Dawson Church, PhD & Audrey J. Brooks, PhD.
Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal, (2010), Oct/Nov.
This study examined whether self-intervention with Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), a brief exposure therapy that combines a cognitive and a somatic element, had an effect on healthcare workers’ psychological distress symptoms. Participants were 216 attendees at 5 professional conferences.
Psychological distress, as measured by the SA-45, and self-rated pain, emotional distress, and craving were assessed before and after 2-hours of self-applied EFT, utilizing a within-subjects design. A 90-day follow-up was completed by 53% of the sample with 61% reporting using EFT subsequent to the workshop.
Significant improvements were found on all distress subscales and ratings of pain, emotional distress, and cravings at posttest (all p<.001). Gains were maintained at follow-up for most SA-45 scales. The severity of psychological symptoms was reduced (-45%, p<.001) as well as the breadth (-40%, p<.001), with significant gains maintained at follow-up.
Greater subsequent EFT use correlated with a greater decrease in symptom severity at follow-up (p<.034, r=.199), but not in breadth of symptoms (p<.0117, r=.148).
EFT provided an immediate effect on psychological distress, pain, and cravings that was replicated across multiple conferences and healthcare provider samples.