Church, D., & Brooks, A. J. (2014). CAM and energy psychology techniques remediate PTSD symptoms in veterans and spouses. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 10(1), 24-33.
Read more at Explore Journal of Science and Healing
Summary by Adam Boughey, Research Associate and Trainee Health Psychologist, Staffordshire University, UK
Male veterans and their spouses (n = 218) attending one of six-week-long retreats were assessed for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms pre- and postintervention.
Participants were evaluated using the PTSD checklist (PCL), on which, a score of >49 indicates clinical symptom levels. The mean pretest score was 61.1 (SD ± 12.5) for veterans and 42.6 (SD ± 16.5) for spouses; 83% of veterans and 29% of spouses met clinical criteria. The multimodal intervention used Emotional Freedom Techniques and other energy psychology (EP) methods to address PTSD symptoms and a variety of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) modalities for stress reduction and resource building. Interventions were delivered in group format as well as individual counseling sessions. Data were analyzed for each retreat, as well as for the six retreats as a whole.
Mean post-test PCL scores decreased to 41.8 (SE ± 1.2; p < 0.001) for veterans, with 28% still clinical. Spouses demonstrated substantial symptom reductions (M = 28.7, SE ± 1.0; p < 0.001), with 4% still clinical. A follow-up assessment (n = 63) found PTSD symptom levels dropping even further for spouses (p < 0.003), whereas gains were maintained for veterans.
The significant reduction in PTSD symptoms is consistent with other published reports of EP treatment, though counter to the usual long-term course of the condition. The results indicate that a multimodal CAM intervention incorporating EP may offer benefits to family members as well as veterans suffering from PTSD symptoms. Recommendations are made for further research to answer the questions posed by this study.
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Summary from ACEP (Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology
A randomized controlled trial of veterans with clinical levels of PTSD symptoms found significant improvements after EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). While pain, depression, and anxiety were not the targets of treatment, significant improvements in these conditions were found.
Subjects (n = 59) received six sessions of EFT coaching supplementary to primary care. They were assessed using the SA-45, which measures 9 mental health symptom domains, and also has 2 general scales measuring the breadth and depth of psychological distress.
Anxiety and depression both reduced significantly, as did the breadth and depth of psychological symptoms. Pain decreased significantly during the intervention period (– 41%, p < 0.0001). Subjects were followed at 3 and 6 months, revealing significant relationships between PTSD, depression, and anxiety at several assessment points.
At follow-up, pain remained significantly lower than pretest.
The results of this study are consistent with other reports showing that, as PTSD symptoms are reduced, general mental health improves, and that EFT produces long-term gains for veterans after relatively brief interventions.