Energy psychology addresses the relationship of energy systems to emotion, cognition, behavior and health. These systems include electrical activity of the nervous system and heart, meridians, biophotons, biofields, etc.
Although psychological functioning involves thought, emotions, chemistry, neurology, genetics and environmental aspects, at an essential level bioenergy is also involved. Just as an audiotape or computer hard drive contain information in electromagnetic fields, similarly our brain and body operate electromagnetically.
Energy psychology is applicable to a wide range of areas including psychotherapy, counseling, education, vocational guidance, physical health, pain management, sports and peak performance.
These techniques are being used around the world by thousands of mental health and allied professionals and lay people alike to achieve rapid, dramatic and lasting changes in feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. Incorporating a mind-body approach, they can be simple enough that children can be taught to use them independently. Yet, they are so powerful that they are being employed by several organizations worldwide to provide first response to disasters and other traumatic situations.
Positive clinical and experimental outcomes have been found with a multitude of populations including, Trauma and PTSD, Anxiety and Phobias, Depression, Addictions, weight management, pain and school, sports and work performance.
This innovative approach to mental and physical health is currently being studied by the National Institutes of Health, the Kaiser Foundation, and the Veterans Administration. A growing body of clinical research has thus far been very promising, as well as fMRI and QEEG results that show positive brain activity after the use of energy psychology techniques. Despite the fact that the scientific study of energy psychology approaches is in it its early phases, these results are highly promising.
Energy psychology combines physical interventions using the acupuncture system, the chakras and other ancient systems of healing with modern cognitive interventions such as imagery-based exposure therapy to bring about therapeutic shifts in the thoughts, emotions and behavioral patterns that are involved in a very wide range of problems.
Mind-body approaches to human functioning recognize a multi-layered systemic inter-connection between the different systems of body, the brain and the mind.
These connections are supported through numerous scientific disciplines including: psychoneuroimmunology, epi-genetics, interpersonal neurobiology, and neuroplasticity.
The effectiveness of energy psychology approaches appears to derive from a synergistic effect of systematically focusing attention on specific memories and other cognitive-affective experiences while teaching clients skills to activate the energy systems of the body to normalize functioning, including disruptions in the brain and brain stem.
The result transcends the normal ability change experience through conscious effort. Instead, subjects repeatedly report spontaneous resolution of negative thoughts feelings and memories.
What is Energy Psychotherapy?
Energy psychotherapy includes approaches to the assessment and treatment of psychological problems via bioenergy systems. In addition to many standard therapeutic elements such as rapport, listening and discussion, energy psychotherapy also involves procedures that specifically address the underlying energetic aspects of the problem through attunement, manual muscle testing, and various techniques that involve stimulating the body at discrete locations by holding or tapping, assuming specified body postures and movements, visualization, use of affirmations, expressed intentions and assertions, and more.
Many approaches to energy psychotherapy also focus on the relationship among bioenergy, consciousness, thought, intentionality, and spirituality. These therapies often achieve observable and measurable results rapidly and usually without causing undue emotional distress or abreaction.
Among the most widely known energy psychotherapies Advanced Energy Psychology™ (a.k.a. Energy Diagnostic and Treatment Methods or EDxTM™), Negative Affect Erasing Method (NAEM)™, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), and Energy Consciousness Therapy (ECT)™. Energy psychotherapy is compatible with many standard approaches to therapy.
Mental or psychic energy
Mental or psychic energy or activity is the concept of a principle of activity powering the operation of the mind or psyche. Many modern psychologists or neuroscientists would equate it with increased metabolism in neurons of the brain.
The idea harks back to Aristotle's conception of actus et potentia. "Energy" is here used in the literal meaning of "activity" or "operation".
Henry More in his 1642 Psychodia platonica; or a platonicall song of the soul defined an "energy of the soul" as including every phantasm of the soul. Julian Sorell Huxley defines "mental energy" as "the driving forces of the psyche, emotional as well as intellectual" (On living in a revolution xv.192, 1944).
In The Ego and the Id, Freud argued that the id was the source of the personality's desires, and therefore of the psychic energy that powered the mind.
Freud defined libido as the instinct energy or force. Freud later added the death drive (also contained in the id) as a second source of mental energy.
In 1928, Carl Jung published a seminal essay entitled "On Psychic Energy". Later, the theory of psychodynamics and the concept of "psychic energy" was developed further by those such as Alfred Adler and Melanie Klein.
Just as physical energy acts upon physical objects, psychological energy would act upon psychological entities, i.e. thoughts.
Psychological energy and force are the basis of an attempt to formulate a scientific theory according to which psychological phenomena would be subject to precise laws akin to how physical objects are subject to Newton's laws.
This concept of psychological energy is completely separate and distinct from (or even opposed to) the mystical eastern concept of spiritual energy.
In 1874, the concept of "psychodynamics" was proposed with the publication of Lectures on Physiology by German physiologist Ernst Wilhelm von Brücke who, in coordination with physicist Hermann von Helmholtz, one of the formulators of the first law of thermodynamics (conservation of energy), supposed that all living organisms are energy-systems also governed by this principle.
During this year, at the University of Vienna, Brücke served as supervisor for first-year medical student Sigmund Freud who adopted this new "dynamic" physiology.
In his Lectures on Physiology, Brücke set forth the then-radical view that the living organism is a dynamic system to which the laws of chemistry and physics apply.
The origins of Freud's basic model, based on the fundamentals of chemistry and physics, according to John Bowlby, stems from Brücke, Meynert, Breuer, Helmholtz, and Herbart.
Mental energy has been repeatedly compared to or connected with the physical quantity energy.
Studies of the 1990s to 2000s (and earlier) have found that mental effort can be measured in terms of increased metabolism in the brain.
The modern neuroscientific view is that brain metabolism, measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging or positron emission tomography is a physical correlate of mental activity.