The Science and Evidence
While EFT emerged as a self-help tool in the 1970s, it has only been extensively studied in trials since the 1990s. However this short timeframe has resulted in widespread research, for a vast range of disorders and populations. This list represents a very small sample of populations and disorders where the evidence lies. This means the outcomes have reached the minimum p-value of 0.05 so the outcomes were not necessarily due to chance, and were therefore statistically significant. We also see in many trials the reporting of clinical significance, and also clinical change (as a percentage difference).
EFT is also currently under review with the American National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) for effectiveness. Thought Field Therapy (which was a precursor to EFT as a self help and therapy technique) has already been rated by the NREPP as being effective for personal resilience/self-concept, self-regulation, and trauma and stressor-related disorders; and ‘promising’ for depression; general functioning and well-being; phobia, panic and generalized anxiety; and ‘unspecified’ and other mental health disorders.
World Research Leaders
Dr Peta Stapleton is a registered Clinical & Health Psychologist in the State of Queensland, Australia. She is currently Associate Professor in Psychology at Bond University and the Program Director of the Masters of Clinical Psychology course. Peta leads worldwide research into psychological trials into new therapies in the area of obesity and weight management, focussed on Clinical EFT. She is widely published academically, and is the developer of Evidence Based EFT Training, Tapping in the Classroom and author of EFT for Teens, and Your Mind Power. Peta has conducted the world’s first brain scan trial of EFT for food cravings in overweight adults.
Dr Dawson Church is the founder of the National Institute for Integrative Healthcare which studies and implements promising evidence-based psychological and medical techniques. His groundbreaking research has been published in many prestigious scientific journals, and he is the editor of Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, & Treatment, a peer-reviewed professional journal. Dawson is also an award-winning author of The Genie in Your Genes, and hosts EFTUniverse.com, one of the most-visited alternative medicine sites on the web.
Dr David Feinstein, a licensed clinical psychologist, is an internationally recognized leader in the rapidly emerging field of Energy Psychology. His scientific papers have provided a foundation for understanding how it is possible to quickly and non-invasively alter brain chemistry for therapeutic gain. David has won 9 national awards for his books on consciousness and healing and with his wife, Donna Eden, has built the world’s largest and most vibrant organization teaching energy medicine.
Disorders / Conditions that have been Studied
- General anxiety (Andrade & Feinstein, 2004; Temple & Mollon, 2011 for dental anxiety)
- Test anxiety (Benor et al., 2009; Boath, Stewart, & Carryer, 2013; Jain & Rubino, 2012; Jones, Thornton, & Andrews, 2011; Sezgin, Ozcan, & Church, 2009; Stapleton et al., 2017)
- Phobias (Baker & Siegel, 2010; Wells et al., 2003)
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (Moritz et al., 2011)
- PTSD (Burk, 2010; Church, 2009a; Church, Geronilla, & Dinter, 2009; Church et al., 2013; Church & Brooks, 2014; Church, Pina, Reategui, & Brooks, 2011; Gurret, Caufour, Palmer-Hoffman, & Church, 2012; Hartung & Stein, 2012; Karatzias et al., 2011; Stein & Brooks, 2011; Zhang et al., 2011)
- General trauma (Kober et al., 2002; Lubin, Hari, Schneider, & Tiffany, 2009; Swingle, Pulos, & Swingle, 2005)
- Stress (Bougea et al., 2013; Church & Brooks, 2010; Church, Yount, & Brooks, 2011; Rowe, 2005)
- Depression (Chatwin, Stapleton, Porter, Devine, & Sheldon, 2016; Church, De Asis, & Brooks, 2012; Stapleton, Devine, Chatwin, Porter, & Sheldon, 2014; Stapleton, Church, Sheldon, & Porter, 2013)
- Addiction (Church & Brooks, 2013; Palmer-Hoffman & Brooks, 2011)
- Obesity / emotional eating / food cravings (Stapleton, Sheldon, Porter, & Whitty, 2011; Stapleton, Sheldon, & Porter, 2012a, 2012b; Stapleton, Church, Sheldon, Porter, & Carlopio, 2013; Stapleton et al., 2016a, 2016b)
- Pain/Fibromyalgia/tension headaches (Bougea et al., 2013; Brattberg, 2008; Church, 2008; Ortner, Palmer-Hoffman & Clond, 2014; Stapleton, Chatwin, Sheppard, & McSwan , 2017)
- Frozen shoulder (Church & Nelms, 2016); Psoriasis (Hodge & Jurgens, 2011); Insomnia (Lee, Chung & Kim, 2015); Seizure disorders (Swingle, 2000)
- Sporting / athletic performance (Church, 2009b; Church & Downs, 2012; Llewellyn-Edwards & Llewellyn-Edwards, 2012; Rotheram et al., 2012)
- Learning disabilities / educational (McCallion, 2012; Stapleton, et al., 2017)
- Epigenetic and physiological functioning (Church, Yount, Rachlin, Nelms, 2016; Maharaj, 2016)
- General psychological functioning (Church, 2008; Stewart, Boath, Carryer, Walton, & Hill, 2011)
Populations that have been Studied
- College students (Church, De Asis, & Brooks, 2012; Stapleton et al., 2017)
- Veterans (Church et al., 2013; Geronila et al., 2014)
- Pain patients (Bougea et al., 2013; Church & Nelms, 2016; Stapleton et al., 2017),
- Overweight adults (Stapleton, Bannatyne, Porter, Urzi, & Sheldon, 2016; Stapleton, Church, Sheldon, Porter, & Carlopio, 2013; Stapleton, Sheldon, & Porter, 2012),
- Hospital patients (Karatzias, et al., 2011),
- Athletes (Church, 2009b; Llewellyn-Edwards & Llewellyn-Edwards, 2012),
- Healthcare workers (Church & Brooks, 2010),
- Gifted students (Gaesser, 2016; Stapleton et al., 2017),
- Chemotherapy patients (Baker & Hoffman, 2014), and
- Phobia sufferers (Wells et al., 2003; Baker & Siegel, 2010; Salas, Brooks, & Rowe, 2011)
As you can see EFT has studied across a wide range of populations and issues. It has been found to be an “evidence-based” practice for anxiety, depression, phobias and PTSD when measured against the standards of the American Psychological Association’s Division 12 Task Force on Empirically Validated Treatments.
The criteria this body uses to evaluate psychological therapies includes:
- That a sufficient sample size be used for statistically significant effects (p < .05 or better);
- That valid and reliable assessment tools be used to measure change;
- That treatment samples are assessed or diagnosed by qualified clinicians;
- That random allocation to the active treatment and a control condition be used;
- Blindness to group assignment by interviewers in studies using interviews for subject selection.
- That treatment manuals are utilized, or in the case of simple treatments, full descriptions within the study are provided; and
- That sufficient information be included so the study’s conclusions can be reviewed for appropriateness, including sample sizes, use of assessment tools that identify targeted outcomes, and the magnitude of statistical significance