What is Energy Psychology?

What is Energy Psychology?
Written By: Clinical Psychologist
National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Visual Disabilities, Dehradun - M.Phil
Reviewed By: Counselling Psychologist
MA Psychology Pennsylvania State University, USA
Last Updated: 29-09-2023

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Energy Psychology is a Western approach to healing and psychological well-being that focuses on the energy systems that are present in the body. It is a mind-body approach to therapy and healing that states that the human body has different energy states and the flow of these energy states is influential on our moods, emotions and thoughts. 

To understand this approach you can look at the example of a knotted rope. Imagine that there is a rope and there are several knots in it. Now if you pass a small ring through the rope you will realise that the ring cannot pass through the rope smoothly because it will encounter different knots. Our body system is like the rope that has different knots (or obstacles) that represent trauma from difficult situations and moments, and the ring represents energy flow. When energy flow passes through the body, it will face many obstacles because of the different knots present in the body. These knots will obstruct the energy flow and this can cause a lot of imbalance of the flow in our body. Imbalances lead to mental disturbances, and emotional distress. 

Although research has been done to test the effectiveness of energy psychology healing techniques, caution has to be practised while executing these because this type of therapy involves a lot of exposure. It is only through exposure that the knots and obstacles we have will be undone so that the energy flow throughout the body is smooth. If the exposure techniques are not done in the right manner, then the traumatic memories and events that are retold will have a post-traumatic ripple effect. 

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Types of Energy Psychology

 There are different types of Energy psychology. Each type describes different therapeutic techniques and healing methods. The main ones are, 

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) - Emotional Freedom Technique is also known as a “tapping” technique. In this technique, emotional issues are resolved by tapping on certain acupoints all over the body while vocalising the issues. This process is best felt when followed by a trained professional. In this type of therapy, anxiety-provoking memories and instances are evoked while tapping certain body parts. 

Thought Field Therapy (TFT) - 

This is another technique that involves tapping acupoints all over the body. The only difference between this and EFT is that in TFT tapping is done in specific, timed sequences. These sequences are determined using algorithms that are designed based on the problems that the patient has. Once individual algorithms are created based on the issues, then tapping is done by a professional to resolve the stored trauma. 

Tapas Acupressure Therapy (TAT) - 

This is an acupuncture therapeutic technique that is done by an acupuncturist. In this technique, pressure is applied with fingers on certain pressure points on the head and the face. Along with pressure, the client is encouraged to think positive thoughts and imagery and imagine the source of their problems and issues. After the trauma has been evoked, the tapping is done for healing and resolving the trauma stored in the body. 

Applications of Energy Psychology

Energy Psychology has many applications. As mentioned previously, it is used for improving your mental state and well-being. Some applications are, 

Reducing Stress - Techniques that involve tapping are extremely useful in reducing the stress that is stored and promotes relaxation throughout the body. The tapping can also serve as a useful coping technique for self-administration purposes that can improve your ability to deal with daily stressors. 

Alleviating Anxiety - Energy Psychology techniques are useful for managing symptoms of anxiety. When you verbalise your problems along with tapping, you are preparing your mind and body to address the problem and this puts you in action mode to make a change. It also helps you in generating awareness about your mental state of being. 

Helpful in Phobias and Fears -The techniques under Energy Psychology involve a lot of exposure to one’s traumatic memories or thoughts. This is a useful technique for getting rid of phobias and fears. The only way phobias and fears are resolved when systematic desensitisation happens. This is possible through tapping techniques. 

Mood Booster -Energy Psychology techniques are good mood boosters. Mood problems like depression and bipolar can be addressed through relaxing tapping techniques. Problems like negative thought patterns and emotions are resolved with a more holistic approach. 

Resolving Trauma (Emotional and Physical) -When you tap on acupressure points and verbalise the negative thoughts at the same time, then the tapping helps in releasing the trauma from the mind and the body. The tapping is useful in emotional healing because it releases emotional baggage and helps in building resilience. 
    

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Benefits and Limitations of Energy Psychology

Energy Psychology approach has been critiqued a lot. While there is some amount of research evidence, it is not sufficient enough to be called an evidence based technique. These are some benefits to this approach, 
It has been found to be useful in situations where there are phobias, stress attacks, severe anxiety, pain from trauma and traumatic memories, chronic body pain and mood disorders like depression. 
This approach is a low risk approach toward healing because their aim is to promote relaxation and calm and so you will never be pushed beyond any comfort level. 
It is a simple technique but when administered by the right, qualified professionals, it can promote well-being and happiness to the person. 
This is one such approach that has a lot of self-help strategies that can be administered on yourself without much hassle. 
It is a holistic approach because it does not look at the mind as separate from the body but it also incorporates the physiological aspects as well. This is a mind-body approach to healing and well-being. 
 As mentioned previously, this approach is a popular one because it also has gone through a lot of criticism, for example, 

No proper scientific evidence has been provided to argue for the benefits of this approach. The evidence is only anecdotal and it has not been able to be generalised because of the lack of scientific questioning and enquiry. 
This approach uses the placebo theory in its theories. And most of the benefits that have been obtained are sometimes attributed to the placebo effect. This raises a big question about the effectiveness of the treatment. 
The healing techniques that come under this approach have to be practised by qualified professionals, however, due to its simplicity, many people have taken to these healing techniques and have faced difficulties. This raises a lot of ethical concerns that could potentially damage a person physically and psychologically. 

While the reliability of this approach is still under a lot of scrutiny, it is a healthy approach to consider because it will help you to notice and experience more positive emotions and snap out of negative experiences so that you don’t dwell on it. 

Self-Help Strategies 

While most of the Energy Psychology techniques are most effective when they are administered by a professional therapist, there are some techniques that can be practised on yourself without any external intervention, 

Stress Reduction Tapping - Tapping for stress reduction is an effective tool that helps in alleviating anxiety and stress. When you tap on the pressure points that are present all over the body you are allowing your body to release the trauma that it has stored. This will also be a relaxing technique that will bring your body to a state of homeostasis. 

Grounding Exercises for Mindfulness -Grounding exercises are exercises that help to bring you to the present moment. Exercises like mindful breathing, the “5,4,3,2,1” technique, will bring you to become aware of the sensations so that your mind doesn’t wander into the past or the future and allows you to be in the moment. 

Self-Reflection through Journaling- Journaling has proven to be a very effective technique that helps in clearing your thoughts and energy. This is because through journaling you can allow yourself to reflect on yourself and your true emotions that will eventually help you in clearing all the negative energy you are holding in your mind. 

Energy Psychology is a unique but holistic approach towards well-being and healing. It must be practised with caution but if done properly it can boost the body’s system and bring back lost vitality into your spirit. 

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Reference

 

Holmes, L. (2021, August 18). What Is Energy Psychology? Very Well Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/is-energy-psychology-for-real-2330736

Schmit, J. (n.d.) What Is Energy Psychology? WildTree Wellness. https://wildtreewellness.com/what-is-energy-psychology/

N.A. (n.d.). Energy Psychology. Good Therapy. https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/energy-psychology

 

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