Clinician's Digest

Clinician's Digest

By Garry Cooper

November/December 2009

Energy therapies like Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and Thought Field Therapy (TFT) haven't gotten much respect from the American Psychological Association (APA). Currently the APA's Office of Continuing Education in Psychology refuses even to grant CE credits for workshops in TFT and EFT. In the June 2008 Psychotherapy Theory, Research, Practice, Training, psychologist David Feinstein of Ashland, Oregon, published the first review of the research on energy therapy in an APA refereed journal, and called for APA to accept energy therapy as an empirically supported treatment. However, in June 2009, two authors strongly critiqued Feinstein's review in the same journal.

Feinstein admits that the notion that clients who tap themselves on specific parts of the body to alter electrical pathways to the brain, thus producing rapid changes in feelings, cognitions, and behaviors, does invite skepticism—even though acupuncture, based upon the same principles, has gained mainstream respectability. In his paper, Feinstein based his case partly on the increasing amount of anecdotal evidence of success, videotapes of actual sessions, numerous single-case studies, and eight uncontrolled outcome studies. But such evidence falls far short of the replicable, randomized controlled trial (RCT) that the APA insists constitute empirical support.

"The plural of anecdote is not data," says Florida State University instructor Monica Pignotti, who coauthored one of the…

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