Clinical EFT as an evidence-based practice for the treatment of psychological and physiological conditions

Citation (APA Style): Church, D. (2013). Clinical EFT as an evidence-based practice for the treatment of psychological and physiological conditions. Psychology, 4(8), 645-654. doi:10.4236/psych.2013.48092


Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) has moved in the past two decades from a fringe therapy to widespread professional acceptance. This paper defines Clinical EFT, the method validated in many research studies, and shows it to be an “evidence-based” practice. It describes standards by which therapies may be evaluated such as those of the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 12 Task Force, and reviews the studies showing that Clinical EFT meets these criteria. Several research domains are discussed, summarizing studies of: (a) psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression, phobias and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); (b) physiological problems such as pain and autoimmune conditions; (c) professional and sports performance, and (d) the physiological mechanisms of action of Clinical EFT. The paper lists the conclusions that may be drawn from this body of evidence, which includes 23 randomized controlled trials and 17 within-subjects studies. The three essential ingredients of Clinical EFT are described: exposure, cognitive shift, and acupressure. The latter is shown to be an essential ingredient in EFTs efficacy, and not merely a placebo. New evidence from emerging fields such as epigenetics, neural plasticity,  psychoneuroimmunology and evolutionary biology confirms the central link  between emotion and physiology, and points to somatic stimulation as the  element common to emerging psychotherapeutic methods. The paper outlines the  next steps in EFT research, such as smartphone-based data gathering, large scale  group therapy, and the use of biomarkers. It concludes that Clinical EFT is a  stable and mature method with an extensive evidence base. These characteristics  have led to growing acceptance in primary care settings as a safe, rapid, reliable,  and effective treatment for both psychological and medical diagnoses.

Keywords: clinical EFT, evidence, psychological treatment, Emotional Freedom Techniques, EFT, physiological conditions

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+1 #5 Dawson Church 2013-09-05 10:10
Thanks! This paper was a lot of work to write, so I really appreciate the appreciation! But I was amazed at how much research there now is. Also to discover that over 9 million people a month search for terms like "EFT tapping" and "EFT therapy." This paper also formed the basis for the introduction, the first chapter of The Clinical EFT Handbook: A Definitive Resource for Practitioners, Scholars, Clinicians and Researchers. That book is going to be FANTASTIC! Dawson
0 #4 Sara Bern 2013-09-05 00:50
Wonderful paper,Dr. Dawson! I am currently discussing EFT with E-health researchers at Luleå University, Sweden, to see if we can follow up on your wonderful work also using something similar to the iPhone app for self help that I made with interactive customized tapping: GO EFT Tapping.

Dr. Dawson, if you read this comment personally; do you happen to have connections with Swedish researchers also?
0 #3 L Trew 2013-07-29 02:46
This is exciting work! I'm a physiotherapist & studying to be an EFT practitioner. When I read this abstract (I have started to read the PDF), a number of ideas for a study linking physiotherapy with EFT came galloping into my head. What a shame I am not at an academic institution, doing it myself. :-) But i fully intend to integrate EFT with my work in the near future. Every day i meet and treat people who would do well to use EFT in connection with their physical problem.
Thanks so much for bringing this evidence to the academic world & beyond. Its just what is needed when evidence based practice is more & more in demand.
0 #2 Craig Weiner, DC 2013-06-14 06:26
This article is a huge gift and wonderful example of consolidation, bringing so much of the relevant EFT research together in one place....If one were to read just the research review page, and not know the intervention being discussed, one might consider a Nobel Prize in Medicine be offered for such a treatment.....n ice work Dawson...
0 #1 Sherrie Rice Smith 2013-06-11 06:58
Thank you, Dawson, for all of your hard work! We do appreciate all you do! Sherrie

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