~ What is Energy Psychology?


Energy Psychology (EP) uses gentle, yet precise methods that alter brain chemistry and the body’s energy infrastructure to shift beliefs, behaviors and emotional responses quickly.  It blends traditional Western science and psychology with ancient knowledge of the energy basis for acupuncture.  Most methods use some form of stimulating energy points on the skin by tapping, holding or massaging, paired with specific mental activities that shift your brain’s electrochemistry and release emotions stored in the body.  The techniques are considered experimental by the Western academic community and they are conducting ongoing research.  The American Psychological Association has approved EP to receive continuing education credits.

The easiest to learn & most widely known method, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) has been researched in over ten countries by sixty researchers in over fifteen universities.  More than fifty of the studies show EFT to be efficacious for many psychological problems, documenting amazing and lasting changes in reversing the effects of trauma and overcoming self-defeating emotional patterns.  Some techniques may be learned and used at home for all but the most upsetting of situations, and some require no detailed information about your “life story.”  It is particularly well suited for children because very little language is required and they are still more connected to their inner knowing and body awareness.  This is especially true for the children labeled “new kids,” “Sensitives”, etc.  As with all healing modalities, results vary from person to person, and it is possible that unresolved memories and emotions may be brought to the surface and need further assistance.  The goal is to move toward greater empowerment and peace in life. 


The Phoenix Effect Process (PEP) is an adaptation of John Mace’s process created by Dr. Gloria Arenson.  It is based on the ideas that our emotions are neurological/electrochemical responses and habits in the brain and that they come from the meaning we make of what happens.  We can become the observer of what happened and change the meaning, see it in a new way, knowing it is over and create a new way of responding to life.  PEP is not talk-therapy, and almost no discussion of the problem or event is needed.  It is rare to feel any re-experiencing of trauma.  The “real you” is a Being beyond your emotions, mind or body, and it is that “pure” original Essence of you that is accessed in this process using imagery, dis-identification and focus in the present moment.  It shifts the electrochemical and energetic pattern that held your reaction.  People who have experienced this process have been symptom-free in follow-up many months later.  As with all healing modalities, it is important to find what clicks and helps you move into feeling freedom and joy in your life.  The website for the creator of PEP, Gloria Arenson, is http://gloriaarenson.com


Although not Energy Psychology, Energy Medicine is based on the same energy pathways that underlie the methods used for most Energy Psychology techniques.  Donna created it out of her search for self-healing and her ability to see energy patterns.  She discovered ways to move, tap on and manipulate the body to change the energy patterns from those seen in illness or discomfort to those seen in healthy, balanced, joyful people.  Her Daily Routine is a series of exercises that balances all the major energy systems to start your day in your most integrated, effective way.  Specific exercises have specific purposes, and those that promote grounding, easier sleep, balanced brain hemispheres, energy field protection and reduction of stress are particularly helpful to the children I see.  The Energy Medicine website is http://innersource.net.



Although not considered an energy psychology, HeartMath achieves similar results through combining focus on thought, feeling and body just as do most energy psychology methods.  In Doc Childre and Howard Martin’s book, “The HeartMath Solution” they talk about the discovery in the early 1970’s that the heart has at least 40,000 neurons (brain cells) in it, and that the heart sends communication to the brain and vice versa.  More research showed that heart rhythms (Heart Rate Variability – the optimum timing between beats) and the electro-magnetic field resonance around the heart that synchronizes with the field around the earth are definitely affected by our emotional state.  HeartMath has labeled the smooth rhythms “heart coherence” and the effect on the brain as “heart intelligence.” 

More research has shown that when the heart is in coherent rhythm it sends messages to the brain that improve an individual’s ability to focus, comprehend and solve problems.  The brain can see a bigger picture (more possibilities), discriminate better what is the best solution or action, think more clearly, comprehend more and remember more.  There is also specific research that shows test scores improve, students with attention deficits are better able to sustain attention, and intuition is increased.   A pilot study that I coordinated at Santa Barbara County Education Office resulted in significant improvement in eight areas of emotional and behavioral functioning for junior high and senior high emotionally disturbed students who were taught HeartMath.  Control groups did not show any improvement in the same time period.

The techniques are simple and use a specific way of breathing and training about how to change the focus of your thoughts.  There is a computer program and hand-held device that uses a finger or ear sensor that registers heart rate variability on the computer and shows it on a graph.  This trains the individual to begin to be able to get an inner sense of the difference between low and high coherence.  For more information watch the video above, or for extensive research reports, go to http://heartmath.org.