returning in spades. In EFT you are reminded constantly to ACCEPT yourself. You are you. Language is everything. Julie consistently reminded me to talk about ‘how I felt about’ certain situations, rather than how a person ‘made me feel’. It was extremely empowering to take back control of my emotions, rather than continuing to believe others were impacting my stress levels.
In my opinion, an EFT therapist needs to be confident in the techniques but also have strong counselling skills. Julie seemed to intuitively sense what we needed to talk about, which meant we got to the heart of the issues very quickly during the time we had allocated. I quickly got used to the tapping, I continue to use it to slow down the fear and emotion that comes rushing when you explore personal and sensitive issues. Just as breathing is essential to hypnotherapy and yoga for relaxation, the tapping on certain meridian points is aimed at restoring your body’s energy to a balanced state.
There is a healthy amount of skepticism around ‘energy psychology’ with some scientific reviews discovering methodological flaws in ‘tapping’ techniques. It would be advisable to discuss what you want to achieve with your practitioner before committing to a course. It’s a good idea to manage expectations, ‘tapping’ isn’t a magic cure for your problems and the EFT sessions require effort. Personally, I found it a ‘work-out’ for my soul, forcing me to take back ownership of my stress levels. The sessions were always relaxing and positive. Only you can be the judge on how affective it is and whether other therapies may work better.
See Julie in action on her YouTube channel.
Image courtesy of “Beautiful Young Carefree Women Relaxing” by photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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