Change Is Possible: EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) with Life-Sentence and Veteran Prisoners at San Quentin State Prison
By Hari Lubin & Tiffany Schneider
Counseling with prisoners presents unique challenges and opportunities. For the past seven years, a project called “Change Is Possible” has offered EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) counseling to life sentence and war veteran inmates through the education department of San Quentin State Prison in California. Prisoners receive a series of five sessions of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) from an EFT practitioner, with a three session supplement one month later. Emotionally-triggering events, and the degree of intensity associated with them, are self-identified before and after EFT. Underlying core beliefs and values are also identified. In this report, the EFT protocol and considerations specific to this population are discussed. Prisoner statements are included, to reveal self-reported changes in their impulse control, intensity of reaction to triggers, somatic symptomatology, sense of personal responsibility, and positive engagement in the prison community. Future research is outlined, including working within the requirements specific to a prison population in a manner that permits the collection of empirical data.