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Research

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.

EFt Tapping Outdated ImageNote: This is one of 3,000 articles written prior to the updated Gold Standard (Official) EFT Tapping Tutorial™. As a result, it is likely outdated. It provides practical uses for EFT Tapping but you should also explore our newest advancement, Optimal EFT, by reading our free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™, and/or get help from a Certified EFT Practitioner.

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.  

Abstract

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.

 

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