"The mind that opens up to a new idea will never return to its original size" - Albert Einstein

WHAT IS ENERGY PSYCHOLOGY?
Energy Psychology (EP) represents a family of therapeutic modalities supported by evidence, which balance, restore and improve human functioning, through the combination of physical interventions (using the acupuncture system, chakras and other ancestral healing systems), with modern cognitive interventions, such as systematic desensitization and exposure in vivo, or by imagery. Energy Psychology represents an emerging, innovative and, in many ways, radically different approach to looking at psychology and psychotherapy: it is a new paradigm!
Psicologia Energética Portugal
Energy Psychology techniques are directed simultaneously to body and mind and can reduce quickly and effectively the psychophysiological activation triggered by negative feelings and emotions such as stress, fear and anxiety, at the same time that promotes feelings of relaxation, resilience, confidence and inner peace.
 
If it is true that some of these techniques are so simple to apply that even children can learn to use them independently, it is also true that they have proven to be so powerful and effective that they have been successfully applied in different areas, from psychotherapy and psychological counseling, including education, health and pain control, but also in business and sports.
The protocols most used in Energy Psychology include:
 
  • TFT - Thought Field Therapy
  • EFT - Emotional Freedom Techniques
  • PSYCH-K
  • TAT - Tapas Acupressure Technique
  • EDxTM - Energy Diagnostics and Treatment Methods
  • CEP - Integrative Energy Psychology
 
Although recent, these approaches are being used all over the world by thousands of mental health practitioners and other health professionals, as well as by ordinary people, to achieve rapid and lasting changes in feelings, thoughts, beliefs and behaviors.
IS ENERGY PSYCHOLOGY BASED ON SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE ?
Energy Psychology is still a controversial modality in the health care (the techniques are strange, they were adopted from Eastern cultures and the demands of a growing number of practitioners seem to be almost too good to be true), however, research continues to grow  that demonstrates that these techniques are really powerful tools for clinical treatment and personal development.
Investigação Psicologia Energética
This innovative approach to physical and mental health has been studied in the US by the National Institutes of Health, the Kaiser Foundation and the Veterans Administration. Although the scientific study of the different modalities that make up PE is still at an early stage, the growing body of clinical research has shown very promising results, for example, work carried out with functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) and quantitative electroencephalography (QEEG) showed activity positive brain function after using PE techniques.
As of July 2019, over 100 research studies,  5 meta-analyses and 12 review articles have been published on EP methods in peer-reviewed journals. These modalities have been researched by more than 200 investigators in over 12 countries. 
 
Over fifty randomized controlled trials have documented efficacy for these methods. 

The results of these studies have been published in more than 15 different peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Clinical Psychology, the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease and the APA journals Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training and Review of General Psychology. While questions about mechanism remain - specifically how these techniques work -  a robust and growing body of research continues to document their efficacy.
These research findings have shown that PE methods and techniques can help overcome a multitude of issues, including trauma and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), anxiety and phobias, depression, addictions, weight control and pain. It has also been shown to help improve school, sport and professional performance.
 
You can stay up to date with all the research published HERE
BASIC PRINCIPLES OF ENERGY PSYCHOLOGY
Despite growing research, the truth is that the mechanisms of action responsible for the positive effect of these approaches are not yet fully understood.
João Paulo Pestana e David Feinstein
The different mind-body therapeutic approaches recognize the existence of a multi-level interconnection between the different systems of the body, brain and mind. These connections are recognized and supported by numerous scientific disciplines, among which are: psychoneuroimmunology, epigenetics, interpersonal neurobiology and neuroplasticity.
 
The effectiveness of Energy Psychology approaches seems to come from the synergistic effort to focus attention on specific memories and other affective-cognitive experiences, while subjects are taught to use specific skills that activate the body's energy systems to normalize their functioning, including changes in the brain and brain stem.
The results generally transcend the normal ability to change the experience through merely conscious effort. Instead, people often report the resolution of negative thoughts, feelings and memories, in minutes, regardless of how long the person has had the problem. Traumatic memories with 10, 20 or more years can be effectively treated in minutes, permanently, with little emotional discomfort.
 
One of the main researchers in this area is the American psychologist David Feinstein. You can find out more about his work HERE
TFT - THOUGHT FIELD THERAPY

"We are not responsible for emotions, but for what we do with emotions" - Jorge Bucay

TFT - Thought Field Therapy is a pioneering therapeutic approach that underlies the development of Energy Psychology . It also represents for many therapists and the general public, most likely, one of the strangest and most resistant methods to the common interpretation of what is considered a "normal psychotherapeutic intervention".
One of the main reasons for the "resistance" that this approach initially had on the part of the scientific community was due to the fact that there was no scientific research at the time to certify its clinical effectiveness (which has since been overcome). In addition, it integrated accepted techniques and concepts from Psychology and Neurosciences , with manual stimulation of acupuncture points, something that had never been seen before and its results were so fast that many believed it was simply "too good to be true you".
TFT was initially developed in the early 1980s by American clinical psychologist Roger Callahan , when he was trying to help a patient overcome a long, severe and seemingly intractable water phobia (Hydrophobia) and undermines all basic assumptions about the definition and practice of psychology and psychotherapy and the nature of emotional disorders. In many situations, TFT ignores much of what is normally associated with the success of psychotherapy and, nevertheless, achieves extraordinary results. 
 
During TFT sessions, the patient mentally "tunes" a traumatic or distressing situation, while the therapist indicates specific tapping sequences that the patient auto-aplies, tapping certain acupoints (acupressure points) on the surface of the skin with his fingertips. Other procedures are also used for a more optimal hemispheric integration and synchronization.
 
Each sequence takes about 2/3 minutes to be performed and, since the results can be perceived immediately, can be repeated several times throughout the session, according to the reactions that the patient will demonstrate in the course of the treatment. Emotional problems that have withstood other treatments for years can sometimes be eliminated within minutes.
ROGER CALLAHAN ON THE ORIGIN OF TFT
EMOTIONAL FREEDOM TECHNIQUES
EFT-TAPPING

"The cause of all negative emotions is a disturbance in the body's energy system"

- Gary Craig

EFT - Emotional Freedom Techniques, was created by Gary Craig, an American engineer graduated from Stanford. Craig, who early on developed a strong interest in alternative therapies, was one of the first disciples of Roger Callahan, creator of TFT-Thought Field Therapy. In 1995, after studying and applying Callahan's principles and techniques intensively, and for disagreeing with some of the basic principles considered by Callahan as fundamental to the success of TFT, Craig decided to develop his own technique, naming it Emotional Freedom Techniques - EFT.
 
Currently, EFT is one of the most used protocols in Energy Psychology, integrating proven techniques and concepts from Psychology and the Neurosciences, with acupuncture, a medical practice developed over more than 3 000 years ago by Oriental Medicine .
 
EFT, also known as Tapping, can be used by professionals, as a therapeutic approach, or as a self-help and personal development technique. Preliminary investigations have shown that this protocol has the ability to change very quickly the biochemistry and brain patterns responsible for maintaining dysfunctional thoughts, behaviors and emotions, contributing to:
 
  • overcome fears, anger, guilt, anxiety or depression
  • eliminate psychological trauma
  • treat physical pain
  • change unwanted habits and patterns
  • improve sports performance
  • increase the capacity to love, succeed and be happy

Dr. João Paulo Pestana trained with EFT creator Gary Craig, in the USA, and holds regular training courses in EFT - Tapping. Find out about all EFT training courses HERE
Dr. João Paulo Pestana e Gary Craig
According to Gary Craig himself, his major contribution to the field of energy therapies was that he brought his mentality as an engineer to the whole process, and not as a psychologist or therapist, which allowed him to look differently, thus helping to simplify the Callahan method and later to develop EFT. Thus, although EFT is based on the same energetic principles as TFT, it allowed greater freedom and therapeutic autonomy, making the whole process simpler and easier to apply.
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