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EFT Research Paper

Editorial: The future of psychology: Approaches to enhance therapeutic outcomes

Citation: Church D, Baumann O, Stapleton P. Editorial: The future of psychology: Approaches to enhance therapeutic outcomes. Front Psychol. 2022 Dec 20;13:1116204. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.1116204. PMID: 36605285; PMCID: PMC9810337.

Link to Editorial and PDF: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9810337/ 


A greater acceptance of mind-body approaches in psychology is emerging. Research indicates that supplementing established and evidence-based psychological techniques (e.g., behavioral, exposure and cognitive processing) with physiological or somatic interventions—such as acupressure, meditation, yoga and biofield therapies—enhances therapeutic outcomes.

Characterized as the “fourth wave” of psychology (Gallo, 2009), these therapies view psychological problems as interactions involving energy fields. This is the reason
why they are collectively referred to as energy psychology. Energy fields have become essential tools in treatment and diagnosis, with devices such as EEGs, fMRIs, MEGs, PEMS, and TENS machines providing medicine with a new window of understanding into the functioning of brain and body. Among the techniques that produce changes in these energy fields are meditation, the stimulation of acupoints, neurofeedback, eye movements, imagery and intention.

By 2022, more than 400 papers on these therapies had been published in peerreviewed journals, including meta-analyses, randomized controlled trials, and outcome
studies. They demonstrate the efficacy of these approaches for conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, with treatment effects often an order of magnitude greater than conventional therapies. Moreover, therapies in the counseling space focused on the relationships between the mind, body, brain, and behavior are now being recognized as effective treatments by various official bodies, including the US Veterans Administration, the UKs National Institute for Clinical Excellence, and the World Health Organization.

The studies in this Research Topic examine the evidence for the efficacy of interventions supplementing traditional approaches such as talk therapy. In their Hypothesis and Theory article, Chan et al. propose a temporospatial neuroscientific model of the brain and self, which provides a detailed description of the temporal  structure of transitive psychological processes that take place during psychotherapy and ultimately lead to healing. More specifically, the model provides guidance for when specific psychotherapeutic techniques are optimally employed to elicit neuroplastic changes in the brain, leading to neural activity changes associated with more adaptive, coherent, and energetic thought patterns and behavior. 

Focusing on the psychological consequences of catastrophic events, Feinstein reviews the evidence for the effects of acupressure-based energy psychology techniques, on disorders such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Findings across more than 30 countries indicate energy psychology has immediate and long-lasting benefits and has led to the reduction or even complete elimination of disaster-related psychosymptomatology. Feinstein’s review further highlights evidence for the underpinning mechanisms of those treatment effects, with several imaging studies indicating that changes in brain activity accompany cognitive shifts.

To continue reading this paper, link to: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9810337/