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Research & Studies

Efficacy of Emotional Freedom Technique and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy on Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Short-term Memory, Psychophysiological Coherence and Heart Rate in Indian Adults

Citation (APA style): Jasubhai, S. (2021). Efficacy of Emotional Freedom Technique and cognitive behavioural therapy on stress, anxiety, depression, short-term memory, psychophysiological coherence and heart rate in Indian adults. Clinical Psychology and Mental Health Care, 2(4). doi:03.2021/1.10025


World Health Organization reported depression as the fourth leading cause of mental illness worldwide and one of the leading causes of disabilities among adults. Living with depression may cause sleep deprivation, anxiety, stress, and short-term memory loss. This is because the individual’s mind may be occupied with negative thoughts. Depression affects a person’s feelings, thinking, daily functioning, processing speed, memory, and executive functions. National Mental Health Survey of India in 2015–2016 reports that one in 20 Indians suffers from depression. Earlier research indicated that cognitive behavioral Therapy (CBT) represents a superior approach in treating mild to severe depression symptoms, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) received increased attention. The present study is in line with a study conducted in Australia in 2016 by Hannah Chatwin et al. The objective of the current study is to evaluate the efficacy of EFT and CBT in the treatment of stress, anxiety and depression, short-term memory loss, psychophysiological coherence, and heart rate in Indian young adults. Subjects (n = 14), selected at random, from Ahmedabad (a metro city) in India, were screened for stress, anxiety, and depression using Depression, Anxiety and Stress scale (DASS21) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI2). They were also screened for short-term memory (STM) using Digit Span test, which allowed assessments of each participant’s initial complaints of forgetfulness, difficulty in concentrating, and confusion. Their psychophysiological coherence score and heart rate were recorded pre- and postinterventions using emWave system. These subjects were randomly assigned to an eight once a week CBT or EFT treatment program. All participants were screened after three sessions, five sessions, eight sessions and six months’ follow-up using DASS21, BDI2, and Digit Span Test. They were also screened after one month for stress, anxiety, and depression using DASS21 and BDI2. Findings of the study depicted that both intervention approaches produced significant reductions in stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms and concurrent improvement in short-term memory (STM), psychophysiological coherence, and heart rate. The EFT treatment produced marked improvement in depression after three sessions. After eight weeks of intervention, the CBT group reported significant improvement in depression and short-term memory, while EFT intervention therapy showed significant improvement in depression state after one month and at six months’ follow-up. Examination of individual cases showed, clinically significant improvement in stress, anxiety, depression symptoms, short-term memory, and psychophysiological coherence across both interventions. The results are consistent with the previous studies by Hannah Chatwin et al. (2016). Present findings suggest that EFT would be an effective intervention therapy in managing stress, anxiety, depression, and STM and worthy of further investigation.


CBT, EFT, stress, anxiety, depression, STM, short-term memory, psychophysiological coherence, heart rate