Research on Thought Field Therapy
NREPP Recognized Thought Field Therapy as an Effective Tapping Therapy
The National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP), a searchable-online database of mental health and substance abuse interventions (a service of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Agency (SAMHA) within the United States Department of Health and Human Services), listed Thought Field Therapy as an effective evidence-based practice for improving personal resilience/self-concept, for improving self-regulation, and for reducing trauma- and stress-related disorders and symptoms.
They also listed Thought Field Therapy as promising for reducing depression and depressive symptoms; for improving general functioning and well-being; for reducing phobia, panic, and generalized anxiety disorders and symptoms; and for reducing unspecified and other mental health disorders and symptoms.
The following studies were evaluated in this review:
Connolly, S. M., Roe-Sepowitz, D., Sakai, C., & Edwards, J. (2013). Utilizing community resources to treat PTSD: A randomized controlled study using Thought Field Therapy. African Journal of Traumatic Stress, 3(1), 24–31.
Connolly, S., & Sakai, C. (2011). Brief trauma intervention with Rwandan genocide-survivors using Thought Field Therapy. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, 13(3), 161–172.
Irgens, A., Dammen, T., Nysaeter, T. E., & Hoffart, A. (2012). Thought Field Therapy (TFT) as a treatment for anxiety symptoms: A randomized controlled trial. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 8, 331–338.
Robson, H., Robson, P. M., Ludwig, R., Mitabu, C., & Phillips, C. (2016). Effectiveness of Thought Field Therapy provided by newly-instructed community workers to a traumatised population in Uganda: A randomised trial. Current Research in Psychology, 7(1), 1-11.
The following studies have been done on Thought Field Therapy® (TFT):
AlAwadah, A. S., AlHabdan, A., AlTaifi, B., & AlMejrad, L. (2021). The effect of Thought Field Therapy on dental fear among Saudi women during restorative treatment. EC Dental Science, 20(5), 78-85.
Background: This study aimed to evaluate the moderating effect of Thought Field Therapy (TFT) on dental fear and to compare this therapy with other non-medical fear-reduction methods.
Materials and Methods: We enrolled 160 Saudi women who had presented to King Saud University College of Dentistry Primary Clinics for restorative dental treatment. The participants were randomly assigned into four groups of 40, each of which was subjected to a different fear management treatment: TFT; Tell, Show, and Do (TSD) technique; Control Shift (CS); or a negative control (NG) in which no fear-reduction method was used. Each participant completed a pre-operative questionnaire and a post-operative questionnaire immediately after the dental procedure. Both questionnaires measured dental fear, pulse rate, and blood pressure. Data were
collected and analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences program.
Results: The dental fear survey score for the tested sample was 44/100, indicating moderate dental fear. The TFT group showed significantly low dental fear (p < 0.05) after treatment, whereas the TSD and Control Shift groups showed significantly high blood pressure and pulse rate (p < 0.05). Approximately 65% patients in the TFT group would recommend this method to reduce fear; 57% patients in the TSD groups were satisfied, and 55% patients in the Control Shift group were satisfied. Only 25% patients in the negative control group were satisfied (25%).
Conclusion: TFT was more effective than both TSD and CS in reducing dental fear.
Blaich, R. (1988). Applied kinesiology and human performance. Selected papers of the International College of Applied Kinesiology, (Winter), 1-15.
Readers improved in their reading speed by 45% after using Dr. Callahan’s treatment of tapping the side of the hand for Psychological Reversal.
**Connolly, S. M., Roe-Sepowitz, D., Sakai, C. E., & Edwards, J. (2013). Utilizing community resources to treat PTSD: A randomized controlled study using Thought Field Therapy. African Journal of Traumatic Stress, 3(1), 24-32.
In this randomized controlled study, the researchers provided Rwandan community leaders with training in Thought Field Therapy. Then, they provided one treatment to 164 survivors of the genocide. The participants took the Trauma Symptom Inventory (TSI) and the Modified Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Scale (MPSS). Severity and frequency of traumatic symptoms were significantly reduced in the treatment group and then in the waitlist control group.
**Connolly, S. M., & Sakai, C. E. (2011). Brief trauma symptom intervention with Rwandan genocide survivors using Thought Field Therapy. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, 13(3), 161-172.
One hundred forty-five adults who had survived the genocide in Rwanda participated in a randomized waitlist control study in which they were randomly assigned to a treatment group and a waitlist control group. Results were statistically significant (p < .001) for 9 or the 10 TSI trauma subscales and for frequency and severity of the MPSS. Effect sizes were moderate to large. Those who received TFT had reduced trauma symptoms, which were maintained two years later.
Connolly, S. M., Vanchu-Orosco, M., Warner, J., Seidi, P., Edwards, J., Boath, E., & Irgens, A. C. (2021). Mental health interventions by lay counsellors: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 99(8), 572-582. doi: 10.2471/BLT.20.26905
To investigate the effectiveness of community-based mental health interventions by professionally trained, lay counsellors in low- and middle-income countries.
We searched PubMed®, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PROSPERO and EBSCO databases and professional section publications of the United States National Center for PTSD for randomized controlled trials of mental health interventions by professionally trained, lay counsellors in low- and middle-income countries published between 2000 and 2019. Studies of interventions by professional mental health workers, medical professionals or community health workers were excluded because there are shortages of these personnel in the study countries. Additional data were obtained from study authors. The primary outcomes were measures of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and alcohol use. To estimate effect size, we used a random-effects meta-analysis model.
We identified 1072 studies, of which 19 (involving 20 trials and 5612 participants in total) met the inclusion criteria. Hedges' g for the aggregate effect size of the interventions by professionally trained, lay counsellors compared with mostly either no intervention or usual care was −0.616 (95% confidence interval: −0.866 to −0.366). This result indicates a significant, medium-sized effect. There was no evidence of publication bias or any other form of bias across the studies and there were no extreme outliers among the study results.
The use of professionally trained, lay counsellors to provide mental health interventions in low- and middle-income countries was associated with significant improvements in mental health symptoms across a range of settings.
Darby, D. W. (2002). The efficacy of Thought Field Therapy as a treatment modality for individuals diagnosed with blood-injection-injury phobia (Publication No. 3085152) [Doctoral dissertation, Chapman University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.
Thought Field Therapy® significantly decreased phobia of needles as measured prior to the treatment and a month later using the questions on the Fear Survey Schedule (FSS) related to blood-injection-injury phobia and the Subjective Units of Distress (1-10) self-report scale.
Dunnewold, A. L. (2014). Thought Field Therapy efficacy following large scale traumatic events. Current Research in Psychology, 5(1), 34-39. doi:10.38/crpsp.2014
The author provided a review of the literature of studies that had been conducted on Thought Field Therapy. She concluded that, based on the findings of the studies, community leaders can treat genocide survivors effectively.
Edwards J. (2016). Healing in Rwanda: The words of the therapists. The International Journal of Healing and Caring, 16(1).
Interviews with 35 Rwandan community members who had been trained in Thought Field Therapy and had used it for the past year were analyzed. The therapists talked about the changes that their clients had made as a result of TFT. The therapists indicated that TFT had impacted the community and was an effective treatment for trauma. They suggested that TFT be used widely in Rwanda.
Edwards, J. L., & Vanchu-Orosco, M. (2022). A meta-analysis of randomized and non-randomized trials of Thought Field Therapy (TFT) for the treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology, Albuquerque, NM.
The researchers conducted a meta-analysis of studies in which therapists had used Thought Field Therapy® to treat trauma. Eight studies met the criteria for inclusion. “The overall effect size for the pre- to post-TFT treatment in quasi-experimental conditions (-2.01) was large and statistically significant. The results show that TFT is highly effective in reducing trauma symptoms in a variety of populations and settings” (p. 1).
Folkes, C. (2002). Thought Field Therapy and trauma recovery. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, 4(2), 99-104.
Thirty-one immigrants to the United States showed a statistically significant decrease in posttraumatic symptoms as indicated by scores on the Posttraumatic Checklist-C, as well as on their Subjective Units of Distress (1-10) self-report scale from before the Thought Field Therapy® treatment to 30 days later.
**Irgens, A., Dammen, T., Nysaeter T., & Hoffart, A. (2012). Thought Field Therapy (TFT) as a treatment for anxiety symptoms: A randomized controlled trial. Explore, 8(6) 331-337.
The researchers used TFT to treat 45 participants who had an anxiety disorder. One group received treatment immediately, and the other group received treatment 2½ months later. Participants who were treated with TFT improved significantly on two anxiety instruments and one function instrument. Three months later and 12 months later, they had maintained the effects of the treatment.
Johnson, C., Shala, M., Sejdijaj, X., Odell, R., & Dabishevci, D. (2001). Thought Field Therapy: Soothing the bad moments of Kosovo. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 57(10), 1237-1240.*
Of 105 survivors in Kosovo who had 249 traumas, 103 reported complete absence of the trauma with 247 of the traumas. Presence or absence of the “bad moment” (p. 1238), or trauma, was used due to cultural taboos against the use of the Subjective Units of Distress (1-10) self-report scale. The results remained an average of five months later.
**Keppel, H. (2021). The effects of a Thought Field Therapy stress reduction protocol on the stress and empathy levels of parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (Publication No. 28713632) [Doctoral dissertation, Fielding Graduate University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.
The effects of a stress reduction Thought Field Therapy protocol vs. a control-stimulation protocol on general stress, parenting stress, and empathy (perspective taking) were explored in this mixed-model, randomized control study. Parents of children with autism, from Israel and the USA, showed reduced general stress and an increase in perspective taking following the intervention, as measured by self-reports. Parenting stress partially mediated the effect of TFT on perspective taking. There were no additional changes during the follow-up period. Participants with personality characteristics of the broad autism phenotype presented at baseline higher general and parenting-related stress scores, and lower perspective taking scores, regardless of their intervention group. The finding suggests that perspective taking is part of the broad autism phenotype. TFT was effective, regardless of participants’ BAP status.
**Robson, R. H., Robson, P. M. Ludwig, R., Mitabu C., & Phillips, C. (2016). Effectiveness of Thought Field Therapy provided by newly instructed community workers to a traumatized population in Uganda: A randomized trial. Current Research in Psychology, 7(1), 1-11. doi:10.3844/crpsp.201
In Uganda, therapists trained 36 community members in the use of TFT. Then, the community members provided treatment to 256 participants who demonstrated symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress. Participants were divided into treatment and control groups and were assessed with the Posttraumatic Checklist for Civilians (PCL-C). Those who were treated with TFT improved significantly one week after their treatment. While the control group improved, they improved significantly less than those in the treatment group. After treatment, they improved greatly. They showed benefits 19 months later.
Sakai, C., Connolly, S., & Oas, P. (2010). Treatment of PTSD in Rwanda genocide survivors Using Thought Field Therapy. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, 12(1), 41-49.
Fifty adolescents who had been orphaned in the Rwandan genocide each received a session in Thought Field Therapy®. The session took place 12 years after the genocide. Their scores on a PTSD checklist that they had filled out and that their caregivers had filled out decreased significantly from pretest to posttest (p < .001). Interviews also indicated significant reduction in symptoms, including bedwetting, nightmares, depression, aggression, and other symptoms. The adolescents began using TFT as part of the culture in the orphanage, and the results on both checklists were maintained a year later.
Sakai, C., Paperny, D., Mathews, M., Tanida, G., Boyd, G., Simons, A., Yamamoto, C., Mau, C., & Nutter, L. (2001). Thought Field Therapy clinical applications: Utilization in an HMO in behavioral medicine and behavioral health services. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 57(10), 1215-1227.*
In 714 participants who were treated by 7 therapists for 1,594 problems, paired-samples t-tests indicated significant reduction on the Subjective Units of Distress (1-10) self-report scale in 31 categories of distress from pretest to posttest.
Schöninger, B. (2004). Efficacy of Thought Field Therapy (TFT) as a treatment modality for persons with public speaking anxiety (Publication No. 3149748) [Doctoral dissertation, Union Institute and University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.
Thought Field Therapy® significantly decreased fear of speaking in public as measured by the Subjective Units of Distress (1-10) self-report scale and the Speaker Anxiety Scale.
Yancey, V. (2002). The use of Thought Field Therapy in educational settings (Publication No. 3059661) [Doctoral dissertation, Fielding Graduate Institute]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.
Middle school students used Thought Field Therapy® to eliminate angry and violent feelings, to achieve at higher levels in school, and to overcome difficulties in relationships with friends and family. Adults used TFT with students to assist them in improving their scores on tests, relieve stress, get along better with family members and friends, overcome violent feelings, and grow in self-confidence. They also used it with themselves, their families, and their friends to overcome stress.