The Facts On Tapping Therapy For Depression

Medically reviewed by Andrea Brant, LMHC
Updated May 13, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include suicide, substance use, or abuse which could be triggering to the reader.
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Depressive disorder is a mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by prolonged feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or despair. This disorder can cause emotional and physical symptoms that, in some cases, can make it difficult to function in daily life. 

Although therapy and medication are two of the most widely supported treatments for depression, emotional freedom techniques (EFT), or tapping therapy, may be another helpful method for managing symptoms.

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To understand how tapping therapy for depression works, it’s important to first understand depression and its symptoms. 

What is depression?

According to the World Health Organization, depression is a condition “characterized by persistent sadness and a lack of interest or pleasure in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities.” In some cases, depression is temporary, but in others, it can be a long-lasting and challenging mental health condition. Regardless, depression is more than just “feeling down.” At times, it can pose major challenges to one’s ability to socialize and tend to their basic needs and responsibilities.

Symptoms of depression may include, but are not limited to:

  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Sadness or apathy
  • Trouble sleeping (or sleeping too much)
  • Lack of interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feelings of guilt or hopelessness
  • Changes in eating patterns

There are a variety of depressive disorders, and they can manifest in different ways. These include: 

  • Major depressive disorder: A disorder characterized by a loss of interest in activities, sleep disturbances, despair, and feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
  • Bipolar disorder: A disorder that can cause extreme mood swings, ranging from manic to depressive
  • Postpartum depression: A form of depression following the birth of a child
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): A form of depression in which symptoms manifest during specific times of the year
  • Persistent depressive disorder (PDD): Characterized by long-lasting depressive symptoms that are typically less intense than symptoms of major depressive disorder

Depression may be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, major life changes, or chronic illness. Regardless, it can cause challenges in navigating daily life, work, and relationships. It may be associated with other mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders and substance use disorders. 


Treatments for depression

A variety of clinically recognized treatments exist for managing the symptoms of depression. Among them, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most prescribed. CBT focuses on identifying negative or unhelpful thought patterns and beliefs and restructuring them into more constructive and positive ones. 

Other depression treatments include medication like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), as well as lifestyle changes such as self-care, mindfulness meditation, and exercise. Your healthcare provider may suggest one or more of these treatments, depending on the nature of your depression. 

Additionally, EFT treatment, also known as EFT tapping, has been put forward as another potential method of treating the symptoms of depression. Short for “emotional freedom technique,” clinical EFT is being explored as a treatment for a variety of psychological symptoms in conditions ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to chronic pain. 

Can EFT tapping improve symptoms of depression?

Clinical emotional freedom techniques involve tapping on various points of the body, usually while saying a short statement. This statement tends to be specific to the issue that is causing you distress and is paired with a statement of self-love or self-acceptance. 

For example, someone experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder might repeat the statement, “Even though my trauma is causing me intense distress, I deeply love and accept myself, and I’m going to be okay.” While speaking the chosen phrase, the individual repeatedly taps on different EFT tapping points, such as the outer edge of the palm, under the arms, above the upper lip, or on the middle of the chin. 

Although more research may be needed, clinical EFT appears to show promise for relieving symptoms of depression and improving overall well-being.
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Depression therapy and EFT

Although EFT tapping may be an effective supplemental treatment, therapy is still regarded as one of the most effective ways of managing depression. A licensed therapist can determine if EFT tapping is right for you based on your situation. 

In recent years, more and more people have been turning to online therapy to help them manage their depression. For those whose depression makes it difficult to get out of bed, online therapy can be an easier way to speak to a therapist from the comfort of home without needing to leave the house for appointments. Furthermore, the flexibility of online therapy allows people to work therapy around their schedules, which can be helpful for those who might otherwise struggle to fit sessions into their busy routines. 

Online therapy has been found to be an effective method of treating depression. A 2013 study found that psychotherapy administered over the Internet led to depression recovery in more patients than in-person therapy. More recently, a 2021 study found a  “statistically significant reduction in depressive symptoms” among adolescents with depression who received online therapy. 


The emotional freedom technique (EFT) focuses on repeating self-affirming statements while tapping on specific parts of the body. Clinical EFT treatment may be an effective method of reducing symptoms of depression. In some cases, it may be helpful to combine EFT with other depression treatments, such as medication or therapy. If you would like to learn more about EFT tapping and discover whether it’s the right option for you, you can connect with a licensed therapist through BetterHelp to start your treatment journey.
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