By Sandra Lewis, MA


As Robert Stewart wrote in his recent newsletter, “Each of us has to find the actual experience of peace and calmness on our own. The secret for doing that is to free the mind.” Well, that sounds pretty straightforward! So how does one go about it?

It is generally accepted within the conflict resolution field, that peace on an international scale is hard to achieve without peace on a national scale; and that peace on a national scale is dependent on peace at the local level. Eventually, it is reduced to intrapersonal peace. The international NGO, Human Rights Education Associates, puts it this way:

It is important to notice the close relationship between different levels of conflict. Internal (intrapersonal) conflict influences the conflict among individuals (interpersonal) and vice versa. Both can influence or are influenced by conflicts in organisations or conflicts among ethnic groups (group conflicts) who influence or are influenced by national or international (political, social, etc.) conflicts. In each conflict situation we have to identify the sources of conflict on different levels before we choose particular skills and approaches to the process.”

When we take up a cause, we often expend considerable amounts of energy focussing on ‘them’, those people who seem to need our help, who just aren’t getting it, or appear to be standing in the way of progress. It can be frustrating, irritating, evening maddening, when bad things are happening to good people and no one will listen to us.

But peace can be just as easily described as a process of mutual respect among people, even respect for those people who seem to be the perpetrators. Here’s the rub: it’s impossible to truly respect someone else, if we don’t already respect ourselves. Self-esteem is the bedrock upon which all peace movements should be built.

That may sound sort of vague and preachy. And I’m not here to tell you how to run a peace movement. I want to tell you how to manage your own emotions, your own frustrations and anger… how to build up your self-esteem so you can move forward with credibility and resilience on whatever road you choose to take. This is all about how to walk the talk.

EFT stands for emotional freedom technique, and it’s meant to give you exactly that, emotional freedom. It’s alarmingly simple, and to many intellectuals, it sounds too good and too easy to be true. But if you can get out of your head for a minute or two and just try it, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. As a psychotherapist, I spent many years practicing conventional talk therapy before discovering there was a much faster and more effective way of helping people release unwanted feelings. You may know people who have spent years in therapy and still feel unhappy. Sure, now they understand why they feel that way, but they feel it, all the same. EFT allows you to understand and release, all at once. Not just temporarily, but in most cases, permanently.  

I won’t explain in this short article how to do it. But if you go to the website (link www.emofree.com and see additional information at the end of this article) there is a free downloadable manual that gives the basics, plus a ton of testimonies from doctors, naturopaths, psychiatrists, scientists, psychologists and lay people.

What I will tell you is that using EFT will give you clarity. It will allow you to be passionate about your work, without being angry or judgmental. And it’s easy to teach. It can be used by one person, or a group of people. Imagine a room full of adversaries, each side hanging on tenaciously to its position… what if someone were to do a group EFT clearing… it happens all the time in seminars to wonderful effect. In fact, the more people doing EFT, the more power it seems to have. It requires the suspension of disbelief, as it involves saying affirmations and tapping on key acupuncture meridian points. Some people might feel foolish… but if a few people are on board, the rest often join in. And it’s excellent at moving what seem to be intractable conflicts.

I use it often in my practice with couples. And just spending a few minutes, perhaps five or ten, doing EFT, allows them both to see things more clearly from the other person’s point of view. I see this over and over again. Even with a single client, a few rounds will have them saying things like: I guess he was doing his best; I suppose her own childhood makes it difficult for her to do the right thing; I don’t really feel angry at him now. In fact, I feel a bit sorry for him; I suppose it’s not that big a deal.

The Chinese word for conflict is two symbols: one means danger, the other, opportunity. In order to see the opportunities, however, we have to be clear-headed, we have to be calm, and we have to leave our own needs and emotions out of it. EFT makes that a lot easier to do.



Sandra Lewis, MA, has a psychotherapy practice in Toronto and Newmarket , Ontario , where she works with teens, adults and couples on anxiety, depression, work and relationship conflicts and psychosomatic illnesses. She is a clinical member of the Ontario Soc. Of Psychotherapists, sits on the board of Conflict Resolution Network Canada and is the editor of their headline news service (crnetwork.ca). Her Masters Degree is in Conflict Analysis and Management. She can be reached at slewis@crnetwork.ca or through her website www.artemistherapy.com


Emotional Freedom Technique is an energy healing technique refined from TFT (Thought Field Therapy) and brought into wide usage by an American named Gary Craig (see www.emofree.com ).  In his words, "Even though EFT violates just about every conventional belief out there, the results remain remarkable...My jaw still drops [after 12 years]". EFT is an emotional form of acupuncture using tapping instead of needles to stimulate key meridian energy points, on the premise that the cause of many negative emotions is a disruption in the body's energy system. It is a surprisingly fast way to eliminate negative feelings, no matter how entrenched they may seem. Startling relief usually occurs within the first session. As well, this is a method that is easily taught to clients who can use it on their own, whenever they start to feel upset or overwhelmed. It works extremely well with children.