The Alliance brings ‘psychological acupuncture’ to New Zealand educators

24 June 2016



Auckland and Christchurch educators have this week learned about Tapping (psychological acupuncture), a unique psychological approach that can support student academic fitness and survival, from world leading Psychologist Dr Peta Stapleton as part of her Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia tour.

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) such as Tapping are a novel intervention combining elements of exposure therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, and somatic stimulation. It is often referred to as ‘psychological acupuncture’ (i.e. without needles).

Specialising in women’s health and adolescent issues, Dr Stapleton will be presenting the results from three clinical trials of Tapping in Queensland schools during 2014-2015.

Mary Nixon, Executive member of the Alliance and Principal of Napier Girls High School, said educators should embrace this opportunity to learn about unique new approaches to student mental wellbeing.

‘Students make enormous developmental leaps during their schooling years, however academic fear and fear of failure can lead to poor academic outcomes and chronic underachievement,’ said Ms Nixon.

‘Research shows us that, sadly, chronic underachievement at school is associated with school truancy and drop out, misbehaviour, disengagement and difficulties with teachers,’ she said.

Principal of Christchurch’s St Margaret’s College, Mrs Gillian Simpson, said teachers played a huge role in preventing the spiral of effects that follow on from academic anxiety.

‘It is up to us as educators to support the development of strong mental resilience in our students by continuously investigating new techniques to support them,’ said Mrs Simpson.

Many studies have examined the effects of EFT on test-taking anxiety and depression in students, teacher burnout, anxiety, presentation anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. The combination of a short-term intervention, easy to master technique, and immediate results contribute to the hypothesis that EFT may be an effective tool for students in classroom situations who are at risk of academic fear and failure.

About Dr Peta Stapleton

A world leader and researcher in Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), Assistant Professor Peta Stapleton is a registered Clinical and Health Psychologist and is Program Director of the Masters of Clinical Psychology program at Bond University (Queensland).

In 2014 Dr Stapleton was awarded the American Harvey Baker Research Award for meticulous research in energy psychology by the Association of Comprehensive Energy Psychology. In 2015 she received the Global Weight Management Congress Industry Professional Award of Excellence, and was named the Gold Coast Women in Business – Woman for Change Winner for her school research teaching EFT to students.

References available on request.