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There’s a lot to be stressed about these days - whether it’s news headlines, endless to-do lists, or worry about money and bills. But for some, stress and worry can be so prevalent that it starts to interfere with our ability to function. In this case, we might consult a clinical professional and try talk therapy or medication. In addition, there’s another technique that has gained popularity in recent years to deal effectively with anxiety and depression, called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), also known as "tapping." EFT Tapping is a research-based intervention that combines cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) techniques, such as awareness building and reframing of interpretation, with the stimulation of acupressure points on the face and body by literally tapping on them. In our continuing series on treatment modalities, we’ve provided an overview of EFT Tapping here: how it works, some of the research behind it, and who can benefit from it. What is EFT Tapping? EFT Tapping helps tune in to the negative patterns we form around anxious thoughts or troubling memories, by physically tapping with our fingers on identified acupressure points while at the same time focusing on those thoughts and emotions. According to experts, focusing on a negative thought while simultaneously tapping on acupressure points sends a calming signal to the brain, allowing us to acknowledge the stress while calming the body. Think of it as having similar (but noninvasive) effects as acupuncture. EFT Tapping is facilitated by an experienced, certified EFT practitioner in a therapy session, with the ultimate goal of shifting limiting thought processes, resolving past traumas, and promoting healing around emotional issues that may be holding us back. How does EFT Tapping work? EFT Tapping can rewire the brain. From research, it is understood that tapping on specific pressure points can result in a calming effect on the amygdala (the stress center of the brain) and the hippocampus (the memory center), both of which play a role in the unconscious process we use to determine if something is a threat or not, and therefore whether our “fight or flight” response should kick in. Indeed, studies at Harvard Medical School have shown that by stimulating the body’s acupressure points you can significantly reduce activity in the amygdala. Therefore, EFT Tapping works to effectively rewire the brain; to interrupt and change neural pathways so that you want to do the things that are going to improve your life and make you feel better. Research shows EFT Tapping is effective in treating multiple mental health disorders Multiple studies have been done to determine the effectiveness of EFT Tapping for different mental health issues. Here are just a few: Reducing cortisol levels. One study measured changes in cortisol (the primary stress hormone) levels and other psychological distress symptoms after a single hour-long intervention of EFT Tapping and found it reduced those distress symptoms by 24%. Decreasing anxiety. Another study looked at the length of time needed before different therapeutic interventions took effect in patients with anxiety, and found that only three EFT Tapping sessions were needed before study participants’ anxiety was reduced. That same study showed that after a year, those reductions in anxiety were maintained by 78% of participants. Treating depression. In a study exploring EFT Tapping for depression, researchers found that a weighted mean reduction in depression symptoms was 41% after using EFT. Reducing symptoms of PTSD. Another study using EFT Tapping to treat PTSD in veterans found that 60% of participants no longer met clinical PTSD criteria after three EFT Tapping sessions and 86% no longer met the criteria after six sessions. Other studies have shown the effectiveness of EFT Tapping even beyond reducing anxiety, depression, and PTSD symptoms. For example, it can help minimize food cravings and aid in weight loss, or reduce fears around events like public speaking, test-taking, and even childbirth. If you or a loved one are living with mental health issues such as Anxiety, Depression, or PTSD, consider EFT Tapping Like other treatment modalities, therapists can be trained and certified in EFT Tapping. Certification requires a specific number of hours in the classroom and in clinical practice. Many behavioral health specialists offer EFT Tapping therapy; look for one that is experienced and certified. Many of Telemynd’s clinicians specialize in EFT tapping. If you’re a client, request an appointment online or call our live support for assistance in scheduling care today! If you’re a behavioral health provider looking to join our network, see all the benefits and learn how to apply here. Sources Journal of Evidence-Based Integrated Medicine EFT International Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease Explore: The Journal of Science & Healing
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based cognitive-behavioral treatment that provides individuals with tools to help reduce negative behaviors and regulate intense emotions. Although it was originally created to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD), it has been effectively adapted to treat other mental health conditions, such as depression, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders. Its objective is to help people understand and accept difficult and often contradictory feelings, and then learn the skills to manage them. Read our overview to learn how it works, who can benefit from DBT, and what treatment looks like. What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)? DBT is a comprehensive treatment that includes many aspects of other cognitive-behavioral approaches, such as exposure, problem-solving, and stimulus control, as well as cognitive restructuring. In plainer terms, DBT focuses on helping individuals to change unhelpful ways of thinking and behaving while at the same time focusing on self-acceptance. DBT teaches four sets of behavioral skills: mindfulness, distress tolerance, improved interpersonal skills, and emotion regulation, so that individuals have the tools to make positive and healthy changes in their lives. The key to DBT is the term, dialectical. Here, dialectical means learning to understand how two seemingly opposing perspectives can both be true. In this way, DBT promotes balance and avoidance of “black and white”, “all-or-nothing” styles of thinking. For example, accepting yourself and changing your behavior might feel contradictory, but DBT teaches that it's possible to achieve both goals together. At the heart of DBT are acceptance and change. Who can benefit from DBT? DBT has been adapted to treat those with mental health issues such as eating disorders, suicidal and self-harming behavior, bipolar disorder, treatment-resistant depression, and substance use issues. The thinking is that since these disorders are often associated with unhealthy attempts to control intense, negative emotions, DBT’s emotion-regulation approach can help. Indeed, multiple research studies have shown that DBT can be effective in treating substance use issues, and decreasing suicide ideation, hopelessness, anger, and depression, and also that the effects of DBT treatment can last for sustained periods of time. What does DBT treatment look like? Although highly effective, DBT can take many therapy sessions and multiple months (sometimes over a year) of treatment in order to see change. It typically involves weekly one-on-one therapy sessions, weekly group skills training sessions, homework, and regular therapist check-ins (often by phone or video). According to the research, DBT treatment consists of four stages which go in order, with each phase having specific goals, such as: Treating issues related to past trauma Reducing therapy-interfering or quality-of-life-interfering behaviors, such as suicidal ideation or self-harming Developing renewed self-esteem and improving day-to-day behavioral skills Developing the capacity for optimum life experience and for finding a higher purpose. Please note, if you or a loved one have thoughts of suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), Option 1. If you or a loved one are living with disorders such as depression, an eating disorder, or other self-harming behaviors, consider DBT DBT treatment requires fairly extensive training in order for behavioral health specialists to offer it to clients. Some get trained in DBT in graduate school or postdoctoral work, and others can get DBT-certified with supervised, on-the-job training. A qualified mental health professional will first assess your symptoms, treatment history, and your goals, and from there, figure out which type of therapy treatment is best for you. Because each illness responds differently to treatment techniques, you’ll want to go with what’s been shown most effective for your diagnosis and symptoms. Many of Telemynd’s clinicians are DBT-certified. If you’re a client, request an appointment online or call our live support for assistance in scheduling care today! If you’re a behavioral health provider looking to join our network, see all the benefits and learn how to apply here. Sources Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine BMC Psychiatry Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotion Dysregulation