(by Phil Mollon, PhD, DCEP)
In part one of this blog, I talked about ethical issues related to:
- Scope of practice
- Scope of knowledge
- Clarity and honesty regarding credentials
- Claims for efficacy
- Claims to understand how energy psychology works
In part two, we’ll explore five more key areas related to ethics.
6. Respect for the client’s autonomy
This may involve refraining from:
- Assuming we know what is best for the client.
- Assuming that our methods will definitely help the client.
- Assuming we know what issues the client should address.
If the client asks us to do so, we can attempt to share our thoughts and understanding – without assuming we are correct! When we seek guidance through muscle testing, we are respecting the inherent knowledge, wisdom, and autonomy of the client’s mind-body-energy system.
- Assuming we have the answer to life’s problems – although we may have a contribution to make.
- Using our energetic skills for exploitation or power over others – but instead to empower others.
7. Respect for the client’s material and financial circumstances
Our clients may live within a wide range of material, cultural, and financial circumstances – some of which may be difficult and miserable. Many practitioners of energy psychology may live within relatively comfortable and empowering circumstances. A fee that appears modest for the practitioner may be very challenging for some clients – who might nevertheless be tempted to pay this out of desperation or hope inspired by advertising and promotion of an energy psychology modality. It would be wrong to disregard the client’s material reality, or to coerce them subtly to invest in energy psychology therapy with promises of improvement that may not be fulfilled. Similarly, we should not implicitly promise improvements in a client’s physical health – although it is perfectly reasonable to propose that our methods can sometimes help clear the emotional and energetic impediments to health.
8. Advertising and marketing
As practitioners or providers of training, we work in a marketplace of others offering similar or related services. There may be competition within this marketplace that provides motivation for marketing and advertising. Those who belong to established and conventional professions such as medicine, clinical psychology and psychotherapy or social work, may be subject to restrictions on advertising – either by law or the rules of the professional body (these matters vary according to country and state). Others are not so restricted. Marketing of EP is often quite enthusiastic and colorful. Sometimes this may stray into less ethical forms if there are elements of psychological coercion or manipulation, misrepresentation of scientific data, or if more is promised than can realistically be provided, or if the potential client is discouraged from seeking other forms of help. Marketing and advertising of EP, particularly to potential clients, should be truthful and restrained.
9. Deviation from the conventional paradigm
Many phenomena familiar to energy psychologists violate the conventional scientific paradigm of reality. They include healing through intention, mental effects on the physical realm, healing at a distance, proxy healing, and all manner of other non-local effects. As William Tiller observes, the human energy system appears to function as a gateway to a realm of reality that is responsive to human intention in a way that ordinary physical reality, as studied by conventional science, is not. Sometimes phenomena and procedures are presented at energy psychology workshops that profoundly violate conventional paradigms without this being acknowledged explicitly. This can be confusing to participants and unhelpful when they subsequently try to convey what has been learned to others in the wider world. When this is combined with qualities of charisma and glamor in a workshop leader, an uncritical state of mind may be fostered which provides the basis for cult-like processes and rightly evokes suspicion in the non-EP world. It is helpful to be clear and explicit that some observations are not congruent with conventional principles of physics, biology, psychology, or other sciences.
10.Hype is not needed!
We know that the methods of energy psychology are wonderful, gentle and effective, and very helpful to many clients. It is not necessary for us to hype this graceful gift by exaggerating its potential, seeking to give it credibility by spurious quasi-scientific links to other fields, claiming or implying false academic credentials, or using charisma for personal power or monetary gain. Instead we can, with gratitude, seek to find and present truth that empowers both ourselves and our clients.
Phil Mollon PhD DCEP, is a psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist in the UK – and developer of Psychoanalytic Energy Psychotherapy. He authored the book, Psychoanalytic Energy Psychotherapy. Phil is president of ACEP and chair of the ACEP Ethics Committee.
P.S. Registration is now open for the 19th International Energy Psychology Conference – Experience the Evolution of Healing & Consciousness.
May 18-22, 2017 | San Antonio, TX, right on the world-renowned River Walk.
VIP pricing ends on February 6, so learn more and register now.