Dr Rasha Al-Dabaan is a certified coach in Saudi Arabia who specializes in the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) — aka tapping — and has a passion for mindfulness and breathing. She chose her field while searching of peace and security in her life so that she could deal with difficult situations more comfortably, and then focused her skills to help people get through their dentist visits, particularly children. She joined The Livehealthy Arabic Podcast to explain what these practices look like, and how they can help to improve our mental health.
Can you explain EFT?
The Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT, is a scientifically proven method that releases negative emotions, traumas, phobias, fears, and limiting beliefs that may build up throughout our lives, blocking our energy.
During my doctoral studies in the UK, I tried the EFT technique as I was practicing yoga, which opened the door for me to breathe, searching for stillness and calm. I studied EFT technology through some courses in this field, and according to a lot of research and study, this technology helps to get rid of negative feelings, restricted thoughts, sadness, anxiety, fear and old deposits.
It is based on Chinese medicine, which is based on the premise that a person has 14 energy paths in their body, and Chinese medicine uses Chinese needles to work on areas in these paths to remove locks from this path.
One of the doctors did some research in the 1980s and found that this affects the feelings as well, and he found that the method of tapping or knocking on certain areas of the body is the same as that used in Chinese needles, and by clicking on those areas, these deposits can be eliminated.
One of his students, Gary Craig, developed the Emotional Freedom Technique, which is based on tapping or knocking certain areas of the body. Thus, the organ of the body is treated and the feelings related to the pain of that organ are released.
So EFT therapy is done by tapping on specific areas of the body. An example is feelings of fear related to stomach pain. Through this technique, which is tapping on the organ or the areas adjacent to it, we treat the organ, which is the stomach, and at the same time treat the feelings associated with this organ, which is fear.
It can also be used to treat generational trauma, which is a condition that ancestors lived through and then passed on to their children, especially if it was not addressed at the time. These traumas cause changes that may be transmitted to future generations through the DNA, in addition to whatever happened in the environment in which the child lives.
How do you practice EFT?
You can learn this technique and also teach it to your children. You can refer to a specialist if you suffer from a specific trauma to get to the root cause.
An example of how it may be used is that someone may suffer from a phobia of the plane, and here we must search what is the main cause of that phobia. Is it height, narrow place, vibration that occurs to the plane, or fear of the plane falling? Was the plane the cause of an accident for you or someone close to you?
If the patient knows the cause of that fear (fear of the plane falling), we make the patient imagine and focus himself on the situation of the plane falling and here we make him imagine that he measures the degree of his fear he has on imaginary fear scale (from zero to 10). Zero, there is no fear at all, and 10 peak fear that the patient may reach. In case that the degree of fear is 10, we say a sentence of two parts. There is a preparation part — “although I am afraid that the plane will fall on me” — followed by an acceptance part. That involves saying “I love myself and accept myself deeply”, meaning I give myself the love and appreciation that I need despite this feeling of fear.
The sentence is said three times, and involves a series of tapping on parts of the body and face, at different times. After once cycle, we review and monitor the degree of fear. Other feelings may appear on the way down the fear scale, including anger. When the degree of fear has dropped down to zero to two, we do another cycle to get rid of anger and repetition in the same way.
This technique helps to get rid of all negative feelings, such as future tension from an exam, anger, sadness, and other negative feelings related to the past as well.
Any other advice for getting rid of anxiety?
Living in the present, leaving the past and not thinking about past stories and self-blame, or getting rid of the obsession of the future, meaning living the moment with all its details in the present time, and that will make a clear difference in your life.
The person should devote time to himself to take care of his body and himself and recreate it by practicing a hobby and talking to yourself to get rid of the negative feelings or qualities that you want to get rid of.
• This interview has been edited and condensed. For more information or to book a session with Dr Rasha, reach out via Instagram.
Reeneh Yousef has worked in media since 2007, spending at decade at Abu Dhabi Media before joining Livehealthy. She loves walking, reading and going to the gym.