Disputas: Audun Campbell Irgens – Psychiatry

Cand.med. Audun Campbell Irgens at the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences will be defending the thesis «Thought field therapy for patients with anxiety disorders» for the degree of PhD.

Foto: Sørlandet sykehus

Trial Lecture - time and place

See Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor Kirsten Kaya Røssler, University of Southern Denmark
  • Second opponent: Professor Frauke Musial, UiT – The Arctic University of Norway
  • Third member of the adjudication committee: Professor Thomas Clausen, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor Trond Heir, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Professor Asle Hoffart, University of Oslo


Anxiety disorders are common, disabling and a source of a great deal of suffering for many patients. The number of therapists delivering effective treatment is limited. One should therefore test other therapies aimed at reducing the symptoms of anxiety disorders, particularly therapies that practitioners can learn quickly and easily.

Thought field therapy (TFT) is used for many psychiatric conditions, but its efficacy has not been sufficiently documented. We therefore first studied TFT for anxiety disorders, and found better effect from TFT compared to being on a 10-week wait-list. The beneficial effects continued at 3 and 12 months follow-up.

In the next study, we compared TFT to Cognitive therapy (CT) for patients having agoraphobia with large scores on avoidance. We found no difference in effectiveness between the therapies pre-post and at 12-month follow-up on agoraphobic avoidance, although it was a trend towards better effect from CT than TFT on other measures. The number of patients was too small to conclude that CT was not better for these patients than TFT.

Further, we found that cohabiting patients got better results from CT than did patients living alone, but that cohabiting did not affect the results from TFT. Having a comorbid depressive disorder did not affect the results from CT, but the TFT patients having a comorbid depressive disorder showed small beneficial results from TFT.

Only few patients reported side effects from therapy, and none of them was serious.

Overall, we found positive effects from Thought field therapy both compared to Cognitive therapy and to a wait-list condition, for patients having agoraphobia or other anxiety disorders, but the number of patients was too small to make any firm treatment recommendations.

Additional information

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Publisert 15. nov. 2018 14:30 - Sist endret 27. nov. 2018 09:03