CAM and energy psychology techniques remediate PTSD symptoms in veterans and spouses

Citation (APA Style): Church, D., & Brooks, A. J. (2014). CAM and energy psychology techniques remediate PTSD symptoms in veterans and spouses. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 10(1), 24-33.


Male veterans and their spouses (N = 218) attending 6 week-long retreats were assessed for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) pre- and postintervention. Symptoms were evaluated using the PTSD Checklist (PCL), on which a score of >49 indicates clinical PTSD. The mean PTSD score was 61.1 (SD ± 12.5) for veterans and 42.6 (SD±16.5) for their spouses. Prior to the retreat, 83% of the veterans and 29% of the spouses met clinical criteria. The multimodal intervention used Emotional Freedom Techniques and other energy psychology (EP) methods to reduce PTSD symptoms and a variety of CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) modalities for stress reduction and resource building. Interventions were delivered in group format as well as individual counseling sessions. Data were analyzed for each retreat, as well as for the 6 retreats as a whole. Mean posttest PCL scores decreased to 41.7 (SE ± 1.2; p < .001) for veterans, with 28% still meeting clinical criteria for PTSD symptoms following the retreat. Spouses also demonstrated substantial symptom reductions (M = 28.7, SE ± 1.0; p < 001), with 4% still meeting PTSD clinical criteria. A follow-up assessment (n = 63) found PTSD symptom levels dropping even further for spouses (p < .003), whereas gains were maintained for veterans. The significant reduction in PTSD symptoms was consistent with other published reports of EP treatment, though counter to the usual long-term course of the condition. The results indicate that a multimodal CAM intervention incorporating EP offers benefits to family members as well as veterans suffering from PTSD. Recommendations are made for further research to answer the questions posed by this study.

Keywords: veterans, spouses, PTSD, CAM, energy psychology, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques)

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