Is EFT Tapping The Same As EMDR?

Is EFT Tapping the same as EMDR?

EFT versus EMDR

In this article, you will learn what Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is, their benefits, and what differentiates the two.

There are various kinds of therapies available.

Some types of therapy, such as person-centred therapy, have been around for decades, while others, such as coherence therapy, are novel and yet to catch on. 

Most are based on research and evidence, though some are based only on hypothesis or anecdotal evidence. Many varieties have become widely recognised, while others are cutting-edge and some are still disputed.

If you're considering therapy, you've probably noticed that there are a surprising number of options. We'll go over two of them in this blog post, one being EFT and the other being EMDR, and the differences between the two.

"We may define therapy as a search for value." 

abraham maslow


Tapping hands

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is undoubtedly one of the most effective therapeutic methods available today! It's easy to learn with the help of a qualified trainer, and it gives clients a lot of power.

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is an alternative therapy or method that has been clinically demonstrated to be useful in treating issues such as anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health issues.

EFT is a stress-relieving technique that is utilised by millions of people all over the world. EFT has been clinically shown to be over 80% helpful for stress, anxiety, sadness, addictive cravings, weight reduction, and a variety of other physical problems, based on discoveries concerning the body's subtle energies.

EFT is a technique that is long-lasting, gentle, and usually quick. There are no drugs or specialized equipment required, and it is simple to learn. It is self-applicable once learned.

It is a technique which involves tapping on different parts of the body to help balance the energy systems, and reduce physical and emotional pain while verbalising the truth of the situation or condition.

Gary Craig is the creator of Emotional Freedom Techniques and the person who brought it to prominence in the 1990s when he first put his work around the therapy on his website.

In simpler terms, Emotional Freedom Techniques is a talk and touch therapy that addresses issues such as:

  • Stress
  • PTSD
  • Chronic pains
  • Nervousness 
  • Weight issues
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anger

EFT Tapping is also helpful if you:

  • Want to learn more about emotional wellness or treatment
  • Want to release yourself from limitations and heal from inside
  • Are eager to assist yourself as well as others
  • Are looking for a new career that will allow you to help others recover and transform
  • Aim to improve your career as well as your emotional well-being
EFT Tapping


EFT was developed gradually from a long line of therapies that began thousands of years ago.

The theory behind EFT says that the cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body's energy system. A distressing event or incident causes disruption in the energy system and leads to negative emotions and beliefs that harm us.

Once the energy system is rebalanced, the emotional charge goes away. The underlying idea here is that you aren’t "mentally blocked," rather you are “energy blocked.” When you use the simple EFT tapping steps, you are able to clear the blocked channels.

When you use EFT, it you gives relief by rewiring the energy system and bringing it back into balance so you feel calmer, more at peace, and ready to let go and move on.


EFT Tapping is an alternative therapy that involves two primary aspects – talk and touch. 

Emotional Freedom Techniques -Talk Therapy


Communication is instrumental in EFT. Tapping, like many other therapies and healing modalities, is a form of communication.

Talk Therapies are psychological treatments that place a high value on communication in therapy. 

Talking about your feelings and emotions helps people develop a new perspective and evaluate things in different ways.

Conversation is an important characteristic of techniques like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Emotional Freedom Technique - Touch Therapy


Touch, one of the five love languages, is extremely important.

Touch, which expresses care, affection, and presence, can be an enormously essential aspect of healing. 

Research shows that infants who are exposed to enough and safe touch are less likely to develop psychological difficulties than those who have been deprived to touch or touched inappropriately.

The EFT Tapping method uses touch by tapping on certain areas on the body known as tapping points.

Creating a space to use EFT with yourself and others:

The first step before working with oneself or others is to create a safe space that is non-judgmental, accepting, and understanding. Whether you are using EFT on yourself or with others the same rules apply.

Hereon, whether you are self-applying EFT or working with others, we will use the term client to refer to the person receiving the treatment and practitioner to the person facilitating the treatment.

Even if you are self-applying EFT, we recommend you take on both roles. Consider what is the environment you would like to create for yourself when you receive treatment. For example: 

  • Respectful 
  • Loving 
  • Non-judgmental 
  • Trusting 
  • Compassionate 
  • Attentive 
  • Present 
  • Accepting 
  • Understanding 
  • Kind l Helpful 
  • Encouraging 
  • Humourous 
  • Light-hearted

For those new to EFT, it is also known as Tapping Therapy, which combines tapping on acupressure points while saying statements out loud that help you to accept situations.

If you would like to experience the power of EFT Tapping first-hand, just download the EFT Tapping Booklet below.

New to EFT? Learn how Emotional Freedom Technique Tapping heals.

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


Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an unconventional type of psychotherapy that is relatively new. EMDR therapy includes many elements to optimise treatment results.

Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) is a method of psychotherapy in which the patient is instructed to recollect upsetting images, after which the therapist asks the patient to perform one of several types of bilateral stimulation, such as side-to-side eye movement or hand tapping. Francine Shapiro started developing EMDR in 1988.

The World Health Organization (WHO) published a practice recommendation in 2013 that states: "This therapy [EMDR] is based on the idea that negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours are the result of unprocessed memories. The treatment involves standardised procedures that include focusing simultaneously on (a) spontaneous associations of traumatic images, thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations and (b) bilateral stimulation that is most commonly in the form of repeated eye movements. " (3)

It's becoming increasingly popular, especially for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Military combat, physical abuse, rape, or car accidents are some examples of what leads to PTSD.

EMDR continues to be controversial among certain health care providers, despite ongoing study.

At first look, EMDR appears to take a unique approach to psychological disorders. It does not rely on medicine or talk therapy. EMDR relies on the patient's own quick, rhythmic eye movements. These eye movements reduce the emotional impact of terrible memories from the past.

Reliving painful events becomes less emotionally upsetting when your attention is redirected, this is the root of effectiveness of EMDR. This enables you to be exposed to disturbing memories or thoughts without experiencing a strong psychological reaction.

This technique is found to diminish the impact that memories or thoughts have on you over time.

EMDR Therapy for PTSD


EMDR therapy is broken down into eight different phases, so you’ll need to attend multiple sessions. Usually, 12 individual sessions are required for treatment.

phase 1

History and treatment planning

Your therapist will begin by going over your medical history and determining where you currently stand in the treatment process. Talking about your trauma and finding potential traumatic experiences to treat specifically are all part of the evaluation step.

phase 2


Your therapist will next assist you in learning a variety of coping mechanisms to deal with the emotional or psychological stress you're dealing with. Deep breathing and mindfulness are two stress management approaches that can be implemented.

phase 3


Your therapist will identify the precise memories that will be targeted as well as any associated components (such as the bodily sensations that are produced when you concentrate on an event) for each target memory during the third phase of EMDR treatment.

phases 4-7


Your therapist will then begin treating your specific memories with EMDR therapy procedures. You will be instructed to concentrate on a negative idea, memory, or image during these sessions.

Your therapist will ask you to do precise eye movements at the same time. Depending on your situation, the bilateral stimulation may also comprise tapping or other movements.

After the bilateral stimulation, your therapist will advise you to relax and notice the ideas and feelings that naturally come to your mind. Your therapist may ask you to refocus on one terrible experience or go on to another after you've identified these thoughts.

Your therapist will help you return to the present if you become distressed before moving on to another terrible memory. The discomfort associated with certain thoughts, pictures, or memories should lessen over time.

phase 8


After these sessions, you'll be asked to evaluate your progress in the final step. The same will be done by your therapist.


Since psychologist Francine Shapiro developed EMDR in 1989, more than 20,000 practitioners have been trained to administer it.

Shapiro noticed that as her eyes wandered from side to side while walking through the woods one day, she noticed her own unpleasant emotions faded. Then she discovered that patients experienced the same effect.

EMDR appears to be a risk-free treatment with no known side effects. Despite its growing popularity, mental health professionals continue to question EMDR's efficacy.

Most EMDR studies have only had a tiny number of participants, according to critics. Other researchers, on the other hand, have published findings combining data from multiple studies to demonstrate the treatment's benefit (4).

EMDR therapy is regarded to be particularly beneficial to people who are struggling with traumatic memories or who have PTSD. It's most helpful for people who find it difficult to talk about their past experiences.

Although there isn't enough evidence to support its treatment in these areas, EMDR therapy is being used to treat:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • stress reduction
  • self-sabotage
  • complicated grief and loss
  • sexual and physical abuse
  • disturbing memories
  • panic attacks
  • eating disorders
  • addictions (5)

Some people might prefer this approach to using prescription drugs, which can have unpleasant side effects. Others may discover that EMDR therapy improves their medication's effectiveness.

Make an appointment with a licensed therapist if you believe EMDR therapy is correct for you.

New to EFT? Learn how Emotional Freedom Technique Tapping heals.

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

Similarities and differences between Eft and emdr

EMDR is a therapy that has some similarities to EFT, but it has been around for a lot longer and has a very well-established evidence-base as a treatment for trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Significant therapeutic benefits were reported post-treatment and during follow-ups for both the EMDR treatment group and the EFT treatment group in a research conducted by Thanos Karatzias and Theresa McGoldrick from NHS Fife.

They found equal treatment effect sizes in both therapy groups, while the EMDR group had a slightly larger proportion of patients who showed significant clinical improvements.

With such a small difference in impact findings, it is plausible that EFT has the potential to be equally as beneficial as EMDR in the treatment of PTSD (6).

  • Both involve drawing the client's attention to the body and the physical manifestations of emotions. The body's involvement, as well as somatic awareness, appears to be a significant aspect of effective therapy. This approach recognizes that, in addition to being mental, emotions are physiological and physical phenomena. 
  • Both can require instructing the client to tap on his or her body in a rhythmic manner. This periodic somatic sensory input delivers an additional stimulus to the brain, potentially disrupting negative thoughts, emotions, and memory processes.
  • Both can require eye movements (for example, in EFT's '9 gamuts' process). Dr Callahan devised the 9 gamut approach as a way of reaching more buried worlds of emotional disturbances, and EMDR may have inspired it.
  • Both have a mindfulness quality to them. The client is encouraged to pay attention to and notice their ideas, perceptions, emotions, and physical sensations. "Just notice that," can be a common remark from an EMDR practitioner. The EFT practitioner will frequently play back his or her own words and images to the client, delivering these tapping phrases.
  • Both stimulate free association and the development of relevant additional memories, images, fantasies, thoughts, and emotions — although physicians rarely take advantage of this feature in either scenario.
  • Both types of therapy have the potential to quickly lead to formative childhood experiences.
  • The therapist's personal thoughts and observations are pushed to the background in both types of treatment.
  • The client's own words, images, metaphors, and other expressions are given careful consideration.
  • The client's unpleasant traumatic memories are transformed in both types of therapy. The client's emotional charge dissipates, and he or she develops a new relationship with the disturbing experience. The earlier experience, which had been so emotionally overwhelming, can now be shared in a matter-of-fact way, simply as part of the person's history. This lack of emotion is not related to dissociation, however the distinction can be useful to understand at times.
  • Both approaches may entail making an attempt to be thorough, examining for any lingering or hidden emotional pain.
  • Both therapies have a lot of research backing them.
  • EFT involves tapping certain meridian points. In EMDR, tapping on both sides of the body is done bilaterally.
  • Other forms of bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements, alternating audio signals, and vibrating items to grasp, are available in EMDR but not in EFT.
  • Eye movements in EMDR appear to be highly evocative, bringing to mind disturbing images and emotions, which might sometimes put the client at danger of getting overwhelmed.
  • EMDR therapy, unlike EFT, does not focus on modifying the feelings, thoughts, or behaviours stirred by a painful issue. Rather it allows the brain to continue its natural healing process.
  • Tapping appears to be less likely to elicit strong emotions and abreactions. In addition, the EFT technique includes steps for enhanced safety. These techniques include "tearless trauma," "movie technique," and "following the physical feelings" (also known as "chasing the agony"). All of them are methods for approaching a painful experience in a more indirect and safe manner.
  • The mechanism of action of EMDR can be explained totally in terms of standard neurobiology and psychological principles. Although the operation of EFT can be explained in comparable conventional ways, there are additional energy psychology modalities and phenomena related to the subtle energy system that cannot be explained in this way (7).
Efficacy of EFT Tapping
Why EFT?
  • When used correctly, EFT is a very gentle therapy that allows trauma to be dispersed securely and gently, whereas EMDR is recognised for its potential unpleasant side effects.
  • During an EFT session, the client can learn the fundamentals of EFT for Emotional First Aid, which can be used on their own and be very helpful in between sessions. Once learned, this is a skill that will serve you well throughout your life, especially during times of stress. Thus, if a client's unpleasant feelings reappear between sessions, EFT can benefit them, whereas EMDR is less accessible in self-help scenarios.
  • With EFT, no expensive equipment is required to create a movement for the eyes to follow. Although many people prefer in-person sessions for PTSD, EFT can be done over the phone.
  • Only expensively trained psychologists and accredited mental health specialists are allowed to utilise EMDR. EFT, on the other hand, can be facilitated by many well-trained EFT practitioners.
  • Most people prefer Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) over Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) (8).

EFT Tapping and EMDR Therapy have certain similarities in that they are both excellent alternative healing techniques that help thousands of people today.

You can learn EFT Tapping for yourself and others, as well as become a professional EFT Practitioner who can help people with physical and emotional problems. You can also learn EMDR with the help of a professional or licenced practitioner.

Keep learning and exploring!


Dr Rangana Rupavi Choudhuri (PhD)

P.S. Want to discover if EFT Tapping is right for you? Book a Complimentary Discovery Call.

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, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a type of alternative therapy that helps people overcome physical and emotional problems. It entails tapping on certain energy areas on the body, most notably the head and the face. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that was developed to help people cope with the pain of traumatic memories. While both EMDR and EFT attempt to help people let go of distressing or traumatic feelings, they are not the same.

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 do 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.

Learn Emotional Freedom Techniques for self healing or to become professionally qualified - More

Our other seminars:

  • The Journey Healing Method - More
  • Breakthrough Coaching with NLP Practitioner - More

For the full calendar of events.

Other articles you may be interested in:

EFT tapping for cravings

How to lose weight by eliminating cravings?

EFT Tapping to quit smoking

Want to quit smoking? Learn how.

EFT Tapping for addiction

How to use EFT Tapping for addiction relief?

eft tapping for limiting beliefs

How EFT Tapping for limiting belief can help?

EFT tapping for fear

How to use EFT Tapping for fear relief?

anger with eft tapping

How to release anger with the help of EFT Tapping?