What is an EFT practitioner?


Armed with her trusty browser and an inquisitive mind, Ranjana Appoo went online to ask what seems an obvious question, but one that needs answering if we are to establish the definition of the practitioner in the wider world.

Recently I googled what is an EFT practitioner...

by Ranjana Appoo

And I found no description pertaining to this. I found a lot about what EFT is, but nothing that defined an EFT practitioner. I then googled ‘What is a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychotherapist counsellor, psychoanalyst’. Some of the answers to these questions are below, but it looks like we are going to have to define what an EFT practitioner is – if we want it in Wiki, that is.

What is a psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is a licensed medical doctor, who has not only earned a medical degree (MD), but has further specialised in the field of psychiatry, which emphasises the care and treatment of people with mental illness. Specialisation takes three to four years after obtaining a medical license, and involves treating people with mental illness in a variety of settings.

What is a psychologist?

Psychologists study the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social aspects of behaviour, and provide mental health care in hospitals, clinics, schools, and private practices. They conduct laboratory experiments and perform intelligence, performance, personality, and aptitude tests. Psychologists obtain information through surveys, questionnaires, interviews, observation, and clinical studies. There are many different types of psychologists, including:

  • Clinical psychologists
  • Counselling psychologists
  • Developmental psychologists
  • Industrial-organizational psychologists
  • Neuropsychologists
  • Research psychologists
  • School psychologists

Clinical psychology is the most common subspecialty. Clinical psychologists work in hospitals, private practices, and clinics. They help patients deal with illnesses (for example, stroke, chronic pain), injuries such as spinal cord injury, and personal crises such as divorce or the death of a loved one.

Counselling psychologists assist patients in coping with everyday living. They advise patients based on various test results and interviews, and often work in university counselling centres, hospitals, and in private practice.

Developmental psychologists specialise in behaviour and development during specific stages of life (infancy, childhood, and adolescence, elderly). They also study the effects of developmental disabilities.

Industrial-organisational psychologists attempt to improve productivity and quality of life in the workplace. They are involved in marketing and management research; conduct screening, training, and counselling; and are often hired as consultants.

Neuropsychologists specialise in the study of brain behaviour relationships. They have extensive training in brain and spinal cord function and how that function affects cognitive activities such as awareness, reasoning, judgment, learning, and memory.

Research psychologists study human behaviour and the behaviour of laboratory animals in research centres, universities, government agencies, businesses, and non-profit organisations. They conduct experiments dealing with motivation, thinking, attention, and memory.

School psychologists work with teachers, parents, and school personnel to resolve learning and behavioural problems in primary and secondary schools. They improve learning and teaching strategies, classroom management, and parenting skills, and attempt to reduce substance abuse. School psychologists also work with students with disabilities and with gifted students.

What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

The simplest way to describe the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is that a psychologist primarily aids the depressed patient by counselling and psychotherapy. A psychiatrist may also perform psychotherapy; but, in addition, can prescribe medications and perform ECT (electroconvulsive therapy). A psychiatrist is a medical doctor. A psychologist may hold a doctoral degree (PhD) and be called ‘doctor’; but, is not a medical doctor (MD).

What is a psychotherapist?

A psychotherapist interacts with patients to initiate change in the patient’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviour through adaptation. Psychotherapists provide treatment in individual and group settings. A licensed psychotherapist obtains a master’s degree or doctorate in a chosen mental health field, undergoes a supervised clinical residency, and is licensed, certified, or registered by a government or psychological agency to which they are accountable.

Licensed professionals who practice psychotherapy include the following:

  • Psychiatrists
  • Registered psychiatric nurses
  • Clinical social workers
  • Licensed counsellors
  • Marriage therapists
  • Family therapists
  • Clinical psychologists

Types of Psychotherapy

  • Behavioural therapy (for example, cognitive behavioural therapy, motivational enhancement therapy, controlled exposure with response prevention)
  • Biofeedback
  • Interactive group therapy (for example, family therapy)
  • Meditation
  • Relaxation training
  • Self-help groups
  • Psychodynamic therapy

What is a counsellor?

Counsellors help people to explore feelings and emotions that are often related to their experiences. This allows them to reflect on what is happening to them and consider alternative ways of doing things. Working in a confidential setting, counsellors listen attentively to their clients and offer them the time, empathy and respect they need to express their own feelings and perhaps understand themselves from a different perspective. The aim is reduce their confusion and enable them to make changes in their life if they decide to do so.

Counsellors do not give advice, but help clients to make their own choices within the framework of an agreed counselling contract.

Typical work activities

There are various models of counselling, each with its own theoretical basis. Differences in approach relate to the individual practitioner’s interests and training, the setting in which the counselling consultation takes place, or the predominant client group. There is also no clear distinction between the terms counselling and psychotherapy. Counsellors working in particular fields (for example, relationship guidance, addiction, sexual abuse, or health) tend to specialise in the models most used in those areas.

Across most areas of counselling, typical work activities include:

  • Establishing a relationship of trust and respect with clients
  • Agreeing a counselling contract to determine what will be covered in sessions (including confidentiality issues)
  • Encouraging clients to talk about issues they feel they cannot normally share with others
  • Actively listening to client concerns and empathising with their position
  • Accepting without bias the issues raised by clients
  • Helping clients toward a deeper understanding of their concerns
  • Challenging any inconsistencies in what clients say or do
  • Helping clients to make decisions and choices regarding possible ways forward
  • Referring clients to other sources of help, as appropriate
  • Attending supervision and training courses
  • Undertaking personal therapy (mandatory for accreditation)
  • Liaising, as necessary, with other agencies and individuals to help make changes based on the issues raised by clients
  • Working to agreed targets in relation to client contact
  • Undertaking group as well as individual therapy on occasions
  • Keeping records and utilising reporting tools.

The difference between counselling and psychotherapy

Counselling and psychotherapy are often considered to be interchangeable therapies that overlap in a number of ways. Counselling, in specific situations, is offered as part of the psychotherapy process; whereas a counsellor may work with clients in a psychotherapeutic manner.

A psychotherapist is a trained individual who is able to offer a form of counselling to clients. Someone with the same qualifications however, may decide to be called a counsellor instead. Generally a practitioner offering short-term treatment is known as a counsellor. An individual with two or more years of training will opt to be known as a psychotherapist.

To the public the title counsellor appears less intrusive and more easily acceptable than the name psychotherapist suggests. A psychotherapist may therefore call him/herself a counsellor, in order to attract potential clients.

A counsellor will offer a more specialised service of communication that concentrates on providing a structure to the counselling experience. So treatment for addiction, for instance, will be offered in progressive stages over a period of time. A psychotherapist however, will focus on a deeper awareness of emotional issues, and looks at the foundation of the problem.

Entering into any form of counselling requires a firm commitment on the part of the individual in distress, and open communication. In order to get the most out of the therapy it is best to ensure the correct form of counselling is considered. This starts by choosing to visit the type of therapist who is best skilled in the area you most need to focus on.

Psychotherapy will allow you to examine feelings, actions and thoughts and to learn how to evaluate and adjust where appropriate. Counselling however will enable you to explore personal development and to create adjustments to your life. Making a distinction between the two forms of therapy allows a better understanding of the process involved throughout the course of therapy. Both methods of counselling therapy provide people with a way of dealing with change psychologically.

In practice, there is very little difference between psychotherapy and counselling, some practitioners may choose to call themselves counsellors, while others – even with identical qualifications – may call themselves psychotherapists.

Traditionally, people offering short-term help to patients or clients – especially those in the voluntary sector – tended to call themselves counsellors, while people who had trained on a psychotherapy course, lasting at least two years, would call themselves psychotherapists. But nowadays this distinction seems to have blurred.

Quite apart from anything else, many psychotherapists also call themselves counsellors.

One reason for this is that they think the public find counselling a more understandable and less frightening term than psychotherapy.

What is a psychoanalyst?

Psychoanalysts follow Freud’s theories that painful childhood memories contained in the subconscious are the cause of mental illness.

Psychoanalysts are like psychologists in that they usually deal with emotional issues and do not prescribe medication. However, their approach is different from that of conventional psychologists. Psychoanalysis is a method of searching through a person’s subconscious memories for the source of their current difficulties, rather than focusing on conscious memories. Psychoanalysts also tend to meet much more often with their clients. Rather than meeting only once a week (as is common with psychologists), they usually prefer to meet as often as three to five times a week.

When people ask what psychoanalysis is, they often want to know about treatment. As a therapy, psychoanalysis is based on the observation that individuals are often unaware of many of the factors that determine their emotions and behaviour. These unconscious factors may create unhappiness, sometimes in the form of recognizable symptoms and at other times as troubling personality traits, difficulties in work or in love relationships, or disturbances in mood and self-esteem. Because these forces are unconscious, the advice of friends and family, the reading of self-help books, or even the most determined efforts of will, often fail to provide relief.

Psychoanalytic treatment demonstrates how these unconscious factors affect current relationships and patterns of behaviour, traces them back to their historical origins, shows how they have changed and developed over time, and helps the individual to deal better with the realities of adult life.

Psychoanalysis is an intimate partnership, in the course of which the patient becomes aware of the underlying sources of his or her difficulties not simply intellectually, but emotionally – by re-experiencing them right ‘in the room’ with the analyst. Typically, the patient comes four or five times a week, lies on a couch, and attempts to say everything that comes to mind. These conditions create the analytic setting, which permits the emergence of aspects of the mind not accessible to other methods of observation. As the patient speaks, hints of the unconscious sources of current difficulties gradually begin to appear – in certain repetitive patterns of behaviour, in the subjects which the patient finds hard to talk about, in the ways the patient relates to the analyst.

The analyst helps elucidate these for the patient, who refines, corrects, rejects, and adds further thoughts and feelings. During the years that an analysis takes place, the patient wrestles with these insights, going over them again and again with the analyst and experiencing them in daily life, in fantasies, and in dreams. Patient and analyst join in efforts not only to modify crippling life patterns and remove incapacitating symptoms.

And now the really important questions.

What is an energy psychology therapist?

For me an energy psychologist is someone who understands that behaviour, conditioned patterns, pain, suffering and mental distress, and emotional disturbances can be met, resolved and transformed by engaging the person’s energy field/system. They have through years of experience and study of their own psyche and through academic studies in psychology, personal growth and the energy system, developed some understanding of the complexities of stress, pain and mental/ emotional disharmony. Energy psychology therapists utilise techniques from acupressure, yoga, qi gong, yoga, acupuncture, kinesiology, Jin Shin Jyutsu and similar energy medicine modalities that teach people simple steps for initiating changes in their inner lives. This type of therapist stimulates energy points on the surface of the skin which, when combined with specific psychological procedures, can shift the brain’s electrochemistry to help overcome negative emotions, habits and behaviours. Energy psychology therapists need to have developed acute listening skills and intuition to be able to unravel the information lodged in the energy field that requires balancing and so help a client to get to the place where they feel safe, empowered and free to grow.

What is an EFT practitioner?

I see the EFT practitioner fulfilling a similar role of an energy psychology therapist. The only differences being the academic know-how of psychology which would be one of choice and takes years of study.

For me an EFT practitioner is also someone who understands that behaviour, conditioned patterns, pain, suffering and mental distress, emotional disturbances can be met, resolved and transformed by engaging the person’s energy field/system. They have through years of experience and study of their own psyche through studies in personal growth and the energy system. They have developed some understanding of the complexities of stress, pain and mental/ emotional disharmony.

They would also have developed acute listening skills and intuition and would be able to unravel the information lodged in the energy field that requires balancing and so help a client to get to the place where they feel safe, empowered and free to grow. An EFT practitioner, like an energy psychology therapist, would focus on the interrelationship of energy systems, emotion, behaviour, stress responses and health. These systems include the electrical activity of the nervous system, acupuncture meridians, chakras and biofields.

What is an energy therapist?

From my understanding an energy therapist is someone who works directly with the body’s energy field to promote, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being. They see energy as the blueprint, the infrastructure, the invisible foundation for the health of the body. By viewing the body as a network of energy pathways and energy centres that are in a dynamic interplay with cells, organs, moods, and thoughts, energy therapists work to harmonising and balancing these energies to transform health, emotions, and state of mind. Practitioners that specialise in Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), Tapas Acupressure Technique (TAT), and Thought Field Therapy (TFT) are amongst the most widely known energy therapists.

What do you think an EFT practitioner, energy psychology therapist, energy therapist is? Can we define it?

Ranjana Appoo
The Emotional Health Centre
Co-creator of LiberatingTouch-EFT and The Emotional Toothbrush Series

Got an article?

If you’ve written an article about EFT or another meridian energy therapy, or reviewed a book or DVD and would like to share your work, just submit it to EmotionalBuzz for publication. Remember to include your email address or business website address.

Add article (100kb max):

If you have pictures to go with your article, embed them in the Word file.

Before submitting this form, please enter the characters you see in this image: Image verification

Free newsletter