EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Remediates PTSD and Psychological Symptoms in Veterans: A Randomized Controlled Replication Trial

doi 10.9769/EPJ.2016.8.2.LG

Linda Geronilla, Lorna Minewiser, Phil Mollon, Marilyn McWilliams, & Morgan Clond

Abstract: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common condition among veterans and is often regarded as treatment-resistant. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) combines brief exposure therapy with acupressure and has demonstrated efficacy for PTSD in other trials and meta-analyses. This study recruited 58 veterans who scored 50 or greater on the military PTSD checklist (PCL-M), indicating clinical symptom levels. Participants were randomized into a Treatment As Usual (TAU) wait-list group (n = 26) and an experimental group (n = 32), which received six one-hour EFT sessions in addition to TAU. The mean pretreatment PCL-M score of participants was 66 ± 7.4, with no significant difference between groups. The EFT group demonstrated a significant reduction in PCL-M score from 65 ± 8.1 to 34 ± 10.3 (p < 0.001), while subjects in the TAU group showed no significant change. The TAU group was then treated with EFT and groups were combined for analysis using linear mixed effects modeling. In the combined EFT group, posttreatment PCL-M scores declined to a mean of 34 (–52%, p < 0.001). Participant gains were maintained at three and six-month follow-up, with mean six-month PCL-M scores of 34 (p < 0.001). Psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression also declined significantly, as did physiological markers of insomnia and pain. An effect size of Cohen’s d = 3.44 indicates a large treatment effect. These results replicate those obtained in an earlier investigation, and indicate that EFT is an evidence-based practice that is highly effective at reducing symptom severity in veterans with PTSD.

Keywords: veterans, PTSD, memories, resiliency, trauma, EFT, Emotional Freedom Techniques

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