Emotional Freedom Techniques
EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) contends that the cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system. It integrates the Chinese meridian system into the therapy process by tapping on meridian points with your fingertips combining both the cognitive and somatic elements. EFT is a form of “psychological acupuncture” – except that there aren’t any needles. The approach relieves symptoms by tapping on various body locations. The tapping balances energy meridians that become disrupted when people think about or experience an emotionally disturbing circumstance. Once balanced, the disturbance is usually resolved, the emotional charge is gone. Typically, the result is lasting and is also accompanied by positive changes in thinking. The technique is easy to learn and ideal for self-help. With EFT it is possible to reduce the conventional therapy process from weeks, months or years to a fraction of that time, and often takes just minutes, occasionally hours. It was introduced by Gary Craig in 1995 after he studied TFT with Roger Callahan and then developed a faster, more efficient way of obtaining quick permanent results.
Veterans Administration Approves EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Treatment
07/31/2017 08:58 pm ET Updated Oct 17, 2017
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) has been approved as a “generally safe” therapy by the US Veterans Administration (VA). After reviewing the extensive evidence for the safety and efficacy of EFT, a group of experts in the VAs Integrative Health Coordinating Center published a statement approving EFT and several other complementary and integrative health (CIH) practices.
The approval means that VA therapists will be able to use EFT with their clients suffering from PTSD, depression, anxiety, pain and other conditions.
EFT has been studied in over 100 clinical trials. They show that the approach is effective for a variety of psychological and physical conditions. EFT combines elements of popular therapies, such as CBT, with acupressure—in the form of tapping with the fingertips on acupuncture points. For this reason it’s often called “tapping.”
Acupressure is effective for pain and stress.
A meta-analysis examined the effect of treatment with EFT on PTSD. It aggregated the statistics from 7 randomized controlled trials and found that EFT had a very large treatment effect (Sebastian & Nelms, 2016).
A meta-analysis of EFT for depression showed similar results, stating that: “The results show that Clinical EFT were highly effective in reducing depressive symptoms in a variety of populations and settings… The posttest effect size for EFT... was larger than that measured in meta-analyses of antidepressant drug trials and psychotherapy studies” (Nelms & Castel, 2016).
Therapists first began to draw the attention of the VA to EFT in 2004, when they found it a quick and successful treatment for the first cohort of veterans returning from Iraq. However, the VA rejected the approach for many years, despite the efforts of various members of congress to have it considered. Fort Hood offered a very successful PTSD treatment program incorporating EFT for many years but shut it down at the end of 2015.
Church, D., Stern, S., Boath, E., Stewart, A., Feinstein, D., & Clond, M. (2017). Using Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) to treat PTSD in veterans: A review of the evidence, survey of practitioners, and proposed clinical guidelines. The Permanente Journal, 21(2), 16-23.
Nelms, J. & Castel, D. (2016). A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized and non-randomized trials of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) for the treatment of depression. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 12(5), 416-426. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2016.08.001
Sebastian, B., & Nelms, J. (2016). The effectiveness of Emotional Freedom Techniques in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder: A meta-analysis. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 13(1), 16–25. doi:10.1016/j.explore.2016.10.001