Energy Psychology and The Forgiveness Solution: Helping a Couple Recover from an Affair

(by Sarah Murphy, LPC)  Do you incorporate spiritual principles in your therapy practice? Have you moved to teletherapy and wonder if your clients are getting good results? Are you interested in learning about new ways to assess clients’ progress? 

If you answered “yes” you have something in common with longtime ACEP member, psychologist, and author Phil Friedman, PhD. In this blog, I’ll discuss his case study that demonstrated a couple’s progress over the course of therapy using interesting data obtained by HIPAA-compliant digital tracking tools. Read on to learn more! 

Digital Tracking Measures Couples’ Success with Spiritually Influenced Energy Psychology Delivered Online

Like most therapists, study author Phil Friedman1 moved to a tele-therapy delivery model in March of 2020. Phil is a long-time scholar-practitioner and ACEP member. He has been tracking his clients’ progress using paper-pencil assessments for decades. As an assessment afficionado and longtime spiritual student, he has developed a series of psychometric scales to assist with tracking his clients’ progress, including measures of spirituality. 

When Phil switched to tele-therapy, he searched for a way to deliver these assessments online. He began using customizable digital tracking tools designed for mental health professionals, Pragmatic Tracker and, to a lesser extent, Blueprint. Both tools were easy for the clients to use, and both generate color-coded, easy-to-read graphs that visually demonstrate client progress. According to the assessments and termination essays, the couple felt increasingly positive about their relationship during the course of therapy and found therapy very helpful. They reported that the energy psychology tapping exercises; the psychological uplifter,2 an energy psychology tool developed by Friedman; and Friedman’s book TheForgiveness Solution were the most beneficial in therapy.

The Study Setup

This case study documented the progress of a couple who sought therapy to recover from the wife’s infidelity. The clients attended regular weekly therapy sessions, filling out assessments on the morning of therapy. They reported that the assessments took about 10-15 minutes to complete.

In addition to standard depression and anxiety scales, Phil added his psychometric scales to the assessment trackers. These tools, the Friedman Scales, are available for free for non-commercial use and are encouraged for research and clinical use. The Friedman Life Balance Scale assesses reflection, understanding of self and others, and self-compassion; it includes a spirituality subscale. The Friedman Spiritual Awakening Scale assesses spiritual awakening, including oneness, spirituality, higher power, inclusion, perfection, and compassion.

Study Results

The couple experienced an overall positive trend on all measures during therapy. The husband began in greater distress about the state of the marriage; the wife began in greater distress generally. Overall, the wife made greater changes than the husband with one exception (the marital measure):

  • The marriage: Both husband and wife improved in marital satisfaction (Friedman Marital Harmony scale)
  • Individual functioning: The wife experienced significant decreases in depression and anxiety (six Friedman scales); both wife and husband improved in satisfaction with life (Satisfaction With Life Scale) 
  • Spiritual Assessment: The wife improved significantly on these metrics (Friedman Spiritual Awakening Scale; Spirituality subscale of Friedman Life Balance Scale). 
  • Helpfulness of therapy: The couple began with a tepid perception of how helpful therapy would be, rating it 4.5 out of 10; however, at the end of therapy, both rated therapy as a 10-out-of-10 in helpfulness (termination essays)
  • Most helpful part of therapy: In termination essays, the wife reported that the tapping, the psychological uplifter, and The Forgiveness Solution book were most helpful; the husband reported that tapping and other techniques were the most helpful

Why it Matters

  1. Energy Psychology for couples: Functioning within the partner dyad has a tremendous impact on quality of life. The energy psychology techniques used in the study were cited by both husband and wife as among the most effective tools in therapy. 
  2. Spiritual Principles: The model outlined in The Forgiveness Solution incorporates spiritual principles with energy psychology. For clinicians who are interested in the spiritual aspect of clients’ progress, the Friedman Scales offer a tool to assess spirituality and spiritual awakening.
  3. Assessing tele-therapy: As we move to tele-therapy, it is important to understand how effective our work is. This case study demonstrates the effectiveness of tele-therapy in couples therapy.
  4. Digital tracking: The study explores two HIPAA-compliant tracking tools for therapists and found both to be easy to use and customizable.

The Takeaways

The present study demonstrates that couples therapy delivered online is effective. The tracking tools were effective, simple to use, and generated easy-to-read graphs carting clients’ progress; the couple improved on every measure. Additionally, the couple reported that using energy psychology as well as the researcher’s book The Forgiveness Solution helped them heal from their marital issues. The Forgiveness Solution incorporates, and the Friedman Scales assess, spirituality in therapy.

The full article is available free of charge in the August 24, 2021 issue of the International Journal of Healing and Caring

Want to learn more about the research on energy psychology? Explore energypsych.org/research. Do you have a case study of your own in mind? We would love to hear from you.

Author

Sarah Murphy is a licensed professional counselor with more than 15 years of clinical experience. She is Communications Committee Chair for ACEP and staff therapist for Unite for HER. She specializes in using energy psychology, mindfulness, and hypnotherapy in working with cancer patients. Learn more at https://transformative-therapy.com.

1 Philip H. Friedman, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and Director of the Foundation for Well-Being in Pennsylvania. He is the author of The Forgiveness Solution and Creating Well Being in addition to the Friedman Assessment Scales on Well-Being, Beliefs, Quality of Life, Affect, Life Balance, Spiritual Awakening and the Mini-5 Factor Personality Scale. Phil is an adjunct professor on the faculty of Sophia University (formerly the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology). He is the founder of Integrative Forgiveness Psychotherapy (IFP), the Positive Pressure Point Techniques (PPPT), the Practice Based Evidence Approach (PBEA) and the Digital Assessment and Tracking Approach (DATA) to assessment and change.  www.philipfriedman.com and www.forgivenesssolution.com.

2 The Psychological Uplifter was developed by Friedman and is outlined on p. 69 of The Forgiveness Solution. To do the Psychological Uplifter, rub the sore point (neurolymphatic point) while repeating the reminder phrase: “Even though I have some of this problem or negative emotion (e.g., fear, anxiety, hurt, anger, depression, sadness, guilt, shame, low self-esteem, work, marital, relationship and family problems, etc.), I accept myself deeply and profoundly and I am a good, competent and magnificent person”. Repeat three times. Then, while continuing to rub the sore point, say “I love myself unconditionally despite my problems, challenges and limitations” three times; then, continuing to rub the sore point, say “I am entitled to miracles” three times. 

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