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EFT: The Science and Research
As human beings we can be very wary before trying anything new and can look for evidence either in friends who have given something a try to scientific research backing up what is being offered. With the increasing availability of social media, we tend to look at what others have experienced before we take a trip, try that restaurant or buy that product. We look for assurance that what we are about to do has been tested, at least by our peers before we are willing to give it a go. It is this understandable need for reassurance and to be able to trust in something that is fueling the huge amount of research that is currently underway regarding the uses of tapping (EFT) and other somatic energy psychologies.
There is tremendous ongoing efforts by AAMET, EFT Universe and others to advance the use of tapping in healthcare. There has recently been a review by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in Great Britain) regarding the treatment guidelines for PTSD. Although there is a long way to go, some of the great things to come out of this review include a recognition that research around EFT can be included in their inclusion criteria and EFT along with Somatic Experiencing has been acknowledged as a cognitive therapy in the considered psychological interventions for the treatment of PTSD. Also EFT could possibly be offered as a treatment choice for military combat trauma (1).
Research for EFT needs to undergo rigorous testing before it is acknowledged to be of benefit. Below is a list of the different kinds of testing in order of importance:
Meta-Analyses and Systematic Reviews: Scholarly articles which review a series of studies, generally of one technique for a specific application, which critique the design, methodology, statistics and conclusions of those studies.
Randomized Controlled Study with Potentially Strong Generalizability: A formal study using established pre- and post-intervention assessments with multiple clients, including randomization, follow-up, and at least one control/comparison group with means for blinding those assessing the outcomes from knowledge of which subjects were in which group. These studies are well-designed and administered so that the effects of each treatment condition can be reliably compared, and generalizations to specified populations can be anticipated with reasonable confidence.
Randomized Controlled Study with Limited Generalizability: A formal study using established pre- and post-intervention assessments with multiple clients, including at least one control/comparison group and randomization, but lacking follow-up, blinding, and/or rigor in design and execution.
Uncontrolled Outcome Study: A formal study using established pre- and post-intervention assessments with multiple clients, but lacking randomization and a control/comparison group.
Survey Studies of Practitioner Observations: A phenomenological study exploring practitioners’ observations and experiences.
Clinical Case Study: A formal report which uses established pre- and post-intervention assessments with one subject and details one or more treatment variables.
Systematic Observational Report: An informal outcome report describing the course of treatment using a single therapeutic approach with multiple subjects.
Anecdotal Report: An informal report describing outcomes after applying a psychological method with a single individual.
In addition to the above categories, which are listed in descending order of scientific rigour, is the additional (unranked) category: Theoretical and Review Articles Scholarly articles which discuss theoretical considerations and plausible mechanisms of action for a treatment approach, review existing research studies, and/or discuss clinical applications based on these studies (2). There will be a lot more on research of EFT and its amazing benefits on this website so stay tuned!
(1) For more information regarding how EFT is being used with war veterans please see https://stressproject.org/about-energy-psychology
(2) See for instance Dr. Peta Stapleton's Ted Talk from Bond University (QLD).