By Dale Teplitz, EFT TRN 1-2
As energy healing techniques have gone from obscurity to mainstream, a growing number of health-care practitioners have adopted one or more methods of bringing the body’s energy into balance.
The term Energy Medicine (EM) usually refers to a “whole body” approach to health and healing by assessing and redirecting electromagnetic and more subtle energies to restore optimal functioning. Donna Eden’s Energy Medicine is the most popular and well-known approach to Energy Medicine. Others include Brennen, Healing Touch, etc.
Energy Psychology (EP) refers to a portion of this larger picture, which addresses energy blocks or disruptions that are linked to emotions. EFT is the most popular form of EP. An Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology survey revealed that while most ACEP members do indeed use EFT, or other forms of EP as their primary treatment modality, Eden's approach to Energy Medicine is the second modality used by most practitioners.
In her past keynotes to ACEP and other EP organizations, Eden has discussed how Energy Medicine complements the repertoire of Energy Psychology practitioners, providing a range of tools for getting faster results or better outcomes with difficult clients.
For instance, she explains, if a client is depressed, that person’s energies are inevitably running in a homolateral pattern, and the person will stay depressed until that pattern changes. While a variety of techniques for depression correct homolateral energies without focusing on them, using a simple Energy Medicine technique to change the pattern is the most direct approach possible.&
Many EFT practitioners have reported that sharing Donna Eden’s “5-minute Daily Energy Routine” (Eden, 2008, Chapter 3) with clients prior to applying EFT balances and aligns the energy flow and increases success. When the practitioner participates in the balancing exercises along with the client, or prior to the session, there is an added benefit of balancing the practitioner’s energy system, resulting in improved focus and access to skills and intuition.
Just as training in Energy Medicine can make EFT practitioners more effective, it also works in the other direction. Energy Medicine practitioners can improve their outcomes by applying EFT to address the emotional roots of the physical problems their clients present. These practitioners are proving to be one of the best testing grounds for utilizing EFT interventions for addressing physical issues.
Though the focus of Energy Medicine is on correcting imbalances in the body’s nine primary energy systems (Eden, 2008) rather than directly addressing physical or emotional functioning, there are times when integrating EFT into an Energy Medicine practice can precisely target an emotional issue and shift the energy imbalances that maintain it.
A paper I wrote with David Feinstein and Doug Moore for the journal Energy Psychology, “Addressing Emotional Blocks in Energy Medicine: Ethical and Clinical Guidelines” provides clinical suggestions as well as discussing important ethical principles for responsibly and effectively addressing the emotional correlates of physical conditions within an Energy Medicine practice. (Feinstein, Moore, & Teplitz, 2012)
Using EFT to Address Emotional Blocks for Relief of Physical Symptoms
The following are some ways of using EFT to address physical issues. Though they come out of experiences with Energy Medicine practitioners, they are equally relevant for EFT practitioners working with the emotional roots of physical symptoms.
Assuming the practitioner is adequately trained in EFT, and has determined that a referral to a licensed psychotherapist or physician is not indicated Psychology journal article), here are possible ways to proceed in each of three common situations:
1. Emotionally Reactive State
If the client comes into a session with emotions such as fear, sadness, or anger, the practitioner might begin with an EFT tapping protocol. This may quickly help to decrease distress that is so strong it may be difficult to proceed with the session.
A simple approach is to tap on EFT points while describing the physical aspects of person’s fear, sadness, or anger, such as, “Even though I have this tightness in my throat” . . . “sick feeling in my stomach” . . . etc. Tapping for the physical sensations of an emotion rather than focusing on the name of the emotion is often surprisingly effective for reducing the intensity of the emotion.
EFT practitioners are taught that many clients who are unable to access emotions, or who are uncomfortable when addressing them directly, find it easier to tap for the physical sensations they illicit. For this reason, the EFT technique called “chasing the pain” is regarded as a gentle technique for indirectly targeting emotions.
2. Traumatic Flooding
If during a session the client spontaneously reports a severe trauma or intense memory and is showing signs of distress, the practitioner can ask the client to rate the intensity of the feeling using a zero-to-10 Subjective Units of Distress scale. Keeping clients focused on some aspect of the present moment helps them stay grounded.
This could include instructions such as, “Keep your eyes open and look around the room,” or, “Feel your feet on the floor.” If additional techniques are still needed, EFT methods that gently focus on immediate physical sensations, such as described above, or some periph
eral aspect of the trauma that does not have the same emotional charge attached to it can be used. For instance, the client might be asked to focus on something that led up to the traumatic event or to say, “Even though this terrible thing happened,” without getting into any specifics. Or the client can simply tap continuously without using words while focusing on feelings.
3. Underlying Emotional Blocks
• If focusing directly on the physical symptoms is not producing the desired outcome consider (a) asking the client questions that might elicit underlying emotions or predisposing experiences and (b) using EFT to take the charge out of those that are revealed. For example:
• What was happening in your life at about the time that this symptom began?” or “What early event in your life reminds you of the current situation?” Even though the person may never have made the connection, a loss, trauma, or major disappointment will often come to mind (e.g., “The pressure in my chest started shortly after my son died”; “This stomach pain is how I felt when Dad would threaten us”). EFT balances meridians frequently associated with intense memories and related emotions and has often preceded a breakthrough with a recalcitrant physical symptom.
• If you knew why your symptoms are there, what might the answer be?” Then use EFT to address the energies associated with the emotional dimensions of the answer that comes into the person’s mind (e.g., “The way I keep throwing my back out reminds me not to push myself so hard all the time”). Also explore the body’s metaphors (e.g., “Who or what is a ‘pain in the neck’ in your life?” or “If your symptoms had a voice, what would it be saying?”).
• If you got over this physical condition, how would your life change?” Address secondary gains and psychological reversals by applying EFT for any perceived negative outcomes from resolving the symptom. (e.g., “Even though I would have to go back to work again . . .”) (Feinstein, Eden, & Craig, 2005)
The recent ACEP survey reveals that a surprisingly large percent of EFT practitioners are already using Energy Medicine as their secondary modality. At the same time, we are seeing an increasing number of Energy Medicine practitioners proving the benefits of utilizing EFT for addressing physical symptoms.
While both practices address underlying energy disruptions, each offers unique tools for doing so. By working directly with the body’s energy systems with both of these highly complementary tools, the presenting problem is being addressed at the physical, emotional, and energetic levels.
As a natural complement to each other, EFT and Energy Medicine can be used in combination to achieve highly effective results in even the most challenging cases.
Eden, D. (2008). Energy Medicine (rev. ed.). New York, NY: Tarcher/Penguin.
Feinstein, D., Eden, D., & Craig, G. (2005). The Promise of Energy Psychology. New York, NY: Tarcher/Penguin.
Feinstein, D., Moore, D., & Teplitz, D. (2012). Addressing Emotional Blocks in Energy Medicine: Ethical and Clinical Guidelines: Energy Psychology 4:1, 49-57.