Radical Exposure Tapping (RET) is a form of exposure therapy that can be used to quickly and effectively resolve memories of disturbing events that fuel PTSD, anxiety, fears, emotional reactivity and patterns of escalating conflict.  RET draws from the methodology of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and combines it with the tapping sequence of the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and imagery rescripting to produce an intervention that is more flexible than EMDR, provides greater theoretical and methodological rigor than using the EFT technique alone and can be effective in a single session.

Dr. Laurie MacKinnon developed RET by taking elements of EMDR and EFT combining them in a unique way and then analysing  and improving her effectiveness with this new method by video recording and reviewing dozens of RET therapy sessions

Frequently asked questions

Why is it called Radical Exposure Tapping?


It is radical because compared to exposure therapy; reduction in distress is rapid often resolving in one session. Compared to CBT, change in cognition is rapid, the person often reaching a place of radical acceptance, "that’s just the way it is".
It is a form of exposure therapy because the focus is on imaginal exposure to specific disturbing memories. Tapping is used as the sensory input once the memory network is activated.




How is RET different from the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)?


EFT does not have a credible explanation of why people change. It is said that EFT works because tapping on the meridian points has an effect on the body’s energy field. There is no scientific evidence to back up this claim and there are research studies that show that tapping on particular points on the body, or even tapping on the body at all, is not a necessary component of effecting change. Radical Exposure Tapping relies on the available scientific research to disprove these hypotheses and to try to understand how memories can change rapidly. The best science based explanation so far relies on theories of how memories are reconsolidated. When clients have to concentrate on two things at once – on an activated memory and on copying a complicated tapping sequence – they overload their brain's working memory which prevents reconsolidation of the traumatic memory in its same form. The result is that clients can say what happened but they no longer have the distressing feelings which had previously accompanied the memory.




How is RET different from EMDR?


Although most of the research done with EMDR involves eye movements, EMDR practitioners do often use other forms of sensory input such as sound, tactile vibration, and tapping. However, the distinguishing feature of EMDR is that sensory input is bilateral (i.e. both sides of the body). Research, however, has shown that is not important for tapping to be bilateral. Radical Exposure Tapping uses the tapping sequence of EFT which is not bilateral. During the sensory input EMDR therapists are silent. During Radical Exposure Tapping, the therapist repeats back the client’s words and maintains an eye contact with the client, which contributes to a strong interpersonal connection between the client and therapist.




Given its well-researched base, why not just do EMDR?


Firstly, EMDR training is restricted to particular professional groups and many mental health workers in counselling positions would not be accepted into EMDR training. Secondly, for a therapist to follow the EMDR protocol requires several sessions which makes integrating it into couple and family therapy difficult. Lastly, we like Radical Exposure Tapping. We like the connection we experience with clients. We are doing something with them, not to them and we are eye witness to the healing that happens.




Who can register for Radical Exposure Tapping training?


Workshops are open to mental health professionals: social workers, psychologists, counsellors, psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses. It is expected that participants already possess good basic counselling skills. An important part of the workshop is experiential. This means that participants will take the role of both client and therapist, learning the skills as well as experiencing the work personally and may experience strong affect. This course is approved by AASW and is CPD compliant.




Are the videos used in the workshops recordings of actual clients in real therapy?


Yes. Laurie has recorded over a hundred videos of real people working on real issues. The clients are not current clients and they have given consent for the videos to be used for the purposes of training mental health professionals.





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