Dawson Church, PhD, is an award-winning author whose best-selling book, The Genie in Your Genes, (www.YourGeniusGene.com) has been hailed by reviewers as a breakthrough in our understanding of the link between emotions and genetics. He founded the National Institute for Integrative Healthcare (www.NIIH.org) to study and implement promising evidence-based psychological and medical techniques. His groundbreaking research has been published in prestigious scientific journals. He is the editor of Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, & Treatment, a peer-reviewed professional journal (www.EnergyPsychologyJournal.org). He shares how to apply these breakthroughs to health and athletic performance through EFT Universe (www.EFTUniverse.com), one of the largest alternative medicine sites on the web.
Dawson Church is a health writer and researcher who has edited or authored a number of books in the fields of health, psychology, and spirituality. His principal work is The Genie in Your Genes, (www.YourGeniusGene.com), which reviews the research linking consciousness, emotion, and gene expression (USA BookNews “Best Health Book”). He has published many scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals, collaborating with scholars at various universities on outcome studies of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety. He is the editor of the peer-reviewed journal Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, and Treatment, (www.EnergyPsychologyJournal.org), and general manager of Energy Psychology Press, which maintains a research bibliography and case histories at EFT Universe (www.EFTUniverse.com), one of the most-visited alternative medicine sites on the web.
In his undergraduate and graduate work at Baylor University, he became the first student to successfully graduate from the academically rigorous University Scholar’s program in 1979. He earned his doctorate in Integrative Healthcare at Holos University under the mentorship of neurosurgeon Norman Shealy, MD, PhD, founder of the American Holistic Medical Association. After an early career in book publishing as editor then president of Aslan Publishing (www.aslanpublishing.com), Church went on to receive a postgraduate PhD in Natural Medicine, as well as clinical certification in Energy Psychology (CEHP license # 2016). Church and Shealy coauthored a book called Soul Medicine (www.SoulMedicine.net), which surveys the role of consciousness in medicine from the earliest times to the modern day. In 2007 Church founded the National Institute for Integrative Healthcare (www.NIIH.org), a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit institution dedicated to education and research into evidence-based healing modalities. He has worked with over a thousand pain clients, with average symptom reductions of 68% 16, and co-developed the Skinny Genes weight loss program.11
In 2008 the National Institute for Integrative Healthcare initiated the Veterans Stress Project (www.StressProject.org), a clearinghouse to connect veterans suffering from PTSD with energy therapists. Several thousand veterans and family members have received counseling through the Veterans Stress Project, and Church has twice been asked to testify before US Congressional committees on his work. Church is the former president of The Family Connection, one of 53 nonprofits named as “Points of Light” by President Bill Clinton, and is also a member of the Transformational Leadership Council. Books on which he has worked have won over two dozen awards, including Best Health Book (Independent Press Awards) and Best Science Book (USA Booknews Awards). He has been quoted in USA Today, CNN, BBC, the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Parenting, and many other national media.
Church performed two pilot studies of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).1, 2 They demonstrated highly significant results despite a small sample size, indicating a robust treatment effect. This led to a randomized controlled trial, published in the oldest peer-reviewed psychiatry journal in North America, showing highly significant results. 3 It demonstrated that 86% of veterans with clinical PTSD were sub-clinical after six sessions of EFT, and remained so on follow-up. A concurrent study by an independent research team in Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) 4 showed similar findings, indicating that EFT meets the criteria of the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 12 Task Force as an “empirically validated treatment” for PTSD.5, 6
Church collaborated with Garret Yount, PhD a molecular biologist California Pacific Medical Center, and professor Audrey Brooks, PhD, a research psychologist at the University of Arizona at Tucson, on a novel study of stress hormones.7 The triple-blind randomized controlled trial, published in the peer-reviewed psychiatry Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, compared salivary cortisol levels in 83 subjects who received an hour of either talk therapy, EFT, or rest. Anxiety and depression declined significantly more in the EFT group than the talk therapy group, while cortisol also dropped significantly. This research team’s current focus is gene expression in veterans with clinical PTSD (Clinical Trial NCT 01250431).
Church has also published studies of PTSD in teens,8 depression in college students,9 and the delivery of EFT in groups.10 Some of his other studies have found significant improvements in mental health, pain, weight loss, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and addictive cravings.11,12,13,14,15 A study of PTSD symptoms in 218 veterans and spouses who received group EFT found most were sub-clinical after treatment.10 A study of 216 healthcare workers published in the journal Integrative Medicine demonstrated a highly significant 45% drop in psychological symptoms after EFT group treatment.16 These results are consistent with reports by other independent research teams.17,18
Church conducted and published the first study of EFT for sports performance, finding that a single brief session of EFT significantly improved the free throw performance of basketball players.19 An independent replication using soccer free kicks as the performance measure found similar results.20 Another study in which Church was co-investigator found an increase in confidence and a decrease in anxiety in female volleyball players.21
Church has also contributed to reviews of energy psychology research published in APA and A4M (American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine) journals, emphasizing the medical benefits of effective psychotherapy.22,23,24 In a paper reviewing the research base of energy psychology for PTSD, Church concludes that treatment is distinguished by seven characteristics. These are: “(1) the limited number of treatment sessions usually required to remediate PTSD; (2) the depth, breadth, and longevity of treatment effects; (3) the low risk of adverse events; (4) the limited commitment to training required for basic application of the method; (5) its efficacy when delivered in group format; (6) its simultaneous effect on a wide range of psychological and physiological symptoms, and (7) its suitability for non-traditional delivery methods such as online and telephone sessions.”25
Church has three children, Lionel, Angela and Alexander. He has written about his rich experience of parenting in his books. He travels extensively, lecturing on epigenetics, EFT, and family relationships. He sits on the dissertation committees of graduate students at a number of universities, and regularly consults with other investigators on research design. His hobbies include kayaking, weight lifting, and classic vehicle rally driving.
1. Church, D. (2010). The treatment of combat trauma in veterans using EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques): A pilot protocol. Traumatology, 16(1), 55–65. doi:10.1177/1534765609347549
2. Church, D., Geronilla, L., & Dinter, I. (2009). Psychological symptom change in veterans after six sessions of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques): An observational study. International Journal of Healing and Caring, 9(1), 1-14.
3. Church, D., Hawk, C., Brooks, A., Toukolehto, O., Wren, M., Dinter, I., & Stein, P. (2013). Psychological trauma in veterans using EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques): A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 201, 153-160. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31827f6351.
4. Karatzias, T., Power, K., Brown, K., McGoldrick, T., Begum, M., Young, J., … & Adams, S. (2011). A controlled comparison of the effectiveness and efficiency of two psychological therapies for posttraumatic stress disorder: eye movement desensitization and reprocessing vs. emotional freedom techniques. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 199(6), 372-378.
5. Chambless, D. L., & Hollon, S. D. (1996). Defining empirically supported therapies. Journal of Clinical and Consulting Psychology, 66(1), 7-18.
6. Feinstein, D. (2012). Acupoint stimulation in treating psychological disorders: Evidence of efficacy. Review of General Psychology. doi:10.1037/a0028602
7. Church, D., Yount, G., & Brooks, A. J. (2012). The effect of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) on stress biochemistry: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 200(10), 891-896. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31826b9fc1.
8. Church, D., Piña, O., Reategui, C., & Brooks, A. (2012). Single session reduction of the intensity of traumatic memories in abused adolescents after EFT: A randomized controlled pilot study. Traumatology, 18(3), 73-79. doi:10.1177/1534765611426788
9. Church, D., De Asis, M. A., & Brooks, A. J. (2012). Brief Group Intervention Using Emotional Freedom Techniques for Depression in College Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Depression Research and Treatment, 2012, 1-7. doi: 10.1155/2012/25717.
10. Church, D., & Brooks, A. J. (2012). CAM and Energy Psychology Techniques Remediate PTSD Symptoms in Veterans and Spouses. Paper presented at the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology conference, San Diego, June 5, 2012. Submitted for publication.
11. Church, D., & Wilde, N. (2013). Emotional eating and weight loss following Skinny Genes, a six week online program. Reported at the annual conference of ACEP, the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology, May. Submitted for publication.
12. Stapleton, P., Church, D., Sheldon, T., Porter, B., & Carlopio, C. (2013). Depression symptoms improve after successful weight loss with EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques): A randomized controlled trial. ISRN Psychiatry. In press.
13. Church, D., & Palmer-Hoffman, J. (2012). TBI symptoms improve after PTSD remediation with Emotional Freedom Techniques. Presented at the conference Veterans, Treatment, and Trauma, Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, New York, October. Submitted for publication.
14. Church, D., & Brooks, A. J. (2013). The effect of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) on psychological symptoms in addiction treatment: A Pilot Study. International Journal of Scientific Research and Reports, (in press).
15. Church, D. (2013). Pain, depression, and anxiety after PTSD symptom remediation in veterans. Explore : The Journal of Science and Healing. In press.
16. Church, D., & Brooks, A. J. (2010). The effect of a brief EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) self-intervention on anxiety, depression, pain and cravings in healthcare workers. Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal, 6, 40-44.
17. Palmer-Hoffman, J., & Brooks, A. J. (2011). Psychological symptom change after group application of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, & Treatment, 3(1), 57–72.
18. Rowe, J. E. (2005). The effects of EFT on long-term psychological symptoms. Counseling and Clinical Psychology, 2(3), 104-111.
19. Church, D. (2009). The effect of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) on athletic performance: A randomized controlled blind trial. The Open Sports Sciences Journal, 2, 94-99. doi:10.2174/1875399X00902010094
20. Llewellyn-Edwards, T., & Llewellyn-Edwards, M. (2012). The effect of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) on soccer performance. Fidelity: Journal for the National Council of Psychotherapy, 47, 14-21.
21. Church, D., & Downs, D. (2012). Sports confidence and critical incident intensity after a brief application of Emotional Freedom Techniques: A pilot study. The Sport Journal, 15, 2012.
22. Feinstein, D., & Church, D. (2010) Modulating gene expression through psychotherapy: The contribution of non-invasive somatic interventions. Review of General Psychology, 14, 283–295.
23. Church, D. (2011). Your DNA is not your destiny: Behavioral epigenetics and the role of emotions in health, Anti-Aging Medical Therapeutics, 13, 35-42.
24. Church, D. (2013). Clinical EFT as an evidence-based practice for the treatment of psychological and physiological conditions. Psychology, 4(7).
25. Church, D., & Feinstein, D. (2012). Energy psychology in the treatment of PTSD: Psychobiology and clinical principles. In Psychology of Trauma, edited by Thijs Van Leeuwen & Marieke Brouwer (Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science).