Depression engenders negative thoughts, especially the negative thoughts about yourself, others and your future that Aaron Beck called the "negative cognitive triad." Depression also makes it hard to get up in the morning and subtracts the joy out of life. While depression may not be a cause for divorce, it can put major strains on relationships, and definitely can be contagious. Medications can help; talk therapy helps; couples therapy helps. At the same time, my colleague Dale Petterson and I have been exploring what energy therapy techniques might add to our repertoir of depression treatments.
In an earlier PT post I described a new strategy for treatment of depression that Dale and I have been experimenting with. The treatment involves shifting energy from the right to the left prefrontal lobes.
Neuroimaging research has shown that when people are depressed there is more energy in the right prefrontal lobe. When they are happy there is more energy in the left prefrontal lobe. Our interventions offer a low-tech and very rapid means of accomplishing that energy shift.
The video below illustrates two brief and seemingly quite effective new techniques for shifting the balance from more right prefrontal lobe energy to more energy in the left.
The first technique utilizes the power of intention enhanced by the energies from a magnet run along the governing meridian. This intervention relies on a therapist to accomplish the energy transfer.
The second technique can be done without the help of a therapist. It involves "temporal tapping," a technique that is used already by many therapists for various purposes. If you search youtube for that term you can find multiple practicianers' demonstrations.
I have just begun experimenting with alleviating depression by using ttemporal tapping alone, without the prior use of the first technique. If it really can work on its own, temporal tapping to shift the prefrontal lobe energies would give everyone a free, quick and easy to learn self-help way to alleviate depressive feelings and the negative thoughts that go with them.
While a picture may be worth a thousand words, a video is worth even more. The video below hopefully will make the explanations about these depression-alleviation techniques more comprehensible.
Actually, this prefrontal lobe energy-shifting depression treatment is surprisingly simple.
To do the first treatment that's demonstrated, a therapist needs to know how to use muscle kinesiology, also known as muscle testing, to get yes and no answers from the subconscious. Muscle kinesiology is explained in the video. If you are a therapist and should want to learn to do it yourself, YouTube has multiple videos teaching various ways to do the testing with a large arm muscle like you will see in the video, or using smaller muscles in fingers or the wrist.
The second technique, which is a self-help technique, is explained and demonstrated in the video. After watching it you hopefully will easily be able to try it yourself.
Outcomes with this depression treatment method.
Our data on outcomes with the dozen or so depressed folks with whom we have begun to explore the potential of this technique so far is observational and informal. The news so far however is good. After we have done the procedure, most folks feel significantly better, at least temporarily.
Most people report that they feel lighter, more positive, relaxed or upbeat, within a few minutes to hours, and occasionally taking a day or two. A few folks seem to feel no difference, but these have been a small minority of cases. One person reported feeling worse for the next day, and then fully relieved of depressed feelings and thoughts by the following day or so. No one has reported any other negative side effects, nor have we observed more thus far.
We generally find that it helps to repeat the procedure the therapist-conducted procedure weekly for a few weeks, then occasionally as needed after that, to consolidate the improvement. The brain seems gradually to learn to keep the energy higher on the left than the right, or maybe feeling better breeds acting more positively which brings on more good feelings and becomes self-reinforcing,
At the same time, if the client does temporal tapping three to four times a day for several weeks (months if the depression has been long-term), that seems to make the initial treatment last longer, and may even be able to shift the energies on its own, without the prior first intervention with a therapist.
A word of warning:
Some people who experience the muscle testing insist that the therapist, Dale, is pushing harder when he wants a certain answer. That is a mistaken conclusion. The goal of using kinesiology is for the therapist to obtain data from the client's subconscious. Making the arm move any particular way would be the opposite of letting the subconscious speak.
My goal in writing here and showing this video is to interest researchers in running scientific studies that might establish the merits and/or limitations of this potential treatment technique. My dream, in addition to effectiveness research, would be to find a physician or neuropsychologist who has access to brain imaging to determine if and to what extent the brain is actually making changes with these interventions. Any researcher volunteers?
The 3 P's Visualization
Here's yet another way to understand and alleviate depressed feelings:
Could these depression treatment methods replace prior treatment options?
If these new depression treatments really are getting the results we think we are seeing, an energy therapy intervention like this could replace drug treatments.
Folks who are depression-prone definitely benefit from working with a therapist to learn what will enable them to stay depression-free. For instance, folks whose depression stems from dominant-submissive interactions in their marriage or other couple relationship need to learn to interact without put-downs and instead with only collaborative patterns of talking together.
While prefrontal lobe energy-shifting is not meant to replace conventional talk therapy treatment, the technique hopefully may someday augment and accelerate the effectiveness of conventional depression therapy treatments. That someday would be a very good day indeed.
Denver clinical psychologist Susan Heitler, Ph.D, a graduate of Harvard and NYU, is author of From Conflict to Resolution. In addition, her Power of Two book, workbook, and website teach couples the communication skills for successful relationships.
Click here for a free Power of Two relationship quiz.
Click the Power of Two logo to learn the skills for strong and loving relationships.
Dr. Heitler's latest book offers multiple further self-help techniques for feeling better, soon: