Is energy psychology a cure for a world on Prozac?

prozac-weight-gain-01(By Robert Schwarz, PsyD, DCEP)

In the most recent issue of the Psychotherapy Networker, there is a long article on the history of psychoactive medication that I highly recommend you read. For over 100 years pharmaceutical companies have been peddling mind-altering drugs to solve whatever ails people, usually with the blessings of the medical community.   We have gone from morphine to cocaine to barbiturates to amphetamines to valium and of course Prozac and the like.

The big pharma business in psychoactive drugs is a multi-billion dollar industry that has historically overplayed the benefits of drugs and downplayed the potential pitfalls. I am not saying that these drugs do not have their place.  But if you are a therapist like me, you would prefer to help your clients without medications and the myriad of problems that come with them.

For over 25 years, I have looked for holistic approaches that do not make clients dependent on medications. The problem is that clients often want to feel better fast. And talking about your problems often does not relieve the intense negative affect we often call anxiety, depression or trauma. Clients want a sense of self-control and self-efficacy. Medication certainly does suppress negative symptoms. But it does not treat anything that is actually creating the symptoms.

That is where energy psychology has been such a boon. Instead of a client only talking about his or her problem, the client focuses on the symptoms or specific events that lead to the symptoms and then taps on meridian points (or uses one of several other approaches). Within a few minutes, the intensity of the feelings begins to diminish. Often, different aspects of the problem come to the foreground. For instance, a difference in body sensations occurs, a different distressing thought appears, or another part of the memory emerges. Whatever shows up becomes the next thing we treat.    Within a single session we can either totally eliminate the negative emotions associated with a specific event or trigger, or we can substantially reduce those reactions so that the client feels both relief in the moment and hope that more can be done in the next session. Frankly, as the person tasked with helping my client have less suffering, I feel the same things.

I am not saying that energy psychology is magic, or solves all problems instantly. But I have been doing this for almost 20 years with hundreds if not thousands of clients.  I am still awed by the power and efficacy of these techniques. I integrate them with other, more standard approaches to therapy.  I listen and consult, provide healthier frames and reframes. I teach my clients how to use self-help versions of energy psychology methods to manage anxiety, pain and suffering. We use these approaches in sessions to work on difficult issues. And guess what? Very few of my clients need medication, despite what big pharma would want, or what many doctors think is appropriate. Recently, a client with a dissociative disorder was seen by a neurologist who lambasted her for NOT being on psychiatric medication, despite a long history of adverse reactions to them.     Apparently, over 40% of Americans will have been on antidepressants some time in their life!!! There is no doubt in my mind that if energy psychology approaches were more widely used that number would be more like 14 or 4%.  Learn more about energy psychology

Robert Schwarz, PsyD
Licensed Psychologist, Author of Tools for Transforming Trauma
ACEP Executive Director


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