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EFT Research Paper

Borrowing Benefits: Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) as an Immediate Stress Reduction Skill in the Workplace

CITATION: Church, D. and David, I. (2019) Borrowing Benefits: Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) as an Immediate Stress Reduction Skill in the Workplace. Psychology, 10, 941-952. doi: 10.4236/psych.2019.107061.

Full Paper pdf available at https://m.scirp.org/papers/92996


Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) is an evidence-based practice that has demonstrated efficacy for anxiety, depression, and PTSD. While a literature search identifies over 100 EFT papers, none thus far report on its use with business executives. The current study assessed psychological indicators in business owners (N = 39) over 50 years old and whose companies grossed US$9 million or more annually. Participants attended a daylong seminar combining psychoeducation with EFT delivered in small group format using a manualized protocol known as Borrowing Benefits. All members of each group used EFT while witnessing sessions conducted by a certified Clinical EFT practitioner. After treatment, the severity of psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression declined by 34% (p < 0.0008). Pain was reduced by 41%, and cravings for problem food and drink items by 50% (both p < 0.0001). The study focused on EFT’s immediate stress-reduction effects and did not include a follow-up assessment. Consistent with the literature on Borrowing Benefits, EFT produced large reductions in stress symptoms when delivered in group format. As businesses seek methods of reducing stress in professional settings, Clinical EFT groups offer a fast and effective technique to improve both the physical and psychological dimensions of employee well-being.


This paper is a further study exploring the use of EFT’s “borrowing benefits”, this time with a focus on successful business owners. Then intention appears to dive into the idea that the intervention of EFT, if used in this manner, could potentially reduce business owner burnout and depression and hence affect the job satisfaction of employees and co-workers via the previously documented concept of “emotional contagion”. The authors describe borrowing benefits as: The leader of a Borrowing Benefits group works with one participant in front of the group, while the other group members self-apply EFT. Even though other members of the group may have issues that are quite different from the issue being addressed by the participant, their scores on anxiety and depression assessments tend to go down. Previously published studies have been performed with veterans and healthcare workers.

The study had a small (N) of 39 participants, with an average age of 62 years old, included 65% of whom were women. It was a non-randomized, subjectively scored SA-45 scoring procedure (the short form of the Symptom Checklist-90) evaluation of a group of professionals who attended a single day EFT workshop. The SA-45 measured pre and post test scores which include self scoring for a wide variety of physical and emotional traits. “The SA-45 provides a brief yet thorough measure of psychiatric symptomatology using two global scales that measure symptom severity (Global Severity Index, GSI) and symptom breadth (Positive Symptom Total, PST). The SA-45 also contain nine subscales: anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive behavior, hostility, interpersonal sensitivity, paranoia, somatization, phobic anxiety, and psychoticism.” In addition to the SA-45, a portion of the group (N = 23) rated their subjective level of distress (aka SUDs level) regarding three areas of their life including a physical area of pain/discomfort, a distressing childhood memory and the degree of craving for a substance, i.e. chocolate, alcohol, tobacco etc.

The daylong event included presentations on stress, an explanation of EFT, small borrowing benefits groups of ten participants facilitated by a skilled EFT practitioner and a closing feedback period.

Results: The author’s conclusions include:

“This study examined the psychological effects of a one-day EFT seminar in a group of business owners. Participants demonstrated a large immediate reduction in indicators of psychological distress. Pain, the intensity of emotional memories, and cravings also diminished significantly. The results are consistent with a large body of evidence indicating that applying EFT’s Borrowing Benefits technique in groups is both effective and cost-efficient, especially in settings where individual counseling may not be feasible or may carry a stigma. The study demonstrates that a modest investment of time and resources in the form of EFT training may lead to statistically and clinically significant improvements in mental health in professional and workplace settings. As an evidence-based technique that is inexpensive, quickly learned, and effective in groups, EFT can be used in a variety of workplace settings to reduce stress and promote well-being.”

Study limitations are of course discussed including a small sample size, non-randomization of groups, an elevated attrition group, no objective measures recorded and no follow up to evaluate if the observable changes were maintained after the daylong event.