Menu


EFT for Depression

Below is a selection of abstracts (summaries) of research articles on EFT for depression and related symptoms.

For further research on other topics, follow the links below:
- EFT for Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress
- EFT for Cravings, Weight Issues and Addictions
- EFT for Anxiety, Phobias and Stress
- EFT for Pain and Physical Issues
- EFT for Sports Performance
______________________________________________________________________________

Church, D., De Asis, M., & Brooks, A. J. (2012). Brief group intervention using EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) for depression in college students: A randomized controlled trial. Depression Research & Treatment, Vol.2012.

Two hundred thirty-eight first-year college students were assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Thirty students meeting the BDI criteria for moderate to severe depression were randomly assigned to either a treatment or control group. The treatment group received four 90-minute group sessions of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), a novel treatment that combines exposure, cognitive reprocessing, and somatic stimulation. The control group received no treatment. Posttests were conducted 3 weeks later on those that completed all requirements (N = 18). The EFT group (n = 9) had significantly more depression at baseline than the control group (n = 9) (EFT BDI Mean = 23.44, SD = 2.1 vs. control BDI Mean = 20.33, SD = 2.1). After controlling for baseline BDI score, the EFT group had significantly less depression than the control group at posttest, with a mean score in the “non-depressed” range (p = .001; EFT BDI Mean = 6.08, SE = 1.8 vs. control BDI Mean = 18.04, SE = 1.8). Cohen’s d was 2.28, indicating a very strong effect size. These results are consistent with those noted in other studies of EFT that included an assessment for depression, and indicate the clinical usefulness of EFT as a brief, cost-effective, and efficacious treatment.
Full text of the article is available here.



Palmer-Hoffman, J., & Brooks, A. J. (2011). Psychological symptom change after group application of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, & Treatment, 2(1), 57-72.

A study by J. E. Rowe (2005) examined the effects of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) on psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety. The sample (N = 102) consisted of participants at a weekend workshop taught by Gary Craig, the originator of EFT. Rowe found significant improvements in psychological symptoms from pre- to post-workshop assessments, with significant participant gains maintained on follow-up. The current study examined whether the improvements were attributable to Gary Craig alone or whether similar effects are noted when EFT is delivered by others. This study examined samples of participants at 4 different conferences, in which EFT was taught by others (N = 102). In all 4 conferences, there were significant improvements in the severity and breadth of symptoms pre- and post-workshop (p < .001), and following 3 of the 4 conferences there were significant long-term gains (p < .001). The results indicate that EFT may be effective at reducing psychological symptoms when delivered by individuals other than the method’s founder and that EFT may reliably improve long-term mental health when delivered in brief group treatments.


Church, D., & Brooks, A. J. (2010). The effect of a brief EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) self-intervention on anxiety, depression, pain and cravings in healthcare workers. Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal, Oct/Nov, 40-44.

This study examined whether self-intervention with Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), a brief exposure therapy that combines a cognitive and a somatic element, had an effect on healthcare workers’ psychological distress symptoms. Participants were 216 attendees at 5 professional conferences. Psychological distress, as measured by the SA-45, and self-rated pain, emotional distress, and craving were assessed before and after 2-hours of self-applied EFT, utilizing a within-subjects design. A 90-day follow-up was completed by 53% of the sample with 61% reporting using EFT subsequent to the workshop. Significant improvements were found on all distress subscales and ratings of pain, emotional distress, and cravings at posttest (all p<.001). Gains were maintained at follow-up for most SA-45 scales. The severity of psychological symptoms was reduced (-45%, p<.001) as well as the breadth (-40%, p<.001), with significant gains maintained at follow-up. Greater subsequent EFT use correlated with a greater decrease in symptom severity at follow-up (p<.034, r=.199), but not in breadth of symptoms (p<.0117, r=.148). EFT provided an immediate effect on psychological distress, pain, and cravings that was replicated across multiple conferences and healthcare provider samples.


Church, D., & Brooks, A. J. (2012, June 5). Pain, depression, and anxiety after PTSD symptom remediation in veterans. Data reported at the conference of the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology, San Diego, CA. Submitted for publication.

A randomized controlled trial of veterans with clinical levels of PTSD symptoms found significant improvements after EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). While pain, depression, and anxiety were not the targets of treatment, significant improvements in these conditions were found. Subjects (N = 59) received six sessions of EFT coaching supplementary to primary care. They were assessed using the SA-45, which measures 9 mental health symptom domains, and also has 2 general scales measuring the breadth and depth of psychological distress. Anxiety and depression both reduced significantly, as did the breadth and depth of psychological symptoms. Pain decreased significantly during the intervention period (– 41%, p < .0001). Subjects were followed at 3 and 6 months, revealing significant relationships between PTSD, depression, and anxiety at several assessment points. At follow-up, pain remained significantly lower than pretest. The results of this study are consistent with other reports showing that, as PTSD symptoms are reduced, general mental health improves, and that EFT produces long-term gains for veterans after relatively brief interventions.


Church, D., Geronilla, L., & Dinter, I. (2009). Psychological symptom change in veterans after six sessions of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT): An observational study. International Journal of Healing and Caring, 9(1).

Protocols to treat veterans with brief courses of therapy are required, in light of the large numbers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with depression, anxiety, PTSD and other psychological problems. This observational study examined the effects of six sessions of EFT on seven veterans, using a within-subjects, time-series, repeated measures design. Participants were assessed using a well-validated instrument, the SA-45, which has general scales measuring the depth and severity of psychological symptoms. It also contains subscales for anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive behavior, phobic anxiety, hostility, interpersonal sensitivity, paranoia, psychosis, and somatization. Participants were assessed before and after treatment, and again after 90 days. Interventions were done by two different practitioners using a standardized form of EFT to address traumatic combat memories. Symptom severity decreased significantly by 40% (p<.001), anxiety decreased 46% (p<.001), depression 49% (p<.001), and PTSD 50% (p<.016). These gains were maintained at the 90-day follow-up.
Full text of the article is available here.


Brattberg, G. (2008). Self-administered EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) in individuals with fibromyalgia: A randomized trial. Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal, Aug/Sep, 30-35.

The aim of this study was to examine if self-administered EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) leads to reduced pain perception, increased acceptance, coping ability and health-related quality of life in individuals with fibromyalgia. 86 women, diagnosed with fibromyalgia and on sick leave for at least 3 months, were randomly assigned to a treatment group or a waiting list group. An eight-week EFT treatment program was administered via the Internet.

Upon completion of the program, statistically significant improvements were observed in the intervention group (n=26) in comparison with the waiting list group (n=36) for variables such as pain, anxiety, depression, vitality, social function, mental health, performance problems involving work or other activities due to physical as well as emotional reasons, and stress symptoms. Pain catastrophizing measures, such as rumination, magnification and helplessness, were significantly reduced, and the activity level was significantly increased. The number needed to treat (NNT) regarding recovering from anxiety was 3. NNT for depression was 4.

Self-administered EFT seems to be a good complement to other treatments and rehabilitation programs. The sample size was small and the dropout rate was high. Therefore the surprisingly good results have to be interpreted with caution. However, it would be of interest to further study this simple and easily accessible self-administered treatment method, which can even be taught over the Internet.


Rowe, J. (2005). The effects of EFT on long-term psychological symptoms. Counseling and Clinical Psychology Journal, 2(3), 104-110.

Previous research (Salas, 2000; Wells, et al., 2003), theoretical writings (Arenson, 2001, Callahan, 1985, Durlacher, 1994, Flint, 1999, Gallo, 2002, Hover-Kramer, 2002, Lake & Wells, 2003, Lambrou & Pratt, 2000, and Rowe, 2003), and many case reports have suggested that energy psychology is an effective psychotherapy treatment that improves psychological functioning. The purpose of the present study was to measure any changes in psychological functioning that might result from participation in an experiential Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) workshop and to examine the long-term effects. Using a time-series, within-subjects repeated measures design, 102 participants were tested with a short-form of the SCL-90-R (SA-45) 1 month before, at the beginning of the workshop, at the end of the workshop, 1 month after the workshop, and 6 months after the workshop. There was a statistically significant decrease (p < .0005) in all measures of psychological distress as measured by the SA-45 from pre-workshop to post-workshop which held up at the 6 month follow-up.
Full text of the article is available here.

Further resources


   

For further research on other topics, follow the links below:
- EFT for Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress
- EFT for Cravings, Weight Issues and Addictions
- EFT for Anxiety, Phobias and Stress
- EFT for Pain and Physical Issues
- EFT for Sports Performance