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Evidence Based 12 Step Program

Updated: Dec 22, 2021

Emotions Anonymous is a twelve-step emotional wellness program that has served tens of thousands of people around the world since it was founded fifty years ago. Through working the steps and sharing and listening with peers in weekly meetings, members find serenity and peace of mind about situations in their lives that used to baffle them.


The program uses original material (in the form of the original 'big book' and Today book) and new material such as newsletters, workbooks and pamphlets, to help members improve their emotional wellness. Through sharing and listening, members find that they are not alone in their struggles and do not have to live in silence, while feeling anxious, fearful or rejected.


Earlier this year, the organization embarked on a survey based study with the help of a professor at Loyola University in order to judge whether or not the program is efficacious, and if so, to what extent. A total of 264 respondents filled out the survey to some extent and 175 filled it out completely. Respondents were asked about their emotional state in the weeks preceding their first Emotions Anonymous meeting versus the weeks before the survey was filled out. Respondents leaned female (67%), white (77%) and not currently married (52%) with 53% attaining a bachelors degree or higher and 55% having been diagnosed with a mental health disorder at some point in their lives.





The results of the study were encouraging and warrant more investigation. On both the Positive Negative Affect scale (PANAS) and the Emotional Reactivity scale, there were greater than 30% improvements from baseline. There was also a 15 question survey on how much Emotions Anonymous has impacted respondents' lives on a scale of 1 (EA has had a significant negative impact) to 5 (EA has had a significant positive impact). On all questions except for two, scores were above 4. Questions ranged from quality of relationships with friends and family, to work situations and confidence. Overall, the survey showed that nearly 80% of respondents experienced a positive affect increase, more than 80% experienced a negative affect decrease and more than 92% experience a reactivity decrease.


EA presented the poster at Psych Congress 2021. Given that Emotions Anonymous is a free support group to attend combined with these positive study results, attending an EA meeting in order to improve emotional health appears to be a reasonable option to consider. For more information, visit EmotionsAnonymous.org.

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