Thought Field Therapy

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BlueCat
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Thought Field Therapy

Post by BlueCat » Wed May 04, 2016 10:05 pm

I have today heard someone talk with enthusiasm about thought field therapy. I was initially really sceptical, but knew I didn't know enough about it to make a judgement. I've looked into it a bit further, and whilst I am still sceptical, as it sounds like a load of hokum, there does seem to be emerging "proper" evidence of efficacy. I'm aware that I felt the same way about EMDR when I first heard about it back in the '90s and so I'm trying to hold an open mind. I can find a lot of criticism of this approach online, but mostly quite old. I'm a Western scientific professional, and I don't want to throw out an approach that doesn't fit with my world view just because it seems weird and bases itself in Eastern philosophies (in this case, Qi), but the emerging evidence doesn't appear to be peer reviewed. Does anyone else have any thoughts?
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Re: Thought Field Therapy

Post by Pink » Thu May 05, 2016 8:39 am

Hi Bluecat,

Interesting post. I don't know anything about thought field therapy (just googled after you mentioned it), but it seems to be related to Emotional Freedom technique, for which there is a very small but emerging evidence base. I would understand both of these as having the potential to be effective in reducing trauma symptoms of hyperarousal etc, because polyvagal theory would suggest that tapping at certain places on the body would interrupt the stress response and allow the parasympathetic nervous system to calm down. If you did this whilst a traumatic memory was activated, the stress response to the memory would be interrupted whilst the memory was open/being relived, and in conjunction with a soothing and attuned presence (the therapist) it would allow the trauma memory to be reconsolidated in a different form. Basically not unlike EMDR tapping/buzzers. What I have understood from the recent advances in bodywork for trauma (Trauma Release Exercises, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Somatic Experiencing) is that they all do what CBT and EMDR do-activate the memory, but in a soothed and regulated way, with an attuned therapist helping to regulate and stabilise the client, and activate the working memory by 'completing an action' (in the body work) or in CBT by speaking, or in EMDR by tracking eye movements, and allowing the body to complete what it couldn't, to get through the memory instead of being blocked in the same place each time, so that it is reconsolidated and processed accordingly. I can see how EFT tapping could be a useful adjunct to a proper trauma therapy, and a useful grounding tool to teach the client to manage their arousal alone. I'm not convinced it is a therapy in its' own right though. I'd be interested in others' thoughts though, as I don't know anything about thought field therapy, and may be missing something!

Pink
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Esuma
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Re: Thought Field Therapy

Post by Esuma » Thu May 05, 2016 9:27 am

Is this in any way linked to 'brain works recursive therapy'? My partner's mother is a physiotherapist being sent on this course and I wanted to learn more about it so I just wondered if they were connected somehow?

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Re: Thought Field Therapy

Post by miriam » Thu May 05, 2016 10:37 am

Pink wrote:it seems to be related to Emotional Freedom technique, for which there is a very small but emerging evidence base. I would understand both of these as having the potential to be effective in reducing trauma symptoms of hyperarousal etc, because polyvagal theory would suggest that tapping at certain places on the body would interrupt the stress response and allow the parasympathetic nervous system to calm down. If you did this whilst a traumatic memory was activated, the stress response to the memory would be interrupted whilst the memory was open/being relived, and in conjunction with a soothing and attuned presence (the therapist) it would allow the trauma memory to be reconsolidated in a different form. Basically not unlike EMDR tapping/buzzers.
Ooh, interesting. I read a couple of systematic reviews that declared EFT as no better than placebo at best, but as harmful according to the most rigorously conducted studies!
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Re: Thought Field Therapy

Post by reefflex » Thu May 05, 2016 10:42 am

Hokum

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=q50 ... ft&f=false

As for all the "power" therapies, any treatment that claims an 85-100% success rate in 1-3 sessions is just plain nonsense.

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Re: Thought Field Therapy

Post by BlueCat » Thu May 05, 2016 4:42 pm

Interesting thoughts, thank you. I'm still feeling really perturbed about it all.
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Re: Thought Field Therapy

Post by Gilly » Fri May 06, 2016 9:12 am

reefflex wrote:Hokum

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=q50 ... ft&f=false

As for all the "power" therapies, any treatment that claims an 85-100% success rate in 1-3 sessions is just plain nonsense.
man, I really want to read that book!
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Re: Thought Field Therapy

Post by Pink » Sun May 08, 2016 5:58 pm

miriam wrote:
Pink wrote:it seems to be related to Emotional Freedom technique, for which there is a very small but emerging evidence base. I would understand both of these as having the potential to be effective in reducing trauma symptoms of hyperarousal etc, because polyvagal theory would suggest that tapping at certain places on the body would interrupt the stress response and allow the parasympathetic nervous system to calm down. If you did this whilst a traumatic memory was activated, the stress response to the memory would be interrupted whilst the memory was open/being relived, and in conjunction with a soothing and attuned presence (the therapist) it would allow the trauma memory to be reconsolidated in a different form. Basically not unlike EMDR tapping/buzzers.
Ooh, interesting. I read a couple of systematic reviews that declared EFT as no better than placebo at best, but as harmful according to the most rigorously conducted studies!
That's really interesting Miriam, thank you for sharing it. I was basing the 'small but emerging evidence base' thing on a reference in Van Der Kolk's 'The body keeps the score' but am grateful to you for the correction-that's what I get for quoting secondary sources instead of doing the reading myself! I still wonder if both things can be true though-I would stand by my statement that it couldn't be a therapy in it's own right but have certainly found using eye tapping as a grounding technique with people helpful, and understood this in terms of the physiological argument I've made above. As a therapy itself, delivered by someone with probably fairly dodgy qualifications (does anyone know a proper psychologist using EFT as a stand alone technique? and was the research based on properly qualified people delivering it? I take this back if so) my guess is it could well be harmful. I suspect it comes down to the usual thing about regulation of psychotherapy.
Gilly wrote:
reefflex wrote:Hokum

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=q50 ... ft&f=false

As for all the "power" therapies, any treatment that claims an 85-100% success rate in 1-3 sessions is just plain nonsense.
man, I really want to read that book!
me too! Thanks for the reference reefflex-it's on my amazon wish list!

happy sunny sunday all

pink
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Re: Thought Field Therapy

Post by that_guy_ » Mon May 16, 2016 9:40 pm

Couldn't agree more with suggestions of EFT and energy Psychology in general as hokum and couldn't recommend the Science and Pseudoscience book more - it should be required reading for the d.clin.psy. There seems to be a worrying trend, particularly when it comes to working with extremely complex and hard-to-treat problems like Complex Trauma, for quackery of different kinds to find its way in. That's understandable, because they are complex problems and a magical solution is very appealing. However, I think it is very dangerous for the patient and the profession to engage with this sort of stuff in a non-critical fashion. I worry there seems to be a diminishing return of critical, scientific thinking amongst psychologists these days. I mean, just because something works (i.e. is effective in reducing symptoms), doesn't mean it WORKS (i.e. the proposed mechanisms of effectiveness are factual). There are so many things going on in these types of therapy that you can't say it's because the client's chakra's are re-aligning (I realise this isn't the exact parlance, but it's the same idea). If the proposed mechanisms of some of these 'therapies' were accurate they would have to re-write the basic science textbooks! Some courses do actually teach critical thinking and philosophy of science but again I think it should be mandated. Not targeting the OP or intending to offend anyone personally btw, just a personal bugbear!

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Re: Thought Field Therapy

Post by eponymous85 » Tue May 17, 2016 10:29 am

EFT has its origins in 'energy psychology', a highly spurious explanatory mechanism with little or no evidence base. The previous incumbent of my current job used to use EFT, which makes it a little uncomfortable for me to field referrers who ask if I can 'do the tapping thing' with their anxious patients. No. No I can not.
The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by any invader. The mind is a complex and many layered thing.

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