Efficacy of Two Evidence-Based Therapies, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), for the Treatment of Gender Violence in the Congo: A Randomized Controlled Trial

doi 10.9769/EPJ.2015.7.2.AN

Ashley Nemiro, North Carolina State University
Sarah Papworth, Royal Holloway University of London, United Kingdom

Abstract: Psychological trauma in the aftermath of sexual violence is a persistent problem in both developing and developed nations, and appropriate treatment techniques are needed to address the special needs of this population. The objective of this study was to assess whether two evidence-based therapeutic methods for PTSD, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), are efficacious for sexual gender-based violence (SGBV). Participants were 50 internally displaced female refugees who had been victims of SGBV in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They were assessed using the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ) and the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25 (HSCL-25), which measures general mental health. Participants received two 2-1/2 hour treatment sessions per week for 4 consecutive weeks (eight sessions total). Assessments occurred before and after treatment, and 6 months later. Participants demonstrated significant posttest improvement in both groups on both measures. Follow-up assessments showed that participants maintained their gains over time whether treated with EFT or CBT. The results are consistent with earlier trials, and indicate that both EFT and CBT are efficacious when delivered in group format, as well as being effective treatments for SGBV in the setting of a developing nation.

Keywords: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, CBT, Emotional Freedom Techniques, EFT, PTSD, posttraumatic stress disorder, mental health, sexual violence

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