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More and more, research is becoming available in the area of energy psychologies, particularly the efficacy of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). Below are links to various research articles currently available on EFT.

Energy psychology: Efficacy, speed, mechanisms

The extract below is taken from the pdf here:


Combining psychological exposure with acupoint tapping

The imaging studies offered a plausible explanation for one of the most puzzling features of acupoint tapping, which is why it seems to work more quickly than other exposure treatments. In all forms of psychological exposure, the client mentally activates a feared situation, an unresolved traumatic memory, or other emotional trigger. Simply bringing to mind a stressful scene will produce a threat response in the amygdala and related areas of the limbic system.98 But unlike other exposure approaches, acupoint tapping is also performed, so the limbic system is simultaneously receiving opposing messages: activating signals produced by the psychological exposure and deactivating signals produced by the tapping. The activating signals are habitual responses based on old learnings. The deactivating signals provide new information. With repeated rounds of acupoint tapping, the continual influx of deactivating signals begins to dominate, so the image can be held without the emotional response it previously evoked. This may also account for the low risk of abreaction associated with the method.19,109 Arousal is quickly reduced while the trigger is still active. This is usually a vivid moment in the client’s experience. The expected aversive emotional charge does not accompany the visualized scene, and therapists who use the approach are accustomed to witnessing the surprised sense of relief that often occurs during acupoint tapping sessions. (A 10-minute video illustrating such surprise in four combat veterans as their PTSD-based responses quickly recede can be viewed at, retrieved September 10, 2018).

Study on Secondary psychological outcomes in a controlled trial of Emotional Freedom Techniques and cognitive behaviour therapy in the treatment of food cravings.

PetaStapleton, AmyBannatyne, HannahChatwin, Keri-CharleUrzi, BrettPorter, TerriSheldon

The CBT group did not report any significant changes in anxiety scores over time, but the decrease in depression symptoms pre-to post-intervention was significant and this was maintained at 6-and 12-months. Anxiety and depression scores significantly decreased from pre-to post-intervention for the EFT group, and was maintained at 6- and 12-month follow-up.  Somatoform scores significantly decreased from pre-intervention to all follow-up points for the CBT group, while the EFT group did not report any significant changes in somatoform symptoms. Results also revealed that EFT is capable of producing reductions in anxiety and depression symptoms, and may be comparable to gold standard approaches such as CBT.

Acupoint Stimulation in Treating Psychological Disorders: Evidence of Efficacy

Energy psychology is a clinical and self-help modality that combines verbal and physical procedures for effecting therapeutic change. While utilizing established clinical methods such as exposure and cognitive restructuring, the approach also incorporates concepts and techniques from non-Western healing systems. Its most frequently utilized protocols combine the stimulation of acupuncture points (by tapping on, holding, or massaging them) with the mental activation of a targeted psychological issue. Energy psychology has been controversial, in part due to its reliance on explanatory mechanisms that are outside of conventional clinical frameworks and in part because of claims by its early proponents—without adequate research support—of extraordinary speed and power in attaining positive clinical outcomes. This paper revisits some of the field’s early claims, as well as current practices, and assesses them in the context of existing evidence. A literature search identified 51 peer-reviewed papers that report or investigate clinical outcomes following the tapping of acupuncture points to address psychological issues. The 18 randomized controlled trials in this sample were critically evaluated for design quality, leading to the conclusion that they consistently demonstrated strong effect sizes and other positive statistical results that far exceed chance after relatively few treatment sessions. Criteria for evidence-based treatments proposed by Division 12 of the American Psychological Association were also applied and found to be met for a number of anxiety-based conditions, including PTSD. Neurological mechanisms that may be involved in these surprisingly strong findings are also considered.

Single-session reduction of the intensity of traumatic memories in abused adolescents after EFT: A randomized controlled pilot study.

Church, Dawson, Piña, Oscar, Reategui, Carla, Brooks, Audrey
Traumatology, Vol 18(3), Sep 2012, 73-79


The population for this study was drawn from an institution to which juveniles are sent by court order if they are found by a judge to be physically or psychologically abused at home. Sixteen males, aged 12-17, were randomized into two groups. They were assessed using subjective distress (SUD), and the Impact of Events Scale (IES), which measures two components of PTSD: intrusive memories and avoidance symptoms. The experimental group was treated with a single session of EFT (emotional freedom techniques), a brief and novel exposure therapy that has been found efficacious in reducing PTSD and co-occurring psychological symptoms in adults, but has not been subject to empirical assessment in juveniles. The wait list control group received no treatment. Thirty days later, participants were reassessed. No improvement occurred in the wait list (IES total mean pre = 32 SD ± 4.82, post = 31 SD ± 3.84). Posttest scores for all experimental-group participants improved to the point where all were nonclinical on the total score, as well as the intrusive and avoidant symptom subscales, and SUD (IES total mean pre = 36 SD ± 4.74, post = 3 SD ± 2.60, p < .001). These results are consistent with those found in adults, and indicates the utility of single-session EFT as a fast and effective intervention for reducing psychological trauma in juveniles. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Reductions in Pain, Depression, and Anxiety Symptoms After PTSD Remediation in Veterans

A randomized controlled trial of veterans with clinical levels of PTSD symptoms found significant improvements after Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). Although pain, depression, and anxiety were not the primary targets of treatment, significant improvements in these conditions were noted. Subjects (N = 59) received six sessions of EFT coaching supplementary to primary care. They were assessed using the SA-45, which measures nine mental health symptom domains and also has two general scales measuring the breadth and depth of psychological distress. Anxiety and depression both reduced significantly, as did the breadth and depth of psychological symptoms. Pain decreased significantly during the intervention period (−41%, p < .0001). Subjects were followed up at three and six months, revealing significant relationships between PTSD, depression, and anxiety at several assessment points. At follow-up, pain remained significantly lower than at pretest. The results of this study are consistent with other reports showing that, as PTSD symptoms are reduced, general mental health improves, and pain levels drop. The ability of EFT to produce reliable and long-term gains after relatively brief interventions indicates its utility in reducing the estimated trillion-dollar cost of treating veteran mental health disorders in the coming years.

The Effectiveness of Emotional Freedom Techniques in the Treatment of Post traumatic Stress Disorder: A Meta-Analysis

Brenda Sebastian MPsych.1 Jerrod Nelms PhD


The analysis of existing studies showed that a series of 4–10 EFT sessions is an efficacious treatment for PTSD with a variety of populations. The studies examined reported no adverse effects from EFT interventions and showed that it can be used both on a self-help basis and as a primary evidence-based treatment for PTSD.

JerrodA.Nelms,PhD,MPH# and LianaCastel,PhD,MSPH
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