Temple, G.P., & Mollon, P. (2011). Reducing anxiety in dental patients using Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT): A pilot study. Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 3, 53-56. doi: 10.9769/EPJ.2011.3.2.GPT
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Summary by Adam Boughey, Research Associate and Trainee Health Psychologist, Staffordshire University, UK
Leeds, Yorkshire: UK.
To determine whether EFT is an effective intervention for patients requiring dental treatment and presenting with dental anxiety.
Before and after study; non-random; no control; convenience sample.
A total of 30 participants (14M; 16F; age range = 18-70 years) requiring dental treatment and scoring ≥ 6 on the SUDS participated. No attrition was reported.
Subjective Units of Distress Scale (SUDS).
Graham P. Temple (dentist and EFT practitioner) conducted procedure.
An extra 10 minutes was allocated in addition to the usual dental treatment time to explain EFT and practice.
Initial SUDS was obtained, EFT exampled, and EFT applied in basic form until either no more was required (≤ 2 SUDS) or ≥ 6 minutes elapsed of the 10 minutes allocated for EFT. Final SUDS was obtained.
Patients encouraged to tap on any of the acupressure points they felt may help during dental treatment, excluding facial acupressure points due to safety reasons.
Significant (p < 0.001) decrease in pre-post SUDS (pre: M = 8.03, SD = 1.377; post: M = 3.03; SD = 1.847).
All patients reported a reduction in SUDS from 2-8 points (M = 5) post-treatment.
83% (n = 25) SUDS reduced by ≥ 4 points post-treatment.
73.3% (n = 22) SUDS of ≤ 3 points post-treatment.
* * OR * *
Adult patients awaiting dental treatment were screened for self-reported anxiety using an 11-point Likert scale. Those in the higher half of the range (n = 30) received a 10-min intervention consisting of a 4-min Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) explanation and 6-min treatment.
All patients reported a decrease in subjective anxiety, with a mean pretreatment score of 8.03 and a posttreatment score of 3.03. Paired t tests revealed a statistically significant decrease (p < 0.001).
These results are consistent with other published reports of EFTs efficacy for anxiety. They suggest that even a very brief EFT intervention can reduce anxiety and that an additional controlled trial with both observer- and participant-rated measures should be undertaken.