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Energy Psychology: Efficacy, Speed, Mechanisms

Citation: Feinstein,D., Energy Psychology: Efficacy, Speed, Mechanisms, EXPLORE, 2018, ISSN 1550-8307, In Press.

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Energy psychology, as most commonly practiced, combines cognitive and exposure techniques with the stimulation of prescribed acupuncture points (acupoints) by tapping on them. Most clinicians who learn and utilize acupoint tapping protocols integrate them within their existing clinical frameworks rather than using the method as a stand-alone therapy. The approach 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 supports claims that 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.

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