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Tapping (EFT) To Transform The State Of Wellbeing


Tapping (EFT) To Transform The State Of Wellbeing

Felicity Cohen: Hello, I’m Felicity Cohen. I’m so excited to introduce you to my wellness warriors podcast. For over 20 years, I’ve been a passionate advocate for helping thousands of Australians find solutions to treating obesity and health-related complications. Through surgical intervention and holistic managed care.

My podcast is dedicated to all the people past, present, and future who have helped shape my journey and continue to inspire me to work consistently to achieve a healthier Australia in both adults and future generations. I hope you enjoy.

Good morning, Dr. Peter Stapleton. Welcome to my Wellness Warriors Podcast.

It’s an absolute pleasure to have you here today. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to learn as much as I possibly can in the time that we have around EFT and everything that you’ve done in this space. It’s so fascinating. But let’s start a

little bit with you and your background and let’s go back to the beginning where you started and where were you, where did you grow up first of all?

Dr Peta Stapleton: Thank you for listening. In a little local seaside town right near the Hunter Valley. So grew up there right through to high school. Lovely. Ideally I could remember, you know, picnics on the beach after school kind of thing. And then for whatever reason, my parents made the decision around my high school time to move to the gold coast.

So I have been here ever since, and I did marry a a true gold coaster, who was born in gold coast hospital back in the day. So I’m been here ever since.

Felicity Cohen: That’s amazing what a change that is.

So what eventually took you through to choosing to take the pathway to psychology?

Dr Peta Stapleton: It’s a funny story because I actually wanted to be a lawyer and people laugh when they hear given what we’ve done in psychology ever since. And I was finishing my grade 12 at the time I had applied for law.

And for whatever reason, I guess, you know maybe it was just a different pathway at the time the entry grade to get into law for that year, because it was sort of an emerging area. Everyone was interesting was five marks higher than the one I achieved. So at the time I was devastated, of course you look back in hindsight and kind of go, oh, not meant to be.

So I went into a bachelor of arts degree at Queensland university, in order to upgrade to law the following year. So that was all okay. And I had one subject I needed to do, and I was doing all these preliminary law subjects that would count. And it was a little bit dry and boring. And I had one subject to do.

And my mother said, we’re flicking through the book, why don’t you do a psychology subject? Oh, I looked, we didn’t know any psychologists. It wasn’t sort of an emerging area. And I’m like, what’s that? And I read the introduction to that. Learn all about yourself and behaviors. Oh, okay. That might be all right.

So I do this subject and I’m not joking. I can still remember the lecture room. It was like this

light bulb moment. But it just made sense. And I guess it was helpful for me personally. It was, and it just changed my pathway and I didn’t look back. So I changed my whole degree at that point and I had no room for movement cause I used all my electives up and I just had to end up doing all of psychology and really I was the first person, even in the family and my inner circle because everyone’s like, what’s a psychologist. It was often confused with being a psychic at the time. So that I look back and I laugh because I wanted to be a lawyer. But of course, you know, the pathway was very different.

Felicity Cohen: I think it’s so fascinating to see how much psychology and psychologists, the role of psychologists and our attitude to the role of the psychologist has changed for me my career, which has been here in this particular role over 21 years.

I’ve always been really a great advocate for psychologists working with our bariatric patients and years ago, people would be terrified. They used to feel like they had to pass the test. But that shift has been quite dramatic and the acceptance of how we work with psychologists from a, you know, public perception, kind of attitude has changed so much.

Dr Peta Stapleton: Absolutely.

Felicity Cohen: What do you think are some of the things that have shaped that change?

Dr Peta Stapleton: I absolutely think when Medicare came in the better access program, that’ll let us. The wider community to access psychologist and perhaps, you know, even have that sort of bulk bills and things like that. We saw a shift then that it absolutely opened up, I guess, what was used to be people that could access psychologists perhaps needed to be able to fund it themselves, or certainly have private health insurance and things like that.

And there was an opening of a door there that I think was of absolute benefit to everybody in the community because people then, if they felt they needed to. Could access much more easily. And we saw an acceptance of psychology at that point that really hadn’t existed in my earlier career.

Amazing. And I think even now more than ever, the role of psychologists in our community has become incredibly prominent.

I think we need it more and more. We know that dealing with, you know, working in the era that we are right now in the here and now there’s so much more stress, anxiety, depression. Of course, there’s a lot of PTSD, but we’re living in a moment where that overwhelmed phase because of massive change in our working lives, in our home lives.

And if we just look at this, you know, small period over the last 12 to 18 months, how that has probably changed a lot, how psychologists are working with people to support, assist, and guide them. And I’m sure the role of EFT in that space. Quite important.

Yeah, certainly the last, like you said, 12 to 18 months just have stress in general, but even pre that the emerging technologies that we’ve had that have, I guess, you know, impacted our teenagers coming through and stress being probably the most presenting problem that more and more, I think there is absolutely a need for people to have access to stress reduction techniques that they can self apply that they can use immediately get an outcome. Which is why we are so passionate about some of these body-based somatic approaches, because I think to have that kind of on tap for yourself, particularly moving forward is going to be an absolute importance, particularly for chronic illness and things like that.

Felicity Cohen: So I know a little bit about EFT and I’m really looking forward to learning more so Effective Freedom Technique is the full term for EFT. And I know it’s been encouraged or used in some schools. How is it used effectively with children and in a school setting? Tell me a little bit about how that’s actually evolved and become effective.

Dr Peta Stapleton: Yeah. So the first invitations for our team with EFT in schools, came out of some of our food craving research. So just media around that, we were talking about it reduces anxiety, which helps a food craving reduced. And of course, some teachers had seen it and reached [00:07:00] out some local schools and said, would this work for things like test anxiety when students go into an exam?

Get that kind of performance, even giving speeches. And we said, absolutely, of course it just reduces stress. So out of that came some research trials that emerged and have since been published where we actually taught sort of, you know, 14, 15 year olds in high school settings, locally, how to use it for reduction of anxiety, for those different scenarios.

Some of them went on to use it for other things, you know, reducing their soft drink cravings and things like that, which was really good. But then it started to kind of emerge out into primary schools. So we had teachers starting to apply it in a classroom setting. So before a spelling test for younger kids, they would do some tapping just to help themselves remember or stay calm. And then they would even do tapping after an exam or a little spelling test just to calm themselves down in case they thought they got something wrong. So we had teachers reporting back to us. They were actually tracking their grades as well and noticing the students’ grades were improving. And of course teachers were applying it themselves for their own stress.

And that’s the biggest thing that we advocate is that if a teacher can stay calm in front of a class, the classroom responds to that. So teachers really taking that on board. So out of all of this emerge, tapping in the classroom, which is now a worldwide program that we’ve had more than a thousand teachers, worldwide access and training.

So they use it in daily classroom situations or for themselves as the teacher in those rooms. So it’s been phenomenal to watch because it was not an area that we had expected to kind of go into or lead, but it is what it is and it’s become that of its own accord.

Felicity Cohen: I love that. And I think it’s fabulous that we can teach children, obviously the impact and the teaching staff as well.

But for kids, I think it’s so much more practical and a lot more easier to teach this kind of a technique as a stress reduction. As opposed to teaching the meditation.

Dr Peta Stapleton: Yes. Particularly I think for kids that might have a bit of, you know, sort of the ADHD or, or even just a small child with energy, to be able to physically tap, even with both hands and use the body is so much more appealing to them.

And the other thing I like about children is they don’t question, how does it work? So we just say, try this it’ll make you feel better and they go, okay, just do it with both hands. It’s very quick for them. Cause they don’t have lots of layers and they then say, oh, well that worked. I’ll do it again next time.

So it’s, it is a really, I think, useful area to teach them so that they keep using it all the way through. And I just hope that we do get that one day that it is just a standard technique that every child learns.

Felicity Cohen: Amazing. And we’ve used it here in our center, and I’m just happy to share with you that through our project GRIT, which is for our childhood prevention obesity program, we’ve used that in our pilot study and the results show that self-concept scores were one of the most elevated results throughout.

Absolutely fantastic. And I really do attribute that to our psychologist, teaching the children in the program, how to use it. That’s fantastic. Amazing. You’ve been involved in more than 100 research papers, which is pretty phenomenal.

Tell me a little bit about how you actually entered into the research space with regards to EFT and how it helps grow and evolve the whole movement.

Dr Peta Stapleton: A funny story. So I had been introduced to EFT through a colleague at the time I was in the eating disorder space of traditional sort of anorexia, bulimia, and nervosa.

Finding a lot of traditional techniques we’d been trained in 25 years ago weren’t that effective, which we now know weren’t. So I was sort of complaining if you like, and he’d found back in the days of dial up internet, he’d found a little bit about tapping online and said, look, I think this thing might have something to it.

Of course I dismissed him at the time, but eventually did learn. And we were using it with clients in private practice, kind of going, oh, I think this might actually work. Clients who were recovering as well from their eating disorders.

So at the time, my academic role, which was at Griffith university in the school of medicine had a research component. So my then boss, who was a very conservative musculoskeletal GP said, okay, so you do need to do research as part of your job. What would you like to research? And I said, well, look, I’ve been using unusual sort of technique stress reduction, but look, I think it’s got legs to it. I’d really like to maybe apply that particularly in the emerging obesity crisis where we’re having, I think we might be able to reduce food cravings, which would eventually lead to weight loss over time.

And I’m not joking. He looked at me and kind of went, oh, that’s a bit strange. And he said, I don’t think anybody will come to that trial, but you can give it a go. And I went, okay. So I go on a current affair program at the time, just to sort of advertise, Hey, we’ve got this free clinical program. Here’s what you need to commit to.

And I do a demonstration of tapping with the chocolate muffin with the reporter. Anyway, we had 4,000 people respond to that TV program to want to be in the trial. So my boss at the time of course, sort of went, do you know what you’re doing? I said, not really. So we went on, we ran that trial and of course that was the start of our journey.

Now what’s really funny that I’ve never really talked about was the reporter a year later, I contacted him to say, look, we have got our preliminary results. Would you like to do another story for us? And he’d moved on to another network, but he said, I don’t know what you did that day, but I can’t eat chocolate muffins anymore.

It actually had an affect on him. It was incredible. So we’ve gone on, and obviously now I’m probably had 15 years in that research space where particularly in that food craving, weight, loss space. But we indeed have emerged out and we’ve done clinical trials on major depression. We’ve done trauma. We’re currently in the chronic pain space.

In 2020, we ran a cancer support trial for cancer patients to use it for that. So we have done school trials, of course. So we have been applying it in different areas over the decade.

Felicity Cohen: That’s incredible. Tell me a little bit about the chronic pain intervention and how effective that is. Where are you up to in that research project?

Dr Peta Stapleton: It has been phenomenal. So for the whole of 2020, we did deliver it into different styles. So it was online due to our pandemic which was still highly effective. And we have analyzed this to date. So we had a group that went through a self-paced version. So it was sort of drip fed over a six week period, all online videos, mostly of myself walking them through.

And they had access to me in a private group so that I could answer questions live. So they went through that by themselves. And then we had another group. Every week for the six weeks joined a live facilitator led session, but online. So we’ve completed that phase and we’re now in their 12 month followup, which is exciting to start to look at that data.

We’ve looked at that data to date and we’ve actually found that the two modes of delivery have been equivalent. So they actually absolutely got a reduction in severity of pain, psychological things like anxiety and depression respond positively of course, quality of life responded. So we know that if pain, severity and intensity can reduce other parts of the life do respond for that sufferer.

And what’s more exciting is now we’re in a phase of that trial where we’re actually doing FMRI testing. So actually looking at verbal tone, as well as MRIs of those patients. So we’re actually seeing what shifts in the brain as part of that. So we’re right in the middle of that right now.

Felicity Cohen: Really fascinating.

I think it’s also really interesting to see how we can cross pollinate different modes of treatment. When you’re looking at something like pain. We have a startup here that is actually using medicinal cannabis for treatment of chronic pain. And I have a patient who recently came in and she was prescribed medicinal cannabis for plantar fasciitis, really chronic.

She could hardly move. She could hardly put a feet on the floor in the morning. But what she reported was not just did her pain resolved, but her anxiety suddenly resolved as a side outcome from that. And she worked in a childcare center environment, managing a lot of people, changed her life.

But also using something like tapping as a part of the treatment overall approach, a lot more holistic, I guess in nature can see some incredible outcomes in these areas.

Dr Peta Stapleton: And I think pain is such a good example of that. You know, one in five Aussies as adults have suffered chronic pain, which is incredibly high.

And probably one of the highest in the world. But the areas of life chronic pain evades into is quite comprehensive. It ruins so many aspects. On average, our suffers in our trial have been suffering 14 years. So that is the average sum of certainly much more than that, but the average length of suffering is 14 years. And they’re not getting relief from traditional pharmacological intervention and even some psychological.

So we have found that 6 and 12 months later, I do get emails back when I send out the survey saying, I forgot I was in your trial because I haven’t had any pain, happy to fill out the survey. But I’m getting those emails because it’s not in their life anymore. We do know with tapping too, that the intervention period is enough dose that they don’t actually have to keep tapping.

So it is often even in the food craving space, that is enough, what they do with us. And it lasts over time.

Felicity Cohen: What kind of duration are we talking about that they’re actually actively practicing it?

Dr Peta Stapleton: So for the pain trial, it’s been 12 hours over six weeks. We encourage them in between those sessions to do taps.

So they may actually be using it daily. And we like that daily habit , but really if they would just to do their 2-hour session and that’s mostly tapping over that 12 hours, that has been enough. Sometimes we extend to 16 hours if we’re in the weight space, but somewhere around that is enough to keep them kind of adhering to the program, not getting bored.

And really, we have asked only about 5% go on to keep using it for the rest of their life for other areas.

Felicity Cohen: Amazing. So in the weight space, obviously that’s my passion, every single day of my life and has been for over 21 years. And I know that you’ve had a lot of exposure to the bariatric patient population, but implementing tapping as well as part of their process. Yes.

Tell me a little bit about that and what have you experienced with that patient population?

Dr Peta Stapleton: Yeah, so that’s really where we spent a good decade researching was people that perhaps hadn’t had success elsewhere. So teaching them not only around portion control, but emotional eating. Tapping really shines there to help people sort of intervene with that perhaps peak of craving anxiety or increasing emotion. If they remember to tap or they even do it retrospectively, it can kind of be done a bit earlier next time, has a profound impact because they realize they’ve got the ability to do it without necessarily having someone there with them. It works really quickly and it lasts over time.

So once they have that physical experience, they’re more likely to do it next time as well. So not only do they lose weight within time, but it really gives them this ability to kind of take control of how they feel. And I think there’s no willpower needed. There’s none of that. And I think that’s the most important thing, particularly in that weight space, because people have had so many different journeys in the weight area, in different things they’ve tried.

We often get them where they’ve tried everything and they’re like, okay, this is the last resort. We’ll give this a go. So there’s often a lot of that kind of doubt that something will help me. And we even can apply tapping to doubt, which I think is really important to sort of remove that element of I hope this works, but I don’t know that it will.

So we actually apply tapping to that kind of belief system before we even get started.

Felicity Cohen: It’s so vast the application across so many different areas and you’ve grown the space so much. You’ve been an absolute pioneer, not just in the research, but in developing the whole, I’m calling it a movement.

Dr Peta Stapleton: We call it the forth wave.

Felicity Cohen: The fourth wave? I like that too. so why the forth wave?

Dr Peta Stapleton: So the forth wave in the therapy space. So the first three waves just quickly in case anyone’s wondering, the first wave in therapy was very much the psychodynamic, lying on the couch, lasted for hundreds of years. The second wave emerged in the seventies, which was the behaviour therapy, which we still use in parenting techniques and things like that.

But it really didn’t consider any psychological contribution. It was more about change behaviour. You can change things. That’s a bit hard for adults. The third wave that emerged was the cognitive element to behavior. So we now have cognitive behavioral therapy and offshoots of that include mindfulness or acceptance and commitment therapy.

So there’s still the third wave where the mind and body was still integrated. But the fourth wave that we believe now is sort of gathering steam a bit of a tsunami maybe is where the cognitive and behavioral is now having the physical, the sematic added back to it. So EFT tapping is definitely that fourth wave, but so is EMDR the eye movement, which now is an acceptable gold standard therapy for trauma.

So that’s a fourth wave therapy as well as EFT. So we’re sort of saying, look, I think the therapy space for a lot of psychologists is shifting and it’s almost. It’s not new. We’re just coming back to something that was done a long time ago or people that are in the yoga area will know that we’ve always used movement and body to release distress and things like that.

So fourth wave movement. I’m happy with any of those words.

Felicity Cohen: I love that. And I think it’s great to be able to apply all of these different therapeutic applications treat anyone’s disorder. Basically, if we can actually apply mindfulness, meditation, yoga, EFT, and combine these therapies. And I think in our environment, a lot of the psychologists are looking at different modalities to support individual patients and assessing obviously on individual need based situation.

But I think it’s great that we can be so open to using a whole range of things to become effective for any patient.

Dr Peta Stapleton: I think so, because I think if we hold that it’s what the patient needs. And that’s probably what prompted my journey. I wasn’t too hung up, way back people say I was outside the square. But all I was was looking for the right thing for the client or the patient.

In that case, I was able to sort of put aside skepticism or the fact that evidence wasn’t there at that time and sort of go, okay, well, does it work for the patient? And I think duty of care says we should be considering things like that rather than maybe getting hung up necessarily on to someone give it a tick.

So now we have the research to back something like EFT, but also the safety and efficacy has emerged alongside that as well. So yeah I’m all for what’s going to help the patients.

Felicity Cohen: It’s amazing that we’ve got so much evidence-based information to drive this further forward.

I love the fact that it’s becoming a bit of a tsunami and I feel like that’s the state that we’re in right now. As far as the fourth wave evolution and just continuing its growth, what’s the international landscape look like? And how have you impacted that through your research?

Dr Peta Stapleton: It has certainly grown and because it’s still a small field. We’re all quite connected still. And I think technology has allowed that, which has been fantastic. Certainly we do know, and we have been able to track that the Australian research that we’ve done in this area has absolutely impacted government policy overseas.

So in the UK, the N.I.C.E., so the National Institute of Clinical Excellence now approves EFT for government funding in the trauma space. And our research was included in that submission. The Canadian psychotherapy association approves it, the Veterans Affairs approve it as a safe therapy for war veterans for PTSD.

There’s lots of pockets. The national disability insurance scheme here in Australia, approves EFT under self-managed plans. And our research has actually fitted into those acceptances. So we are seeing it, not just here but internationally. It’s funny because we just go to our job every day and we do our thing and we run our little trials, but to see the impact like that, sometimes we have to sit back and I’m probably at risk sometimes of staring at the tree rather than looking at the whole forest.

But it’s really good to sit back and kind of go, we are shifting things as a collective and it’s only for the good. And we are getting that recognition. So we will see within our lifetime that the acceptance is there for it mainstream.

Felicity Cohen: Phenomenal. What a great decision that you actually chose to move into psychology and not law. How lucky are we that you’ve actually just pioneered, sowing an incredible body of work, and opportunity for change that’s going to impact a lot of people. Congratulations for that.

So I’m actually going to ask you to guide me through a bit of an EFT for myself. First of all, I’ll use myself as the subject.

I’ve got to tell you that today. I feel like, and this is just me being completely open, honest, and transparent. I’m going to say I’m overwhelmed today. Okay. So I’ve had a massive week. It’s been chaotic. Sure. So how would we do if you’re in overwhelm as I am today, what would be the best approach for me to deal with that scenario?

Yes. So to walk you through exactly what we would do with somebody is, we would typically sort of say Felicity, do you feel it anywhere in your body, in particular or your head? Like if you did a quick body scan, is there anywhere in particular you would feel that.

I I think I’ve often just in your chest and you feel like I’m about to burst into tears, that kind of sensation.

Dr Peta Stapleton: Good. If I said, if you could put a number on it out of 10, just to tell me how strong it is, 10 is your highest 0 is it doesn’t exist. You could guess a number. What would that be?

Felicity Cohen: I’ll I’ll give myself a 7 and a half. I mean, typically the most resilient in person you’ll ever meet. So I don’t just run to that state. That’s high for me, my scale.

Dr Peta Stapleton: So, because you’re in touch with it, it’s a great time to do tapping if you actually can. And the first thing we do is tap on the side of the hand. Just the dominant hand there two fingers. And we repeat a set up statement just to tune in into it.

So if I just make something up, repeat after me, even though I feel really overwhelmed today.

Felicity Cohen: Even though I feel really overwhelmed today.

Dr Peta Stapleton: I can feel it in my body.

Felicity Cohen: I can feel it in my body.

Dr Peta Stapleton: I’ve had a huge week.

Felicity Cohen: I’ve had a huge week.

Dr Peta Stapleton: I accept this is how I feel.

Felicity Cohen: I accept this is how I feel.

Dr Peta Stapleton: Even though I can feel this in my chest.

Felicity Cohen: Even though I can feel this in my chest.

Dr Peta Stapleton: On the verge of tears.

Felicity Cohen: On the verge of tears.

Dr Peta Stapleton: I accept this as how I feel.

Felicity Cohen: I accept this is how I feel.

Dr Peta Stapleton: Even though I’ve got this overwhelmed feeling.

Felicity Cohen: Even though I’ve got this overwhelmed feeling.

Dr Peta Stapleton: About 7 and a half out of 10.

Felicity Cohen: About 7 and a half out of 10.

Dr Peta Stapleton: I accept this is how I feel.

Felicity Cohen: I accept this is how I feel.

Dr Peta Stapleton: So then we come up to the pressure points and I’ll just walk you through what they all are. So, first one is the start of the eyebrows. We just repeat one word, two words that describe the feeling just to stay in tune. So overwhelmed.

Felicity Cohen: Overwhelmed

Dr Peta Stapleton: Next one’s the side of the eye. And we would say I’m overwhelmed.

Felicity Cohen: I’m overwhelmed.

Dr Peta Stapleton: Under the eye. I’m overwhelmed.

Felicity Cohen: I’m overwhelmed

Dr Peta Stapleton: Under the nose feeling in my chest.

Feeling in my chest.

On the chin crease. Overwhelmed.


Now this one. Just under the collarbone about an inch, this overwhelmed feeling.

Felicity Cohen: This overwhelmed feeling.

Dr Peta Stapleton: The next one is under the arm, about four inches under the armpit, this overwhelmed feeling.

Felicity Cohen: This overwhelmed feeling.

Dr Peta Stapleton: And then that’s one round of tapping. So we were just stopping just to have a breath, collect yourself, tune in. You might think about the week you might think about just how do I feel, right. I guess that number at a 10, just now off one round.


So it’s just whatever comes to mind. That is just your subjective. Guess it gives you some way. I like to keep going until we’re a bit lower because it’s still halfway. So we just come back to the eyebrow and let’s do one more round just to say, and we just focus in, if it’s the same feeling we say the same word.

If you want to change the word you can. So if you weren’t actually overwhelmed is not the right description. You could say a different word. Let’s say overwhelmed

Felicity Cohen: Overwhelmed.

Dr Peta Stapleton: This overwhelmed feeling in my chest.

Felicity Cohen: This overwhelmed feeling in my chest.

Dr Peta Stapleton: Verge of tears.

Felicity Cohen: Verge of tears.

Dr Peta Stapleton: I’m overwhelmed.

Felicity Cohen: I’m overwhelmed.

Dr Peta Stapleton: Being a huge week.

Felicity Cohen: Being a huge week.

Dr Peta Stapleton: Feel overwhelmed.

Felicity Cohen: Feel overwhelmed.

Dr Peta Stapleton: Overwhelmed at the end of the week.

Felicity Cohen: Overwhelmed at the end of the week.

Dr Peta Stapleton: I feel overwhelmed.

Felicity Cohen: I feel overwhelmed.

Dr Peta Stapleton: Stop and have a breath. Just check in. How’s it feel at the moment?

Felicity Cohen: That I can actually sense that there’s a sensory kind of experience where I feel more relaxed and I feel like that sensation of overwhelm has already reduced a lot already.

Dr Peta Stapleton: Yeah. So you can guess a number you can go on the feeling in the body. What’s important is to note, if anyone’s giving this a go at home. If, when you’re tapping, you start to get other thoughts that pop to mind. Sometimes they’re important to pay attention to. So if for whatever reason you thought about what happened on Tuesday, that could be the source of the overwhelm.

So then we would say, okay, let’s talk about Tuesday. And we would go down that page.

Felicity Cohen: You picked the right day. That’s hilarious.

Dr Peta Stapleton: Then we would actually, we won’t do it here. We would go back and go, okay, well, let’s talk about what happened on Tuesday. Maybe it’s still lingering and that’s where we can just talk through and talk through feelings and kind of replay it and get that reduction down.

Felicity Cohen: Actually I love that I’ve used myself as a subject this morning. I’m only human and it’s interesting to see how that actually can, can change your whole sensation. Amazing.

So tell me a little bit about the future of where you would like to go next and what areas of research do you feel have been untapped. And what would you like to see?

Dr Peta Stapleton: Yeah, definitely. I think we’ll stay in the chronic pain space for quite a while. It’s such an emerging area and with regulation of opioids in Australia, as well as the US this space, I think we could do a lot more in, so we will end up comparing to gold standard therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy and things like that.

We are getting ourselves in a position to start to make those applications and submissions to our government to have it approved. So I can tell you that is happening. How long that will take. I don’t know, but we have tapping on our side so we will just keep using it. So we are going to, for the sake of the wider allied health community, seek to have this approved. So I put that out there so that people can sort of be assured. Sometimes people want that before they’ll venture into the space. I do see that when that happens. We will probably have an avalanche of people wanting to explore and train in this space, which we currently do offer, but to support those people with how they can actually use this effectively and with guidance. So we’ll end up doing that.

Felicity Cohen: So end goal, would it be a Medicare item number for doctors to be able to refer into so that patients are fully covered for EFT?

Dr Peta Stapleton: Yeah. So we would say that it’s included on the focus psychological strategies list, which is obviously for psychologists plus allied health that maybe are approved to legitimately be able to claim if they go and see somebody for therapy.

Felicity Cohen: Yeah. Yeah. Fabulous.

That spirit that’s exciting. I love the area of chronic pain that you’re focusing on. And given the numbers that you’ve quoted earlier, really significant work to be done.

Have you seen patients have a reduction in their medications? So any of the pharmacological therapies that they’ve been prescribed? Are they lowering their dosage. And is that one of your control mechanism?

Dr Peta Stapleton: Yes. So we’ve looked at that in previous study. So we did run a pilot some years ago with the persistent pain program. That’s federally funded here at Robina and they include tapping in their 12 month persistent pain program, which is fantastic.

And they were able to track for us after we ran the EFT component. The reductions and they were using tapping to support the reductions in medications. So we have actually tracked that in the past and seen those outcomes. We’re particularly interested in this trial as to the influence of trauma in childhood.

So we’re actually tracking that. We’re tracking, obviously the brain changes, but we’re also tracking the impact of tapping on the vegus nerve. So we are working with Stephen Porges team of polyvagal theory in the U S and we have a device that is able to measure whether somebody’s vagal tone and efficiency improves with tapping.

So we’re actually tracking physiological measurements. During this trial as well. And they’re significant ones that I think give us an explanation because often people will say, well, why does it last so long over time? So we’ve done a two year follow up on our weight patients. And two years later, one, they can’t remember the food they tapped on. Because they don’t eat it. They don’t ever remember it was part of their life. They don’t remember other things that really distress them because they don’t any more. And the questions always be, why does it last? They don’t have to keep tapping. And we do think that maybe what we’re doing is actually improving the vagal efficiency in people, which that vagal nerve is really important for emotional regulation and fight or flight.

So we’re actually tracking quite a few of those things. We do get a history of their medications, so we will able to have a look in the data to how that shifts over time for people.

Felicity Cohen: Fantastic. I’m very excited by the work that you’re doing. And I’m also very excited to see the ongoing development and acceptance and integration of EFT for psychologists specifically, I’m in so many different treatment areas.

So a massive congratulations for the work that you’re doing, and I can’t wait to follow it into the future. And thank you so much for coming onto the podcast today.

I have one final question that I love to ask every guest coming on the podcast. What does wellness mean to you?

Oh, wow. Isn’t that a good one, I guess to me.

Dr Peta Stapleton: Because I’m a health psychologist, as well as a clinical one. It was first wellness is an all encompassing concept to me. So wellness is not necessarily about balance or what I’m eating or what I’m exercising, but it’s also my connection that might occur in my life as well. And that could be to family or friends depending on stage of life.

So wellness is an all encompassing state of mind for me, as well as the private that you might see that kind of indicate things like that. So I guess if I was to sit back and sort of say at any moment, am I my practicing wellness in my life. It would be a jigsaw puzzle piece. And I’m probably not one to advocate for balance.

Cause I think, you know, it may be an artificial concept and sometimes we choose to do things for a purpose to run a clinical trial and then later on sort of balance that out. So yeah, wellness takes in a lot of, a lot of things for me. I hope I do walk the talk, not only for my students that we teach, but the clients that we see as well.

Felicity Cohen: I’m convinced that you do.

Dr Peta Stapleton: I certainly do tapping.

Felicity Cohen: I actually feel very reassured that you’ve said that balance is an artificial kind of concept because you know, you can’t spend a lifetime striving for something that’s an imperfection. And that’s what we’re doing. When we look at balance, it’s, it’s actually not attainable.

Dr Peta Stapleton: I absolutely agree. And I think working in eating disorders with all that perfectionism is probably where I came to that concept.

Felicity Cohen: Thank you very much today.

Please thank Dr. Peter Stapleton.

Dr Peta Stapleton: Thanks everyone.

Thank you for joining the wellness warriors podcast. It’s been a pleasure to have you online with us. If you didn’t enjoy the series, please leave your review, subscribe and follow it.

And we look forward to sharing many more stories with you in the future.

Nutritionist & Dietitian

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