Psychological trauma symptom improvement in veterans using EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques): A randomized controlled trial

Citation (APA Style): Church, D., Hawk, C., Brooks, A. J., Toukolehto, O., Wren, M., Dinter, I., & Stein, P. (2013) Psychological trauma symptom improvement in veterans using EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques): A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 201, 153-160.

Abstract

This study examined the effect of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), a brief exposure therapy combining cognitive and somatic elements, on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and psychological distress symptoms in veterans receiving mental health services. Veterans meeting the clinical criteria for PTSD were randomized to EFT (n = 30) or standard of care wait list (SOC/WL; n = 29). The EFT intervention consisted of 6 hour-long EFT coaching sessions concurrent with standard care. The SOC/WL and EFT groups were compared pre- and posttest (at 1 month for the SOC/WL group, after 6 sessions for EFT group). EFT subjects had significantly reduced psychological distress (p < .0012) and PTSD symptom levels (p < .0001) posttest. In addition, 90% of the EFT group no longer met PTSD clinical criteria, compared with 4% in SOC/WL. Following the wait period, SOC/WL subjects received EFT. In a within-subjects longitudinal analysis, 60% no longer met PTSD clinical criteria after 3 sessions. This increased to 86% after 6 sessions for the 49 subjects who ultimately received EFT, and remained at 86% at 3-months and 80% at 6-months. The results are consistent with other published reports showing EFTs efficacy at treating PTSD and co-morbid symptoms and its long-term effects.

Keywords: veterans, PTSD, exposure therapy, trauma, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques)

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