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EFT Research Paper

Effectiveness of EFT on suicidal ideation among young adults

Citation: Patel, V. & Pandey, N. (2021). Effectiveness of EFT on suicidal ideation among young adults. International Journal of Indian Psychology 9(3). ISSN 2348-5396.DIP:, page2image50281920DOI: 10.25215/0903.192

Full paper available here.

Abstract: The present study examines the effectiveness of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) as an intervention for suicidal ideation among young adults. Suicide has been documented in various literature wherein its definition has constantly changed. So has the definition of suicidal ideation. As a result, there is no universally accepted consistent definition for either. An enormous part of our society including the young adults, commit suicide every year. The current situation calls for an easily assessable and effective intervention that can be implemented to deal with suicidal ideation, and eventually suicide. Respondents between the age of 18 and 40 years were assessed for the presence of suicidal ideation using Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale at the beginning and end of intervention. 8 participants out of
20 respondents were provided with intervention. Participants were taken for initial EFT session to get better insight in their distress causing issues that lead them towards suicidal ideation and to provide them with the grasp of how EFT is conducted. Participants were then instructed to practice EFT on themselves on daily basis for next 21 days. In post intervention assessment EFT not only proved to be effective on suicidal ideation but it also provided participants with necessary insight, created and enhanced self-love and made them self-aware and efficient in handling their emotions. EFT is cost effective, easy to use technique that can be used for all emotions and body pains anytime, anywhere and any number of times. 

Craig’s Comments:  I personally am thrilled to see this first direct exploration of the use of EFT for young adults who are vulnerable to the possible of self harm and even suicide. The authors discuss the fact that “the risk of suicidal ideation was 2.4 times greater in youth who experienced peer victimization in the previous year, 3.4 times greater among those who were sexually assaulted, and 4.4 times greater among those who were exposed to maltreatment.” Other risk factors include: depression, anxiety,  job insecurity, recent unemployment…that LGBTQ exhibit high risk population for suicidal ideation and behaviour as well as immigration and the experience of loneliness as a predictor of severe anxiety symptoms and suicidal ideation in defined populations. Suicidal Ideation was defined as thinking about, considering or planning suicide as described by the CDC. It is also a formation of passive thoughts about wanting to be dead or active thought about killing oneself, not accompanied by preparatory behaviour.

Given the published evidence supporting EFT’s efficacy for acting as a fast and effective intervention for reducing psychological trauma, it makes sense that EFT be evaulated for being of therapeutic help to this population.

This study from India is a small study consisting of eight individuals aged 22-33 who were evaluated for suicidal ideation using a varitey of subjective scales, measured before and after the study period. The study explored the effectiveness of EFT for suicidal ideation in eight young adults between the ages of 22-33. No randomization or control group was utilized.

According to the study authors “Participants either had history or had recent issues resulting in suicidal ideation or both. The most common issues leading to suicidal ideation were hopelessness, helplessness, anxiety, fear, loneliness, meaninglessness, guilt and dissatisfaction or disappointment with people around them, with themselves that further lead towards other issues and caused a lot of emotional pain and distress.”

The eight individuals went rhought an initial EFT session that varied between 48 to 115 minutes in order to evaluate  the participants’ most presing concernissues of concerns and bring sifnificalnty reduce their SUDs levels. The participants were then insturcted to practice EFT consistently on their own for the next 21 days with the intention of developing a habit of tapping. The researcher remained in contact with participants obtaining feedback and then took post-study measurements after those 21 days.

So what were the results?

Study assessments done shortly after the study period showed: “absence of suicidal ideation and suicidal behaviour in each and every participant. Increase in self-esteem, self-awareness, emotional balance, tolerance and insight was commonly reported by the participants after the completion of intervention.”

“The standard deviation is 0.35 and 0 respectively at df (degree of freedom) 7 and which is significant at level of p<0.05. Therefore, we can say that EFT is effective in lessening the suicidal ideation among young adults.”

I can only hope that this small study catches the eyes of researchers and clinicians in the field of working with those suffering from trauma and adversity and depressive/anxiety disorders, to help those who are affected by suicidal ideation with an efficient, apparently effective, non-pharmaceutical approach to a problem that seems to keep growing in numbers.

Now this is of course a very small study, without comparison or control group or any randomization. The authors also report no conflicts of interest and so this is important to see international universities with a continued diversity of research clinicians publishing research regarding applications of EFT.

My personal thanks to John Freedom at ACEP for bringing this to my attention.