Anxious Minds

Anxiety is rampant. A close cousin of depression, and often its predecessor, it also gives rise to phobias, panic attacks, and OCD. But it can be tamed.

Can Energy Therapies Help the PTSD from Senseless Killings?

Survivors of war and trauma need more than talk or behavior therapies to heal.

Soldiers and survivors of disasters can be helped by energy psychology treatment
Energy therapies can help soldiers with ptsd.
PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder, is akin to choking. When food gets stuck during the process of swallowing we call it choking.  When the emotions that are raised by an intensely negative experience do not get digested by the mind's usual means (talking about it, dreaming about it, coming to a way of understanding it that makes it digestible) the negative emotions continue to emerge through quickness to anger, anxiety, marriage problems, flashbacks and other means for a very long time after the triggering incident.

Fortunately, while ptsd symptoms can be long-lasting, new energy psychology treatments can be short to administer and thorough in the relief they bring.  Attempts therefore are currently underway to establish these treatment methods as standard procedures for treatment of military-induced ptsd. Still, far too many veteran treatment facilities do not yet use these new techniques.

Acupoint Stimulation: The Tapping Cure

The most intensively researched of the new energy therapies is the group of treatment methods referred to as acupoint stimulation, also known as tapping treatments.  Interestingly, the techniques, though usually administered by a mental health professional, can also be self-administered as in this teaching video.

Psychologist David Feinstein PhD conducted an excellent broad metastudy of this research reviewing 3000 studies of tapping techniques.  Published in the Review of General Psychology (August 12, 2012), this excellent article focused on the 50 or so studies that met Dr. Feinstein's criteria for presenting clinical outcomes and having undergone peer review.  

Dr. Feinstein concluded that EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and other similar protocols for tapping with fingers on acupoint points successfully released the emotional pain associated with traumatic memories, and did so faster and more comprehensively than most traditional treatment methods:

These studies have consistently demonstrated strong effect sizes and other positive statistical results that far exceed chance after relatively few treatment sessions. Investigations in more than a dozen countries by independent research teams have all produced similar results.

Use of tapping techniques in Europe

From Norway, Mats Uldal wrote in response to initial publishing of this blogpost:

In Norway we have been treating more than 10000 people in my clinic the last 16 years. I have developed a direction of TFT called Simplified TFT with advanced questioning techniques (AQT) and I can wholeheartedly say these techniques work.

I have been doing traumawork on Kosovo war survivers, Katrina survivers in New Orleans, human trafficking survivrs in Moldavia, and violence and poverty survivers in Uganda all as part of a large-scale 2012 study. If you want the best for your clients, free yourself from your sceptisism and try for yourself. When you start using it, tapping proves itself...

How did an innovative but basically conventional therapist like myself start to learn about energy therapies?

A year ago I received a phone-call from a retired therapist, Dale Petterson.  Dale's description of himself as a therapist who had worked for over twenty years using both traditional counseling and newer energy techniques piqued my curiosity. 

I had seen a live demonstration of one of these techniques, EFT, some years back and had been favorably impressed, so I was open to learning more. 

In addition, Dale was a former Navy man who sounded, on the phone at least, quite sensible and grounded..   I tend to trust former military personnel (i.e., solid and reliable), and the idea of a Navy man who was an energy therapist (i.e., flakey, or at least that's what I thought) sounded especially intriguing. So I invited him to come to my office to tell me about the techniques he uses.

At that first meeting Dale and I talked about our various treatment methods.  He then did a demo of his techniques with me as the client. I was beyond favorably impressed. Stunned by the rapidity of the intervention methods, I invited Dale to set up shop amongst the multiple independent therapy professionals who work in my Denver office suite.  I have a long-established reputation to uphold, but the potential opportunity to observe these unconventional new therapy methods on a regular basis tempted me to risk inviting him to share the office suite address where I work. 

Would Dale's energy techniques really help people overcome emotionally distress more rapidly and deeply than traditional therapy techniques?

The gamble of inviting someone with unorthodox emotional healing techniques to work in my office suite paid off.  By now, over a year since his phone call to me, Dale and I have worked together as co-therapists on multiple cases per week.  We have worked together in both individual (two therapists with one client) and couple (two therapists and two clients) therapy formats,   I've been stunned by the efficacy of these weird but remarkable techniques. 

I invite Dale to add his interventions to mine when my cases involve intense or chronic anxiety, frequent anger, persistent depression, or lingering reactions to traumas.  I especially bring him on board when negative emotions such as depression, anxiety, sadness or anger persist in spite of my generally effective therapy methods. 

 A significant number of Dale's treatment methods are based on the insights and techniques of Bradley Nelson

Nelson posits that disproportionate or stuck emotional responses generally indicate what he refers to as trapped emotions.  Trapped emotions are negative emotional reactions that have been stored in subconscious memory instead of digested through talking with others or released in some other form of emotional letting go.  These stored negative emotions create a template for intense reactions to subsequent experiences which share a point in common with the original painful situation. 

Military personnel and disaster survivors need ptsd help.
Energy treatments like tapping provide quick ptsd relief.
What I have seen time and time again are quite remarkable cures, especially of ptsd, sexual inhibitions, anger issues, anxiety, and depression. 

For marital issues where we treat spouses' interlocking emotional sensitivities, couples report that treatment enables them both to feel significantly more relaxed and affectionate, and that in that more positive emotional state they are more able to utilize the communication skill upgrades they have worked on in their conventional treatment with me.

The Bottom Line

Energy psychotherapies are to traditional psychotherapy as the alternative physical therapies like acupuncture are to medical treatment. We do not really know how or why they work, but the potency of their healing impacts are clearly evident.

I have written this posting in hopes that all who work with people who have suffered trauma from disasters, including vets and prisoners of war, or who suffer with chronic feelings of anxiety, anger or other negative emotions, will take these new energy psychology healing methods seriously.   


Susan Heitler, PhD, a Denver Clinical psychologist, is author of multiple publications including From Conflict to Resolution and The Power of Two.  A graduate of Harvard and NYU, Dr. Heitler's most recent project is a marriage skills website,


Anxious Minds