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Energy psychology: Efficacy, speed, mechanisms

Citation:  Feinstein, D, Energy psychology: Efficacy, speed, mechanisms, EXPLORE: The Journal of Science and Healing, Elsevier, Nov. 15, 2018

This paper has been published as Open Access and can be retrieved and freely downloaded by Clicking Here

Abstract: The most well known forms of “energy psychology” combine cognitive and exposure techniques with the stimulation of selected acupuncture points (acupoints) by tapping on them. Most clinicians who learn and utilize an acupoint tapping protocol integrate the approach within their existing clinical frameworks rather than using it as a stand-alone therapy. The method has been highly controversial, with its efficacy, purported speed, and explanatory models all questioned. Nonetheless, its utilization within clinical settings and as a self-help method has continued to expand since it was introduced more than three decades ago. This paper reviews the most salient criticisms of the method and presents research and empirically based theoretical constructs that address them. More than 100 peer-reviewed outcome studies—51 of which are randomized controlled trials—provide an evidential base for evaluating the claims and criticisms surrounding the approach. This review concludes that a growing body of evidence indicates that acupoint-based energy psychology protocols are rapid and effective in producing beneficial outcomes in the treatment of anxiety, depression, PTSD, and possibly other conditions. Mechanisms by which acupoint tapping might bring about these treatment outcomes are also proposed.

Craig’s Comment:

First a comment by the author, David Feinstein, PhD. My goal was to provide an up-to-date, comprehensive, scientifically compelling overview of acupoint tapping protocols. It is meant both to summarize the state of the art for energy psychology practitioners and also to serve as a go-to resource that practitioners can offer with confidence to skeptical colleagues, insurance providers, mental health program administrators, researchers, funding sources, licensing boards, other governmental entities, gatekeepers in the mental health arena, and educated clients who are curious.

This paper is what I find to be the most complete and up to date analysis of the research and proposed mechanisms available at this time regarding tapping therapies. It addresses the primary questions from how does tapping on the skin work, to explaining the different theoretical models to how brain physiology is affected by such methods and the most current analysis and exploration of how it appears tapping interventions may affect traumatic memories.

As the author went through the extra steps and expense to make this review paper freely available to the public, I highly recommend that every person interested in the science behind tapping, thoroughly read this paper.