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Can EFT Help Schizophrenia?

Can EFT Help Schizophrenia?

Dear EFT Community,

There are many encouraging reports on EFT helping with the anxiety associated with serious mental illnesses. Here’s a report from Dr. Patricia Carrington.

– Dawson Church


By Patricia Carrington, PhD

We all know that EFT can do remarkable things, so that is not news. But it is news when we discover that it can impact conditions that are often thought to be organic in origin and considered hereditary, especially those that are ordinarily treated almost exclusively with medication. I have written previously about some extraordinary effects of EFT on conditions such as severe intellectual and developmental disabilities (i.e., mental retardation), and today I would like to present some preliminary evidence that EFT can be used for certain symptoms of schizophrenia or related psychoses.

The findings I’m going to share with you came to my attention during consultations with a very aware mental health staff at an outpatient clinic in Erie, Pennsylvania–Stairways Behavioral Health. This report is only exploratory, but the very fact that these preliminary results were obtained at all is, I think, worth reporting.

Gary Boetger, the chief clinical officer of Stairways Behavioral Health, is faced, as are so many mental health clinic administrators, with a dilemma. The clinic is only authorized to treat patients with extremely serious diagnoses such as major psychoses and it is therefore usually only people with a long history of mental illness who attend the clinic.

However, as is typical throughout the United States, the clinic has only limited funding available for mental health care. This is true of every state in the U.S., and Pennsylvania is probably more advanced in its support of mental health outpatient services than many other states. However, the budget is tight and getting tighter in the present economy. The result is that counselors at the clinic are scheduled to the hilt, every minute of their time taken up to serve these patients. Thus the majority of patients can only be seen once every 2 weeks. We know how much momentum is lost when sessions are postponed for that amount of time, and all of this adds up to the fact that a solid adjunct to regular standard treatment, such as an energy therapy could supply, could be of enormous help to these patients. In Gary Boetger’s view, energy techniques such as EFT will, of necessity, play a substantial role in the future of outpatient mental health delivery.

Accordingly, some of the Stairways professional staff have cautiously begun to use EFT with a patient population where the energy therapies have not previously been employed. What I am going to report here involves only two cases, to be sure, but it seems important to note them because they probably represent the first reported use of EFT with a major psychotic symptom–that of hallucinations.

The first report deals with a young man suffering from a schizoaffective disorder (a form of schizophrenia that involves depression or manic episodes as well as the familiar symptoms of schizophrenia). He has suffered from this illness since adolescence, and experiences, according to the case report, “bizarre religious delusions.” As a child, he observed his father sexually abusing his mother and these memories have remained deeply disturbing to him, particularly since his is a fundamentalist religious background. This young man frequently hears “voices” that cause him to blurt out obscenities in public, to his deep humiliation. He tries not to act on the commands of these voices, but more often than not he feels compelled to do so, experiencing no control over the hallucinated voices or how they affect his behavior.

In an attempt to help him gain some control over these troublesome symptoms, his therapist at the clinic recently taught him EFT and suggested that he use it whenever he began to hear the voices commanding him to do things he did not want to do. While we do not know the exact wording that was used with this young man, it is described by his therapist as approximately the following phrase, “Even though these voices torment me and tell me to say obscene things, I know that God loves me.” The inclusion of God in his Setup Statement was extremely comforting to him and represents an interesting and useful variation of the default self-acceptance phrase.

This man is described as rather “obsessive-compulsive” and is therefore well disciplined, and so he began systematically tapping every time the voices appeared and commanded him to shout out obscene remarks. When he returned 2 weeks later to his appointment at the clinic, he reported that he had been using EFT with considerable success to control the voices. Although he would still hear them, he said that he did not respond to them in the same way when he used the EFT. It was distinctly helping him gain control. He also reported that the voices were less frequent if he used EFT. Of course we can only speculate what might happen if he were able to be in more intensive psychotherapy where EFT could be used to deal with the disturbing memories of his father’s sexual abuse of his mother, a logical next step were he undergoing that form of treatment.

Along the same lines, although not quite as dramatic an instance with respect to the control of psychotic symptoms, the clinic reports another young man, also diagnosed as schizoaffective, who would frequently hear a disturbing “crowd noise” in his head. It was not tinnitus but rather a mumbling sound as though that of voices in a crowd where the words could not be distinguished. It was extremely annoying to him. His therapist decided to use EFT with him to help him control the annoying crowd sound, and together they formulated the following Setup: “Even though I am sometimes disturbed, annoyed, and confused by the background noise I can’t identify, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.” He was experiencing the noise at the time he first tapped with EFT, but by the end of the session the sound was completely gone.

When he was next seen, 2 weeks later, he reported that he hadn’t used EFT “as often as I should” (a common reaction of patients, particularly if they are too distraught to be able to deal with their own symptoms) but that he had used it once or twice when the noise was annoying him, and that each time the sound had then gone away completely. It seems that every time he heard the murmuring of the crowd, he could make it disappear by using EFT.

These findings are slim and of course very tentative because we have only these two reports as yet, but it should be noted that we have no reports of EFT being used with hallucinatory symptoms and failing–just these two successes. Possibly some of you reading this report know of other instances where EFT has been used with patients experiencing hallucinations. If so, it would be of great help to all of us if you could report this to me so I can pass the information along to others. In looking into its use for severe psychotic symptoms, we are exploring the unknown and trying EFT on everything. Ultimately, this advice may yield valuable results.