Is there any evidence for emotional freedom technique? How do you get qualified? Is it used in more traditional therapy?
I'll use this Quickstart Guide to EFT (PDF) as a basis to discuss the Emotional Freedom Technique.
EFT is based on the assumption that
"The cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system."
It works by tapping on specific meridian points with your fingertips which "balances energy meridians". It is claimed that this heals about any psychological problem you can think of.
There is no scientific basis for the existence of meridians in our bodies. The basic principles of EFT are not based on science, but on a vague concept of energy, that has no relation to any established scientific principles.
There have been a number of small studies on EFT. The largest one of those with 119 participants divided into 4 groups did not find EFT significantly more effective than placebo. One small study with 5 participants in each group, performed by the originator of the technique found a significant effect of EFT. Due to the small sample size and the fact that the journal it was published in is dedicated to alternative medicine, I would not consider these results as proof of effectiveness.
I did not find any convincing studies that would show the effectiveness of this technique. Considering the implausible mechanism it is based on, I would safely argue that EFT is extremely unlikely to work better than placebo and should not be considered a credible treatment for psychological issues.
Yes, there is evidence that emotional freedom technique (EFT) does work. EFT is comparable with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in low ranking journals. An Australian psychologist published in a 2016 randomised controlled study of 83 community members with obesity (sorry paywall), EFT has a similar reduction as CBT at 6 and 12 month follow up. 8 sessions over 8 weeks was the mainstay of the intervention and subjects were randomised to either CBT or EFT.
results were also observed at the 6‐month (p < .001 and p < .001, respectively) and 12‐month (p < .001 and p < .001, respectively) follow‐up periods
In a 2018 open journal, a trial of craving reduction of 143 overweight and obese adults were examined. The study found that a 4 week treatment was as effective as a 8 week treatment of EFT. Unfortunately, this study was not randomized across the three arms and must have used the data from the previous study discussed. The 4 week arm had a waitlist control which subjects were randomised to.
four-week intervention group over time F(2.01, 26.08) = 5.11, p = .013, η2 = .28, power = .78. However, pairwise comparisons with Sidak adjustment revealed no statistically significant changes in BMI scores from pre-intervention to post-intervention, 6-month follow-up, or 12-month follow-up.
significant differences in weight scores were elicited for the four-week intervention group over time F(2.19, 28.51) = 4.71, p = .014, η2 = .27, power = .78.
There were difference between the 4 and 8 week intervention arm suggesting that EFT could be more affordable and time-effective than potentially CBT.