Meet an EFT Researcher

This semester, I have had the opportunity and privilege to assist Dr. Amy Gaesser with her research into using EFT in the school setting. In this study, she is interested in seeing how teachers and school counselors use EFT for themselves and with their students for stress reduction. Some of the questions she wants to answer are: Do teachers use it for themselves and/or with their students? If they do use it, how do they use it? When do they use it? What happens when they use it? And from the students’ point of view, do they use it when not required? How do they use it, when do they use it, where do they use it, and what happens?

Dr. Gaesser is also exploring why teachers and students don’t use EFT. Is EFT too hard to learn? Is EFT too weird? Is it not working for them? Are they too self-consciousness? Are they unable to focus on the problem?

After a semester’s worth of data-collecting, Dr. Gaesser is just starting to analyze the results. Students from 1st through 12th grades were involved from 8 Indiana schools. That’s a lot of data!

Dr. Gaesser first learned about EFT in 2002. She had been a school counselor for 6 years and at that time she was working in a middle school. Anxiety was a big problem among her students.

Over the course of two years, she worked with 3 students with severe issues. Two had been traumatized and one was diagnosed with a crippling anxiety disorder. All three were hypersensitized to the school setting, unable to cope with the stress. One was barely able to attend classes.

Dr. Gaesser was helping them to manage school-related stress but something was happening beyond what she was doing. All three began to get better. A lot better. They were not only coping better with their stress, but they were less stressed. It was a qualitative difference, not just quantitative. She found that all of these students were seeing a therapist outside of school that used EFT with them.

At first, Dr. Gaesser didn’t believe that EFT could be the reason for the significant improvements she was witnessing. She thought it might be the placebo effect. But as she learned more about EFT, even attending classes and trainings, she became convinced by her own experience that EFT was indeed as powerful as it seemed.

Now she was impassioned to “get this out to the kids.” Knowing that schools required solid evidence for tools that they used with this vulnerable population, she set out to get the background she needed to do the necessary research. At the age of 45, she went back to school to get her PhD and is now pursuing the goal of proving with scientific evidence that EFT works.

Dr. Gaesser wants to know how EFT works. One of her research projects involves showing with brain MRIs what parts of the brain are activated while using EFT. She is also exploring how EFT is best introduced to students—one on one or in a group setting.

It has been a fascinating semester! We met with the teachers monthly and the students at the end of the semester. Dr. Gaesser’s data has yet to be analyzed but I think I’m not spoiling the ending by saying we saw EFT helping almost everyone who gave it a good try.

My fervent hope for Dr. Gaesser is that her research is added to the growing body of studies that tell us what we already know from experience— that EFT works!