Pain is physically exhausting and emotionally debilitating. Physical pain syndromes also can interfere with ability to enjoy positive relationships, creating marriage problems
and wreaking havoc with ability to focus productively at work. Fortunately, if you are suffering with pain that doesn't seem to go away, there's a new alternative to taking pain medications, undergoing potentially difficult surgeries, or continuing to suffer.
Energy psychology is to traditional psychotherapy what alternative medical treatments like acupuncture are to traditional medicine. I've learned about these new interventions from Dale Petterson, one of the therapists in my office suite.
Can these methods of psychological treatment help to relieve physical as well as emotional pain? My experience has been that at least sometimes the answer is yes. Their effectiveness may be in part because physical pain is sometimes a manifestation of underlying emotional pain.
I personally have experienced two examples. In addition, I have watched Dale treat many of my therapy clients whose painful physical problems disappeared in response to his interventions.
Energy psychology treatment strategies access and release negative emotional energy. When people experience a negative situation, talking about their distress with someone can release or digest the energy. That’s how talk therapies work, as well as why talking problems over with loved ones can have such a sanguine impact. By contrast, when negative emotions like sadness, anger or anxiety do not get fully released, they leave negative energy residues.
Interestingly, the negative energy storage depots do not seem to be located in the brain. Rather, the specific storage depot for a memory associated with negative feelings can be located in any organ, gland, muscle or bone in the body. That location then becomes vulnerable to physical disorders and/or pain. Negative memories or emotional residues stored in the stomach lead to stomach troubles, in the breast invite breast cancer, in a shoulder invite shoulder pain, etc.
Here’s two examples that I personally have experienced.
For several months I found myself awake in the middle of the night with pain in my left thigh. The pain, though not agonizing, was sharp enough to wake me up. I mentioned this odd phenomenon to Dale, the energy therapist. I asked if we could experiment to see if the pain had an emotional source and if so if his techniques might work on it.
Using the muscle kinesiology techniques I describe in my earlier posting called “Your Brain Has Extraordinary Powers” Dale found that there was in fact an emotional component to the thigh pain. UsingBradley Nelson's Emotion Code technique, we then pinpointed the age at which I had trapped the emotion and the specific situation in which it had been trapped. The event involved a mildly unpleasant situation that had transpired when I was about 14, an incident that I vaguely recalled and that was associated with mildly negative feelings.
Dale then ran a Magboy magnet (a magnet with rollers on it designed specifically for this purpose) three times down my back, down the governing meridian (along my spine) with the intention of releasing this negative energy.
I believed at that point that this minor memory and the seemingly trivial rolling of the magnet would do nothing for the pain that had been waking me every night. To my surprise and delight however, that night the pain did not wake me. In fact, it has disappeared, gone altogether.
My second experiment with energy therapy involved a near-lethal incident. At lunch one day I choked on the dry salmon that I was eating. I tried to wash down the stuck food and stop the associated esophageal spasm by drinking a small amount of water. Suddenly I realized that the water had sealed something closed. I couldn’t breathe.
Fortunately, I was eating in the doctors’ dining room (my offices are in the physicians’ office building at a hospital). I motioned to the young physician with whom I’d been talking that I couldn’t breathe. Several Heimlich manuevers later the food dislodged, and I was fine again.
I told Dale Petterson about the spasm when I returned to my office, acknowledging to him that I had been experiencing this kind of digestive problem with increasing frequency, recently as often as once or more a week. Until this episode when I had tried to wash the food down by drinking water, the problem had been an uncomfortable nuisance that had resolved itself gradually over the course of half an hour or so. Now the spasms felt more dangerous.
Dale and I decided to use muscle kinesiological testing to indicate if the spasm had had an emotional component. The answer was yes.
The method again worked beautifully. The emotional energy stored in my esophagus turned out to be an “inherited emotion,” one that I had inherited from my father’s side of the family. Inherited emotions get treated in this system with ten rather than three strokes with the Magboy, again down the governing meridian. Like the procedure for eliminating my nighttime thigh pain, the whole intervention took less than five minutes total.
That treatment was about six months ago. Since then I do still have to be careful to chew thoroughly before swallowing, especially if the food is dry and/or my emotional arousal level is up because I’m engaged in interesting discussions. However I no longer have the digestive spasms. In addition, if food feels stuck it spontaneously resolves itself within minutes.
The idea of releasing trapped inherited emotions by running a magnet down my back sounds pretty kooky. At the same time I definitely am relieved not have digestive spasms any more.
The point is that the psychological phenomenon of stored negative emotional energy does seem to be a real component of many pain syndromes. I say this because many of my clients whom Dale has treated have found that after the treatment, their long-standing back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, stomach pain or headaches have evaporated.
The most dramatic pain relief case that I have seen was with a man who had been referred to me for depression at suicidal levels in response to post-surgical chronic neck pain. The pain left him with virtually no range of motion as well as severe discomfort that rendered him unable to work or to enjoy life. I suggested to him that he try working with Dale. After one session, the man excitedly returned to our office suite the next day. We all were stunned by what had happened after his release of trapped emotions regarding his neck pain. In addition to having replaced his depression with positive feelings, the man now had full range of motion in his neck, and zero neck pain. He could resume a fully happy and productive life.
I have no explanations for how energy psychology treatment works. I am just reporting on what I personally have experienced, and what I have witnessed working as a team with Dale Petterson when we co-treat complex cases of psychological distress.
Two months ago I mentioned to Dale that I was going finally to see a doctor about my quite bad sleep apnea. I then asked him if he thought that was a p henomenon that could have an emotional origin. "Let's take a look," Dale said, and we did the standard Emotion Code treatment of Bradley Nelson that I have described in my other postings on energy psychology (see below). Again, the whole procedure took less than five minutes. We did find and release several trapped emotions. What's totally weird though--according to my husband, I have been making significantly fewer and less intense sounds of sleep apnea. Hmm...
For further information on energy psychology, please see my other postings on this blog. They are listed here.
Susan Heitler, PhD is a Denverclinical psychologist and author of the interactive relationship education program called PowerOfTwoMarriage.com.