Table of Contents

Table of Contents Help

The tabs on the right are shortcuts to where you have been:

  • Previous Screen
  • Previous Articles
  • Previous Categories
  • Start Page
  • Hide Entire Menu

Swiping to the left will take you to the previous screen.

The folder icon indicates that more content is available. Click on the icon or the associated text, or swipe to the right to see the additional content.


Studies Presented at Professional Conferences

Does Prolonged Exposure Need to Hurt in Order to Help? Exploring Two Alternatives

Note: This article assumes you have a working knowledge of EFT. Newcomers can still learn from it but are advised to peruse our Free Gold Standard (Official) EFT Tutorial™ for a more complete understanding.

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated. Please use my newest advancement, Optimal EFT. It is more efficient, more powerful and clearly explained in my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™.  Best wishes, Gary

Gaffney, D.* (2009). Does Prolonged Exposure Need to Hurt in Order to Help? Exploring Two Alternatives. Poster # S-161, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, 25th Silver Anniversary Annual Meeting

November 5 – 7, Atlanta, Georgia. *Healthsource Saginaw & Aleda E Lutz VA Medical Center, Saginaw, Michigan.  


Prolonged Exposure (PE) has emerged as a leading treatment for PTSD. However, many therapists shy away from PE due to the high levels of distress and pain it can cause clients. Indeed, this issue leads to inconsistent buy-in by therapists and high drop-out rates or under-engagement by clients. However, PE does not necessarily need to be painful to be effective. Recent advances in neuroscience to suggest that pain may not be necessary for new learning. Foa and Kozak’s Emotional Processing Theory describes how two alternatives to traditional PE techniques can facilitate both exposure and emotional processing of traumatic content and cognitions with minimal distress.  Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is demonstrated as it fits into the PE model. This technique not only minimizes pain, but actually work better when clients do not feel distress during exposure. Research relevant to these techniques is reviewed, as well as obstacles for their effective use. Through case studies, video demonstrations, and protocol descriptions, it is demonstrated that clinicians can enhance their treatment of trauma by adopting these techniques.



Explore our newest advancement, Optimal EFT™, by reading my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™. More efficient. More powerful.