The Psychobiology and Clinical Principles of Energy Psychology Treatments for PTSD: A Review
Energy Psychology (EP) protocols use elements of established therapies such as exposure and cognitive processing, and combines these with the stimulation of acupuncture points. EP methods such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) and TFT (Thought Field Therapy) have been extensively tested in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Randomized controlled trials and outcome studies assessing PTSD and co-morbid conditions have demonstrated the efficacy of EP in populations ranging from war veterans to disaster survivors to institutionalized orphans. Studies investigating the neurobiological mechanisms of action of EP suggest that it quickly and permanently mediates the brain’s fear response to traumatic memories and environmental cues. This review examines the published trials of EP for PTSD and the physiological underpinnings of the method, and concludes by describing seven clinical implications for the professional community. These are: (1) The limited number of treatment sessions usually required to remediate PTSD; (2) The depth, breadth, and longevity of treatment effects; (3) The low risk of adverse events; (4) The limited commitment to training required for basic application of the method; (5) Its efficacy when delivered in group format; (6) Its simultaneous effect on a wide range of psychological and physiological symptoms, and (7) Its suitability for non-traditional delivery methods such as online and telephone sessions.
Keywords: PTSD, EFT, Emotional Freedom Techniques, TFT, Thought Field Therapy, telemedicine, anxiety, depression, pain.