Transcript: What is EFT Tapping and How Can It Help With The Blues Postpartum
This is a text transcript from The First Time Mum’s Chat podcast. The episode is called What is EFT Tapping and How Can It Help With the Blues Postpartum and you can click on the link to view the full episode page, listen to the episode and view the show notes.
Helen Thompson: I’ve always been a fan of healing techniques that bypass our minds and egos and get straight to our bodies, allowing no-nonsense, often faster healing and in this week’s episode of First Time Mum’s Chat, I’m exploring EFT tapping with Certified Transformational EFT coach Maria Yakimchuk.
Maria helps moms struggling to find joy and fulfillment in motherhood to clear their past traumas and emotional blocks. During our chat, you’ll hear Maria explain what EFT emotional freedom technique is and how it helps process negative memories and traumas of various size and impact, how bypassing your thinking brain and bringing in the autonomic nervous system enables you to go straight to your body, where a lot of the healing happens faster, how results can be obtained more quickly than traditional therapy and address the root cause and so, so much more.
Welcome Maria. I’m thrilled to be speaking with you today on First Time Mum’s Chat, and to hear all about the wonderful world of EFT tapping. Can you start by telling us about you and your background?
Maria Yakimchuk: Hi Helen, thank you for having me on. I’m really excited to be on your podcast and sharing with your audience. Yeah, so my name is Maria Yakimchuk. I am a transformational EFT coach for moms who specializes in helping moms heal from postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety without medication. I use a blended approach where I use EFT tapping self-compassion, and I bring in my knowledge of maternal mental health because I do have a background in psychology as I have a master’s degree, the focus of marriage and family therapy.
I have worked with a lot of moms, a lot of kiddos and families and seen how families function and seen what kind of support moms need when they become moms because it is definitely an amazing journey and it’s very transformational. We become very different as moms, but we also need a lot of support, which I think, a lot of us, unfortunately, don’t get that support that we need and that’s where I try to come in and help offer support to moms that are maybe struggling and don’t have as much of a village nearby for them.
Helen Thompson: Oh, that sounds awesome and that’s exactly what First Time Mum’s is all about, having that village that people can tap into and ask question if they need to. So you mentioned EFT. Can you tell me exactly what EFT is and how that helps mums?
Maria Yakimchuk: Yeah, so EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique and some people may know it as tapping one of the most wide known places called the Tapping Solutions. They have an app, they have a giant website. So a lot of people have heard about tapping from there, but, the gist of EFT is that it is a somatic based therapy because we’re engaging the body as we’re trying to work on our emotions, and we’re trying to help reprogram our nervous system and we’re helping it to relax and we’re helping it to process negative memories, traumas of various sizes and impact, and we’re doing that while we’re tapping on about 20 points on the body. It’s mostly located around the face and head and then when I do sessions, I also bring in the hand points. It’s not something you’d usually see in demonstrations because we wanna do quicker for demonstrations, but in full sessions I bring in hand points as well.
So you end up with about 20 points that you’re tapping on while you’re talking about either negative memory or trauma or whatever it is that you’re trying to work on and help yourself get over and help yourself heal from and because we’re bringing in the autonomic nervous system on board with us, a lot of the healing happens faster but what’s important is we are bypassing our thinking brain. We’re going straight to our body, straight to our essentially reptilian brain, which is the one that reacts and disregulates for us. It reacts faster than our thinking brain, and that’s what we’re targeting with EFT.
Helen Thompson: When you mention the thinking brain, is that the same thing as your conscious, what I call my chatter box? It’s always in there, chattering away to me, whether they’re giving me positive thoughts or negative thoughts or whatever it is, that’s what I call my chatter box. Is that what you mean by the thinking brain?
Maria Yakimchuk: Sort of, yeah, I think that the thinking brain is basically our logic and it’s very conscious. It’s what our conscious brain is. When I’m talking to you and I’m thinking about what I’m saying to you, that’s our thinking brain and that’s not what reacts when we are having a moment of dysregulation, right.
We have what we call the upstairs brain, which is your thinking brain and the downstairs brain, which some people call the reptilian brain and that’s where your amygdala is and that’s what reacts when we are having, a situation like a bear attacks, right and then we go into a fight or flight or freeze. It’s basically our body reacts for survival, reacts quickly before we even start thinking our body’s doing something and that is what we’re targeting with EFT. We’re targeting that part that reacts before we even start thinking. It’s the part that you know for moms when your baby is crying, you might start thinking in a few seconds of like, oh my God, my baby is crying but your body already received that message right away and it could start becoming dysregulated even before you’re thinking about it. You might get like a jolt in your system. If you have anxiety, your chest might start closing up or you might feel panic, and that’s your body reacting to your baby’s cry.
Helen Thompson: Oh, okay that’s interesting. So you mentioned you do postpartum health and I’m figuring that’s how it all fits in, how you can help a mother with postpartum mental health.
Maria Yakimchuk: Yeah, absolutely because we’re targeting multiple things with EFT, and that’s why I was saying I use a blended approach. I use self-compassion, we do meditations that also kind of target our nervous system, but then we talk about it and we don’t just leave it at targeting the nervous system.
We do talk and we do process what’s happening and explain what is happening with the postpartum mental health and a lot of it is, when we become moms, what comes up are the triggers from our own childhood and those things react before our thinking brain kicks in. That’s our amygdala reacting of like, there’s crying, there’s distress, we become dysregulated. Basically our inner child comes forward and says, I have no idea what to do, where are the parents in the room, I can’t possibly be the parent, I’m not regulated enough. And that’s what I work on with my moms to help them get to a point where they are regulated, where they can at least have a split second to think of, okay, I’m becoming dysregulated what do I wanna do? Do you wanna take a break, do I need a glass of water, do I wanna call my partner for help? What can I do to help the situation so I can come back to my baby or my child and help them regulate because that’s really what we as parents are trying to accomplish with our parenting.
Helen Thompson: Yeah, that sounds an interesting approach because it’s much better than the ordinary self-care where people just say to you, right, well just go and have a shower or go and read a book or have some quiet time. I think, being able to find ways that you can do that and having you there to do that is great. So what would your session be like with a mom?
Maria Yakimchuk: Yeah, so usually my first session is I start out with a questionnaire because I need to know some history, I need to know why they’re coming to me, are they taking maybe medications, are they working with a therapist right now? I’d like to have all the information to know what they have tried so that I also don’t suggest that we’re trying something that they’ve tried and it didn’t work and then after we discuss that, then we’re gonna sort of focus in on what is the major issue right now that’s presenting that we are gonna start working on and we sort of go to town on that. We start tapping on it and we start figuring out how did that feel after we tapped on it? Did something change in their body, maybe they started feeling something, maybe a feeling went away, maybe a memory came up, something along those lines. It’s basically, kind of like detective work. I go with what I think the problem is and we tap on it, and then I check in and see was I right? If I was right, then maybe we keep digging further in there.
And the good part is that as you take the layers off, you get closer and closer to the root of the problem because a lot of the times, by the time we’re in full-blown postpartum depression, we don’t even know what the root of the problem is, because the root of the problem is it probably didn’t start in motherhood. It probably is hiding somewhere from our own childhood, from, our own mothers, maybe some generational trauma that’s sitting there and is becoming activated as we became moms. So there’s a lot of digging before we get to that root cause. So usually it takes multiple sessions before we get to that root cause. But I like to start out gently in the beginning and sort of take the top off and go from there to see how deep we can go.
Helen Thompson: I’m not gonna say it’s an easy process because nothing’s easy, especially when you’re suffering from postnatal depression and if you are on tablets it can sometimes take a bit of time for that to come into effect. So I guess with what you do, if they’re on medications, you take that into account as well.
Maria Yakimchuk: I do take that into account. I am in no way in a position to tell somebody to be on or off the medication because yeah, I am not certified in that way. I am not a psychiatrist, I’m not a medical doctor but I do take that into consideration. I would also take that into consideration to see that as we’re going through our healing journey to see if they’re starting to feel like, well, maybe I don’t need the medication as much because I’m addressing the root cause and maybe I can start tapering off the medication and then they can have the conversation with their prescribing doctor who put them on medication.
Helen Thompson: I think what you do sounds amazing because it seems to me a very natural and healing approach to be able to help moms and that’s the key because I think moms who are going through that need something quick that they can do in order to think, right, okay, well I’m feeling depressed right now, or I don’t wanna pick up my baby. I can hear them crying, but I don’t wanna do that. So what you do is encouraging them to take that step by just quickly tapping on whatever area of the body they need to do.
Maria Yakimchuk: Yeah, and it’s definitely a quicker process than traditional therapy, and I personally feel like it’s a better process than being on medication because the truth is with all the medication that we have available for depression and anxiety, none of it addresses the root cause. None of it is gonna make your depression or anxiety go away eventually.
There’s lots of side effects from all of those medications. The anti-anxiety ones can be very addictive, so there’s that side. So yeah, I try to provide a more holistic approach and I do share some of my knowledge about herbs and supplements because I’ve used them myself, and I have found a lot of relief in that and I combined using supplements and diet together with my EFT tapping to increase the benefits of everything that I’m doing. So yes, I do love offering this alternative holistic approach to moms that is faster, that is gentler. There are no side effects to this and it’s available to them because a lot of the times, at least I’m in the US and what we’re having right now is that there’s a big shortage of mental health providers and with insurance and everything, you can’t get ahold of anyone and even if you do, they might have a 6 month waiting list, which for somebody who’s in the throes of postpartum depression with a baby, they can’t wait for that long. So I like to be able to fill that gap in their care.
Helen Thompson: You mentioned herbs. Does the herbs relate to the EFT as well?
Maria Yakimchuk: No, that’s more like I am a big proponent of holistic health and so I have spent many years trying to use herbs and supplements to try to help alleviate my own mood and to help with a lot of health issues of my own that there was no medicine for, or medicine wasn’t helping with. So I’m more of a hobbyist in this and I give this for educational purposes. Again, I’m not a prescriber of herbs or anything like that but I will share my knowledge with my moms just to see if maybe that’s something they might be interested in exploring for themselves.
Helen Thompson: Yeah, I have that in common with you too, because I’m a great believer in herbs as well. I’m not a professional either but if I’ve got an issue, I’ll go to a naturopath first. If they feel that they can’t help me or if they feel it’s a medical issue, they might say, go and have a chat to your doctor and see what they say and then come back to me. I’d go to the herb box first rather than the medicinal.
Maria Yakimchuk: Yep, absolutely, same here and you know, sometimes with things like postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, you do sometimes wanna go to somebody who can diagnose you properly because there are things that might present as depression, anxiety, and they are not depression and anxiety. You know, women with ADHD. A lot of it presents as anxiety, but it really isn’t and if you’re treating anxiety instead of ADHD, you’re not helping the mom whatsoever. Same could be with bipolar disorder. You could be treating for depression, but if they’re having bipolar, you are not gonna get anywhere with depression treatments.
So of course going to a therapist who can diagnose you can absolutely help and sometimes can be absolutely necessary and yes, if you are in a crisis and all you have available to you is the medical route, absolutely. That is what you should be doing for a lot of us, medicine and antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication is the only thing available to us. But if you do have a choice and you might wanna try alternative and more holistic options, then I prefer those first before I go to the more traditional medicine route.
Helen Thompson: I don’t know if it’s the same with your doctors in the United States, but here in Australia, doctors are very good. I’m not saying they’re not good, but some of the time, the doctors I go to they don’t listen to what you’re saying. They don’t actually listen to your concerns and what you’re feeling.
That’s what I like about what you do because you are not giving a bandaid solution you’re actually supporting mums by giving them something that they can do to help them find out what the issue is and it’s like peeling an onion. You’re peeling the layers off an onion and you’re saying, okay, well it may be this, but then let’s keep peeling and seeing what happens and I think that to me is a much more natural and much more effective approach than the bandaid solution. If you’ve got a cut, obviously you stick a bandaid on but giving somebody drugs for something that may not necessarily be that issue. They may just have a trauma that they need to deal with and that’s why they’re feeling depressed or that’s why they’ve got postnatal depression. I’m aware of how hard it can be for a mom that’s got that, and I think having somebody like you can help them, I think is wonderful.
Maria Yakimchuk: Oh, thank you. Yeah, it definitely is. I feel like moms need support. Moms need integrative care. So usually when I work with moms, if I feel like there might be something physical going on, I’ll absolutely recommend that they go see a doctor. I’m a big fan of functional medicine because I feel like they look more for the root cause than your traditional medical doctors.
I think it’s important to support moms from everything, because postpartum can be so difficult. Our bodies are completely changed. A lot of the times, our hormones are all over the place, so there’s physical things that need to be addressed, like balancing our hormones, like making sure that our nutrients aren’t depleted, which they usually are through pregnancy and through breastfeeding. Our bodies are just depleted of nutrients and we need to put those back and a lot of the times that could resolve a lot of the issues because sometimes your postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, it’s from the lack of vitamins and minerals because you know, your body gives it to the baby first and you sort of get whatever you get and a lot of us aren’t eating proper meals and we’re not getting enough nutrients. So there’s that part that you need to take care of your physical body, take care of your emotional health and your spiritual health, and be able to build this new system as a mom because your life is different now. You have this baby and now your whole life revolves around creating systems that work for you and the baby and the family.
It’s a lot, and I do try to help my moms to bring all of that on board, so that’s why I always include some coaching in our EFT work as well, because I like to help moms understand how much power they have in creating their own motherhood experience, and that they don’t have to do it the way their mom did or somebody else’s mom did. They can do it the way that they want to do it, and the way that feels authentic to them.
Helen Thompson: Yeah, I think the power of self-compassion is so important and having the tools to be able to do that. Cause you can be so overwhelmed and so stressed and as a mum, you’re just thinking, oh God, what do I do next? I’m not the woman I used to be. Where’s the woman I used to be? Because everything, as you say, you’ve got so many emotions coming in and just being able to sit and just talk to somebody and just say, oh, this is how I’m feeling. How can I relieve all this and doing something like the tapping, I think would be great. I really appreciate what you’re doing for moms.
Maria Yakimchuk: Yeah, I do enjoy doing it as a blended approach and that’s why my 3 month program focuses on really not just tapping, but sitting down and really discussing and getting into what do you want your motherhood to look like? What do you need for it and actually reacquainting yourself with yourself as a mom, because I know that I felt completely different after I became a mom and would sometimes kind of look in the mirror and be like, I don’t know who this woman is, I don’t know what she wants, I don’t know what she’s interested in anymore, what does she like? Does she even have anything going on for her besides changing diapers and feeding baby and cleaning around the house?
And I know it’s not unique because a lot of us fall down this trap because we don’t know how to make motherhood something other than this busyness because that’s all we’ve ever witnessed from our own mothers and our own grandmothers and our aunts and friends and everything and so it could be very difficult to find your footing in this brave new world of parenthood and motherhood and yeah, that’s why I bring in lots of coaching, lots of self-compassion work. We do lots of meditations that help also reprogram your mind and help you regulate your nervous system along with the tapping. So we use lots of different tools to try to create a place in a program where a mom can really thrive and really find herself.
Helen Thompson: I think that’s great. So how can moms who are inspired by our chat find out more about how you can help them and get in contact with you?
Maria Yakimchuk: Yeah, so I have a website, it’s ParentOnboard.com and also if they wanna get to know a little bit more about me they can follow me on Facebook, on TikTok or on Instagram and my handle is @ParentOnboardCoaching, so I put out a lot of educational material in there and so it’s a great way to get to know me and see do you feel like you might gel with me? And on my website if you sign up for my freebie vault, you’d be able to get access to a bunch of freebies that I’ve created over the years and some of the recent ones include a free EFT book, which is an introduction to EFT, plus I have a little bit of a demonstration for somebody to try out tapping and then I also created a freebie that addresses anxiety, which I talk there a little bit more about. Some common herbs that people can use and other strategies that people can use to help with their anxiety. So yeah, that would be a great way to connect with me is through my website.
Helen Thompson: I had a look at your website earlier, and I looked at some of those freebies and they look amazing, so it’s a great resource to have. Thank you for sharing all your pearls of wisdom on EFT. I’ve certainly learnt a lot from you today. So thank you Maria for being here. I really, really appreciate talking to you.
Maria Yakimchuk: Oh, thank you, Helen. I’m really grateful that I was able to connect with you and to be part of this podcast.
Helen Thompson: I hope you find what Maria shared about the EFT tapping method as fascinating as I did. I highly encourage you to check out her website and the freebies mentioned as well, and follow her on her social media. I’ve included links to all of these in the episode show notes, which can be accessed at MyBabyMassage.net/podcast/110.
Next week I’m chatting with Wellbeing Coach and mom of 3 LaKeisha Entsuah who helps mostly working moms find ways to make their lives work better for them. Be sure to listen to the episode when it comes out next week and subscribe to First Time Mum’s Chat via your favorite platform so that you don’t miss each new episode.