Throughout my 25 year career as a School Counselor, I saw a significant increase in the level of anxiety from the time I started, but particularly since the onset of Covid. When students came to my office for help, they were emotionally dysregulated. They were overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, sad, angry… and they needed help to regain control of their thoughts, their emotions, and their bodies.
Prior to using EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) with my students, I felt like I was sending them back to class with only a bandage placed on their wounds, which was fine for a smaller wound that healed with TLC and time, but when the wound was deep and terribly painful, what I could give wasn’t enough.
Once I added EFT to my toolbox, I felt like that all changed. Rather than covering the wound with a bandage, I was helping them to HEAL that wound…AND I was teaching them how to use these skills themselves. What could be better than that?
EFT was the perfect addition to what I already did. I listened, I became curious, I tried to understand their concerns from their point of view, I validated that it was ok for them to feel however they were feeling. EFT/Tapping incorporates all of that and adds acupressure tapping which addresses the somatic aspect of the problem. Students (and adults) often carry stored fight or flight energy that never had a chance to be released for one reason or another. Adding EFT to my toolbox felt like the magic ingredient that helped those emotions to move through the body, allowing my students to think more clearly. They became their own problem solvers and they began to see the power they had right at their fingertips.
I have used EFT for a number of school-related concerns:
- Goal Setting, where we came up with the obstacles and tapped our way through each one, clearing the way to success.
- Shifting from a Fixed Mindset, where they felt like they would never learn the material, to a Growth Mindset, where they recognized their ability to learn and grow, and that they just hadn’t gotten it YET.
- Panic attacks, to help them regain control of the body.
- Stomach aches that appeared due to anxiety.
- Sibling arguments that bled over into school.
- Friend issues, which were very common after coming back to school from a shut down.
- Fear of asking for help from the teacher.
- Fear of seeing a student who bullied him/her.
- Sensitive students, whose feelings were so easily bruised.
- Test Anxiety
The beauty of using EFT with school-related issues was that everything shifted so much faster for them than I have seen with any other technique I have tried. Their emotions were cleared out, their thinking changed, and their behaviors shifted accordingly.
In the classroom, I was able to demonstrate a very simple way to use EFT for students and the teachers were able to pick it up immediately. When we regulated the students’ nervous system, they could think more clearly. Isn’t that what we want for our students?
Feedback from one of the teachers was that the tapping techniques were “instantaneously successful.” The students continued to practice these techniques led by the teacher throughout the school year as needed to regain focus. She added, “It worked beautifully. It was an easy, gentle technique that made a difference.”
Another teacher shared that she would follow the routine I taught at the beginning of class. She said, “I would silently start tapping and they would join. The talking stopped and it helped them focus before rehearsal.”
EFT has been a total game changer, for me personally, and certainly for my students. I loved it when they came to my office and asked if we could Tap on the problem. They knew it worked. They felt it. They saw it in their daily lives and they used it! It was so rewarding having students who went home and taught their parents how to do it. It truly was a gift to be able to use these skills with students and to teach them how to use EFT for themselves in and out of school.