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A Controlled Comparison of the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Two Psychological Therapies for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing vs. Emotional Freedom Techniques

Karatzias, Thanos PhD*; Power, Kevin PhD†‡; Brown, Keith FRCPsych§∥; McGoldrick, Theresa BA§; Begum, Millia MRCPsych§; Young, Jenny BA§; Loughran, Paul MSc§; Chouliara, Zoë PhD; Adams, Sally MSc#

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: June 2011 - Volume 199 - Issue 6 - p 372-378
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31821cd262
Original Articles

The present study reports on the first ever controlled comparison between eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and emotional freedom techniques (EFT) for posttraumatic stress disorder. A total of 46 participants were randomized to either EMDR (n = 23) or EFT (n = 23). The participants were assessed at baseline and then reassessed after an 8-week waiting period. Two further blind assessments were conducted at posttreatment and 3-months follow-up. Overall, the results indicated that both interventions produced significant therapeutic gains at posttreatment and follow-up in an equal number of sessions. Similar treatment effect sizes were observed in both treatment groups. Regarding clinical significant changes, a slightly higher proportion of patients in the EMDR group produced substantial clinical changes compared with the EFT group. Given the speculative nature of the theoretical basis of EFT, a dismantling study on the active ingredients of EFT should be subject to future research.

*Faculty of Health, Life and Social Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh; †Psychology Department, University of Stilring, Stirling; ‡NHS Tayside Psychological Therapies Service, Dundee; §Behavioural Psychotherapy Service, Larbert; ∥Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network, NHS Forth Valley, Edinburgh; ¶NHS Tayside, Clinical Health Psychology Department, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee; and #Department of Nursing & Midwifery, Stirling University, Stirling, UK.

Send reprint requests to Thanos Karatzias, PhD, Edinburgh Napier University, Faculty of Health, Life & Social Sciences, Sighthill Campus, Sighthill Court, Edinburgh, EH11 4BN, UK. E-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.