Presented Papers and Dissertations on EFT

This section is divided into two parts. The first contains abstracts of papers presented at international conferences. The second contains recent dissertations published on EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques)

Psychological trauma in veterans using EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques): A randomized controlled trial.

Church, D., Hawk, C., Brooks, A., Toukolehto, O., Wren, M., Dinter, I., & Stein, P. (2009a). Paper presented at the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine Conference, San Jose, Sept 9, 2009.

A six session protocol of a brief and novel exposure therapy, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) has been efficacious in reducing PTSD and co-occurring psychological symptoms in a within-subjects time series trial. The current study uses a randomized design and a wait list control group (n=13). Experimental group subjects (n=19) received six hour-long EFT coaching sessions, with pretest and posttest evaluations, as well as intermediate tests after three sessions. PTSD was assessed using the PCL-M (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist – Military), on which the lowest possible score is 17, and a score of 50+ is clinical. The severity and breadth of psychological distress was measured using the SA-45 (Symptom Assessment 45), a short form of the SCL-90. Neither symptoms nor PTSD scores declined in the wait list during the passage of time. The breadth of psychological distress diminished highly significantly in the EFT group, as did the severity (both p<0.001). In examining the EFT treatment results for the WL and EFT groups combined, after 3 sessions 70% scored PTSD-negative, with mean scores going from 62 pre (SE ±1.63) to 44 (SE ±2.83) after 3 sessions (both p<0.001). After 6 sessions of EFT, 87% were PTSD-negative, with a mean score of 35 (SE ±2.68, p<0.001). Thirteen subjects completed a 3 month follow-up, and all scored PTSD-negative (mean=31, SE ±2.77, p<0.001). The results are consistent with other published reports showing EFTs efficacy at treating PTSD and co-morbid symptoms.

Single session reduction of the intensity of traumatic memories in abused adolescents: A randomized controlled trial.

Church, D., Piña, O., Reategui, C., & Brooks, A. (2009b). Paper presented at the Eleventh Annual Toronto Energy Psychology Conference, October 15 – 19, 2009. This study is in peer review at the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse.

The population for this study was drawn from an institution to which juveniles are sent by court order if they are found by a judge to be physically or psychologically abused at home. Sixteen males, aged 12 – 17, were randomized into two groups. They were assessed on the Impact of Events scale (IES), which measures two components of PTSD: intrusive memories and avoidance symptoms. The experimental group was treated with a single session of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), a brief and novel exposure therapy that has been found efficacious in reducing PTSD and co-occurring psychological symptoms in adults, but has not been subject to empirical assessment in juveniles. The wait list control group received no treatment. Thirty days later subjects were reassessed. No improvement occurred in the wait list (IES total mean pre=32 SD ±4.82, post=31 SD ±3.84). Posttest scores for all experimental group subjects improved to the point where all were non-clinical on the total score (IES total mean pre=36 SD ±4.74, post=3 SD ±2.60, p<0.001), as well as the intrusive and avoidant symptom subscales. These results are consistent with those found in adults, and indicates the utility of single-session EFT as a fast and effective intervention for reducing psychological
trauma in juveniles.

The effect of an energy psychology intervention (EFT) versus diaphragmatic breathing on specific phobias.

Salas, M. M., Brooks, A., Rowe, J. E., & Church, D.A. (2009). Paper submitted to the Journal of Clinical Psychology for peer review.

This study examined whether Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), a brief exposure therapy that combines cognitive and somatic elements, had an immediate effect on the reduction of anxiety and behavior associated with specific phobias. The present study utilized a cross-over design with participants (N=22) randomly assigned to either diaphragmatic breathing or EFT as the first treatment. Study measures included a behavioral approach test, Subjective Units of Distress Scale, and Beck Anxiety Inventory. EFT significantly reduced phobia-related anxiety and ability to approach the feared stimulus whether presented as an initial treatment or following diaphragmatic breathing. When presented as the initial treatment, the effects of EFT remained through the presentation of the comparison intervention. Further study of EFT for specific phobias is warranted.

World Trade Center Tower 2 Survivor: EP Treatment of Long-term PTSD. A Case Study.

Nicosia, G. Paper presented at the Tenth International ACEP (Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology) conference, May 2008, Albuquerque.

In this case study a survivor of the Twin Towers cllapse of 9/11/01 is treated for prolonged complex PTSD after several years of self-imposed seclusion. Effects of a single session of EFT assessed immediately after treatment demonstrated an elimination of clinically significant scores on the Traumatic Symptom Inventory compred to two pre-treatment assessments. Similar reductions in 4 of 7 subscales of the Personality Assessment Inventory were also evidenced. Twelve treatment sessions over 8 weeks concluded treatment with nearly complete symptom remediation and return to work. A 60 day follow-up PAI testing showed only one clinically elevated scale.

The Effect of Self-Intervention with EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) on Anxiety and Depression in Healthcare Professionals.

Church, D. Paper presented at Science and Consciousness, the Tenth Annual Energy Psychology Conference, Toronto, Oct 24 2008.

This study examined a cross section of 194 healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, psychotherapists, chiropractors, psychiatrists, alternative medicine practitioners, and allied professionals. It examined whether self-intervention with Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), a brief exposure therapy that combines a cognitive and a somatic element, had an effect on subjects’ levels of anxiety, depression, and other psychological symptoms. The study utilizes a within-subjects, time-series, repeated measures design. It evaluates symptoms using the SA-45, a well-validated 45 item questionnaire. Besides measuring the breadth and intensity of psychological distress, this instrument has nine subscales for specific conditions, including anxiety and depression. It was administered to subjects before and after an EFT demonstration and self-application that lasted about 90 minutes. Subjects also self-reported physical pain, emotional distress, and cravings on a 10 point Likert-type scale. The SA-45 followup was administered 3 months later, to determine whether any improvement held over time. Subjects received a single page homework EFT reminder sheet, and their frequency of practice was tracked at followup. EFT self-application resulted in statistically significant decreases in pain, emotional distress, and cravings, and improvements for all nine subscales. On the two general scales on the SA-45, symptom severity dropped by 34%, and symptom breadth by 40% relative to normal baselines (both p<.001). Pain scores dropped by 68%, the intensity of traumatic memories by 83%, and cravings by 83% (all p<.001).

The Effect of Energy Psychology on Athletic Performance: A Randomized Controlled Blind Trial.

Church, D. Paper presented at tenth annual ACEP (Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology) conference, May 2008.

This study investigated whether the most widely practiced form of Energy Psychology, called Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), could affect athletic performance. It evaluated whether a single brief EFT treatment for performance stress could produce an improvement in two skills for high-performance men’s and women’s college basketball teams at Oregon State University. The treatment group received a brief EFT session while the control group received a “tips and techniques reading” (TTR). Performance was measured on free throws and vertical jump height. Basketball players who received the EFT intervention scored an average of 21% better individually in free throws after treatment than the control group, while the control group scored an average of 17% lower (p<0.028). However, there was no statistically significant difference between the groups in their percent change in jump height. When analyzed separately, there was a trend for females in the EFT condition to have better performance on both free throws and jump height than females in the control group. These findings suggest that EFT performed as an intervention during the course of an athletic event may reduce performance stress, and improve individual player function for free throws, and is thus worthy of further study. This study was limited by the small sample size and short duration of the intervention.

Measuring Physiological Markers of Emotional Trauma: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Mind-Body Therapies.

Church, D. Paper presented at tenth annual ACEP (Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology) conference, May 2008.

The effect of emotional trauma on physiological functioning has been documented in a number of studies. Unresolved trauma, even 50 years subsequent to traumatization, has been correlated with higher rates of bone fractures, cancer, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and other ailments. The current study examines the reverse correlation, to determine whether the treatment of emotional trauma has an effect on physiological function. It examined the range of motion (ROM) of the shoulders of subjects with clinically verified joint impairments, which typically take months or years to resolve, in five different planes of arm movement. Psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression were measured using a 45 question self-assessment, the SA-45. Pain was measured on a 10 point Likert-type scale. Subjects received a single 30 minute intervention after being randomized into either an Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) group (16 subjects) or a Diaphragmatic Breathing (DB) group (18 subjects). Thirteen subjects served as a no treatment baseline control group. Subjects demonstrated significant improvement in psychological symptoms and ROM in both the DB and EFT groups. Results for pain were better in the EFT group, and further improved on 30 day post-test. ROM for both groups continued to improve post-test, but were greater for the EFT group.

The Effect of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) on Psychological Symptoms: A Limited Replication.

Church, D. Presented at Science and Consciousness, the Tenth Annual Energy Psychology Conference, Toronto, Oct 24 2008.

A study by Rowe (2005) found psychological symptoms to improve, and the results to hold over time, after an EFT workshop. The current study used the same assessment tool, the SA-45, a well-validated brief questionnaire that measures breadth and severity of psychological symptoms. It employed a time-series, within-subjects, repeated measures design. 25 subjects completed the questionnaire before and after the workshop, and again 90 days later. These three data points were used, rather than the 5 data points in the Rowe study, in order to determine if a smaller data set produces a similarly robust result. The SA-45 has two general scales measuring the severity and breadth of psychological symptoms, as well as subscales for anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive behavior, phobic anxiety, hostility, interpersonal sensitivity, paranoia, psychotism, and somatization. Despite the small sample size and limited data set, statistically significant results were found for both the general scales, and most of the subscales, with gains maintained at followup.

The Effect of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) on Psychological Symptoms in Addiction Treatment.

Church, D. Presented at Science and Consciousness, the Tenth Annual Energy Psychology Conference, Toronto, Oct 24 2008.

Research has noted frequent co-occurrence of psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression with addiction. This study examined the psychological conditions of 28 adults at an addictions workshop at which participants learned EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), a widely practiced form of energy psychology. Subjects were evaluated using a short form of the SCL-90-R, (the SA-45), a 45 item questionnaire that has been well validated in other studies. As well as measuring the intensity and breadth of symptoms on two global scales, the SA-45 has nine subscales for such conditions such as anxiety, depression, and hostility. The study employed a time-series, within-subjects repeated measures design to evaluate symptoms at the start of the workshop, at the end of the workshop, and, to determine long-term effects, 90 days later. A statistically significant decrease in the two global scales, the global severity index and positive symptom total, as well as the anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive symptom scales was observed with gains maintained at follow-up. Improvement in somatization was found at posttest only, while improvement in interpersonal sensitivity occurred at the 90-day follow-up. These findings suggest EFT may be an effective adjunct to addiction treatment by reducing the severity of general psychological distress, and in particular, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive symptoms. This study is limited by the small sample size, lack of a control group, and exploratory nature.

"Can a 45 minute session of EFT lead to reduction of intense fear of rats, spiders and water bugs?” –– a replication and extension of the Wells et al. (2003) laboratory study.

A. Harvey Baker, and Linda Siegel, Queens College, New York. Paper presented at the April, 2005 ACEP Conference in Baltimore.

Baker and Siegel inserted a no-treatment control condition in this new study and also changed the comparison condition used. In the Wells study, Diaphragmatic Breathing (which turned out to be quite similar to EFT in its effects on small animal phobias, although not as effective as EFT) was used as the sole comparison. In the Baker-Siegel study, a Supportive Interview condition in which participants were given an opportunity to discuss their fears in a respectful, accepting setting was used. It is quite similar to Rogerian Nondirective Counseling.

When Baker and Siegel compared their three groups, the results strongly supported the Wells study. As in the latter, EFT participants improved significantly from pre- to posttest in their ability to walk closer to the feared animal after having received EFT, while the other two conditions showed no improvement in this respect.

With respect to the subjective measures used in the new study, EFT participants showed significant decreases on the two SUDS measures of fear, on the Fear Questionnaire, and on a special new questionnaire devised for this study (the FOSAQ). Participants in the other two conditions, Supportive Interview and No Treatment Control, showed no decrease in fear whatsoever on these subjective measures. As in the Wells study, only heart rate showed large but equal changes for each condition.

A minor drawback of the Wells study was that participants rated their expectations of success for the intervention to be used with them before they had actually been assigned to a specific intervention. This detail was corrected in the new study, where participants were told which of the 3 conditions they would receive and after the condition had been described to them only then were they asked to rate the degree to which they thought this described condition would help to reduce their fear. EFT and Supportive Interview did not differ significantly in their mean expectation scores (i.e. participants thought each might help them) but despite equal expectations they did differ markedly in outcome, with EFT superior in terms of results. The Interview and No Treatment control conditions did differ significantly in terms of expectation however ––participants didn’t expect that the no-treatment condition where they would sit and read for 45 minutes would help them very much. Yet despite this, the Supportive Interview did no better than the no-treatment control condition in terms of results. This shows that expectation of the participant cannot explain the superior results obtained by EFT.

Baker and Siegel conducted a follow-up study after a 1.4 years lapse between the time of the original testing and the follow-up. On most measures, the significant effects for the single session of EFT still persisted after this considerable lapse of time and were superior to the results for the two comparison conditions. It is striking that only one session of EFT could still show effects almost one and half years later. This can be said of very few interventions in the field of psychology.

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