Energy Therapies: An Exciting New Psychological Frontier
Published initially in The Colorado Psychologist, June, 2012
Energy therapy refers to interventions that address the body’s negative and positive energy flows to enable healthier physical and emotional functioning. Having worked for the past year and a half with a highly-skilled energy therapist, I have crossed from skepticism to intrigue with the potential of these new psychotherapy assessment and healing techniques.
When Dale Petterson, a down-to-earth ex-Navy man and retired energy therapist, first contacted me, I invited him to my office to demo his work. I was impressed, so much so that I invited Dale to set up an independent therapy professional practice in my office suite. I wanted further opportunities to learn from him.
I now routinely incorporate Dale’s interventions into my own treatment offerings. As somewhat of an old dog when it comes to learning new tricks, when I say “incorporate” I refer to working jointly on cases with Dale. We work together on specific aspects of both my individual and my couple therapy cases, and then I continue to work on my own with the clients for the majority of sessions.
I rely on conventional treatments for processing life dilemmas, healing after couple’s upsets, facilitating habit changes, and coaching cognitive or couple skills. For defusing earlier life memories and reducing present anxiety, depression, anger and distress I use a combination of my and Dale’s methods. Dale also carries his own caseload.
What phenomena signal to me to add Dale’s interventions to my own?
- Psychological reversal
- Intense emotional states
- Persistent distressing underlying concerns
- Insufficient resilience
- Physical manifestations of emotional issues in stomach pain, neck pain, etc.
- Excessive emotional reactivity suggesting a hyperactive amygdale characteristic of borderline clients
- Anger eruptions
- Persistent anxiety, including PTSD
- Blockages to sexual functioning
- Negative beliefs about the self such as a sense of inadequacy or belief that one is unlovable.
- Denial, repression or suppression of data that would be helpful to access for treatment to succeed.
What are some of the energy treatment techniques that Dale utilizes?
Dale’s repertoire includes a wide diversity of energy interventions. The ones that he most often uses however are:
1. Muscle kinesiology gives a voice to the subconscious.
Dale uses muscle kinesiology to:
- Verify which target symptom we need to focus on at any given time
- Pinpoint the sources of trapped negative emotions in earlier life experiences
- Verify which treatment method to use on the target symptom
- Assess progress by verifying if we have completely alleviated a given target symptom or if we need to do additional interventions.
2. Removal of psychological reversal. Psychological reversal orients people to doing things that make them miserable rather than happy. People who are “reversed” tend to self-sabotage, undermining their successes.
The undertow toward unhappiness can undermine successful medical and psychological treatment outcomes, so testing for reversal at the outset of treatment is vital. Correcting the reversal generally takes 15 minutes or less using Emotion Code interventions (see below). This interventin increases the likelihood that subsequent psychological interventions will hold.
3. Emotion Code, created by Bradley Nelson, is a method for identifying and releasing emotions from prior negative life experiences that have formed the templates for current problematic habits, beliefs, and emotional reactions.
Exploration of the earlier life experiences influencing present dysfunction is a conventional psychotherapeutic strategy.
The advantages of Emotion Code techniques over conventional methods for accessing and releasing the hold of early experiences on later functioning include:
1) the rapidity with which it pinpoints the key earlier experiences
2) ability to access preverbal, prenatal, and even inherited and past-life negative emotions
3) comprehensiveness of the release of the negative trapped emotion
4) ability to verify if there are further trapped emotions impacting the problematic target symptom that should also be released.
4. EFT is a simplified variant of the tapping techniques created several decades ago by psychologist Roger Callahan. Tapping on acupuncture points calms excessive emotional reactions. PTSD is especially responsive to this well-researched technique.
For summaries of EFT research see http://www.tapintofreedom.com/research.
5. Dale’s unique contributions such as using the Emotion Code to remediate psychological reversal, treating depression by shifting energies from the right to the left prefrontal lobe, decreasing hyperactivity of the amygdale to reduce excessive emotional reactivity, and use of cold laser for strengthening emotional resilience.
To learn more about these techniques, please contact me via www.TherapyHelp.com.
Susan Heitler, Ph.D. a graduate of Harvard and NYU, specializes in couples therapy in her private practice at Rose Medical Center and blogs for PsychologyToday.com. Her multiple publications include From Conflict to Resolution and The Angry Couple video which emphasize the role of conflict resolution in treatment and Power of Two, now the basis for the online marriage skills training program, PowerOFTwoMarriage.com.