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EFT Research Paper

The Effect of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) on Psychological Symptoms in Addiction Treatment: A Pilot Study

Citation: Church, D., & Brooks, A. J. (2013). The effect of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) on psychological symptoms in addiction treatment: A pilot study. Journal of Scientific Research and Reports, 2(2). To view Abstract http://goo.gl/2RKQmL and Download Full Paper PDF


Objective: Studies have found a frequent co-occurrence of psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression with addiction. This pilot study examined the effect of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), a widely practiced form of energy psychology, on 39 adults self-identified with addiction issues attending an EFT weekend workshop targeting addiction.

Measures: Subjects completed the SA-45, a well-validated questionnaire measuring psychological distress. It has two global scales assessing intensity and breadth of psychological symptoms and 9 symptom subscales including anxiety and depression. The SA-45 was administered before and after the workshop. Twenty-eight participants completed a 90-day follow-up.

Results: A statistically significant decrease was observed in the two global scales and all but one of the SA-45 subscales after the workshop, indicating a reduction in psychological distress (positive symptom total -38%, P<.000). Improvements on intensity and breadth of psychological symptoms, and anxiety and obsessive-compulsive subscales were maintained at the 90-day follow-up (P<.001).

Conclusion: These findings are consistent with those noted in studies of other populations, and suggest that EFT may be an effective adjunct to addiction treatment by reducing the severity of general psychological distress. Limitations of this study include a small sample size, lack of a control or comparison group, and attrition between primary and follow-up data points.

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Editor’s Note

This study was meant to explore the possibility that additional psychological issues often come into play when there is addiction and was used to see the effects of EFT on 39 participants who self-reported having addiction problems at an addiction focused EFT workshop in 2008. SA45 (a commonly utilized psychological distress questionnaire) were compared before and after the workshop, in addition to 90 days afterwards, of which 28 participated in and completed the follow up. A statistically significant decrease in a variety of symptoms including anxiety, interpersonal sensitivity, somatization and more. The notion is that by using EFT as a source of stress-related symptom prevention, the tendency to relapse into addictive tendencies might be reduced. Study weakness included a high percentage of drop out for the 90 day follow-up, the lack of a control group and variations in which the EFT instructions were presented.