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EFT for AD[H]D ‒ An Important Look At Self-Regulation Tools For Neurodivergent Folks

Written by: Candace Fox, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

When I was diagnosed with AD[H]D at the age of 35, I was already well-established on my healing journey. Having intentionally sought out tools to support my recovery from an eating disorder, when the ‘dust settled’ so to speak, and I was not constantly ambushed by myself – the ‘quirks’ I had always assumed were related to a dysregulated nervous system caused by my eating disorder were still lingering. After some serendipitous hints and nudges – not to mention, encouragement from my Neurodivergent friends, I decided to explore a diagnosis. To no one’s surprise, including my own – it was confirmed medically, I’m an AD[H]Der.

As most people do after such experiences, I started down the rabbit hole of learning all about AD[H]D. I was fixated. After reading a multitude of books, articles, and studies I moved on to masterclasses and summits with experts in the field all talking about various causes, aspects, symptoms, and pharmaceutical interventions. Without the heavy burden of my eating disorder, I had more energy and capacity to do a deep dive and internal investigation. After doing a life audit – childhood years through to the present day, I found much of what I was struggling with, including the development of my eating disorder, undiagnosed intrusive OCD thoughts, and rejection sensitivity dysphoria were all related to or were common comorbidities of AD[H]D.


As I was trying to understand where the AD[H]D ended and I began, I was grateful for the clarity brought by the diagnosis but found myself pendulating between relief and grief. I knew my AD[H]D symptoms were not nearly as pervasive and debilitating as they were in my teenage years and 20s. I figured if the tools and knowledge I had gained by that point about nervous system regulation could stabilize a 15+ year eating disorder – could they be used intentionally for my AD[H]D symptoms?


Luckily for me, during this time I was an Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) ‘Tapping’ Practitioner moving forward with my Master Conscious EFT Practitioner training through the National EFT Training Institute in Canada and my Advanced EFT Practitioner certification through EFT International in the UK. I decided to do an amateur research project required for my certifications titled ‘Acupressure Tapping as an Intervention for Adult AD[H]D Symptoms’. Admittedly, the research project was a bit of a bust. Did I mention I failed Stats 207 multiple times in University? While participants did experience benefits and shifts throughout the 8-week process – especially while tapping together in the group, the foundation of the research project I created was flimsy and my expectations too lofty. It was me, and certainly not the participants or the tools that failed to measure up.


(Psst. If you aren’t sure what EFT or Acupressure Tapping is, scroll to the bottom for an explanation.)


What that experience did provide – aside from helping me obtain my certifications was a heightened curiosity around how self-regulation tools like EFT can be used to support Neurodivergent folks in deeply meaningful ways. I also learned I wasn’t alone in my hypothesis that yes – these tools work for AD[H]D symptoms. During my research, I chanced upon an article written by Kate Moryoussef for ADDitude Magazine that explored EFT as an intervention to calm the AD[H]D brain. It was the validation and encouragement I needed to continue down my path of exploration – and confirmation that it was working for other AD[H]Ders across the pond!


Fast forward to today and the good news I can share in working with Neurodivergent folks, Acupressure Tapping and EFT work in supporting AD[H]Ders manage many of their symptoms. Perhaps the biggest impact I have seen on myself, and others with consistent use of self-regulation tools has been ‒ more balanced emotions, a decrease in the intensity of mood swings, stress, binge eating, and impulsivity/reactivity, and an increase in focus/clarity.


As my friend and colleague Lisa Criffo say (referring to EFT), “I put that shit on everything.” I could not agree with her more! EFT is the hot sauce of the self-help world and its impact on the many Neurodivergent individuals I have had the profound honor of working with has been immense and long-standing. Again, when used consistently, EFT can transform many peoples’ life experiences and create opportunities for transformational growth.


The truth, as I see it ‒ when we can create more capacity in our complex systems by using self-regulation tools like EFT – we don’t go ‘off-line’ to be ruled by our emotions or ‘knee-jerk’ reactions. When we are proactive in keeping our nervous systems regulated, we are less triggered and are more in control of our emotions and thus all aspects of ourselves. While many experts say self-regulation is the cornerstone of development in children – I would take that further to say that self-regulation is the cornerstone of development and maturation in all humans. With Acupressure Tapping and EFT, that power is literally within each of our hands.


What is EFT and Acupressure Tapping?


Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), also known as ‘Tapping’ is an evidence-based Energy Psychology tool that uses psychotherapeutic stimuli mixed with somatic stimulation of acupressure points on the face and body. Users are invited to tune into an issue they’d like to resolve while repeating an acceptance statement followed by tapping on a sequence of points referred to as the ‘EFT recipe’.


Acupressure Tapping also known as ‘Bronze Tapping’ is tapping on acupressure points but without the need for words. Using the same sequence called the ‘EFT recipe’ tapping can interrupt the stress response in the body ‒ lowing cortisol, heart rate, and blood pressure back to their baseline levels.


Both tools, used on their own or with a practitioner support individual healing, a regulated nervous system, and increase immune function in the body.


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Candace Fox, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Candace M. Fox is a Psychosensory/somatic Practitioner who works with Neurodivergent youth & adults, sharing self-regulation tools and resources to support them on their journey towards self-discovery and transformational growth. Born and raised on the prairies in Canada, Candace has always had a passion for helping others. Her journey of healing has been a wild ride and led to an AD[H]D diagnosis at the age of 35. Today, she's doing what she loves most ‒ using her past struggles as a catalyst to help others. A self-professed 'student of life', Candace admits her clients teach her just as much if not more than she does them.

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