Citation: Boath, E., Stewart, A., & Carryer, A. (2012). A narrative systematic review of the effectiveness of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). Staffordshire University, CPSI Monograph.
EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) is a new and emerging energy psychology. This narrative systematic review aimed to identify and assess the quality of all published randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of EFT in order to: evaluate the effectiveness of EFT in treating a range of psychological disorders and to compare the effectiveness of EFT with other interventions used for treating those disorders.
Methodology: A literature search was carried out of CINAHL, Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, PsychARTICLES, Proquest, PubMED, Sciencedirect, SPORTdiscus, Swetswise, Web of Knowledge, Web of Science and ZETOC, using the key terms EFT and energy psychology. Calls for published, unpublished and ongoing RCTs of EFT were sent to Newsletters and to the Association of Energy Psychology and the Foundation for Epigenetic Medicine. Contact was made with researchers and practitioners in the field. Conference proceedings and reference lists of retrieved articles were hand searched. Abstracts of articles were reviewed and full copies acquired if they title and/or abstract identified the paper as an RCT of EFT. Two authors independently rated and assessed the quality of each trial using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) for randomised controlled trials and the Jadad Scale.
Results: The search strategy identified a total of 42 published studies of EFT. Seven RCTs of EFT were included. Methodological flaws in the studies are highlighted and discussed. EFT was shown to be effective in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ( PTSD), Fibromyalgia, Phobias, test anxiety and athletic performance. EFT was shown to be superior to diaphragmatic breathing (DB), Progressive Muscular Relaxation (PMR), an inspirational lecture and a Support Group. Only Eye Movement, Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) was superior to EFT. EFT may be an efficient and effective intervention for a range of psychological disorders. Given the methodological limitation of these RCTs, further good quality research on EFT is warranted.