History of EFT

The forerunner of EFT was a therapy called Thought Field Therapy (or TFT). This was formulated by a psychologist, Dr Roger Callahan.

Around 1980, Dr Callahan was working with a client, who we’ll call Mary, who had an intense phobia about water. He had been working with her for about 18 months and she was managing her fear, and could approach water, but the fear was still there. Her improvement was minimal.

One day she came to see him with a stomach ache. He had been learning about Traditional Chinese Medicine, and acupuncture, and wondered what would happen if he tapped on the end point of the Stomach meridian.

A brief intro to meridians

Meridians are central to Chinese Medicine. They are pathways in the body, which energy flows along. Meridian are usually associated with an organ, so there are meridians for Stomach, Spleen, Gall Bladder, Liver and others.

Read more here

Suddenly Mary said “It’s gone” and jumped up. Dr Callahan thought she meant the stomach ache, so was surprised and horrified when she ran out of the room and down towards his pool. He ran after her, and she called back “Don’t worry, Dr, I know I can’t swim”. Her fear of water was gone, never to return. But notice that her common sense didn’t disappear with it!

So Dr Callahan started working with the meridians, and developed tapping protocols for many emotional conditions. His system required a therapist to diagnose the nature of the emotional problem and apply an exact sequence of tapping points, which was different for each problem.

Along came Gary Craig, a Stanford trained engineer and personal coach. He learnt the TFT system and was impressed by it’s capabilities. But he felt it should be available to everybody, without having to see a therapist every time. So he surmised that if you repeatedly went through all of the tapping points that were used in TFT, regardless of the problem, it would still work.

So he developed the EFT algorithm, which uses the same points for everything. His original “recipe” involved:

  • A setup sequence
  • A tapping sequence
  • A “gamut” sequence for integrating right and left brain function
  • A repeat of the tapping sequence

Then you reassess the problem and repeat.

His system became phenomenally successful, and has been in use since the early 1990’s. Over time, a shortcut¬†tapping sequence has been introduced, some extra tapping points are sometimes added, and one round is more likely to include:

  • The set up
  • One round of the shortcut

This is effective in most cases, and if the shortcut isn’t effective, nothing has been lost, and you can still do the whole recipe.


While EFT has produced remarkable clinical results, it is still be considered to be in the experimental stage and each user must take complete responsibility for their own use of it.