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What is Tapping, and Have You Tried It?

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Rebeckah Atkinson

Written by Rebeckah Atkinson, BS

Rebeckah is currently an intern and under the supervision of Kayce Bragg, LPCS (# 8061), LAC #369

Rebeckah Atkinson, BS  is a resident of West Columbia, South Carolina. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina in December 2018, and she is currently completing her M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Webster University (Columbia, SC). She is on track to graduate in the Spring of 2024. 

Rebeckah believes that coming to therapy is a powerful step in the healing process. She aspires to create an open, empathetic, culturally sensitive environment in which clients can express their mental health or life concerns in a judgement free environment. She employs an integrative, trauma-informed approach to counseling that includes person-centered, cognitive-behavioral, and family systems therapy techniques. Rebeckah works with individuals, children, couples, and families.

What is Tapping, and Have You Tried It?


Have you ever heard of ‘tapping,’ also known as Emotional Freedom Technique? Maybe you have caught yourself tapping your fingers on the desk due to being anxious or frustrated when a meeting starts late…we aren’t talking about that kind of tapping! EFT is a therapeutically implemented treatment used to deal with those negative feelings and emotions. The best part— it is simple and can be used for all ages!

The Tapping Solution Foundation describes tapping as, “tapping with your fingertips on specific meridian points while talking through traumatic memories and a wide range of emotions.” Meridian points are specific points found throughout your body where your energy circulates. Any negative feelings or emotions you experience disrupt your body’s positive energy. This simple technique makes you focus on the negative emotion you are dealing with anxiety, fear, trauma, and other negative emotions.

You will begin tapping on the nine meridian points while discussing these emotions or problems while accepting and resolving their negativity. This tapping is said to access the body’s energy and bring it back to baseline— a technical term for balance. According to The Tapping Solution Foundation, the four focuses (first to last) on tapping are immediate relief/stabilization, extinguishing conditions responses (learned behavior), overcoming complex psychological problems, and promoting optimal functioning.

The Tapping Process and the Nine Meridian Points


1. Pinky Side of Hand (Setup Point)

  • Recite a setup phrase (e.g., “Even though I have this {insert problem}, I love and accept myself”).
  • Tap on the pinky side of your hand three times. 

2. Eyebrow

  • Tap at the beginning of your eyebrow while expressing the problem and associated feelings (5-7 taps).

3. Side of Eye

  • Move to the bone below your eyebrow and continue tapping and discussing the problem.

4. Under Eye

  • Tap on the bone just below your eye.

5. Under Nose

  • Tap under your nose.

6. Chin

  • Tap on the point between your chin bone and lower lip.

7. Collarbone

  • Tap on the collarbone area with your whole hand.

8. Under Arm

  • Tap under your arm, about a hand length below your armpit.

9. Top of Head

    • Finish by tapping on the top of your head.

Understanding the Science Behind Tapping


Dr. Dawson Church said, “Acupoint tapping sends signals directly to the stress centers of the mid-brain, not mediated by the frontal lobes (thinking part, active in talk therapy).” He also stated that tapping “gives you the best of both worlds, body and mind, like getting a massage during a psychotherapy session.” 

Tapping accesses the amygdala, the small part of the brain located in the center that triggers your body’s ‘fight or flight’ response, an adverse reaction to fear. “This is a major thing that happens while tapping is taking place. Being able to neutralize your body’s feelings of fear, anxiety, or whatever it is that you are struggling with, is so amazing. This method has been used to treat depression, anxiety, insomnia, severe PTSD, physical pain, and so much more. This is not something the counselors and medical professionals use to make money but rather helps deregulate your body’s response to all the negative emotions you feel while dealing with a problem. It has been shown to cause a major reduction or remove altogether the ‘fight or flight’ response to the problems you are dealing with. You can practice this with your counselor or even on your own time. Once you have learned how it works, you can implement this practice anytime you feel anxious, frustrated, or any other negative emotion that may arise during your daily routine.

Applications and Benefits of Tapping


This may sound like something you would find when working with someone whose entire practice is working with crystals and unknown spirits, but it is a scientifically based practice that works. When you focus on the problem and implement the tapping technique, you are tapping on parts of your body that react with the emotions and feelings center of your brain. This is a newer practice and can become a very beneficial practice that you can use in your daily life when you feel stressed, anxious, frustrated, triggered, or whatever the emotion may be. I, personally, really love using a guided meditation that includes tapping as part of the process so that I don’t have to think about what I want to say or reinforce.  It’s all done for me!

I have shared with many of you about the app Tapping Solutions that I absolutely love.  You can watch videos that teach you how to do the tapping and then choose from a vast library of meditations to do for a variety of topics that include:  enhancing sleep, manifesting energy, dealing with pain, anxiety, depression, etc.

Counselors’ Perspective: Adding Tapping to Your Therapeutic Toolbox


As counselors, we want to help you succeed in life, and with that task comes providing you with the tools to succeed. While meditation, breathing exercises, journaling, and other coping strategies are so powerful, tapping is another beneficial tool to add to your therapeutic toolbox. We are here to give you the ability to manage life’s disasters and your mental health struggles and we want to see you succeed and be able to manage everyday life on your own in the moments that may cause negative emotions or feelings. Since, we cannot be there every time something happens, so we want to give you every tool to ensure you can take care of yourself in the moment and for years to come. Your success is our success, and the more you succeed at these things on your own, the more fulfilled we become in our role as counselors.

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