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Energy Psychology

by Robert Schwarz, PsyD

Chances are that if you are reading this article you are a person who has spent significant time and money on your health issues, emotional challenges, or personal development and perhaps you intuitively sense that there must be a better way. Or, maybe you are a therapist, life coach, or physician who senses that there is something missing in your practice that could better assist your clients in leading more vital lives.

What is "Energy Psychology" (EP)?

EP is a holistic mind-body approach that allows people to do one of three things: 1.) reduce or eliminate negative emotional reactions such as anxiety, anger or self-criticism, 2.) reduce or eliminate blocks to performance, 3.) enter or maintain a higher functioning performance state.

The term "energy" refers to the energy system of the human body. This system has three main components: the channels through which energy flows known as the meridian systems described in acupuncture or Qigong, the distribution centers of energy known as the chakras, and the biofield that surrounds the body. EP follows the Eastern tradition and asserts the cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system. Furthermore, most EP approaches also recognize unresolved negative emotions are major contributors to many physical pains and diseases.

EP is the umbrella name for energy approaches such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Thought Field Therapy (TFT), Tapas Acupressure Technique (TAT), and Energy Medicine to name a few. What is interesting about all of these approaches is that their most basic forms can be easily learned as a self-help technique to empower individuals to rapidly change their ongoing life experience.

EP vs. "Talk Therapy"

The missing element in conventional medicine and talk-based therapy is that they simply do not directly address the most important aspect of our human nature. Most talk-based therapies attempt to change experience through understanding or try to change mental processes through practice. This can be helpful — but it usually takes a long time to achieve tangible results. However EP adds the missing ingredient by working directly with the energy system so change is more rapid and requires little effort by the patient. Healing or change just happens. Most EP modalities have the person focus their attention on the problem state while they activate the energy system by tapping on acupuncture points or doing other simple energy procedures. People utilizing these simple techniques report that their experience simply changes. Their panic just goes away. Or the memory of the traumatic event simply stops bothering them. They still remember it — but they are no longer upset when remembering.

There are also a series of approaches that treat energetic conditions that often underlie resistance and lack of motivation. An example of this might be a client who is dieting and has successfully lost 15 pounds and is about to achieve their weight loss goal and all of a sudden loses motivation; or an athlete who keeps choking when he/she gets to the brink of achieving a new performance level. These conditions are known as "reversals" and are easily assessed and treated. Speaking of assessment, many Energy Psychology practitioners learn how to use kinesiological muscle-checking to rapidly get information about the source of a person’s difficulties. Muscle-checking can be used in a number of manners including: 1) to discover which energy systems are out of balance, 2) unconscious blocks to treatment, 3) the psychological source of a given problem.

But Is there research?

EP approaches are very robust and can be used in many areas. There is a rapidly expanding base of research regarding results achieved using these new breakthrough methods. A recent study reported in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine found that TAT was significantly more helpful than Qigong and placebo for helping maintain weight loss for example. Another recent study found that EP approaches were effective in reducing pain in mice.

An article published in the journal Traumatology reported EP approaches have been highly effective (over 90%) in eliminating the effects of trauma in disasters in over 12 countries. The author reported EP techniques were equally effective in dealing with the negative effects of war and torture.

In a study currently underway at the University of Virginia working with veterans of the Iraq war suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), researchers have found that the use of EFT has dramatically lowered levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. The results were so dramatic that the independent lab conducting the measurement actually checked the results three times because they thought the stunning findings had to be a mistake.

Ironically, the Veterans Administration and other branches of the government have been slow and resistant to utilizing EP approaches because it does not fit their current model of the world. Even though "the establishment" has been slow to embrace the 20 year-old field of energy psychology, change is coming. A review of the literature published in 2008 by a journal of the American Psychological Association concluded that "Although further research on efficacy mechanisms and indications is clearly required, extensive clinical reports combined with the limited scientific evidence suggests that EP holds promise as a rapid and potent treatment for a range of psychological disorders."

Local Fall Seminars on EP

If you are interested in learning more about Energy Psychology either as a therapist or for self-help, there is an imminent opportunity in the Delaware Valley. An introductory seminar will be held on Friday evening Nov 7th from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel in Center City. There, you will experience a few of the techniques and learn more about EP Approaches. You will learn how Energy Psychology can be used to treat stress, trauma, physical pain, anxiety, addictions, learning difficulties and more. A more in-depth all-day workshop will be held the following day, Saturday November 8th. Both sessions are open to professionals and the general public. These trainings are sponsored by the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology (ACEP). ACEP is the world’s largest organization of energy psychology practitioners.

For more information or to register for these workshops, please visit www. EPheals.com. In the Delaware Valley you can also contact Dr. Robert Schwarz in Haverford, Pa at 610-642-0884.

Robert Schwarz, Psy D, DCEP, is a licensed Psychologist and Diplomate in Energy Psychology and has been practicing psychotherapy for over 27 years. He is also the new Executive Director of the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology (ACEP) which provides nationwide EP Certification Training. He maintains a practice in Haverford, PA and his website is www.Doctor-Bob.net.  

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