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Clinical EFT as single session therapy: Cases, research, indications, and cautions

Citation (APA Style): Church, D. (2013). Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) as single session therapy: Cases, research, indications, and cautions. In M. Hoyt & M. Talmon (Eds.), Capturing the moment: Single session therapy and walk-in service. Bethel, CT: Crown House.


Clinical EFT (Emotion Freedom Techniques) is an evidence-based practice that combines elements of exposure and cognitive therapies with the manual stimulation of acupuncture points. The research literature indicates it to be efficacious for a number of psychological conditions in a variety of treatment time frames. Randomized controlled trials demonstrate that EFT effectively treats phobias and certain anxiety disorders in one session. A single session also results in a significant drop in cortisol and normalization of the EEG frequencies associated with stress. EFT has the client focus on specific traumatic memories; the emotional intensity of these memories usually diminishes rapidly during treatment. This makes EFT an efficient single-session treatment for emotional distress associated with episodic memories. For conditions such as complex co-morbid PTSD, combination treatments and longer courses are indicated, though even treatment-resistant clients often experience some relief after a single session. Psychological symptoms of PSTD, depression, and anxiety typically reduce simultaneously, along with physical symptoms such as pain and insomnia. Clinical EFT also offers a suite of techniques developed to address treatment barriers such as dissociation and overwhelming emotion. This review and case series examines the conditions for which a brief course of EFT treatment is appropriate, when it is not indicated, when it can be taught to the client as a form of self-care, and when professional administration is required. It also cautions against generalizing EFTs rapid efficacy for certain conditions; this may contribute to unreasonable expectations in therapist or client. EFT is recommended as a front line primary care intervention to improve mental health and physical symptoms.

Keywords: PTSD, phobias, depression, anxiety, cortisol, psychotherapy, primary care, EFT, Emotional Freedom Techniques

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0 #1 Lorrie Herzberg 2014-11-14 11:31
I am a social worker in a primary care setting. I recently saw a patient with severe itching due to medical issues. One round of EFT cut the itching in half. The friend who came with her also had some itching going on, but was clear that for her it was a fami[censored] stress reaction. The same round of tapping almost eliminated her itching. Anyone have any insight about EFT and itching? Thanks. Lorrie Herzberg

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