Elle Blakeman speaks to ‘the mind alchemist’, EFT expert Poppy Delbridge about energy, power and her mission to help women to overcome their limiting beliefs…
t’s hard to imagine a more grounded person than Poppy Delbridge. With a warm smile and gentle energy, she has the air of someone who can
handle anything life has to throw at her. Which is handy, because life has thrown quite a bit. But more of that later.
We are meeting in Little House to discuss EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique – or rather Poppy’s own version, Rapid Tapping, which has earned her a huge following from those looking to change up their mindset and boost their energy. Recently awarded ‘the therapy of 2021’ by The Mail, its fans include everyone from Oprah and Madonna to best-selling psychotherapist Philippa Perry, who referred to Delbridge as a ‘neurosis-free person who see what she wants and goes for it’.
To the uninitiated, tapping is a form of therapy that can help overcome negative emotions, limiting beliefs and even phobias by tapping specific points across the body – hands, face and chest – while repeating a soothing mantra. ‘It disrupts the emotional pathways you have stored in the body and creates new pathways in the brain. You are literally rewiring your brain to release the negative thoughts and can therefore have a new response to a situation,’ explains Delbridge.
‘You are dealing with the physicality in your body, the cognitive connection in your mind and with energy.’
Think acupuncture but without the needles. Or the need to book an appointment.
It was discovered in the late 1980s by Dr Callahan, a therapist in America who had been treating a woman with an acute phobia of water for several years with little success (and formalised as a therapy in the early 1990s by Gary Craig, a Stanford Engineer who worked for him). Being interested in Eastern medicine and acupuncture, Dr Callahan suggested tapping those same pressure points often used in Chinese medicine while repeating mantras about love and acceptance, asking the patient to name her fears while accepting how she felt. In just a few sessions, incredibly, she was completely cured of her phobia.
‘The stats are amazing,’ enthuses Delbridge. ‘It’s really incredible for stress, PTSD and phobias and there have been so many studies that prove the effectiveness of regular tapping. It’s also very quick.’»
So how did Delbridge come to this practice?
‘All this of this energy work – self-development, energy techniques, mindset techniques – came from my parents. They were entrepreneurial and did really well, really young, but stress got the better of my dad and he was diagnosed with a very rare adrenal cancer when he was in his thirties.’
It was stage four cancer, and her father was given just ten days to live. Faced with no other option, Delbridge’s parents turned their focus to nutrition, mindset and the belief that he would live. And he did. ‘He stayed alive – not only that, he got well again,’ she says. ‘He journaled, he ate well, he tapped, he did all of the stuff I do now and he lived for another 18 years.’
Delbridge certainly faced a big change in life very early on – but, she says, it’s a good thing. It inspired her to get into mindset techniques because she couldn’t deny how powerful it was. ‘Tapping was the thing that I found was helping people the fastest and made the biggest difference. I now feel it’s my own mission to empower others to remaster their internal belief systems and possibilities.’
There are very strict methodologies behind learning Emotional Freedom Technique – which is the most popular form of tapping – and Delbridge trained for around a year with EFT International, the international association for EFT, to get to an advanced level, also learning NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) which both help with resetting the brain to cope with trauma and phobias.
But Delbridge wanted to take her training further. She believes that tapping isn’t just about ridding yourself of negative emotions – although that is obviously a huge help for anyone looking to overcome a period of stress or stuck energy – but to actively encourage positive energy, joy and abundance. ‘I decided that I was going to bring in more of the kind of positive tapping. I see myself as a human behaviour specialist and intuitive guide who can crack an energetic code to make us unstoppable and unshakeable so we can turn what was once “impossible” into reality.’
It’s this blend of clinically proven tapping and neuroscience with more spiritual strategies – ‘a touch of magic’ as she calls it – that have proved such an overwhelmingly transformative mix. Today, Delbridge is highly sought out by everyone from CEOs to A-list actors looking to live their best life, free of internal demons and limiting beliefs.
‘We have to start prioritising our health, and that includes our mental health and our emotional health. For me life is all about energy, how you spend your energy is as important as how you spend your time.’
She speaks from experience. At 21 she decided to start a family with her husband – and refused to take a year out of her studies, very much against the advice of her university tutors (‘I had to breastfeed in the toilets between lectures’). Post-university, she quickly landed a ‘dream job’ in TV, rapidly ascending to executive level by the age of 28.
She then decided to leave her glossy, six-figure role to set up her own business, SLAY to use her experience to help other women succeed by changing their energy and mindset.
‘I like a pivot’, she explains when questioned about leaving a safe, high-flying job and jumping into self employment. ‘Pivoting is about reading the collective energy. What is working, what do people want?’
She is interested in manifesting but has an issue with the ‘Good Vibes Only’ brigade. ‘I do a lot with manifesting and there’s a lot of things out there saying “you are your thoughts” and I think “No, that’s not it – you have to go deeper places to find yourself”. We need to pay attention to our feelings, while knowing that you’re not defined by them, they’re not your identity. We need to remember that we are not our thoughts.’
Delbridge asks if I want to try tapping and asks me to think of something that is bothering me (‘No one ever struggles for too long with that!’ she notes). I think of the deadlines piling up, the imminent maternity leave that feels a little close for comfort, the half-painted nursery awaiting a crib to be built.
‘Ok great!’ she says. ‘So, give me some words to describe how you are feeling when you think about those things. ‘Overwhelm, stress, worry, fear’ I reply. ‘Good. And how does it feel in your body, where are you feeling it’. ‘On my chest, in my jaw, in my hands’. She asks me to make a fist with my left hand and gently tap the bottom of my hand with my right hand while repeating the words: ‘Even though, I feel overwhelmed by work, and deadlines, I love and accept myself, and everything will be ok.’ And repeat. She guides me as I repeat affirmations acknowledging how I’m feeling and offering myself compassion and acceptance, while the gentle tapping moves to the bone across my eyebrow, then above my nose and chin and finally down to my chest.
Remarkably when we we’re done, I do feel substantially calmer. My breathing is slower, more intentional.
‘The reason that I love tapping is the ability to change belief systems,’ explains Delbridge afterwards. ‘And our beliefs make us.’
‘We need to be told that we can actually change those beliefs – they’re not real.’