Energy Psychology is the name of a family of therapeutic methods that address personal, psychological, emotional, and increasingly, physical, issues by working with the human vibrational energy matrix. Typically, energy psychology treatment focuses on disturbances on the meridian, chakra, or biofield level. One of the more popular forms of energy psychology looks like psychological acupressure.
Energy psychology may be the fastest growing therapy around the globe. The Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology, ACEP (www.energypsych.org), is a not for profit, international professional organization whose goals is to promote and educate professionals and laypeople about energy psychology.
Increasing numbers of people have heard of the “tapping” therapies. The energy psychology method that is best known is EFT, The Emotional Freedom Techniques created by Gary Craig and popularized by his accessible and helpful website, www.emofree.com. EFT is only one of many energy psychology approaches. A list of some others includes: Thought Field Therapy (TFT), Tapas Acupressure Technique (TAT), Thought Energy Synchronization Technique (TEST), Energy Diagnositic and Treatment Methods (EDxTM), Advanced Integrative Therapy (AIT), Whole Health-Easily & Effectively (WHEE).
Energy psychology is a natural healing method. It can be used as an effective self-help method, and it is an invaluable component of counseling and therapy. Energy psychology often helps where other treatments have not.
Energy psychology caught the attention of many experienced therapists because of its effectiveness in helping people heal from psychological trauma (posttraumatic stress disorder, PTSD) and other anxiety states. In a typical energy psychology treatment, patients discover that after a brief period, they feel normal again. They are much less emotionally upset; their thoughts are calmer, hopeful and more positive; physically, they feel calm and more relaxed. Often, the original upset is permanently transformed.
In a typical energy psychology session, the client and therapist agree about the issue to be treated (for example, a person who has been in a car accident remains afraid to drive). The therapist shows the client a sequence of points on the acupuncture meridian system, usually on the face and upper body. The client does the tapping on her/his own body, usually tapping firmly about 7 times on each acupoint. After this sequence is completed, the therapist will ask the client to give feedback about how the problem is. Usually, the client immediately notices a significant reduction in the level of upset associated with the problem. Occasionally, the problem goes away after just this one round of treatment. More frequently, it is necessary to repeat the tapping sequence in order to fully treat the various components of the problem. In instances where the client has experienced a single trauma, the problem is often transformed in a few sessions. Once the problem is cleared in the session, there is a very high likelihood that that problem is resolved. In more complex situations, the problem will require a number of sessions and clients are encouraged to continue treatment on their own at home.
The ultimate indicator of successful treatment is whether the problem is no longer a problem in the client’s everyday life. In the example above, treatment is a success when that person is able to drive again without fear.
The above is a simplified picture of energy psychology treatment intended to convey a general picture of the approach. There are a variety of techniques that can be used to address a given problem. Not every treatment uses tapping. Energy psychology treatment can also be done by holding meridian points, spinning chakras, doing movements that clear the biofield, and by intention. Some energy psychology treatments use muscle testing (applied kinesiology) as a way to assess underlying energetic patterns.
Complex problems often require persistent treatment. Even in these cases, people can make remarkable gains where they have not using conventional methods.
Energy psychology is based on the idea that emotional and psychological distress is better understood as an energy field disturbance than as primarily a cognitive or biological problem. This is consistent with other energetic therapeutic systems, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine, Homeopathy, Cranial-Sacral Therapy, Healing Touch and many other healing systems. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, for example, illness is said to develop when the flow of Chi (or life energy) in the body is blocked, stagnant or deficient. Restoring a more open flow of Chi, promotes optimal conditions for self-healing. The body-mind-spirit naturally shifts to a healthier state, and illnesses disappear. Energetic healing works faster than conventional physical and cognitive healing approaches because Chi flow throughout the body is nearly instantaneous. Moreover, when energetic disturbances are corrected, the physical, emotional and cognitive dimensions of the problem improve simultaneously.
Energy field disturbances are present whenever we experience distress, or are living less than our full potential. In addition to its clinical usefulness to treat fears, persistent negative emotional states (like, anger), limiting beliefs, and problematic behaviors, energy psychology helps people achieve optimal performance by correcting the energetic blocks to success. Many athletes as well as business leaders are using energy psychology techniques to help them perform at their best.
Humanitarian relief workers have used energy psychology methods in a wide range of traumatic environments. These include treating survivors: of 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombings; of Hurricane Katrina; of the Indonesian tsunami; of the Balkan wars; of the Rwandan genocide: of earthquakes in Pakistan, Turkey and Guatemala; of terrorism in Bali; and in many other situations. Consistently, energy psychology methods have helped people overcome traumatic symptoms and reclaim their ability to direct their lives.
The humanitarian potential of energy psychology can be summed up by the following observation made by the chief medical officer of Kosovo, Dr. Skkelzen Syla (a psychiatrist) who wrote a letter of appreciation in 2001 about the impact of Thought Field Therapy (an energy psychology technique) in Kosovo after one of its practitioners, Carl Johnson, Ph.D., ABPP, worked with 50 of the country’s most severe PTSD patients hand picked by Dr. Syla:
“Many well-funded relief organizations have treated the posttraumatic stress here in Kosova. Some of our people had limited improvement but Kosova had no major change or real hope until…we referred our most difficult trauma patients to [Dr. Johnson and his team]. The success from TFT was 100% for every patient, and they are still smiling until this day [and indeed, in the follow-ups, each was free of relapse].”
You can watch a powerful demonstration of energy psychology treatment here: http://www.emofree.com/freevideos.aspx. Note this video shows treatment with actual veterans. The content may be disturbing to some.
Other resources: www.energypsych.org: The official website of The Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology (ACEP).
A good introductory book on energy psychology is: The Promise of Energy Psychology by David Feinstein, Gary Craig, and Donna Eden. This book is available in our apothecary.
WholeHealth Chicago psychologist, Dr. Larry Stoler is the past president of ACEP.