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Reducing Anxiety in Dental Patients using EFT; Temple & Mollon

Citation: Temple, G., & Mollon, P. (2011). Reducing Anxiety in Dental Patients using EFT: A Pilot Study. Energy Psychology: Theory, Research & Treatment, 3(2).

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Adult patients awaiting dental treatment were screened for self-reported anxiety using an 11-point Likert scale. Those in the higher half of the range (n = 30) received a 10-min intervention consisting of a 4-min Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) explanation and 6-min treatment.

All patients reported a decrease in subjective anxiety, with a mean pretreatment score of 8.03 and a post-treatment score of 3.03. Paired t tests revealed a statistically significant decrease (p < .001).

These results are consistent with other published reports of EFTs efficacy for anxiety. They suggest that even a very brief EFT intervention can reduce anxiety and that an additional controlled trial with both observer- and participant-rated measures should be undertaken.

Editor’s Summary

This study explores the use of EFT for dental anxiety within a private dental clinic in the U.K. It also explores a unique EFT time element for treatment. Given that dental treatment anxiety affects between 10-30% of those seeking dental care, this is an important study that should be followed up on a larger scale and with increased design protocols. 30 adult clinic patients were chosen for intervention after scoring a 6 or more on a 0-10 SUD scale. Each was given a brief 4 minute EFT explanation and a 6 minute EFT treatment. Pre and post SUD scores were taken. Results showed an average SUD decrease of 5 points with 83% experiencing a decrease of at least 4 points. Limitations include no control group a small number of participants and no follow-up data.