Transformative Healing: How to Deal With Trauma With EFT

EFT Tapping To Deal With Traumatic Stress

In this article, you will learn about trauma, its causes, how to deal with trauma, how a mental health professional uses EFT to help you resolve post-traumatic stress, and the different methods of working with it.

While doing my EFT Practitioner Certification, I came across the case of a 50-year-old lady who had been in a car accident a couple of years ago.

She and her husband suffered severe injuries. After a month of hospitalisation, they got physically well, but that accident left a psychological trauma in her memory.

Not only did the memory of that accident trouble her, but also made her panic and get anxious whenever she sat in the car with her husband.

Trauma is the result of a catastrophic event, like grief, accident, abuse, or neglect. While these are the major causes of trauma, there are many other things that can be traumatic for someone.

Every human being is naturally equipped with the capacity to bear physical and emotional pain in the normal course of life.

When a person goes through any physical, mental, or emotional suffering that is huge and difficult to cope with, it results in trauma.

This negative event is stored in the body and mind as a traumatic memory and can have long-lasting after-effects if left untreated.

Use EFT Tapping for mental illness like trauma and traumatic stress


Trauma is a response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event that overwhelms an individual's ability to cope, causing feelings of helplessness and diminishing their sense of self and ability to experience a full range of emotions and experiences.

It does not discriminate and is pervasive throughout the world.

In simple words, it can occur as a response to an event that an individual perceives as physically or emotionally threatening or harmful.

Trauma can also cause physical symptoms and have a long-term impact on a person's mental health. If the symptoms persist and do not decrease in severity, it may indicate the development of a mental health disorder called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

According to the trauma specialist of the American Psychological Association (APA), trauma is "an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape, sexual violence, sexual assault, or natural disaster."

Trauma can be caused by the following events, which include:

  • Physical pain or injury (e.g., severe car accident)

  • Serious illness

  • War

  • Natural disasters

  • Terrorism

  • Witnessing a death

  • Domestic abuse

  • Physical or sexual assault

  • Psychological abuse

  • Miscarriage

  • Bullying or Harassment

  • Being kidnapped or attacked

  • Incarceration within the criminal justice system

A traumatic event can be a one-time occurrence or a recurring and ongoing event. This results in Post traumatic stress disorder not only in adults but also children.

In fact, an individual can experience trauma as a result of witnessing someone else's traumatic experiences. They can develop PTSD in various forms including complex PTSD, chronic PTSD, and acute PTSD.


Everyone experiences trauma differently. Some types of traumas are:


Acute Trauma

This includes intense distress following an immediate one-time event. Usually, the traumatic reaction does not last for long. However, individual responses vary and a person may have a prolonged traumatic response to the same events.


Chronic Trauma

Chronic trauma occurs when you are repeatedly exposed to distressing events. This may result from persistent bullying, abuse (psychological, physical, or sexual), neglect, or domestic violence.


Complex Trauma

Complex trauma arises from experiencing frequent or multiple traumatic events from which there seems to be no escape. It can lead to a sense of being trapped. It may cause hypervigilance in victims and an obsessive monitoring of surroundings for potential threats.


Secondary or Vicarious Trauma

It occurs when individuals repeatedly witness others suffering daily stress or experiencing trauma. For example, doctors and police encounter acute stress frequently in day-to-day life. Such occurrences of a disaster or traumatic event can also cause post traumatic stress.


Adverse Childhood Experiences

These encompass various stressful situations and painful emotions that children experience or witness while growing up before developing effective coping skills. Common examples include the loss of a parent, domestic violence, or a parent's divorce.


The post traumatic stress symptoms can vary in intensity, ranging from mild to severe, depending on the individual's coping mechanisms and the severity of the trauma.

Psychological post traumatic stress symptoms may include:

  1. Denial

  2. Anger

  3. Fear

  4. Sadness

  5. Anxiety

  6. Depression

  7. Guilt

  8. Hopelessness

  9. Shame

  10. Confusion

  11. Numbness

  12. Irritability

  13. Difficulty concentrating

It can also cause physical symptoms like headaches, digestive issues, fatigue, a racing heart, severe impact on mental health, sweating, sleep disturbances, disturbance of emotional health, and changes in appetite.


Traumatic experiences and risk factors have a profound impact on a person's life, mental health, and emotional health often dividing it into a 'before' and 'after' the event. Even if memories of these life-threatening events don't frequently surface, they can cause damage behind the scenes (1).

Victims of long-term traumatic stress may suffer emotional disturbances and physical reactions such as extreme anxiety, anger, grief, dissociation, or PTSD.

Living in constant survival mode and being overly alert to potential threats can lead to ongoing issues with sleep, physical pain, and turbulence in personal and professional relationships.

"Trauma is perhaps the most avoided, ignored, belittled, denied, misunderstood, and untreated cause of human suffering."

Peter Levine


A traumatised individual is constantly depleted and fatigued, and unable to control his actions.

When trauma is left unresolved and your sense of self is one of not being whole—of being shattered in some way—you're more likely to carry the imprints of that trauma into your life and relationships.

You must first have a good sense of yourself and your place in the world in order to have a peaceful living.

Knowing how terrible trauma is for both the trauma sufferer and his or her family, friends, and coworkers, it is critical to recover from it.

People who have experienced trauma may develop coping methods to assist them in coping with the mental and/or physical anguish they are experiencing.

Dysfunctional habits, such as poor eating, tobacco usage, or drug and alcohol use, are sometimes used as part of these techniques.

Although these coping techniques may bring some relief, they can also contribute to anxiety, social isolation, and chronic diseases.


To help individuals overcome their post traumatic stress disorder, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has proven to be highly effective.

EFT has proved over 80% clinically effective for stress, fears, depression, traumatic memories, addictive cravings, weight loss, and many other physical symptoms.

Consult mental health professionals to work with post traumatic stress

EFT functions on the assumption that all negative emotions and behaviors (including those caused by trauma), and many of the physical discomforts that they cause, are the result of disruptions in our body’s energy system, and people can improve most areas of their lives by removing or releasing these unresolved emotional barriers.

EFT involves tapping on specific meridian points while the client simultaneously thinks about a past event, incident, or memory that evokes a negative emotion.

The combination of tapping and focused thinking is believed to release or lessen the intensity of the negative emotion, allowing the individual to think about the event with reduced emotional charge or even without experiencing negative emotions altogether.

Mental health professional healed traumatic event and post traumatic stress to feel freedom

EFT is a gentle tool for systematically and effectively working through the many layers of volatile emotions and aspects connected to trauma until their emotional charge subsides.

EFT includes self-care and healthy coping strategies combined with professional help in order to kickstart the healing process.

A 2012 study published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease found that EFT Tapping lowered the stress hormone cortisol by 43% (1).

Research also shows that Tapping calms the amygdala in the brain, by sending it a signal that it is safe to relax. 

There are different methods of working with trauma that help you relieve and reduce stress from traumatic incidents. Their use depends on the severity of the trauma. The methods are:

Method 1: The Movie Technique

The Movie Technique is used when the intensity of psychological trauma is very high and has many high emotional peaks due to repeated exposure to the intrusive memories of the distressing event.

Whenever the person happens to think about this traumatic event, feels intense pain maybe more than the actual suffering.

The Movie Technique is one of the relaxation techniques used to identify key emotional parts of the traumatic event at first and then tap on them one by one.

It helps to work on traumatic events systematically in episodes. This is faster than telling the story. The steps are:

  1. Name the movie and identify the intensity levels ... Tap.
  2. Have the movie on the imaginary screen, cover it with curtains and have a remote control in hand.
  3. When the intensity of the movie name is manageable, open curtains.
  4. Run the movie from start to finish and identify the emotional peaks.
  5. Begin with the lowest peak.
  6. Tap the intensity down.
  7. Test and move to the next peak.
  8. Repeat till the movie has no charge.
  9. We test The Movie Technique by telling the story.

Method 2: Tearless Trauma Technique

The Tearless Trauma Technique is a very gentle way of using double dissociation to keep the client safe from abreaction and is usually the best starting point when working with a specific traumatic event (2).

The steps are:

  1. Locate specific trauma.

  2. Give it a title or name.

  3. Make it into a movie and put it on the wall away from you.

  4. Draw a curtain over it.

  5. Estimate 0-10 intensity if you were to watch it.

  6. Create reminder phrases using the movie title for the EFT Tapping process.

  7. Use EFT tapping on it.

  8. Guess the intensity again.

  9. Do more EFT rounds until the ‘guessed' intensity is low.

  10. Watch the movie, stopping at any part that still ‘gets you.'

  11. More rounds of EFT as necessary.

This technique is most useful when dealing with severely traumatic events (car accidents, war memories or sexual abuse) as not everyone has the same experiences.

Trauma creates change, you don't choose.

Healing is about creating the change you do choose."

Michelle Rosenthal

You don't experience traumatic stress anymore with EFT


Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT): EFT Tapping For Overcoming Trauma

Step 1:

First, use EFT Tapping on a traumatic experience:

Explore the physical sensations in the body associated with the memory and use the physical tension-tapping process to reduce the sensations.


Begin by investigating the physical nature of a traumatic memory.

Connect with the memory and notice where you feel it in the body. 

Briefly, you can begin by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Where in the body do you experience the memory?

  • What is the colour, texture, size, shape of the memory?

  • What are the sensations like? For example, rough or smooth.


Measure the level of trauma.

Now, measure the level of your trauma by asking yourself,

"What number is the trauma at, where 10 is really high and 1 is not high at all." 

Just go with whatever comes up spontaneously, without thinking too much about it.


Tap on the Karate Chop.

"Even though I feel anxious with this incident, and I feel it in my chest and it's at a number 6 and it's red in colour and it feels rough, I deeply and completely love and accept myself." (Repeat 3 times).


Tap on the upper body tapping points.

  • Eyebrow: This anxiety...
  • Side of the Eye: So anxious...
  • Under the eye: Anxiety in my chest..
  • Under the nose: It's a red colour...
  • Chin: At a number 6...
  • Collarbone: So rough...
  • Under the arm: This anxiety...
  • Thumb: I feel it in my chest...
  • Index finger: So anxious...
  • Middle finger: Really distressful...
  • Little finger: The colour red...


Close the sequence

Come back to the EFT tapping points and repeat once, 

"Even though I feel anxious with this incident, and I feel it in my chest and it's at a number 6 and it's red in colour and it feels rough, I deeply and completely love and accept myself."



Take a gentle breath in and out and take a sip of water.



At the end of the EFT Tapping, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • What number is the pain of memory now?

  • What happened?

  • How does it make you feel?

You can repeat this process by going back to Step 1 if you feel like the number could come down a little more.

Step 2:

Discover past experiences of the traumatic memory and clear them: 

To uncover the memories linked to the traumatic incident, you can ask questions like:

  • When have you felt the traumatic memory before?

  • What do these memories remind you of?

  • Was there ever a time when you did not experience these memories?

  • Who or what triggers those memories?

These questions will identify your past experiences associated with the traumatic memory. Identify past events linked to the trauma and resolve them with the help of tapping therapy.

Step 3:

Explore any limiting beliefs that may have prevented you from being trauma-free:

A licensed therapist first uncovers the limiting beliefs for trauma which can either be at the surface level or associated with the deeper root memories. Then shift them from stressful to empowering. For example, 

  •  “Something bad is going to happen” to “Everything is going to be OK."

  • "It's not safe" to "I am safe now."

Step 4:

Close with positive EFT tapping:

Examples of a positive tapping sequence might be:

  • “Even though I felt angry/sad/scared/hopeless, now, I am open to feeling happy & free.”

  • “Even though I was living with this trauma for many years/months, now, I open myself to the possibility of feeling liberated & peaceful."


A research study was conducted on US military service personnel who had come back from Iraq and Afghanistan with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and co-morbid psychological conditions (3). 

In this study, 11 veterans and their family members were assessed for PTSD and other conditions. Evaluations were made using suitable tools for measurement.

A baseline measurement was performed thirty days prior to treatment, and immediately before treatment.

They were then treated with EFT for five days. Significant improvements in traumatic stress were found and maintained at both the 30- and 90-day follow-ups.

One-year follow-up data of brain scans was obtained for 7 of the participants and the same improvements were found. After EFT therapy, the veterans and their family members no longer scored positive for PTSD, the severity and breadth of their psychological distress decreased significantly, and most of their improvements held over time.

Hence, this suggests that EFT can be an effective post-deployment intervention (3).


Dr Rangana Rupavi Choudhuri (PhD)

In summary, traumatic stress is a normal reaction to an abnormal event. Anyone can have traumatic stress symptoms or develop PTSD at any age. Studies suggested that the prevention of chronic PTSD is possible with early cognitive behavioral therapy. With the application of EFT, a mental health professional can help you release trauma with the help of different techniques.


  1. Book- The Promise of Energy Psychology by David Feinstein, Donna Eden & Gary Craig
  2. https://www.emofree.com
  3. https://www.eftuniverse.com/index.php option=com_content&view=article&id=2444