What is EFT and Energy Psychology?
Energy Psychology (EP) is the name for a broad range of psychological treatments that utilize the human energy system. Included in this group are treatments such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Thought Field Therapy, WHEE, Be Set Free Fast, Tapas Acupressure Technique and many other such therapies. Each of these intentionally utilizes one of the human energy systems -such as the meridian system, the chakra system or the aura system – during psychological treatment. One of the most popular forms of Energy Psychology in current use is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).
Psychological therapies such as EMDR (Eye-Movement, Desensitization and Re-Processing) and other deep therapies that access subconscious material, may act energetically as well (that is, they may cause energetic releases and healing). However, such therapies, do not intentionally utilize one of the body’s energetic systems and are not, therefore, called “energy psychology” therapies.
There are also many energetic healing modalities that do not use psychological processes – such as chi gong, acupuncture, aromatherapy, reflexology, therapeutic touch and so forth – and these, too, are not called “energy psychology” treatments. The term “Energy Psychology” refers only those therapies that use both psychological interventions and energetic interventions together in a particular treatment format.
Why Use the Energy System for Psychological Healing and Growth?
Traditional psychotherapy has utilized the power of speech to transform emotions. Through talking about one’s feelings, experiences and struggles, one is often able to come to a better understanding of oneself, develop new ways of viewing things, and begin to consider new alternatives. However, discussion alone, does not have the power to significantly change one’s innermost world. Experiential therapies such as Emotionally Focused Psychotherapy, Focusing, EMDR, Ego-state Therapy and other mind-body approaches, (see descriptions of these approaches in the section entitled “Counselling” on this site), do act deeply to help release emotional blocks, foster healing and change emotional patterns. Energy Psychology techniques add one more unique therapeutic dimension. By correcting a disruption in the energy system, these techniques can bring complete balance within a disturbed internal pattern and virtually “re-wire” the inner world, making fast, deep and enduring changes in thoughts, feelings and physical processes. EFT is a unique therapeutic tool that clients can learn to use on their own for continued stress relief and personal growth.
“Re-Wiring” the Inner World
From the point of view of Energy Psychology, painful physical, emotional and spiritual symptoms are the result of a disruption in the energy system. When the disruption is corrected, symptoms will be replaced by healthy functioning. For instance, a phobic response to spiders would be replaced by a calm response to spiders. All aspects of the phobic response would be normalized. Therefore, physical sensations of distress (such as tense muscles, racing heart, lumps in the throat or sensations in the pit of the stomach) are alleviated. Disturbed thought processes (such distorted perceptions and catastrophic expectations) are normalized. Negative emotions (fear, panic, anger, helplessness, confusion, etc.) are replaced by inner peace. Unhelpful behavioural tendencies (flight or fight or freeze responses, for example) are corrected. All of this can be achieved using the natural resources of the body’s energetic system.
After correcting problems energetically, clients report common experiences. They say things like the following:
- “It doesn’t bother me anymore – I can’t feel it.”
- “I can’t quite find it – it seems very distant now.”
- “I see it, but it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with me.”
- “It’s gone.”
- “It’s O.K. now. It’s all over.”
- “I feel calm.”
- “I don’t care about it anymore – it’s not important.”
- “I’m not afraid anymore; I feel fine.”
- “I don’t feel that way now.”
These changes often happen within only minutes of treatment, and yet the inner transformation is often profound and enduring. There is a large generalization effect of treatment – meaning that the treatment of one issue often causes resolution in many other issues (a real bonus!). Energy Psychology techniques can be used to treat a large array of distressing symptoms including the following types of problems and more:
- worries, fears, anxieties and phobias
- painful memories, grief and traumatic experiences
- stress, burnout, exhaustion
- anger, rage, resentment, irritability
- moodiness, sadness, depression
- insecurity, low self-worth
- relationship difficulties
- performance issues
- limiting beliefs
How is EP Used in Therapy?
Energy Psychology is used as a particular treatment within therapy. The qualified therapist is not “technique-oriented” but rather “client-oriented.” The therapist selects the appropriate therapeutic intervention depending on the client’s moment to moment needs. Depending on the training and orientation of the therapist, he or she may choose any one of a multitude of interventions, from empathic listening to hypnosis and everything in between. Energy Psychology techniques are only one of the possible ways to help a client work through an issue – therefore they are simply tools that are utilized by a qualified therapist within the context of a good therapy. Like all other psychological interventions, EP techniques do not work with every single client. However, clinical experience shows that most people can benefit from EP. Because Energy Psychology is powerful and can cause deep emotional release and restructuring, it is best employed by trained and licensed counselling professionals.