Citation (APA style): Mitchell, J., & Chatzidamianos, G. (2020). Emotional Freedom Techniques–how to make it mainstream; a thematic analysis of practitioners’ views. Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 12(1), 28—43. doi:10.9769/EPJ.2020.12.1.JM
Background: Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is proposed as an effective therapy for the treatment of common mental health problems. It has, however, been met with criticism and is not presently considered a mainstream treatment option for conditions such as anxiety or trauma. Conversely, both cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) have achieved recognition in advancing into mainstream status, yet EFT is still perceived as an alternative treatment option despite evidence of effectiveness, in more than 100 clinical trials and 40 research reviews and meta-analyses.
Aims: By examining the views of trained practitioners, this project aimed to explore the barriers and the facilitators to EFT becoming a mainstream treatment option in UK’s National Health Service (NHS) for common mental health problems.
Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted (N=12) exploring views of EFT practitioners. Transcripts were then subjected to thematic analysis.
Results: Analysis of participants’ views resulted in three themes: (1) research as an asset and a challenge, (2) public perceptions of EFT as a therapeutic modality, and (3) EFT training standards. These themes are perceived as interlinked in the process of EFT becoming mainstream. Findings from this study indicate the requirement of further research evidence that is more widely disseminated to enable increased awareness to the public and those within the medical profession of EFT as a potentially beneficial adjunct intervention. Importantly, training for EFT therapists needs to be improved and standardized.
Implications: Based on the results, a series of recommendations are discussed that aim to address the barriers identified.
Keywords: EFT, Emotional Freedom Techniques, professional views, qualitative, thematic analysis