Betsy B. Muller, MBA, ACAP-EFT, CEHP, is a highly accomplished professional in the field of personal development and emotional well-being. As an EFT International Accredited EFT Master Trainer, she possesses extensive expertise in Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and is dedicated to helping individuals transform their lives. MysticMag delves deeper.
How did EFT first find you?
It was quite a mysterious experience for me. I was a working mother on a business trip to Switzerland, which was quite exciting since I rarely got the chance to travel overseas. At that time, I was managing a group medical practice, and I accompanied my boss to a meeting without knowing much about its purpose. I simply wanted to go to Switzerland because it sounded like a wonderful opportunity.
During the meeting, there were various workshops and breakout sessions. One of the early workshops caught my attention. It was about a technique called Emotional Freedom Techniques or “tapping”, which was based on principles of Chinese Acupuncture to address stress and emotional regulation. I decided to participate in a group demonstration of the technique, and to my surprise, I immediately felt a sense of relief. My body felt better, and my mind became clearer. I couldn’t help but wonder what had just happened.
I’ve always been someone who relies on scientific explanations, so this unexplained and rapid effectiveness intrigued me greatly. I didn’t need to see studies or certifications at that moment because I knew it worked for me. At the time, there weren’t official certifications available, but I had extensive experience running a holistic practice through my management of the group medical practice that focused on alternative therapies.
I joined the professional organization, the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology, which encompassed this technique. I was able to contribute by assisting in training their practitioners to be more effective in marketing and serving patients. As a result, I became a speaker, got involved in the board, and eventually became the communications director. During this time, a practitioner certification program started, allowing me to delve deeper into understanding the technique and follow the emerging research.
Eventually, I developed such a strong passion for it that I made a significant career change. I left the group medical practice to become an expert in EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) and started my own practice. It was a decision that didn’t make much logical sense, considering I was changing my life in my late 40s with two children. However, it felt as though something greater than myself was guiding me, urging me to utilize my past experiences and redirect them towards serving others. It took bravery, and tapping helped me find the courage to make this transformative leap.
Can you explain to our audience what Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is and how it differs from traditional approaches to emotional well-being and personal growth?
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) takes the principles of cognitive talk therapy and adds a physical body component to it. While we still listen to people’s concerns and allow them to talk, we also focus on accessing specific points on the body that help regulate the nervous system. The idea is that we hold emotional feelings in our body, and by tapping on these points, we can invite the emotions to move through and release.
Animals naturally shake after a traumatic experience to let go, but humans often struggle to do the same. We tend to suppress our feelings and try to hold ourselves together. Tapping interrupts the amygdala, which is the fight-or-flight center in the brain. By reducing its reactivity, we increase blood flow to the front of the brain, where our language and thinking centers are located. This relaxation response leads to a sense of calm, lower blood pressure, increased heart rate variability, and improves breathing.
Additionally, tapping has been shown to affect gene expression and cortisol levels, which is our stress hormone. Studies have demonstrated that cortisol levels decrease by approximately 43% after just one hour of tapping in a group setting. This chemical shift in the body explains why people often feel different and calmer after tapping.
Although we are still in the early stages of fully understanding tapping, there have been around 300 studies examining its effectiveness. Thought Field Therapy (TFT), another practice involving tapping, has also contributed to the body of research. Combining these modalities has resulted in numerous published studies. EFT alone is a relatively new process, with research emerging over the past 17 years. Its efficacy has made some skeptics in the traditional therapy world, as it can significantly shorten the duration of therapy and empower patients to use the technique on their own.
Personally, I take pride in working with individuals for a short period, after which they can continue their progress independently or join group activities and retreats. Life-changing experiences often lead them to seek a community of like-minded individuals who embrace these “weird” practices, even though they are far from strange.
EFT is known for its effectiveness in addressing various challenges such as anxiety, stress, pain, and emotional eating. Could you share some success stories or examples of how EFT has positively impacted individuals in these areas?
Emotional eating is a topic that has been extensively studied, particularly in relation to its impact on weight loss and healthy choices. When we’re stressed, MRI studies have shown that our amygdala, the stress center in our body, becomes activated during food cravings for items that we probably shouldn’t eat. Tapping can help shift this activation, allowing us to make better decisions not only about our food choices but also about what we say and do. It’s not just about achieving physical calm; tapping also calms the brain, enabling us to function at our highest level. This aspect is truly remarkable.
Another fascinating area where EFT shows its efficacy is in addressing physical discomfort, pain, and symptoms. Just last week, I worked with someone during a group Zoom call who was experiencing seasonal allergies, which can be quite uncomfortable during this time of year. By guiding them through a simple round of tapping and focusing on their allergy symptoms and associated feelings, we were able to witness a significant reduction in their discomfort within about five minutes. Their symptoms went from, let’s say, an intensity level of 8 to a much more manageable 3 or 4 on the discomfort scale. The remarkable part is that this improvement occurred without the need for any pills or experiencing any side effects.
Tapping simply helps the body settle and find relief. This approach can be applied to any bothersome symptom, whether it’s a sore elbow, a headache, or any other issue that captures our attention and hinders our ability to function optimally. Introducing these concepts to new students in my classes is something I particularly enjoy, as it allows them to feel more comfortable and learn better. Their brains become open and receptive to the information and experiences that lie ahead.
How does EFT help individuals achieve clarity, make sound decisions, and enhance their overall performance? Can you provide some practical techniques or strategies that our audience can apply in their daily lives?
When it comes to tapping, everyone’s concerns and issues are unique. In success stories, I’ve noticed that people often have significant presenting issues they’re dealing with. To address these issues with tapping, we use specific language and statements. For example, if someone is feeling gutted by a breakup, we would start by tapping on the side of the hand and saying something like, “Even though I feel gutted by this breakup and all I can think about is this loss, I choose to love and accept myself anyway, and I choose to move on in peace.” We encourage them to focus on the issue and use statements that resonate with their experience. As we tap on the individual points, we also incorporate reminder phrases, such as “I was ghosted” or “I feel confused and lonely.” By acknowledging and tapping on these various feelings, we address the different aspects of the problem.
The most effective tapping approach considers all the aspects involved in a problem. It’s crucial not to dwell too much on describing the issue but rather to be specific for each particular aspect that arises. For instance, if someone wants to exercise more but faces obstacles, we need to identify what’s getting in the way. This could be beliefs like “It’s not possible” or concerns about appearance. We treat each of these aspects separately, gently addressing them with tapping and statements like, “Even though part of me thinks this is impossible, I accept all my feelings, I can find a way to make this possible anyway.” The practitioner needs to delve into the underlying reasons behind the desire to change and call out any obstacles that arise. As the brain calms down through tapping, new ideas and aspects may emerge, and the client gains a sense of empowerment. It’s remarkable how the brain opens up and provides solutions as we reduce anxiety.
During tapping sessions, I often ask clients to measure their discomfort or belief intensity on a scale of zero to ten. This helps us track progress and identify any shifts that occur. For instance, we may ask, “On a scale of zero to ten, how uncomfortable is this issue for you now?” or “How strongly do you believe in your ability to swim three to four days a week?” This measurement allows us to gauge where the person is in their journey toward change. It’s essential to regularly check in with clients to assess their progress and address any new obstacles that may arise. I’m always thrilled when clients have breakthrough moments and come up with new ideas or perspectives during tapping sessions. It’s amazing how the brain opens up and reveals possibilities once it’s in a calmer state. I hope that the person I worked with recently was able to enjoy her swim at the newly opened pool on Memorial Day.
Forgiveness and healing broken hearts are often challenging processes. How does EFT facilitate forgiveness and contribute to improving relationships?
Helping people improve their relationships is a rewarding endeavor because as social beings, we have an innate desire for connection and belonging. When we experience rejection, it often causes emotional pain that we feel in our hearts. To begin addressing relationship issues with tapping, it’s important to give words to those feelings and focus on a specific person or situation that is causing distress. As you tap, you can verbalize how you feel and continuously measure the subjective units of distress, which helps gauge the intensity of the emotion. It’s also helpful to identify where in the body you feel the emotional discomfort. If the feeling is overwhelming and affecting your ability to breathe, for example, acknowledging that during tapping can be beneficial.
The most impactful work in relationship tapping often involves delving into past events that may be at the root of the hurt or heartbreak. This could involve recalling old incidents where feelings of rejection or pain were experienced. Grief, in particular, can bring up numerous instances that contribute to the overall sense of loss. While this may sound challenging, tapping brings about a heightened awareness of the complexities of love, longing, and knowing where to go next. The goal is to move from a state of stress to a place of love and forgiveness, for self and for others.
Incorporating statements from the ancient Hawaiian healing practice of Ho’oponopono can be particularly helpful when working on relationships. These statements are: “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.” By repeating these statements while tapping, you can explore different aspects of the situation. For example, you might imagine the other person saying sorry to you, even if they never did, or you can express your own feelings of remorse or seeking forgiveness. The statements “thank you” and “I love you” can also be used, bringing in gratitude and love to help shift the emotional energy. This simple practice can be used as a starting point and can lead to exploring other words and phrases that hold meaning for the client.
Incorporating these techniques into homework assignments can be highly beneficial for someone working on relationship issues. By providing them with these tools, they can continue their tapping practice and explore their emotions, thoughts, and beliefs surrounding their relationships.
As an EFT Master Trainer, what advice or tips would you give to someone who is interested in incorporating EFT into their personal or professional life? Are there any common misconceptions about EFT that you would like to address?
I would suggest giving EFT a try, as I mentioned earlier. Working with a practitioner on a specific issue or exploring free online resources can be a great introduction to the process. Often, people who try group sessions or use scripts may not fully connect with EFT, so I encourage you to make it a focused experience for yourself to truly benefit from it in its pure form.
It’s worth noting that not everyone practices EFT to the gold standard, which refers to the research-based approach currently being used.
EFT stands out as a rigorously researched process, with various practitioners achieving impressive results in wide variety of client concerns. If you are interested in using EFT for your own self-care, studying the technique and undergoing practitioner training can help you apply EFT at its highest level, ensuring a thorough understanding and the ability to address different aspects related to your specific problem.
The training is reasonably priced, and while certification may require additional investment, it is highly recommended for those using EFT with clients.
Certification involves evaluation, including conducting 50 sessions with 20 different clients and working with a trainer to ensure proper implementation. Consumers should be cautious and inquire about a practitioner’s training and experience, as emotions and people’s well-being are delicate matters. It’s important to note that EFT is not a substitute for medical or high-level mental health care but rather a tool that can be highly effective when other approaches have not yielded the desired results. It should be seen as part of a broader toolkit to support individuals in leading productive lives.
Another point worth mentioning is the misconception surrounding EFT on Wikipedia. The Wikipedia page on EFT often fails to include research findings and dismisses it as sham science. However, there is a significant body of scientific evidence and substantial studies published in reputable journals that support EFT. The editorial staff at Wikipedia might have their reasons for not promoting EFT, potentially influenced by the old guard’s concerns about its effectiveness and the potential for reduced session frequency and costs.
Nevertheless, many licensed professionals are integrating EFT into their practice and witnessing benefits such as increased calmness, improved rapport with clients, and the ability to assign simple tapping exercises as homework, empowering clients to be more independent in their healing journey. This allows clients to live their lives without the need for weekly or biweekly therapy sessions, aligning with purpose and independence.
I invite you to join me every Monday for a 30-minute free Zoom session that is open to participants from all around the world. During these group sessions, we address many different needs and topics. Participants are welcome to bring ideas or suggestions. Often we focus on distance healing for individuals who are in distress, undergoing chemotherapy or recovering from a serious medical issue. Similar to Reiki, EFT can be used for distance healing, to support those in need. The fascinating thing is that even when you participate in distance healing for others, your own body and brain can benefit from the process. You don’t necessarily have to focus on your own trauma to send healing out into the world. These sessions take place every Monday at 1:00 Eastern Time.