Researchers involved with the Veterans Stress Project published a new randomized controlled study on Friday, Feb. 1, in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease that confirmed that Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is an effective treatment for veterans with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study found that 86 percent of the veterans who participated in the project no longer met the criteria for clinical PTSD after six hour-long EFT sessions. Eighty percent of participants continued to measure below the level for clinical PTSD six months after they completed their EFT sessions.
The study offers hope to veterans like David Smith-Barry, 38, a Texas resident who tried traditional treatments for PTSD with little success. Smith-Barry proudly served in the United States Army for six years. In an exclusive interview, he talked about spending more than half of his active duty time in Iraq and Afghanistan where he was part of a group imbedded with Iraqis to train them to handle certain aspects of military operations on their own. He experienced the unimaginable on a regular basis.
“I lost combat buddies, was shot at by snipers and much more,” he says.
Smith-Barry says he didn’t realize the toll these traumas took on him.
“Everything seemed fine when I came home,” Smith-Barry says. “But 18 months later, my wife said I was a different person. My life was in shambles. I thought of suicide daily and had nightmares, flashbacks, daily migraine headaches and personality changes. I was a textbook case of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”
Smith-Barry sought treatment through the Veterans Administration (VA). He went to a veteran’s group nearby and had some therapy. Eventually, he was taking five different medications for his symptoms.
“The medications helped somewhat, but they had a lot of side effects,” he says. “It was hard to get up in the morning. They took too much out of me.”
Smith-Barry started looking for a holistic alternative and heard about the Veterans Stress Project, which offers free EFT sessions to veterans who participate in clinical studies. He worked with Marilyn McWilliams, an EFT Research Coach with the Project.
“The first thing she did was work on my migraine headache, which was a 10 on a scale of 1-10,” he says. “By the time we were done with our first session, it was barely noticeable. It was the first time I’d felt relief in a long time. No medication had ever ever done that.”
Smith-Barry completed all six sessions and says EFT gave him is life back.
“I have a future because of EFT,” he says. “I have pep in my step. I sleep at night without medication. I feel happy. I get up every morning looking forward to my day. I deal with stress and conflict normally. I’m not afraid to face the world. I know I can handle anything. Not everything is solved with medication.”
Smith-Barry’s marriage didn’t survive his PTSD. But today, he is engaged and has a great relationship with his three sons.
His results are not unique. But many veterans are not aware of the new study or the benefits of EFT. Currently, only a few Veterans Administration (VA) facilities offer EFT to veterans with PTSD.
Smith-Barry says several of his combat buddies committed suicide when they couldn’t find a way to cope with their pain.
“So many veterans would benefit if the VA would offer EFT,” Smith-Barry says. “This is a tool that’s very effective. I feel so much better and safer.”
“This study shows that veterans don’t have to suffer with PTSD,” says the study’s lead author Dawson Church, Ph.D., of the Foundation for Epigenetic Medicine in Santa Rosa, Calif. “America already has a solution.”
“It’s significant that the results were so impressive,” McWilliams says. “The research opens the door to changing from an America which is desperately seeking a solution to help its veterans suffering with PTSD to an America that realizes it has a solution and implements it.”
The Veterans Stress Project is looking for more veterans with PTSD to participate in a study to replicate the results of the newest study. The project also provides veterans with a list of practitioners who work with veterans at no or low cost.
Click here to read Part 1 of this series. Part 2 features some of the EFT practitioners who are helping veterans with PTSD. Subscribe to my examiner feed at the top of this page (under the headline) to get instant updates when these and other EFT articles are posted.