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Video on EFT

 

 

 

 

 

In this section you will see many research studies on EFT and the general field of Energy Therapy. This will include very similar Energy therapies like TFT. My main objective here is to point out that EFT and Energy Therapy are not some isolated systems making claims that no one can verify. At this point, we have 30 years of success with this technology, beginning with the work of Dr. Roger Callahan.

Just a few of the very well known people if the field of personal development that are advocates of EFT and Energy Therapy:

Jack Canfield, Bob Doyle, Paul McKenna, Bob Proctor & Joe Vitale. I am certain there are countless other famous personal development teachers out there who also praise Energy Therapy methods. This is just a small sample.

Here are some quotes I would like to share:

• Dr Bruce Lipton, author of "Biology of Belief" and the DVD series "The New Biology--Where Mind and Matter Meet" has said that "EFT is a simple, profoundly powerful process that can influence gene activity, health and behavior"

• Norm Shealy, author of "Soul Medicine." "By removing emotional trauma, EFT helps heal physical symptoms too."--

• Dr. Deepak Chopra, New York Times bestselling author, "EFT offers great healing benefits"

• Dr. Candace Pert, author of “Molecules and Emotion”, "EFT is at the forefront of the new healing movement"

• Cheryl Richardson, Author of "The Unmistakable Touch of Grace." "EFT is destined to be a top healing tool for the 21st century."

If you want to see countless success stories of EFT being applied in virtually all areas, I suggest you visit www.emofree.com

Below are research studies I found on www.emofree.com, the official EFT website of creator Gary Craig.

Psychological Symptom Change in Veterans After Six Sessions of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT); An Observational Study

Church, D., Geronilla, L., Dinter, I.[2009], Psychological Symptom Change in Veterans After Six Sessions of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT); An Observational Study. International Journal of Healing and Caring 9:1

Abstract

Protocols to treat veterans with brief courses of therapy are required, in light of the large numbers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with depression, anxiety, PTSD and other psychological problems. This observational study examined the effects of six sessions of EFT on seven veterans, using a within-subjects, time-series, repeated measures design. Participants were assessed using a well-validated instrument, the SA-45, which has general scales measuring the depth and severity of psychological symptoms. It also contains subscales for anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive behavior, phobic anxiety, hostility, interpersonal sensitivity, paranoia, psychosis, and somatization. Participants were assessed before and after treatment, and again after 90 days. Interventions were done by two different practitioners using a standardized form of EFT to address traumatic combat memories. Symptom severity decreased significantly by 40% (p<.001), anxiety decreased 46% (p<.001), depression 49% (p<.001), and PTSD 50% (p<.016). These gains were maintained at the 90-day follow-up.


Energy Psychology in Rehabilitation: Origins, Clinical Applications, and Theory

Gallo, F. P. (2009). Energy Psychology in Rehabilitation: Origins, Clinical Applications, and Theory. Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, & Treatment, 1(1), 57-72. 

Abstract

Three forces have dominated psychology and psychological treatment at different times since the early 1900s. The first force was Freudian psychoanalysis and its offshoots that focus on unconscious psychodynamics and developmental fixations, with principal therapeutic techniques including free association, dream analysis, interpretation, and abreaction. Second came behaviorism, spearheaded by Pavlov, Watson, and Skinner, which emphasized environmental stimuli and conditioning—its techniques including respondent and operant condition- ing, exposure, desensitization, schedules of reinforcement, modeling, and more. The third force involved humanistic and transpersonal approaches that attend to values and choice, including client-centered therapy, gestalt therapy, phenomenology, and cognitive therapy, some of the principal leaders being Rogers, Maslow, Perls, Rollo May, Binswanger, and Ellis. Recently the new paradigm of energy psychology has emerged, which may be considered psychology’s fourth force. The earliest pioneers included Goodheart, Diamond, and Callahan. This theoretical and practice approach offers the field some unique findings, as it views psychological problems as body–mind interactions and bioenergy fields, providing treatments that directly and efficiently address these substrates. Some of energy psychology’s techniques include stimulating acupoints and chakras, specific body postures, affirmations, imagery, manual muscle testing, and an emphasis on intention. This review covers energy psychology’s historical development and experimental evidence base. Case illustrations and treatment protocols are discussed for the treatment of psychological trauma and physical pain, two of the most important and ubiquitous aspects common to rehabilitation conditions. Additionally, the research on energy psychology is highlighted, and the distinction between global treatments and causal energy diagnostic-treatment approaches to treatment is addressed.


Six Trauma Imprints Treated with Combination Intervention: Critical Incident Stress Debriefing and Thought Field Therapy (TFT) or Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)

Green, M. M., (2002). Six Trauma Imprints Treated with Combination Intervention: Critical Incident Stress Debriefing and Thought Field Therapy (TFT) or Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). Traumatology. 8:1, 18.

Abstract

Green Cross Project volunteers in New York City describe a unique intervention which combines elements of Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) with Thought Field Therapy and Emotional Freedom Techniques. Six trauma imprints were identified and treated in a number of the clients. The combination treatments seemed to have a
beneficial effect in alleviating the acute aspects of multiple traumas. Here are the stories of two Spanish speaking couples who were treated in unison by bilingual therapists two to three weeks after the attack on the World Trade Center.


The Effect of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) on Athletic Performance: A Randomized Controlled Blind Trial

Church, D. (2009). The Effect of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) on Athletic Performance: A Randomized Controlled Blind Trial. Open Sports Sciences Journal, 2, 94-99.

Abstract

The present study investigates the effect of a psychophysiological intervention, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), on athletic performance. It evaluates whether a single EFT treatment can produce an improvement in high- performance men’s and women’s PAC-10 college basketball team members (n = 26). The treatment group received a 15 minute EFT session while a performance-matched attention control group received a placebo intervention of similar duration. Performance was measured on free throws and vertical jump height. The time frame of data collection and treatment simulated an actual basketball game. A statistically significant difference between the two groups was found for free throws (p<.03). On post-test, players who received the EFT intervention improved an average of 20.8%, while the attention control group decreased an average of 16.6%. There was no difference between treatment groups in jump height. When performance was analyzed separately by gender, trends toward significance were found for the women’s team on both performance measures with better results for the EFT intervention group. This indicates that EFT performed as an intervention during the course of an athletic event may improve free throw performance . 


The Treatment of Combat Trauma in Veterans Using EFT

Church, D. (2009). The Treatment of Combat Trauma in Veterans using EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques): A Pilot Protocol. Traumatology, in press.

Abstract

With a large number of US military service personnel comIraq and Afghanistan with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and co- morbid psychological conditions, a need exists to find protocols and treatments that are effective in brief treatment timeframes. In this study, a sample of 11 veterans and family members were assessed for PTSD and other conditions. Evaluations were made using the SA-45 (Symptom Assessment 45) and the PCL-M (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist - Military) using a time-series, within-subjects, repeated measures design. A baseline measurement was obtained thirty days prior to treatment, and immediately before treatment. Subjects were then treated with a brief and novel exposure therapy, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), for five days. Statistically significant improvements in the SA-45 and PCL-M scores were found at posttest. These gains were maintained at both the 30- and 90-day follow-ups on the general symptom index, positive symptom total and the anxiety, somatization, phobic anxiety, and interpersonal sensitivity subscales of the SA-45, and on PTSD. The remaining SA-45 scales improved posttest but were not consistently maintained at the 30- and 90-day follow-ups. One-year follow-up data was obtained for 7 of the participants and the same improvements were observed. In summary, after EFT treatment, the group no longer scored positive for PTSD, the severity and breadth of their psychological distress decreased significantly, and most of their gains held over time. This suggests that EFT can be an effective post-deployment intervention


An Objective Experiment on the Use of EFT for Depression

By Dawson Church, PhD

One of the exciting and growing trends in EFT is the use of research to validate the experiences people have. While stories are valuable, research allows us to give numerical scores to the improvement people experience. If you have a cut on your arm, you can observe how long it takes to heal. You can also see visually if the healing process slows or speeds up. Using scores for psychological wellbeing allows us to do the same thing for the mind and emotions as observation allows us to do for the body.

I recently did an experiment evaluating the use of EFT in treating depression. The subject of the experiment was Anne, a 45 year old woman who was diagnosed with clinical depression more than ten years previously. She used an antidepressant medication called Zoloft for the first few years, and it allowed her to function, though she found the side effects to be unpleasant. Her depression lifted temporarily three years previously when she fell in love, but after the brief relationship ended, she found herself back in the hole. Rather than going back on antidepressants, she decided to “white knuckle it” without them.

I measured her depression in two distinct ways. One was by using a widely used questionnaire called the Beck Depression Inventory or BDI. It has 63 questions that measure various aspects of depression, and a low score indicates a low level of depression, while a high score indicates greater depression.

I also used a second test called a “bioassay.” This particular bioassay was developed by a research team at the University of Arizona led by a distinguished psychologist named Gary Schwartz. Bioassays measure the degree of plant growth. The theory is that if the life energy of a seed is compromised, it will grow less rapidly. If the life energy is enhanced, it will grow better. I have set up a research nonprofit, Soul Medicine Institute (http://www.SoulMedicineInstitute.org) which is undertaking rigorous scientific studies of EFT. We are looking at the effects of EFT on depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), wound healing, and other conditions. All these studies are being done to the highest standard of scientific proof, called a Randomized Controlled Double Blind Clinical Trial. We draw on the wisdom of many other researchers, such as those at the University of Arizona, in designing our experiments.

In my experimental design, my research assistant had Anne hold a packet of 20 seeds in her hands at the beginning of the session, after completing a BDI questionnaire. Gary Craig then did a 2 ½ hour session with Anne, addressing many aspects of her depression. Anne then held a second packet of seeds in her hand, and completed a second BDI.

Back at Soul Medicine Institute, the seeds were carefully prepared for germination in Petri dishes, and sprouted for 72 hours. A third group of seeds was simultaneously sprouted; this third control group had not been held by anyone. All three groups of seeds were treated identically. The person caring for the seeds did not know which group was which, this is called a blind experiment.

The results of this experiment are now available on the Soul Medicine Institute web site. The photographs are striking.

Seeds held before treatment: 5 failed to germinate, 4 developed root hairs.

Seeds held after treatment: 1 failed to germinate, 14 developed root hairs.

Seeds not held: 2 failed to germinate, 4 developed root hairs.

You can see these photographs at: http://www.SoulMedicineInstitute.org/bioassay.html.

The results of the BDI echoed the growth rate of the seeds. Anne scored 23 out of 63 on the BDI before treatment. Right after treatment, she scored 3. This was a very large drop. We tested her again 30 days after the session to see if the results had held, and her score was 16. In 60 days, it had gone down even more, to 13. So her score of depression on the BDI, which is the most widely used questionnaire for anxiety, was 43% lower two months after just ONE EFT treatment. And the plant growth measurements corroborated this change.

It is not possible to generalize Anne’s results to others until we do the same experiment with many more people. But the fact that both the bioassay and the BDI gave similar results indicates that this method of measuring depression is worth further study. I have summarized all the other research using EFT in my book The Genie in Your Genes (www.GenieBestseller.com), which explores the scientific basis for such rapid healing. I have several larger experiments underway using EFT for other conditions, and I will report the results of these to you as the results come in.

Dawson Church, PhD


Thought Field Therapy and its derivatives: rapid relief of mental health problems through tapping on the body

Mollon, P., (2007). Thought Field Therapy and its derivatives: rapid relief of mental health problems through tapping on the body. Primary Care and Community Psychiatry. 12 [3-4] December. 123-127.

Abstract

A genre of psychotherapeutic enquiry, involving work with the body's energy system as well as the mind, began in the 1970s, arising from the field of Applied Kinesiology as elaborated by psychiatrist Dr. John Diamond. Clinical psychologist, Roger Callahan, built on this work to develop simple procedures for the rapid relief of anxieties and phobias. This approach, called Thought Field Therapy, was later applied to trauma and other forms of mental distress. In recent years a number of derivative methods have been developed. These can be combined with conventional psychodynamic or CBT approaches. A variety of forms of evidence support the use of these 'energy psychology' techniques, including a very large South American study.


EFT for Libido: Study Results Summarized -- 80% report an improvement of 50% or more

Note: This article assumes you have a working knowledge of EFT. Newcomers can still learn from it but are advised to get our Free EFT Get Started Package or our Affordable DVDs for a more complete understanding.

Hi Everyone,

A thank you to Nancy Morris for giving us the details of her fascinating one month study with 10 participants. Note that none of the participants were familiar with EFT before signing up and almost everyone reported improvement. This topic represents a huge market for those willing to pursue it.

Hugs, Gary


By Nancy A. Morris, EFT-ADV

Ten people participated in a one-month long study group on “Libido” and none of the participants knew what EFT was when they signed up.  Three men (ages 58, 62 and 69) and 7 women (ages 52, 54, 56, 56, 56, 60 and 64) participated.  Each person presented themselves as wanting to “improve their libido” but, in many cases, it turned out there was more to the story, as you’ll see below.

Prior to starting the study or learning EFT, each person completed a Questionnaire to establish a baseline to measure against at the end of the one-month study period.  Here is a summary of the questions they answered:

1. What is your specific complaint about your libido?

2. Rate your libido over last 3 months (excellent, good, average, poor, or none).

3. Rate your ability to have an orgasm (always, almost always, seldom, never).

4. Average frequency of sex over last 3 months.

5. Your level of “turn on” when you have sex.

6. Medications you take that affect libido.

7. Are you taking hormones?  (Don’t stop or start them during study)

8. Can you imagine a reason that you would NOT want a strong libido?

My intention was to have each participant fill out a very similar questionnaire at the end of the month.  However, based on the actual issues they had, that turned out to not be feasible (you’ll understand why if you read on).  Instead I asked each participant this multiple choice question at the end of the month:

Evaluating your specific complaint when you started this month, how has it changed?

• I noticed no change at all in the specific issue I was working on (0% change)

• I think there is a little improvement in my specific issue (25% change)

• I’m happy to report moderate improvement in my situation (50% change)

• I’m delighted to say I note marked improvement in my situation (75% change)

• I feel I attained excellent improvement in my situation and I’m ecstatic! (greater than 75%)

• I stopped doing EFT and dropped out of the study for the following reason:

Results:  

  • No Change .........................1
  • Little Improvement ...............1
  • Moderate Improvement ........ 4
  • Marked Improvement ...........1
  • Excellent Improvement .........3
  • Dropped Out ..................... 0
  • Total ..............................10

As you can see, 80% of those participating reported a 50% or greater improvement in their issue.  No one dropped out of the study.  Participants reported tapping between 1 to 3 times per day and 5 to 7 days per week.  (They were asked to tap 3 times a day, 7 days a week if possible.)

STUDY FORMAT:

Each person filled out their questionnaire and set up an initial appointment.  All participants were new to EFT.  The initial appointment was about one hour where we discussed their particular issue, looked for underlying causes (for example, anger at spouse) or hidden benefits (for example, having more time available to do other things). Each person was taught how to do the shortened version of EFT tapping (no nine gamut or finger tapping).  Then we would work together to establish phrases very specific to this individual’s problem, desired change, and outcome.

Each person left their appointment with instructions on how to tap, a tapping chart, and their personal tapping phrases covering their particular “problem” (i.e., cannot talk easily about sex with my partner so can’t ask for anything), the new “choice” about how they WANT to feel (i.e., I choose to feel comfortable saying what feels good during sex), and a final statement asking their body for something specific (i.e., I ask my body to create more sexual energy).

These statements were very different for each person.  I would offer suggestions to get started and then we would incorporate their own language.  After all, we all use different words inside our head than we do when we speak to others, especially about sex.  I call this our internal language and find it’s critical when doing EFT to use our own words, no matter how coarse.  Each participant was encouraged to call me if they had any questions or felt their EFT phrases were no longer applicable.  Only half contacted me for further help.

Details of each participant’s issue and their individual results follow:

Participant A:  Stated Issue:  “Pain and lack of intensity in cumming” since prostate cancer/biopsies.  Outcome:  Fear of painful ejaculation dropped away.  Pleasure and intensity during sex and ejaculation went from a 2 on a scale of 0 to 10 to a 10 .  Participant rated results achieved as “greater than 75% improvement”.

Participant B:  Stated Issue:  “No libido” due to taking several strong pain medications.  Outcome:  “The EFT program helped me get some of my libido back.  I now wake up with a very hard erection most mornings.”  Participant rated results achieved as “50% improvement”.

Participant C:  Stated Issue:   “Great difficulty knowing what nowing what I want (sexually) and, even if I know, greater difficulty asking my partner for what I want.”  NOTE:  This participant could not say sexual words, such as penis, comfortably.  Outcome:  “Progress on my ability to openly say sexually related words will reap long-term benefits.”  Participant rated results achieved as “greater than 75% improvement”.

Participant D:  Stated Issue:  “Before post-menopause I had a very healthy appetite for sex.  My libido has disappeared with menopause.”  Outcome:  “I realized I don’t WANT my libido to be high and have it run my life the way it did when my hormones were raging.  I am at choice now.  It takes more energy to get things rolling, but I get really turned on and still love sex.”  Participant rated results achieved as “50% improvement”.

Participant E:  Stated Issue:  “I feel turned on, I go ahead and have intercourse but I don’t feel it’s worth the time or effort to have an orgasm.”  NOTE:  This participant said she was desensitized by more than 20 years of physical and emotional abuse.  More EFT on this issue would be appropriate.  Outcome:  “I no longer take for granted that I am desensitized.  I let in pleasurable sensations that before I did not even expect it was possible to feel.”  Participant rated results achieved as “50% improvement”.

Participant F:  Stated Issue:  I don’t feel that longing or lust towards my partner or for sex in general like I did before menopause.”   Outcome: Participant still rates libido as “Poor”; reports having sex 2-3 times/week during study month.  NOTE:  Participant expressed fear that increased lust or longing might result in her cheating on her partner; EFT on this issue would be appropriate next step.  Participant was unavailable to work on this issue.  Participant rated results achieved as “I noticed changes at first, and then none at all in the specific issue I was working on.”  Listed as “No Change”

Participant G:  Stated Issue: “I used to have orgasms; now I don’t anymore (since menopause).”  Outcome:  “Through EFT sessions I realized I’ve been afraid of trying to have an orgasm because of 12 years of disappointment during my first marriage.  Not being driven by hormones requires a little more intention to get things going, but I’m having orgasms again!”  Participant rated results achieved as “greater than 75% improvement”.

Participant H:  Stated Issue:  “Clit not sensitive enough, not feeling horny or turned on.” Outcome:  “EFT helped me to focus on my sexuality and libido and to create more of a relationship with my clit.  I’ve found myself thinking about sex more.”  NOTE:  Participant reports having sex “twice a week” during the study month.  Participant rated results achieved as “50% improvement”.

Participant I:  Stated Issue:  “No interest in sex.”  Outcome:  “I think my lack of interest in sex was more about other issues than sex itself.  Since, when I do have sex it’s always been good, sometimes great, but I wasn’t getting other needs met and I had a change after our session.”  Participant rated results achieved as “25% improvement”.

Participant J:  Stated Issue:  Wants to become comfortable “initiating sex” and to overcome “shyness and shame”.  Outcome:  “I started getting results within days.  I have had an increased interest in sex, masturbation and have been more willing to actually do something about the desire.”  Participant rated results achieved as “75% improvement”

As you can see, in one short month EFT can definitely make positive changes in our sexual lives.  Often, there are underlying issues, for example, physical or emotional abuse or years of unfulfilling sexual experiences, that need to be addressed.  This study did not attempt to clear up all the underlying issues but more to use mechanical EFT and the Choices Method to improve each participant’s situation.

Hugs to you, Nancy Morris, EFT-ADV


Measuring Physiological Markers of Emotional Trauma: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Mind-Body Therapies

Church, D. (2008c). Measuring Physiological Markers of Emotional Trauma: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Mind-Body Therapies. Paper presented at tenth annual ACEP (Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology) conference, May.

Abstract

The effect of emotional trauma on physiological functioning has been documented in a number of studies. Unresolved trauma, even 50 years subsequent to traumatization, has been correlated with higher rates of bone fractures, cancer, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and other ailments. The current study examines the reverse correlation, to determine whether the treatment of emotional trauma has an effect on physiological function. It examined the range of motion (ROM) of the shoulders of subjects with clinically verified joint impairments, which typically take months or years to resolve, in five different planes of arm movement. Psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression were measured using a 45 question self-assessment, the SA-45. Pain was measured on a 10 point Likert-type scale. Subjects received a single 30 minute intervention after being randomized into either an Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) group (16 subjects) or a Diaphragmatic Breathing (DB) group (18 subjects). Thirteen subjects served as a no treatment baseline control group. Subjects demonstrated significant improvement in psychological symptoms and ROM in both the DB and EFT groups. Results for pain were better in the EFT group, and further improved on 30 day post-test. ROM for both groups continued to improve post-test, but were greater for the EFT group.


Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) For Traumatic Brain Injury

Craig, G., Bach, D., Groesbeck, G., & Benor, D. J., {2009}. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) For Traumatic Brain Injury. International Journal of Healing and Caring, May. 9(2), 1-12.

Abstract

This article describes the resolution in one session of several residual symptoms following severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) six years earlier in a 51 year-old woman. The intervention was Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), developed by Gary Craig, the first author of this article. Mind Mirror electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring during EFT sessions revealed increasing patterns of relaxation and centeredness as the treatment progressed. Implications for further research and for assessment and treatment of wartime TBI, PTSD and depression are discussed.

 


EFT treatment with auto accident victims

An additional study, with a team led by Dr. Paul Swingle, also showed positive results. This study treated auto accident victims using the EFT method. These individuals reported many of the symptoms of PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  

These people indicated that they suffered panic attacks and many other significant signs of PTSD, like unexplainable fear, nightmares and flashbacks. The subjects learned EFT in only 2 sessions. Dr. Swingle and his team found impressive positive changes upon the victims' EEG readings.  

In addition, the participants in this self reporting study showed significant changes in their symptoms of stress.  

Swingle, P., Pulos, L. & Swingle, M. (May 2000). Effects of a meridian- based therapy, EFT, on symptoms of PTSD in auto accident victims. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Comprehensive Psychology, Las Vegas, NV.  

Contact: Dr. Paul Swingle phone: 1- 604- 608-0444


 

EFT treatment with children with epilepsy


 

Additionally Dr. Swingle and others followed the progress of young children who were clinically diagnosed with epilepsy. With the parents trained to recognize pre-seizure behavior, and who were taught to utilize EFT, Dr. Swingle and his team noted impressive results upon EEG readings following two weeks of parental application of EFT.


Swingle, P. (May, 2000). Effects of the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) method on seizure frequency in children diagnosed with epilepsy. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology, Las Vegas, NV.

Clinical Story of a 6-Year-Old Boy's Eating Phobia; An Integrated Approach

McCarty, W. A., (2008). Clinical Story of a 6-Year-Old Boy’s Eating Phobia: An Integrated Approach Utilizing Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology with Energy Psychology’s Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) in a Surrogate Nonlocal Application. Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health, 21(2), 117-139.

Abstract

This article presents a clinical story of a one-session therapeutic intervention for a young boy’s lifelong eating phobia as an example of an integrated therapeutic approach utilizing prenatal and perinatal psychology (PPN) understanding of early experiences as potential origins for life patterns and an energy psychology healing modality intervention—emotional freedom technique (EFT). Key principles of the Integrated Model and corresponding elements of an integrated therapeutic approach are presented. The session took place without the child present. Nonlocal intuitive perception, mind-to-mind communication, and a nonlocal application of EFT are discussed as integral aspects of the therapeutic approach. The notion of the Integrated PPN Practitioner is introduced. 




Rapid Treatment of PTSD: Why Psychological Exposure with Acupoint Tapping May Be Effective

Feinstein, D. (in press). Rapid Treatment of PTSD: Why Psychological Exposure with Acupoint Tapping May Be Effective. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training. 

Abstract

Combining brief psychological exposure with the manual stimulation of acupuncture points (acupoints) in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other emotional conditions is an intervention strategy that integrates established clinical principles with methods derived from healing traditions of Eastern cultures. Two randomized controlled trials and six outcome studies using standardized pre- and post-treatment measures with military veterans, disaster survivors, and other traumatized individuals corroborate anecdotal reports and systematic clinical observation in suggesting that (a) tapping on selected acupoints (b) during imaginal exposure (c) quickly and permanently reduces maladaptive fear responses to traumatic memories and related cues. The approach has been controversial. This is in part because the mechanisms by which stimulating acupoints can contribute to the treatment of serious or longstanding psychological disorders have not been established. Speculating on such mechanisms, the current paper suggests that adding acupoint stimulation to psychological exposure is unusually effective in its speed and power because deactivating signals are sent directly to the amygdala, resulting in reciprocal inhibition and the rapid attenuation of maladaptive fear. This formulation and the preliminary evidence supporting it could, if confirmed, lead to more powerful exposure protocols for treating PTSD.



 

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