Tapping Your Way to Emotional Freedom in Recovery: An Interview With Veronica Valli
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has been recognized in over 100 clinical trials demonstrating its efficacy in the treatment of a variety of psychological and physical conditions – from PTSD, alcohol cravings, to chronic pain.
EFT combines elements of popular modern psychological therapies, such as CBT, with ancient Chinese acupressure in the form of tapping with the fingertips on acupuncture points. For this reason, it’s often called “tapping.”
My Personal Experience With EFT
I have had personal experience of EFT with Veronica Valli – a recovery coach, trained therapist, and EFT Practitioner. While I have experienced some huge changes in my relationship with my body over the past few years – I lost over 50 pounds – I am no longer obsessed with weighing myself all the time, I am more active and more fit than ever, and I stopped equating my self-worth to the number on the scale – I had still been struggling emotionally.
Knowing how to lose weight – and training as a health coach myself – helped massively. Yet, I had still been struggling with emotional eating. That changed when I met Veronica Valli at the She Recovers event in New York this past May. Sometimes we need extra help! I know this isn’t unique to anyone in recovery, but it was limiting my ability to reach my goals of continued weight loss.
She helped me to uncover my subconscious beliefs that were sabotaging my efforts. Once we had done that, we could then begin to tap. And it worked; I have begun losing weight again and I am finally slimmer than I have been in seven years. I put that down to both Veronica’s expertise and her guidance with EFT.
Believing as passionately as I do about EFT, I spoke to Veronica about how EFT can be used for the unique challenges those in addiction recovery face.
My Conversation With Veronica
Tapping works to physically alter your brain, energy system and body all at once. How does that work?
Veronica: Gary Craig, the founder of EFT said ‘The cause of all negative emotions is due to a disruption in the bodies energy system.’ EFT believes there is a strong mind-body connection with a lot of physical sickness – that our feelings (stress for instance) actually make us physically, as well as mentally and emotionally, sick.
By tapping on acupressure points with a set up statement (a simple statement that brings to mind the emotional issue that is troubling us), we release the negative energy and feel better. Instead of being ‘stuck,’ we are able to easily process troubling emotions and become free of them.
As an experienced therapist, you have described tapping as ‘the most valuable and transformational tool I have in my toolbox.” Can you elaborate on its value amongst other, more traditional therapies?
Veronica: I worked as a traditional therapist for many years. The reason I love EFT is because of how rapidly it works. When clients are in distress, the thought of spending months, even years, in talking therapy going over events from their past can be extremely discouraging. They want to feel better now.
EFT can change how you feel emotionally in a matter of minutes.
Leading on from the previous question, how does EFT help transform your clients?
Veronica: Negative emotions limit us; they block our bodies energy system and can cause physical and emotional problems that can last decades.
If someone can feel a major shift in one or two sessions, this in itself is transformational. But I think the most transformative part of EFT is that anyone can do it and clients can use the tools at home to feel better.
You believe so passionately in this technique that you have used it as one of the main tools in your online course, Soberful. In your opinion, how does this technique specifically help those in addiction recovery?
Veronica: It is particularly helpful for people suffering from cravings and anxiety. I’ve worked with many people in their first few days of sobriety and they often suffer a lot of anxiety. So much so that it can prevent them sitting in groups or engaging in treatment. EFT can help get their anxiety down to a level that makes sitting in group therapy, meetings, or just around friends much more manageable.
The other way it can help is to manage cravings. Those of us in long-term recovery know that sustainable sobriety – and by that, I mean sobriety that lasts – comes from resolving the root causes and processing our feelings. But if you can’t get past your craving for a drink, then you’re never going to get that stage.
EFT has proved to be most effective on stress – and stress is a BIG reason people use alcohol. EFT is quick, simple, and effective; after one session the EFT practitioner can show someone how to use it every time they feel the urge to drink. So, the power is in the client’s hands to help themselves.
What other unique issues to those in recovery face that tapping could be used for?
Veronica: Just about everything! EFT works best when you use it to focus on very specific issues.
One of the things EFT can address is what we call the “writing on the walls.” This refers to all the limiting beliefs we have – ‘I’m not good enough,’ ‘rich people have it easy’, ‘you’re too old/young to do that,’ etc. Most of us don’t realize we have them, but they dominate every action we take.
Our thoughts become our reality. EFT can be used to challenge and change these quickly and effectively.
Can you explain why – unlike other traditional psychological therapies – you can practice this alone?
Veronica: EFT is very easy and simple to learn. I first came across it because I was getting very nervous before making speeches – to the point that I wanted to throw up. It took two sessions of EFT to solve it.
One of things I could do was tap on myself (in the bathroom – it does look a little odd in public) before going on stage. It reduced my nerves and anxiety dramatically. You don’t have to be an expert; you just have to know where to tap. Just tapping will help you feel better.
EFT can be used while experiencing stressful events by counteracting that stress and reprogramming the body’s response to it. But is can also be used as a form of preventative self-care – can you elaborate on this?
Veronica: As I said before, EFT is based on the belief that negative energy is trapped in the bodies energy system. Tapping ensures our energy system is moving correctly, preventing ill health and negative emotions staying stuck.
I tap almost every day, even though I may not have a specific issue to tap on, just so I can feel optimal health!
EFT is a useful tool for anyone’s recovery toolkit. I am so glad that I came across it, and kind of wish that I had discovered it earlier – particularly in early recovery when I struggled with severe anxiety. I guess the message here is that we need not suffer in sobriety – there are a range of tools and support available for us all.
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