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Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) Reduces Intense Fears

A Partial Replication and Extension of the Wells et al 2003 Study Exploring the Effectiveness of EFT with Small Animal Phobias

Citation: Baker, A. & Siegel, L. (2010). Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) Reduces Intense Fears: A Partial Replication and Extension of Wells et al. (2003). Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, & Treatment, 2(2). doi:10.9769/EPJ.2010.2.2.AHB.LSS Click here to view Abstract http://goo.gl/GPkMGM

Abstract

Wells, Polglase, Andrews, Carrington, and Baker (2003) found that Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT; an intervention involving manual stimulation of a specific set of acupuncture points accompanied by certain verbalizations) produced greater decrease in intense fear of small animals than did a comparison condition.

The present partial replication and extension assessed whether such findings reflected (a) nonspecific factors common to many forms of psychotherapy, (b) some methodological artifact (such as regression to the mean, fatigue, or the passage of time), and/or (c) therapeutic ingredients specific to EFT.

Participants were randomly assigned to EFT, a supportive interview, or no-treatment control.  On a majority of the dependent variables, participants in the EFT condition showed significant decrease in fear of small animals immediately after, and again 1.38 years after, one 45-min intervention, whereas the other two conditions did not.

These findings lend support for EFT’s efficacy in the treatment of intense fear, but further research is needed regarding the range of problems for which EFT may be efficacious, the treatment procedures required to maintain clinical gains, the relative power of EFT compared with other established therapies, and the mechanism(s) that produce EFT’s effects.

Craig’s Comments

In 2010, a partial replication and extension study was performed by Baker and Siegel that supported the previous “Wells” study showing the effectiveness  of using EFT for reducing small animal phobias, conducted in 2003. Participants were assigned to one of three groups, i.e. EFT, a supportive interview, or a no-treatment control group. The results were significantly positive for only the EFT group. The EFT intervention was a single 45 minute session only. This study also included a long term follow-up nearly a one and one-half years after the intervention. Results lend support for including EFT in the treatment of intense fears. It is recommended that future research includes comparisons with other established therapies.