The History of EFT

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) are really a combination and derivation of two other processes – Thought Field Therapy and Acupuncture. Acupuncture has been studied and practiced by Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners for centuries.  Long before the ideas of traditional Western Medicine were conceived, practitioners were healing and empowering others using meridians and energy fields.  (1)

Thought Field Therapy (TFT) is an offshoot of this theory, incorporating tapping at the meridian points accompanied by affirmations or statements. For close to 30 years now TFT has provided relief and assistance to balance the body’s energy system.  Unfortunately, TFT requires intensive knowledge and training to use correctly.

Dr. Roger Callahan, American psychologist specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders, learned Applied Kinesiology and studied the meridian system of acupuncture.  He was the physician who combined the use of tapping for emotional problems and simultaneously focusing on a specific fear.  The process was discovered quite by accident with a patient who had significant fear of the water.  In an effort to help her calm her stomach pain from the anxiety he inadvertently changed her behavior and eradicated her phobia.

In the coming years Gary Craig studied with Roger Callahan to learn his Thought Field Therapy techniques.  Dr. Callahan was devoted to the development of this new technique that could produce ‘one minute wonders’ in patients who had suffered for years with phobias and fears.  In an effort to delineate it as much as possible, he used muscle testing to determine the exact area that required the ‘tapping’ to achieve success.

But this muscle testing made the use of the process cumbersome and time consuming.  And, it wasn’t clear that this type of precision was necessary to effect the results the doctors wanted to achieve.  In 1987, Dr. Carrington, psychologist, and Gary Craig, Stanford engineer and performance coach, came to the same conclusion at the same time.  They could attempt a single-algothrim method in order to simplify the approach and potentially achieve the same results.

Their methods didn’t rely on muscle testing but simply used the acupuncture end points during tapping rounds.  Dr. Carrington began achieving excellent results with her patients using her Acutap methods and Gary Craig separated himself from Dr. Callahan in order to pursue his goals.  Dr. Callahan didn’t approve of the new method that Craig called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).

Gary Craig has been teaching EFT since the early 1990s and it has become one of the most influential Energy Psychology methods in the world.  After investigating the methods that Gary Craig developed Dr. Carrington switched her patients from Acutap to EFT and began using it exclusively.

In 2000 Dr. Carrington expanded the EFT method and named it “Choices” which was endorsed by Gary Craig.  Today, psychologists use Choices in their clinical practice to help patients move past their negative emotions related to stress and anxiety and have been experiencing positive benefits and results for their patients.

This historical journey for EFT was put in motion decades ago when Chinese Medical practitioners discovered and used the energy fields, called meridians, in the body to help the healing process.  In the movement forward Dr. Callahan, Dr. Carrington and Gary Craig have all been pivotal in the development of a process that can be used by professionals in the office or individuals at home to improve their overall health and mental well being.

(1) Oxford Journals; Rheumatology: A Brief History of Acupuncture