On receiving an offer to become a certified quack Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) Therapist

puzzledI received a pamphlet in the mail inviting me to sign up for a quack therapy workshop or DVD with which I could get a certificate to offer the treatment to unsuspecting clients. It came from PESI which describes itself as a “non-profit organization connecting knowledge with need since 1979.” Judging from the intensity of snail mail and internet activity, I would estimate that PESI sells millions of dollars of workshops, DVDs, and certificates for framing.

The pamphlet advised workshops in the area, but on the internet, you can find an advertisement for a $199 DVD:

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and Tapping

Evidence-Based, Mind-Body Treatment Approach to the Anxiety Spectrum Disorders

  • Apply EFT (aka Tapping or Energy Psychology) to considerably improve treatment outcomes in phobias, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic, OCD, acute stress reaction and traumatic events
  • Go beyond talk therapy capacity to quickly resolve treatment resistant issues
  • Drop emotional burdens quickly, often in minutes
  • Walk away ready to use calming EFT to gently and rapidly collapse recent and long-standing clinical issues
  • Dive into the exciting revolution of integrative, meridian-based cognitive therapies called Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), Tapping, and Energy Psychology

The anxiety spectrum exemplifies the disorders where emotions override thought. Fragmented memories get stored in the body. The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) collapse this uncomfortable emotional and physical reactivity; therefore, freeing a path for spontaneous insights and clearer thinking.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a comprehensive mind-body treatment that rapidly desensitizes three areas: unwanted thoughts, emotions and physical reactions. EFT combines physical interventions derived from restorative (self-applied) acupressure theory with cognitive interventions.

EFT is an evidence-based practice with over 100 published studies. One published study demonstrated a 24% decrease in cortisol (stress hormone) level in the EFT group. (Energypsych.org) EFT is effective brief therapy and belongs in every therapist’s tool box.

Transform your clinical excellence; bring EFT into your practice and treat resistant problems that other methods failed.

IMG_2925The presenter is described as Robin Bilazarian, DCSW and DCEP (Diplomate in Energy Psychology) and an International Master EFT Trainer. Furthermore,

With passion and humor, brief therapy expert, author and lecturer Robin Bilazarian, LCSW, DCSW, DCEP (Diplomate in Energy Psychology) and International Certified Master EFT Trainer, shares a wealth of knowledge and her 20-year experience integrating EFT into mainstream mental health treatment.

EFT is a comprehensive mind-body treatment that rapidly desensitizes unwanted thoughts, emotions and connected physical reactions. EFT goes beyond supportive counseling and is actual treatment, where clients are usually better in one session – even if the issue is long standing. Her book on this topic is Emotional Smarts, 60 Stress Management and Communication Techniques for Emotional Freedom.

Her passion is to bring these rapid, thorough and gentle meridian and cognitive based techniques into mainstream clinical mental health treatment. EFT is surprising in how quickly turmoil dissipates.

She obtained her MSW degree from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill and interned at Duke Medical Outpatient Psychiatry. Her 30 plus years of clinical practice includes employment in all levels of mental health treatment, including using EFT in a community mental health center and now, with medical staff.

She was recruited to bring these highly effective, short-term techniques to medical staff and medical students in a regional trauma hospital where she runs numerous internal and external EFT workshops including psychiatric rounds and community conferences. She also has a private practice for the past 30 years.

She speaks nationally and internationally on this topic, presents frequently for NASW and Rutgers University. She is a sought after expert in working with anxiety spectrum disorders.

Yuh, Robin, I am laughing my ass off or maybe crying for the vulnerable, naïve people turning to the people you train for help. Many of these providers have unprotected titles like therapist or counselor so that there is no regulation or applicable ethic code.

I previously blogged about Emotional Freedom Techniques and I will just reproduce a relevant passage here

Wikipedia offers the following definition of EFT:

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a form of counseling intervention that draws on various theories of alternative medicine including acupuncture, neuro-linguistic programming, energy medicine, and Thought Field Therapy. During an EFT session, the client will focus on a specific issue while tapping on so-called “end points of the body’s energy meridians.”

Writing in The Skeptical Inquirer, Brandon Gaudiano and James Herbert argued that there is no plausible mechanism to explain how the specifics of EFT could add to its effectiveness and they have been described as unfalsifiable and therefore pseudoscientific. EFT is widely dismissed by skeptics, along with its predecessor, Thought Field Therapy and has been described in the mainstream press as “probably nonsense.”[2] Evidence has not been found for the existence of acupuncture points, meridians or other concepts involved in traditional Chinese medicine.

And:

The scathing Gaudiano and Herbert critique is worth a read and calls attention to claims of EFT by proxy: patients improve when therapists tap themselves rather than the patients! My imagination runs wild: how about televised sessions in which therapists tap themselves and liberate thousands of patients around the world from their PTSD?

According to David Feinstein, a proponent of EFT, in including a chapter on Thought Field Therapy in an anthology of innovative psychotherapies, Corsini (2001) acknowledged that it was “either one of the greatest advances in psychotherapy or it is a hoax.”

Claims have been made for acupoint that even proponents of EFT consider “provocative,” “extraordinary,”  and “too good to be true.” An article published in Journal of Clinical Psychology (not an APA journal), reported that 105 people were treated in Kosovo for severe emotional reactions to past torture, rape, and witnessing loved ones being burned or raped. Strong improvement was observed in 103 of these patients, despite an average of only three sessions. For comparison purposes, exposure therapy involves at least 15 sessions in the literature claims nowhere near this efficacy. However, even more extraordinary results were claimed for the combined sample of 337 patients treated in visits to Kosovo, Rwanda, the Congo, and South Africa. The 337 individuals expressed 1016 traumatic memories of which 1013 were successfully resolved, resulting in substantial improvement in 334 patients. Unfortunately the details of this study remain on unpublished, but claims of these results appear in a forthcoming article in the APA journal Review of General Psychology.

Let me again recommend the Gaudiano and Herbert critique. It is alternately funny and disturbing reading.

I think I’ll contact my responsible evidence-based clinical psychologist friends at Cooper Hospital. They are good, ethical people. But they need to be warned about how the name of their good institution is being dragged through the mud. Anyone have a contact with NASW, New Jersey Chapter?

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Sign up at my new website to get advance notice of the forthcoming e-books and web courses, as well as upcoming blog posts at this and other blog sites.  Get advance notice of forthcoming e-books and web courses. Lots to see at CoyneoftheRealm.com.