Hypnotherapy, EFT and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


A hundred years ago, actually not even as far back as that, a great many soldiers who suddenly found themselves completely unable to go on fighting, or even functioning, were shot for cowardice.

We’ve come a long way since then.

We’ve begun to understand the condition we now know of as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma. This event may involve the threat of death to oneself or to someone else, or to one’s own or someone else’s physical, sexual, or psychological integrity, overwhelming the individual’s ability to cope.(1)

In recent years, an exciting and highly effective new tool in treating PTSD, (and a range of other conditions), has appeared. It’s called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).

EFT is a surprisingly simple procedure involving a series of simple body movements that can easily be learned and applied away from the therapist’s office. The principles behind the effectiveness of EFT are related to the Meridian/Energy theory underlying acupuncture and much of Oriental medicine.

Sometimes EFT is used on its own, especially in minor situations, but, for more serious cases a skilled therapist will use EFT in conjunction with another modality, often Hypnotherapy or Psychotherapy.

The fact is that each of us reacts to a situation differently and to varying degrees. The reasons for this often lie in our past experiences, often from childhood.

We may not even remember an experience that is profoundly affecting the way we are responding to a particular situation. But, although we don’t remember something, the subconscious does. It never forgets.

Our subconscious always acts to protect us, and so, based on our experiences, it decides how we should deal with a threatening situation, and how we should behave in the future so as to avoid such a situation again.

This is what leads to serious anxiety conditions, PTSD and also certain phobias.

Addressing the problem logically is useless because our subconscious doesn’t operate at the logical level.

This is why a combination of approaches such as hypnotherapy working at the subconscious level to guide the subconscious to develop more helpful protective strategies, coupled with EFT to bring often immediate relief is so successful.

A randomized, controlled study published in February 2013 in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease(2) confirmed that (EFT) is an effective treatment for military veterans with PTSD.

The fifty-nine veterans with PTSD participating in the study were randomly placed in one of two groups. One group received their standard care and six hour-long sessions of EFT. Experienced EFT coaches helped them tap on traumatic events they experienced in combat, in non-combat situations and at other times in their lives. Participants in the second group received standard care and were assigned to a wait list.

The veterans who received EFT found that their psychological distress and PTSD were significantly reduced following their EFT sessions. In fact, 90% of the EFT group no longer met the criteria for clinical PTSD compared with only 4% of the control group. The wait list group then received EFT as well. When the results of the two groups were combined, 86% of the participants improved so significantly that they no longer met the criteria for clinical PTSD. At a six-month follow-up, 80% of participants remained below the level for a clinical PTSD diagosis.

These studies have focused on vets because it is such a huge problem, and because large cohorts of veterans who have had similar responses to similar experiences make an ideal research group.

However, EFT is proving to be widely effective in treating trauma response issues in the general population and in particular in groups such as police officers, paramedics and fire fighters, who face the possibility of job related risks as well as having to routinely deal with trauma laden situations such as car accidents and domestic violence scenes, EFT is a side effect free, drug free treatment that a person can easily learn and apply for themselves at any time before the personal trauma becomes severe.

For the more serious PTSD sufferer, EFT, in combination with other therapies such as hypnosis, is achieving consistently excellent outcomes.

Click to go to the Conditions Page for EFT

Click to go to the Conditions Page for PTSD



  1. American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-IV. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
  2. Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease: February 2013 – Volume 201 – Issue 2 – p 153–160 doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31827f6351.
  3. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00743041 http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/study/NCT00743041.

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