The Tapping Project
: introducing Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) to reduce anxiety and improve wellbeing in primary school students

  • Margaret Therese Lambert

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    As the rates of childhood anxiety increase and manifest at younger ages, children’s mental health and wellbeing have become growing issues for primary schools. The purpose of the current study was to implement and evaluate Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), or tapping, as a class treatment that may support the social and emotional learning curriculum in primary schools. The Tapping Project was conducted as a longitudinal, evaluative study within a pragmatic framework, using mixed methods methodology, and assessed the effectiveness of EFT when used as a class intervention for student wellbeing. Several research questions were posed to explore the perceptions of students and teachers about using tapping as a class activity. Eight classes, consisting of 138 students and nine teachers across four schools, participated in the study. Following two 1-hour teacher training sessions and an introductory class lesson delivered by the researcher, teachers administered tapping sessions in classes 3 times a day for a period of 4 weeks. A second stage of 4-weeks tapping occurred in classes during the succeeding school term. Quantitative and qualitative measures found that EFT supports national educational social and emotional wellbeing curriculum, and may be a valuable inclusion in school programs. Results of the project revealed that both students and teachers thought tapping should be introduced to all students in primary schools. Thematic analysis was applied to both student and teacher data sets. Analyses found that tapping is a mechanism for change, tapping skills were transferable to other contexts and, similar to other interventions, tapping was not effective on each occasion. In addition to calming effects, students felt the benefits of tapping extended to focus and concentration and a reduction in physical discomfort. Students were more likely to develop intrinsic motivation for tapping when the psychological needs of competence, autonomy, and relatedness were met. The thesis presents other key findings and recommendations.
    Date of AwardMay 2020
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorSue Erica Smith (Supervisor), Simon Moss (Supervisor) & Marilynne Kirshbaum (Supervisor)

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