Energy Psychology is an emerging branch of psychology that focuses on the relationship between bioenergetic systems, belief systems, and health. Its approach incorporates psychological and bioenergetic methods towards healing, and it has roots in ancient traditions as well as more modern psychological and medical practices. Energy Psychology proponents believe that mental and physical health are closely linked to the balance and flow of energy within the body.
This field has its roots in Eastern medicine and philosophies, including Chinese medicine’s concept of qi or chi (life energy) and the chakra system of Indian Ayurvedic medicine. Practitioners often use a combination of physical interventions (like tapping on specific body points or moving in certain patterns) and mental interventions (like focusing on a certain thought or emotion) to balance energy systems and treat various health conditions.
Here are some common types of Energy Psychology
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT): Emotional Freedom Techniques, or EFT, is a self-help method that combines elements drawn from cognitive and exposure therapy with acupressure. The technique involves tapping on specific body meridian points, which are believed to correspond to different organs and bodily functions according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. While tapping these points, the individual is asked to focus mentally on the issue or problem they want to resolve and voice positive affirmations. This combination of physical tapping and focused thought is believed to change the body’s energy flow and reduce negative emotions.
The common sequence of EFT includes the top of the head, eyebrow, side of the eye, under the eye, under the nose, chin, collarbone, under the arm, and under the breast. This is usually coupled with a setup statement that acknowledges the problem and a reminder phrase that keeps the problem at the forefront of your mind. EFT is used for a wide range of issues including stress, anxiety, phobias, emotional disorders, chronic pain, addiction, weight control, and limiting beliefs.
Thought Field Therapy (TFT): Thought Field Therapy, TFT, was developed by psychologist Roger Callahan. It is considered one of the original “power therapies” and one of the earliest forms of energy psychology. TFT involves tapping on specific energy meridian points in a precise order (known as an “algorithm”) while mentally focusing on a specific psychological problem or goal.
The technique is designed to target the “thought field”, which Callahan described as the most fundamental concept in healing. The “thought field” is the source of emotional problems and tapping it in specific sequences, he argued, can remove disruptions in the body’s energy field and lead to relief from psychological distress. TFT is used for a variety of emotional problems including phobias, trauma, depression, anxiety, stress, and addictive urges.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, EMDR, is a psychotherapy treatment developed by psychologist Francine Shapiro that is designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories. The patient is asked to recall distressing images while generating bilateral sensory input, most commonly in the form of side-to-side eye movements. This process helps the brain to process the traumatic memories and render them less harmful.
EMDR is recognized as an effective form of trauma treatment in numerous practice guidelines worldwide. In addition to PTSD, EMDR therapy has been successfully used to treat anxiety and panic disorders, depression, stress, phobias, and self-esteem issues. Despite this, the exact mechanisms by which EMDR works are still not fully understood, and it is a topic of ongoing research.
Psychoanalytic Energy Psychotherapy (PEP): Psychoanalytic Energy Psychotherapy, PEP, combines the principles of psychoanalysis and energy psychology. Developed by Phil Mollon, a psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist, PEP focuses on addressing the energy aspects of a person’s issues in conjunction with their psychological aspects.
The emphasis in PEP is on understanding the psychological roots of emotional suffering while also recognizing and addressing disturbances in the body’s energy system. Mollon describes the method as “mind in the body and energy in the mind”, signifying the intertwined nature of physical and mental health. PEP involves understanding the psychoanalytic meaning of symptoms and using energy psychology methods to help bring about change, treating issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and personality disorders.
Healing Touch and Therapeutic Touch: Healing Touch (HT) and Therapeutic Touch (TT) are energy therapies that involve the practitioner consciously directing or modulating human energies through their hands. These practices are based on the idea that human beings are fields of energy that are in constant interaction with the environment and other energy fields.
Healing Touch is a nursing-based continuing education program for registered nurses that involves the use of non-invasive touch or near-touch methods intending to influence the human energy field. HT is used for a variety of conditions including stress, chronic pain, post-operative recovery, and issues related to dying.
Therapeutic Touch, developed in the 1970s by Dolores Krieger, Ph.D., RN, is a practice based on the theory that the human body, mind, emotions, and intuition form a complex, dynamic energy field. Practitioners of TT use their hands to scan this energy field and detect any imbalances, then use their hands to modulate and rebalance the energy. TT has been used in a variety of healthcare settings to help with wound healing, pain, and anxiety reduction.
While many find these techniques helpful, their effectiveness is not universally acknowledged and more empirical research is needed. Always consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any new therapy.
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