Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) for Stress in Students: A Randomized Controlled Dismantling Study

doi 10.9769/EPJ.2015.11.1.RR

Rachel Rogers and Sharon Sears, Fort Lewis College

Abstract: Previous studies have demonstrated that Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) is an evidence-based method that relieves stress and a variety of psychological conditions. EFT combines techniques drawn from conventional methods such as cognitive therapy with the novel ingredient of acupressure. The goal of the current study was to determine whether or not EFT could quickly reduce stress symptoms in college students, and to compare the efficacy of acupoint stimulation to the stimulation of sham points. Participants were 56 university students randomly assigned to either the EFT (n = 26) or sham group (n = 30). They were assessed for nine common stress symptoms before and after a single 15-20 minute group treatment session. Sessions occurred on campus in groups of five to 10 students. Participants in both groups repeated statements from a script containing eight sets of stressful cognitions centered on feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, and ending with positive affirmations. Those in the EFT group stimulated the points described in manualized form of the method, while those in the second group stimulated sham acupressure points. There were no significant differences in stress symptoms between the two groups at pretest. Posttest, symptoms were reduced in the EFT group by 39.3% and in the sham acupressure group by 8.1% (p < .001), demonstrating that the stimulation of actual points is superior to sham points even when all other components of treatment remain identical. The results of this study are consistent with previous dismantling studies demonstrating that acupressure is an active ingredient in the EFT protocol and not a placebo or inert component of treatment. Clinical EFT is an effective immediate treatment for common stress symptoms.

Keywords: EFT, Emotional Freedom Techniques, Clinical EFT, dismantling, sham, acupressure, students, stress

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