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Emotional freedom techniques (EFT) as a practice for supporting chronic disease healthcare: a practitioners’ perspective

Citation: Emotional freedom techniques (EFT) as a practice for supporting chronic disease healthcare: a practitioners’ perspective. Kalla M, Simmons M, Robinson A, Stapleton P. Disabil Rehabil. 2018 Jul;40(14):1654-1662. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2017.1306125. Epub 2017 Mar 27.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09638288.2017.1306125?journalCode=idre20

or https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28345427

Abstract
PURPOSE:
The objective of the present study was to explore Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) practitioners’ experiences of using EFT to support chronic disease patients. This was part of a larger study exploring chronic disease patients’ and EFT practitioners’ experiences of using EFT to support chronic disease healthcare.

METHODS:
A qualitative approach was deemed suitable for this study. Eight practitioners were interviewed using semi-structured interviews via telephone or Zoom (an online video-conferencing platform). Interviews were transcribed verbatim and data was analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis methodology.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSION:
This article presents two super-ordinate themes which explore application of EFT for addressing emotional issues faced by chronic disease patients, and for management of physical symptoms, respectively. Chronic disease patients may benefit from a holistic biopsychosocial, patient-centered healthcare approach. EFT offers potential as a technique that may be used by health practitioners to support the psychosocial aspect of chronic disease healthcare. Implications for Rehabilitation Rehabilitation professionals should incorporate suitable psychological interventions (e.g., EFT) to improve coping and acceptance in physical chronic disease patients and alleviate their fears about the future. Rehabilitation professionals are also recommended to address in chronic disease patients, long-standing or unresolved emotional issues, including past traumas from early life, using EFT or another suitable intervention. Rehabilitation professionals should help improve patients’ emotional states using EFT to enhance physical symptom management.

 

Craig’s Comments:

This is an interesting “qualitative study” in which the researcher interviewed eight EFT practitioners to gain insight into applications of EFT with regards to supportive care for individuals who suffer from chronic health conditions. While people may be suffering from a diagnosis of degenerative arthritis of the spine or chronic lung disease, their lives can be affected in many more ways than just back pain or difficulty breathing. The life limitations they suffer from, the concomitant emotional sequelae as a result of chronic health conditions can have equally significant ramifications on their sense of well being and functionality in life with regards to their attitudes, behaviors and the role they play within their vocational and family dynamics. As the authors state ” The biopsychosocial model of health suggests that chronic disease patients may benefit from more “holistic” healthcare that focuses not only on the biomedical dimension and the cessation
of physical symptoms but also on psychological and social aspects, such as enhancement of overall well-being [4], and improvement of their ability to engage in meaningful social, civic, and economically functional lives.”

The researchers in this study used semi-structured interviews to gain insight into the role that EFT plays in supporting increasing functionality and well being with regards to working with clients with conditions such as chronic pain syndromes, fibromyalgia syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, hypertension, degenerative arthritis and more. They describe EFT as a single technique that works with many emotions, facilitated by a practitioner but guided by the emotional connections and associated meanings and beliefs that a patient has about their condition, symptoms and related current and past life experiences.   The interviewed participants’ accounts allude to EFT as a complementary modality to support biomedical healthcare, not as a replacement thereof.

This paper is unique and a fascinating read that gets to the heart of how EFT often plays a critical role for individuals who can suffer for years and decades from the combined stress of chronic physical conditions combined with the emotional overlay and how EFT can help support these individuals in reducing the emotional and psychological load that often intensify both symptoms and can have a deleterious effect on their healing and life outlook.