10 Ways School Counselors Can Support Students with EFT – Part 3

by | May 29, 2023

This is Part 3 of a 3-part series.

In the previous part of this series, I shared how school counselors can use Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) to support students with academic struggles, including homework completion, focus and concentration, and test stress. In this final installment, we will explore specific emotional struggles that can interfere with our students’ abilities to succeed in school.

#7 Anxiety

Feelings of anxiety can show up in a variety of ways for our students. It can range from stomach aches and nausea, to avoidance, to excessive worrying, and possibly panic attacks. The beautiful thing about using EFT with students experiencing anxiety is that we can meet them exactly where they are, allowing whatever is present to be there without judgment.

Oftentimes, when students experience anxiety, it shows up in the form of physical symptoms, such as a racing heart rate, tightness in the chest, or stomach pains. A gentle approach is to use EFT to help reduce the intensity of the physical symptoms first. EFT has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, which also lowers inflammation in the body. When we can reduce the intensity of those physical symptoms, it becomes easier to target the triggers.

Working with the different aspects that triggered the current anxious episode can also support the student. Perhaps it was something that was said to the student or a particular facial expression or tone of voice that brought on the anxious response. Whatever the case may be, EFT can be used to target those particular aspects of the trigger to help reduce the intensity of the current triggered state and may help reduce the intensity of future episodes as well.

#8 Grief

I truly loved meeting with my students who were struggling with grief. There is something very special about being part of a person’s grieving process, to provide comfort when it feels like there is no comfort to be had. EFT was the perfect addition to my sessions with students who lost a loved one. One of the core tenets of EFT is meeting the other person right where they are, allowing for those challenging emotions to be there in a safe and supported manner and using the techniques to help them cope with those big feelings.

I introduced one of my students to EFT as he was talking about the loss of his beloved dog. He started to cry and we just tapped. I didn’t ask him to say anything. I simply reminded him that I was right there with him and that we were going to do this together. By the time he got to the third tapping point, he stopped crying and said, “This stuff really works!”

#9 Anger

When I discussed anger with students, I often heard them refer to it as a “negative” emotion. I would share with them that emotions are neither “negative” nor “positive.” They are simply reactions. Everyone feels anger from time to time and that’s ok. Using EFT is a great way to allow students to feel their anger in a safe way.

Simply tapping on the points helped to reduce the intensity of the emotion enough that they could share what happened in a calmer state. I also found that tapping while they were sharing their story helped them to process what had happened.

One particular student who struggled with anger didn’t want to do tapping, which is completely fine. I never force it on students. They are always in control of whether or not they use tapping with me. I did, however, tap on myself as he was sharing what happened,which can also have a calming influence on the students. In a matter of minutes, he started to yawn which is a common sign of release when using EFT and his body language started to change. He was less animated, he started to speak slower, and he took a deep breath after he shared his story. It was enough to help us begin to problem-solve.

#10 Sleep issues

More often than not, sleep issues for kids are related to stress and poor sleep habits. One example of a poor sleep habit is leaving the phone on and under the pillow. Of course that will disrupt sleep if it’s pinging frequently throughout the night. Using EFT for the need to have the phone under the pillow can help shift that behavior.

As for stress, kids toss and turn when they have something weighing on them just as adults do. The stress response triggers the production of cortisol, but we actually want our cortisol levels to be low in the evening to help us wind down and rest. When our cortisol levels are high, we become more activated. Using EFT on the stressors of the day can help to reduce cortisol, relax the mind and body, and allow for rest and restoration to take over.

I’m reminded of a student who came to see me about an issue with a peer. The poor thing had bags under eyes because she was losing sleep over it. We spent our time together using EFT on the fear and the nervousness about the situation with the other student. The next day, she bounced into my office and looked like her old self again. She said she had a great night of sleep and just wanted to let me know.

EFT can be a powerful tool for school counselors to help their students in a variety of ways. Whether they’re dealing with fear, anxiety, grief, or other intense emotions, EFT can help students process those emotions and build a more positive outlook.

If you are interested in learning more about how to get started with EFT in your school counseling practice, join me for my free 1-hour Master Class just for School Counselors. Click here for all the details and to sign up now!