A quick Internet search on acupoint tapping or energy tapping will bring up hundreds of sites. You will also find many variations of tapping and hundreds of books on Amazon. It is not so unusual for a self-help approach to strike a popular chord and generate a great deal of notice and interest. The acceptance of a therapeutic innovation by the clinical and scientific communities, however, requires credible evidence and research.
While many hybrids or variations of EFT can be found, the term Clinical EFT has emerged to refer to the EFT tapping protocols that have been validated by research, along with the knowledge base that has developed from investigations of these procedures in the treatment of various populations and conditions.
The standards for the studies that comprise Clinical EFT are patterned after criteria originally developed by the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 12 Task Force on Empirically Validated Treatments. One of the seven essential criteria is that the method be described in a written manual. Clinical EFT is based on the method defined in The EFT Manual, and most of the published EFT research has been guided by the manual. By defining a therapeutic modality according to a uniform set of procedures, researchers can be assured that conclusions from a series of studies are based on meaningful comparisons. That the techniques delivered in a study match what is prescribed in the manual is called “fidelity of treatment” and is essential for research within an emerging area of clinical practice.
As a researcher and academic, I am often asked to conduct research trials to test the effectiveness of variations of Clinical EFT. I usually decline, and for a very good reason in terms of the emergence of EFT as a field. As with any new approach, a foundation needs to be established. If the academic and general community are to accept the efficacy and mechanisms of an original method, precise or even accurate conclusions can’t be reached if the evidence mixes apples and oranges.
While relatively little research exists for EFT’s variations and hybrids, I look forward to the day when the evidence for Clinical EFT has become so mainstream that we can shift our sights to innovations within this major clinical advance.