EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique. Many people also refer to it as tapping. EFT is a system of tapping on specific meridians, or acupuncture points, to relieve issues such as stress. EFT was developed by Gary Craig but it was actually born out of another system called TFT or Thought Field Therapy, developed by Dr. Roger Callahan.
Both systems are marvelous systems in the field of Energy Psychology, and can produce wonderful results without hypnosis or NLP (or can they?)
The way EFT works is you tap on a series of meridian points on your head, upper body, and hand. You do this while stating an affirmation in a specific way. You add a little eye movement, humming and counting and away you go. People who first see this or do this think it is absurd, but you cannot argue with the results. Almost anything you can do in hypnosis and NLP, you can do with tapping.
The theory is that when you have an emotional trigger, a bad negative emotion, stress, or pain, or whatever issue you are dealing with, the energy is not flowing properly. (Not too unlike what many eastern philosophies tell us.) When you tap at the meridian points, you loosen up or free the energy so it can flow.
From an NLP standpoint, there is theory that everything that you do or feel involves a strategy. Stress, anxiety, depression, fear - they all involve inner strategies to bring them up. When you have a strategy for something and you go to execute this strategy, but you keep on getting interrupted by this one and that one and a phone call, and a text - pretty soon you will have forgotten how to execute your strategy or where you where in the strategy, or even what you are trying to accomplish. This is called Pattern Break in NLP. If you can break the pattern on whatever issue you are dealing with, the issue can loose its hold on you. In essence, EFT works this way and clears the energy at the same time.
There is an extension to the standard tapping called the 9 Gamut. This consist of strange eye movements (a little reminiscent of EMDR - a popular eye movement therapy), the humming and counting. All are accessing different parts of your brain. This helps in 'scratching the record' or 'skewing' the pattern of your issue. What essentially happens during the entire process is that you 'break' the neuro pathways that the issue/problem/emotion was using and it goes away.
Simple? Kind of. Often, like in hypnosis and NLP, you are working with a symptom of a larger issue. The symptom can be relieved but the larger issue remains and can come back as other symptoms. EFT, however can still be used by discovering the larger issue or related issues and tap on those as well.