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Tapping for PEAS: Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) in Reducing Presentation Expression Anxiety Syndrome (PEAS) in University Students

Citation: Boath, E. Stewart, A & Carryer, A. (2012). Tapping for PEAS: Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) in reducing Presentation Expression Anxiety Syndrome (PEAS) in University Students. Innovative Practice in Higher Education, 1(2), 1-12. Click here for Abstract http://goo.gl/y8WHnX with Full Paper available for download.

Abstract

Presentation anxiety is one of the most common fears that people express.  Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) which is also known as tapping is an emerging complementary therapy that has been used to treat a variety of phobias.

Participants were a convenience sample of 25 third year foundation degree level complementary therapy students undertaking a research module. The module included an assessed presentation, which was known to generate anxiety among students. The students were given a 15 minute assignment workshop .They then received a 15 minute lecture introducing EFT and were then guided though one round of EFT focusing on their fear of public speaking.

The students were assessed using the Subjective Units of Distress (SUDs) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) pre and post EFT.  Immediately following their presentation, the students were invited to take part in a brief face to face interview to explore their use of and feelings about EFT. Twenty one of the total sample of 25 students (84%) participated in the research.

There was a significant reduction in SUDS (p=0.002), HAD (p = 0.048) and HAD Anxiety Subscale (p=0.037). There was no difference in the HAD Depression Subscale (p=0.719). The qualitative data were analysed using a framework approach which revealed 3 themes: nerves, novelty and the practical application of EFT. Despite the limitations of the study, the results suggest that EFT may be a useful addition to curricula for courses that include oral presentations.

Craig’s Comments

A small scale study of students who experienced public speaking anxiety showed that EFT could be an effective tool in reducing anxiety in a very brief, single application. The intervention used was a brief 15 minute introduction to EFT and a single round of tapping. All measurements of anxiety reduction were subjective scales. There was no randomization or control group or long term follow-up. While no decrease in measured depression was found this pilot study suggests that EFT can be used effectively for presentation/public speaking anxiety after a single round of tapping.