The Immediate Effect of a Brief Energy Psychology Intervention (EFT) on Specific Phobias: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Maria Salas, PhD, Audrey J. Brooks, PhD, Jack E. Rowe, PhD.

Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, in press: scheduled for 2011 publication.


This study examined whether Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), a brief exposure therapy that combines cognitive and somatic elements, had an immediate effect on the reduction of anxiety and behavior associated with specific phobias. The present study utilized a cross-over design with participants (N=22) randomly assigned to either diaphragmatic breathing or EFT as the first treatment.

Study measures included a behavioral approach test, Subjective Units of Distress Scale, and Beck Anxiety Inventory. EFT significantly reduced phobia-related anxiety and ability to approach the feared stimulus whether presented as an initial treatment or following diaphragmatic breathing.

When presented as the initial treatment, the effects of EFT remained through the presentation of the comparison intervention. Further study of EFT for specific phobias is warranted.