Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Therapy 101- EFT: Emotional Freedom Techniques
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) also called "tapping" is a quick easy intervention or coping skill you can teach your kiddos to deal with big feelings anywhere at anytime. Similar to acupuncture, the child will tap on certain points of their body while running through a script helping them process their feelings. There is a wide variety of variations on how you can do this with your child, and an internet search will give you tons of ideas, videos, scripts, etc.
First you need to teach the tapping points. Below is a video teaching a child to use the points. For younger kids I would recommend using a stuffed animal and putting stickers or sewing buttons on the tapping points so they can practice with it. You can choose to only teach a few tapping points if that is all your child can handle right now, I would do at least a minimum of four. For my youngest we use four tapping points King's Crown (top of head), Mustache (Under Nose), Tarzan (Collar Bone), and Monkey (Under armpit). For my oldest we do all of the tapping points and I made a "cheat sheet" that has pictures of him doing each tapping point so he can reference it as he works through the script.
Once they know the tapping points you can find scripts online or make your own, check out youtube too! You will find that most of the "adult" scripts are too long or complicated for kids to follow, here is a great page showing a way to develop simple scripts for kids: Dumping, Dreaming, Deciding Technique for developing EFT Scripts. Here is an example of a script I made for my son dealing with angry feelings: Printable Anger Script. I used the Dumping, Dreaming and Deciding technique but also added in a section for Physical Symptoms because I think it is helps my son connect the physical symptoms to the feelings.
Here's the thing about the scripts, if your kid doesn't want to say it out loud, that's okay. If they want to copy and repeat after you, that's okay. If they want to read it silently, that's okay. If they refuse to do the script at all and just sit there listening to you, that's okay too :) The thing I've found most helpful with the scripts for my son is having him hear/say that his feelings are valid, that there is a way to have those feelings and work through him, and that he is an awesome/smart/brave kid. He struggles with self esteem so having those positive affirmations reinforced while tapping is great for him.
We are working on making him a binder filled with different scripts and I have video taped myself doing the scripts on his Nintendo DS so he can watch them whenever he needs. Its super simple to do and it can never hurt to give your kids more tools for their arsenal!
Do's and Don'ts of tapping with Kids
EFT SUPER STAR: Brad Yates
Community Forums for Parents and Professionals using EFT with kids