How To Deal With Trauma With The Help Of EFT

EFT Tapping for Trauma

EFT tapping for trauma

In this article, you will know about trauma, its causes, how EFT can help to resolve it, and what the different methods of working with it are.

Trauma, as majority of understand it, is the result of a deeply catastrophic event, like severe 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 up with, it results in trauma.

This negative event is stored in the body and mind in the form of traumatic memory. It has after-effects too and keeps perturbing the rest of life if left untreated.

I came across a case-study client while doing my EFT practitioner certification. It was a case of a 50-year-old lady who had met with a car accident a couple of years ago.

She and her husband got severe injuries. After a month of hospitalization, they got physically well, but that accident got stored as trauma in her memory.

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

EFT Tapping for Trauma


Let us understand trauma more deeply.

Trauma is a response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope, causes the feeling of helplessness, diminishes their senses of self and their ability to feel a full range of emotions and experiences.

It does not discriminate and it is pervasive throughout the world. (1)

In simple words, a person may experience trauma as a response to any event they find physically or emotionally threatening or harmful. (2)

Trauma can also cause physical symptoms and can have a long-term effect on the person’s well-being. If symptoms persist and do not decrease in severity, it can indicate that the trauma has developed into a mental health disorder called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). (2)

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), trauma is “an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape, or natural disaster.” (2)

However, a person may experience trauma as a response to any small or big event they find physically or emotionally threatening.

Trauma can be caused by the following events which include:

  • Physical pain or injury (e.g., severe car accident)
  • Serious illness
  • War
  • Natural disaster
  • Terrorism
  • Witnessing a death
  • Physical or domestic abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Miscarriage
  • Bullying or Harassment
  • Being kidnapped or being attacked
  • Incarceration within the criminal justice system (2)

Traumatic events can be one-time or recurring, ongoing events. A person may also experience trauma as a result of witnessing someone else's traumatic experiences.

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Emotional Freedom Techniques (tapping) is clinically proven to lower stress, tension, anxiety, past-trauma to enable health, happiness and vitality.


Everyone experiences trauma differently, depending on the event and their response to the event. Some types of trauma are (3):

  • Acute Trauma - Includes intense distress followed by the immediate occurrence of a one-time event. Usually, the traumatic reaction does not last for long. For example, a car crash, or the sudden death of a loved one. However, these are just examples, a person may have a prolonged traumatic response to the same events. The experiences are highly subjective. 
  • Chronic Trauma- Distressing events that are repeated or prolonged, give rise to chronic trauma. It can develop as a result of persistent bullying, abuse (psychological, physical, or sexual), neglect or domestic violence. 
  • Complex trauma- It can develop from experiencing frequent or multiple traumatic events from which there is no way of escaping. The sense of being trapped and feeling suffocated is a characteristic of the experience. It can cause the victim to develop extreme skepticism and completely lose faith in people and life. It also threatens a sense of safety and security in the world and brings about hypervigilance, obsessive monitoring of the surroundings for the possibility of threat.
  • Secondary or vicarious trauma- It arises from witnessing other people’s suffering and traumatic experiences. People who belong to such professions where there is frequent encounter with traumatic issues, like doctors, police, etc., may experience this type of trauma. Over time, such individuals are prone to develop compassion fatigue, whereby they avoid engaging emotionally with other people in an attempt to protect themselves from experiencing further distress. 
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences- These involve a wide range of stressful situations that children experience themselves or witness while growing up, before they have developed effective coping skills. The loss of a parent, neglect, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, domestic violence, bullying, and parent's divorce are among the most common examples. Such experiences can hamper the normal course of development of the child and the emotional impact that is created can last long into adulthood. 


The symptoms of trauma range from mild to severe, depending on the intensity of the trauma, and the person's ability to cope with it. 

Some of the psychological symptoms of trauma are: (4)

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Guilt
  • Hopelessness
  • Shame
  • Confusion
  • Numbness
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating

Along with psychological symptoms, trauma can cause physical symptoms such as: (4)

  • headaches
  • digestive symptoms
  • fatigue
  • racing heart
  • sweating
  • sleep disturbances
  • poor appetite; eating too much or too little


Traumatic experiences have a drastic impact on a person's life. Such events are life-altering, splintering a person's world into a 'before' and an 'after'.  

Even if the memories of the event don't frequently come into consciousness, they may be doing damage behind the scenes. They may keep the person inhibited or defensive and cause self-doubt, suspicion, anxiety, or nightmares. (5)

Traumatic events activate the amygdala, a part of the brain responsible for detecting threats. When we face a threat, either real or perceived, the amygdala gets activated.

Then, it sends out signals to the entire body to prepare for defense. The sympathetic nervous system takes control, stimulating the adrenal glands to release cortisol, and other stress hormones such as adrenaline that prepare the body for a fight-flight-or-freeze response.

Fear, anxiety, shock, and anger/aggression are all normal reactions to trauma. Such negative feelings tend to go away as the experience fades from memory, but for some people, the distressing feelings can prevail, interfering with day-to-day life. (3)

Victims of long-term trauma may go through emotional disturbances, such as extreme anxiety, anger, grief, disassociation, or PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Constantly living in survival mode, and overly alert to the possibility of threat, people may experience ongoing issues with sleep or physical pain, and experience turbulence in their personal and professional relationships. (3)

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

Peter Levine


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

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.

The energy system refers to the meridians, which are based on Chinese Acupuncture. In EFT, while tapping on the meridian points, the client is asked to simultaneously think about a past event, incident, or memory that evokes a negative emotion.

Thinking about the event coupled with simultaneous meridian point tapping is believed to release or lessen the intensity of the negative emotion.

This makes it possible to think about that same event, incident, or memory with a much lower emotional charge or without experiencing any negative emotion at all. EFT’s effectiveness in working with trauma is extensive. 

Whilst it can bring immediate relief from traumatic memories, it is also a gentle tool for revealing the many layers and aspects that may be connected with trauma, working through them systematically and effectively until their emotional charge has gone. (6)

EFT is proven to reduce stress, lower cortisol, improve sleep, reduce anxiety, relieve pain, increase productivity, and much more. 

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

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. Their use depends on the level of severity of trauma. The methods are:

  • Telling the story
  • Movie Technique
  • Tearless Trauma
  • Continual Tapping
  • Inner child matrix etc.
Working with Trauma

Method 1

Telling the story technique

Most of our physical and emotional problems are caused by our unresolved negative emotions which have been pent-up for a long time. Tell the story is a very simple and effective technique that helps to resolve these pent-up emotions underlying the negative events. These events can be traumatic and can cause an impact on the present well-being of a person. Once these negative emotions get resolve, the client feels no charge thinking about the event and releases the pain of the trauma.

The steps of the Tell the Story Technique are-


Give the story a name (be specific) and measure the intensity


Complete rounds of tapping using simplified EFT


Bring The SUDs To A Manageable Level


Start By Telling The Story Of The Event Uncovering Specifics


As Soon As Any Emotional Disturbance Is Detected, Stop, Scale The Emotion, And Tap Using The Exact Words


Test By Re-Telling The Previous Part Of The Story


When It Feels Calmer, Continue To Tell The Rest Of The Story


Stop And Tap On Each Emotional Disturbance


Test By Telling The Entire Story From Start To Finish


Stop When The Story Can Be Told In Full While Remaining Calm

There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.

- Laurell K Hamilton

Feel Freedom

Method 2

The Movie Technique

The movie technique is used when the intensity of the trauma is very high and has many high emotional peaks. Whenever the person happens to think about this traumatic event, feels intense pain and hurt or maybe more than the actual suffering. It hampers growth and disturbs the well-being of a person.

The Movie technique is used to identify key emotional parts of the event first and then tap on them one by one. It helps to clear trauma systematically in episodes. This is faster than telling the story. The steps are:


Name the movie and identify the intensity levels…. tap


Have The Movie On The Imaginary Screen, Cover With Curtains And Remote Control In Hand.


When Intensity On The Movie Name Is Manageable, Open Curtains.


Run The Movie From Start To Finish And Identify The Emotional Peaks.


Begin With The Lowest Peak.


Tap The Intensity Down.


Test And Move To The Next Peak.


Repeat Till The Movie Has No Charge.


We Test The MOVIE Technique By Telling The Story.


Discover how EFT can help you to self heal or to become professionally qualified as a Certified EFT Practitioner. Emotional Freedom Techniques (tapping) is clinically proven to lower stress, tension, anxiety, past-trauma to enable health, happiness and vitality.

Method 3

Tearless Trauma Technique

This technique is most useful when dealing with severely traumatic events like a car accident, war memories, sexual abuse, etc. It was developed to ease your way into any traumatic memory.

This 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. (6)

The steps are:


Locate specific trauma


Give it a title or name


Make It Into A Movie And Put It On The Wall Away From You


Draw A Curtain Over It


Estimate 0-10 Intensity If You Were To Watch It


Create Reminder Phrase Using Movie Title For The EFT Process


use EFT tapping On It


Guess At The Intensity Again


Do More EFT Rounds Until ‘Guessed’ Intensity Is Low


Watch The Movie, Stopping At Any Part That Still ‘Gets You’


More Rounds Of EFT As Necessary (2)

Trauma creates change, you don’t choose.

Healing is about creating change you do choose.

- Michelle Rosenthal

Different emotions

Method 4

Continual Tapping

It is also one of the techniques used to treat trauma clients. A trauma treatment assumes that the problem is tuned in quite strongly.

Initially, the client is asked to start with a setup statement and tap on the EFT points. 

The client is further asked to continually tap while telling their reactions to the EFT sequence, or when they felt intense or had insights spontaneously in the session.

This works quickly and clears all the energy disruptions. It clears all the negative emotions and neutralizes the charge caused by trauma.


Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT): EFT Tapping for overcoming Trauma

Step 1:

First Use EFT Tapping On What It Feels Like To Feel The Traumatic Memory

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

Then use the EFT Tapping Points Process taught in detail during EFT Practitioner Training Online. 


To get started, begin by investigating the physical nature of 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 to explore further:

  • 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


Then measure the level of distress caused by the memory by asking: 

"What number is the distress 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. 


Begin by Tapping on the Karate Chop or Side of the Hand EFT Tapping Points: 

"Even though I feel the angry/sad/scared/hopeless/anxious/guilty and I feel it in my chest and its 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).


Then Tap on the facial and upper body EFT Tapping Points using these phrases:

  • Eyebrow: This anger/fear/hopelessness/fear/anxiety/guilt...
  • side Of the Eye: So painful...
  • Under the eye: Pain in my chest..
  • Under the nose: It's a red colour...
  • Chin: At a number 6...
  • Collarbone: So rough...
  • Under the arm: This anger/fear/hopelessness/fear/anxiety/guilt...
  • Thumb: I feel it in my chest...
  • Index Finger: So painful...
  • Middle Finger: Really distressful...
  • Little Finger: The colour red...


Close the sequence by coming back to the EFT Karate Chop Tapping Points and repeat once: 

"Even though I feel  angry/sad/scared/hopeless/anxious/guilty 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 at 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:

Then 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 these memories before?
  • What do these memories remind you of?
  • Was there ever a time when you did not experience these memories?
  • What can trigger and bring on the memories?

Identify past events linked to the trauma and resolve it with the help of tapping therapy.

You can ask the following questions:

  • When have you felt the traumatic memory before?
  • What happens to trigger the memory?
  • Who or what triggers those memories?

These questions will identify your past experiences associated with the traumatic memory. 

Step 3:

Explore Any Limiting Beliefs That Prevented You From Being Trauma-free

Limiting beliefs are thoughts that can be conscious or unconscious and can end up becoming responsible for self-sabotage, procrastination and low self-esteem, in an individual.

For pain, first uncover the limiting beliefs 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 not safe" to "I am safe now"

Step 4:

Close With Positive EFT Tapping For Overcoming Trauma:

Examples of a positive tapping sequence might be:

  • “Even though I felt angry/sad/scared/hopeless/anxious/guilty, 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. 

In this study, 11 veterans and their family members were assessed for PTSD and other conditions. Evaluations were made using the suitable tools for measurement. A baseline measurement was performed thirty days prior to treatment, and immediately before treatment.

They were then treated with EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), for five days. Significant improvements were found. These improvements were maintained at both the 30- and 90-day follow-ups.

One-year follow-up data was obtained for 7 of the participants and the same improvements were found.

In summary, 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. (7)

How To Self-Heal & Become An EFT Practitioner

Discover how EFT Tapping can help you to self-heal or to become professionally qualified as a Certified EFT Practitioner. Emotional Freedom Techniques (Tapping) is clinically proven to lower stress, tension, anxiety, past trauma to enable health, happiness and vitality.

In summary, in this article, we have learned about trauma, how it happens, and how EFT helps to release trauma with the help of different techniques.


1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com

2. https://www.healthline.com

3. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/trauma

4. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/trauma#causes

5. Book- The Promise of Energy Psychology by David Feinstein, Donna Eden & Gary Craig

6. https://www.emofree.com

7. https://www.eftuniverse.com/index.php option=com_content&view=article&id=2444

Disclaimer: The information on this website is purely for educational purposes and does not in any way replace the requirement for medical and psychological diagnosis and treatment. Please seek professional medical and psychological diagnosis and advice for all medical and mental health conditions. It is advised to always book any consultations with qualified professionals.

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