Single session reduction of the intensity of traumatic memories in abused adolescents: A randomized controlled trial
Church, D., Piña, O., Reategui, C., & Brooks, A. J.
Paper presented at the Eleventh Annual Toronto Energy Psychology Conference, October 15 – 19, 2009.
Submitted for publication at Psychological Trauma.
The population for this study was drawn from an institution to which juveniles are sent by court order if they are found by a judge to be physically or psychologically abused at home. Sixteen males, aged 12 – 17, were randomized into two groups. They were assessed using subjective distress (SUD), and the Impact of Events scale (IES), which measures two components of PTSD: intrusive memories and avoidance symptoms.
The experimental group was treated with a single session of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), a brief and novel exposure therapy that has been found efficacious in reducing PTSD and co-occurring psychological symptoms in adults, but has not been subject to empirical assessment in juveniles. The wait list control group received no treatment. Thirty days later subjects were reassessed. No improvement occurred in the wait list (IES total mean pre=32 SD ±4.82, post=31 SD ±3.84).
Posttest scores for all experimental group subjects improved to the point where all were non-clinical on the total score (IES total mean pre=36 SD ±4.74, post=3 SD ±2.60, p<0.001), as well as the intrusive and avoidant symptom subscales, and SUD. These results are consistent with those found in adults, and indicates the utility of single-session EFT as a fast and effective intervention for reducing psychological trauma in juveniles.