EFT in schools at the European Network of Social Emotional Competences with Eleni Vardaki

EFT in Schools at the European Network for Social Emotional Competences

WHAT’S UP: In September 2024, Eleni Vardaki is leading an in-person workshop at the 9th ENSEC Conference. It’s on how she has introduced EFT Tapping to school psychologists, school leaders, teachers, and students from Preschool/Primary School through to Secondary School.


What’s this conference about? The 9th ENSEC Conference is focused on the theme of Social Emotional Learning (in school settings) for Lifetime Achievement.  

The conference will take place in Chania, Crete, here in Greece September 5th-7th. This year’s theme is Social Emotional Learning for Lifetime Achievement.

Topics covered in this conference include:

  • SEL and Mental Health in Schools
  • Resilience-Trauma
  • Teacher training in SEL 
  • Well-being-Mindfulness
  • SEL and assessment 
  • SEL and intercultural understanding
  • SEL and educational policy development-consultation
  • SEL for sustainable development
  • SEL and inclusive practices

ENSEC conferences bring together researchers and practitioners to present on the latest studies and deliver workshops based on their research and/or their professional experiences.


Eleni will deliver a 90-minute workshop called “EFT Tapping Boosting SEL and Mental Health in Schools” for the SEL (Social Emotional Learning) and Mental Health in Schools topic. 

Participants will:

  • learn about the theoretical underpinnings and empirical evidence supporting clinical EFT Tapping’s efficacy in educational settings.
  • get a first-hand experience of some of the ways Eleni has introduced EFT Tapping to students, educators, and school psychologists. Included will be a short EFT Tapping demonstration with a volunteer from the group who would like to give a more personalized tapping exercise a go.
  • consider age-appropriate and context-appropriate principles and adaptations for tapping with Primary School and Secondary School students, as well as with teachers and school psychologists in school environments. 


When our body is holding onto stress tension, our social and emotional competences are compromised. Our personal/professional relationships can suffer. Practicing EFT Tapping can help us transform stress-related tension, aches, or pains into increasing body awareness, emotional awareness, and social awareness. 

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) Tapping is an evidence-based stress management set of techniques. When we are stuck in a chronic state of stress, our cortisol levels go up. When our cortisol levels go up (and stay up) our immune system is compromised, causing us to struggle to learn and make progress on achieving our goals. 

A compromised immune system can cause students to get sick more often and miss more school days. To much stress can also cause kids to stay home due to stress-related stomach aches and headaches, developing gaps in their learning. This in turn makes achievements more difficult to attain later on down the line. 

When there is a growing gap between the grades a student wants to achieve and where they are at due to missing so much school, it can affect a student’s mental health. It can also affect their interest in socialising with peers if feelings of shame start to emerge the more they fall behind. EFT can help boost their SEL and mental health as they start to close these gaps.

Another way that EFT can boost student mental health in a school environment by reducing Test Anxiety. There is lots of research evidencing the efficacy of EFT for improving mental health by reducing school-age students’ Test Anxiety levels.


Dawson, et al (2018), “Is Tapping on acupuncture points an active ingredient in Emotional Freedom Techniques? A systematic review and meta-analysis of comparative studies”, The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Vol 206.

Anastasia, et al (2013) “Effect of the Emotional Freedom Technique on perceived stress, quality of life, and cortisol salivary levels in tension-type headache sufferers: A randomized control trial”, Explore, Vol 9.

Bach, et al (2019), “Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) improves multiple physiological markers of health”, Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, Vol 24

Church, et al (2012) “The Effect of Emotional Freedom Techniques on
Stress Biochemistry: A Randomized Controlled Trial”, The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Vol 200

Stapleton, et al (2020) “Reexamining the Effect of Emotional Freedom
Techniques on Stress Biochemistry: A Randomized Controlled Trial”, Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy

Stapleton, et al (2018) “An Initial Investigation of Neural Changes in Overweight Adults with Food Cravings after Emotional Freedom Techniques”, OBM Integrative and Complementary Medicine Journal, Vol 3.

Stapleton, et al (2022) “Neural changes after Emotional Freedom Techniques treatment for chronic pain sufferers”, Journal of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, Vol 49

Wittfoth, et al (2022) “Bifocal emotion regulation through acupoint tapping in fear of flying”, Journal of NeuroImage: Clinical, Vol 34 

Wittfoth, et al (2020) “Emotion regulation through bifocal processing of fear inducing and disgust inducing stimuli”, BMC Neuroscience Journal, Vol 21. 

Maharaj, M. (2016) “Differential gene expression after Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) treatment: A novel pilot protocol for salivary mRNA assessment”, Energy Psychology, Vol 8.

Church, et al (2018) “Epigenetic effects of PTSD remediation in veterans using Clinical Emotional Freedom Techniques: A randomized controlled pilot study”, American Journal of Health Promotion, Vol 32.

Aremu, A. O., & Taiwo, A. K. (2014). “Reducing Mathematics Anxiety Among Students with Pseudo-Dyscalculia in Ibadan through Numerical Cognition and Emotional Freedom Techniques: Moderating Effect of Mathematics Efficacy.” African Journal for the Psychological Studies of Social Issues, 17(1), 113–129.

Gaesser, A. H., & Karan, O. C. (2017). “A Randomized Controlled Comparison of Emotional Freedom Technique and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy to Reduce Adolescent Anxiety: A Pilot Study.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 23(2), 102-108. Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial. Doi:10.1089/acm.2015.0316 

Gaesser, A. H. (2014). “Interventions to Reduce Anxiety for Gifted Children and Adolescents.” Doctoral Dissertations, 377. Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial. http://digitalcommons.uconn.edu/dissertations/377

Jain, S., & Rubino, A. (2012). “The Effectiveness of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) for Optimal Test Performance: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, & Treatment, 4(2), 13-24. Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial. Doi:10.9769.EPJ. 2012.4.2.SJ 

Lambert, M. T., Smith, S. E.; Moss, S., Kirshbaum, M. N. (2022) “Emotional Freedom Techniques (Tapping) to Improve Wellbeing and Reduce Anxiety in Primary Classrooms”, Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 7 (3). https://ro.ecu.edu.au/ajte/vol47/iss3/5/

Sezgin, N., & Özcan, B. (2009). “The Effect of Progressive Muscular Relaxation and Emotional Freedom Techniques on Test Anxiety in High School Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 1(1), 23-30. Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial.

Sezgin, N., Ozcan, B., Church, D., (2009). “The Effect of Two Psychophysiological Techniques (Progressive Muscular Relaxation and Emotional Freedom Techniques) On Test Anxiety in High School Students: A Randomized Blind Controlled Study.” International Journal of Healing and Caring, 9(1). Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial.

Stapleton, P., Mackay, E., Chatwin, H., Murphy, D., Porter, B., Thibault, S. Pidgeon, A. (2017). “Effectiveness of a School-based Emotional Freedom Techniques Intervention for Promoting Student Wellbeing.” Adolescent Psychiatry, 7(2), 112-126. Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial.


Eleni Vardaki is a certified (Level 1, Level 2, Level 3) and accredited (Level 1, Level 2) EFT Tapping coach who works with individuals, schools, and universities. In her private practice she offers therapeutic coaching services that support the well-being of kids and adults. She also delivers training on mental health topics such as EFT Tapping for SEL and Psychological First Aid in school settings. She wants to help bridge the gap between mainstream education and the well-being skills we all need to thrive. 


Eleni is also leading an online workshop as a Guest Speaker for University System Georgia this summer. 

This event is open to anyone who is interested in experiencing self-regulation and/or easy Mental Health First Aid techniques.

Georgia Tech Well-Being Initiative: Tapping for Staff and Students