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Psychoanalytic Energy Psychotherapy [PEP]

Psychoanalytic Energy Psychotherapy [PEP] Phil Mollon writes: Many of the practitioners who have become attracted to energy psychology methods in the UK come from a hypnotherapy background, with relatively few from those psychotherapeutic approaches that are based on the idea of ‘talking leading to insight’. As a psychoanalyst (and clinical psychologist), I have over the last few years been concerned to bridge these fields of knowledge – endeavouring to combine the deep understandings of psychoanalysis with the rapid resolution of emotional distress that can be achieved with energy psychology interventions. Whilst psychoanalysis without energy techniques can be slow to achieve change, the use of energy psychology without a depth of understanding may bring only superficial results. In the case of complex and multilayered psychological problems, including those that are sometimes termed ‘personality disorders’, it is important to draw together as many relevant lines of knowledge and enquiry as are available. My new book Psychoanalytic Energy Psychotherapy [PEP] describes in detail some of the complexities of work with the psycho-somatic-energy system that is each unique human being.

One of the fundamental principles of the work I outline is that any state of mental or physical distress has an informational encoding in the body’s energy system. By using the diagnostic procedure originally developed by Dr. Roger Callahan it is possible to identify how a troubling thought and associated emotion (or physical symptom) is encoded in a specific sequence of meridians (and perhaps chakras). Whilst some energy therapists speak of a blockage in the energy system (and this is true), what is sometimes overlooked is that the distress is encoded as information. When this energetic information is addressed and cleared (rather like smoothing the creases out of a crumpled garment, or calming the ripples on a pond), the disturbance disappears. This is the case both in terms of the subjective experience of distress and objective physiological indicators of distress (such as heart rate variability).

Because of this informational encoding, we can clear perturbations in the psycho-somatic-energy system even when the troubling experience is not available to consciousness. Such events might include very early trauma that cannot be consciously remembered – such as birth, intrauterine experiences, or episodes from the first two or three years of life. Having identified these with muscle testing, we can then locate the informational encoding in the energy system – and clear it! We may never know the exact nature of the trauma – but it is not necessary to know, providing we can clear the residues in the energy system. A good form of words [a TAT phrasing, with thanks to Tapas Fleming] is “the most influential trauma behind this problem”; the system knows what this is, even if the conscious mind has no idea. Thus we can work with ways in which the system records traumatic information, but this is different from ‘memory’ as usually understood by cognitive scientists.

Another intriguing source of perturbations in the energy system is what I have called ‘inherited trauma and pain’. This traumatic information is passed down through the generations – it is inherited, not through the genes but through the information-laden energy fields. It may be inherited predominantly from the maternal or paternal family lines. Once identified, it can usually be cleared easily and quickly - although there may be parts of the person that are organised around the inherited trauma and require a brief intervention to allow them to let go of it.

Inherited trauma and other energetic patterns that have been passed down the generations can exert a pervasive and malign influence, undermining a person’s conscious endeavours to be happy and successful. For example, there may be a deep (but unconscious) feeling that experiencing joy or happiness would be a betrayal of the previous generation. This can be a pattern found sometimes in Jewish people in relation to the holocaust suffered in a previous generation.

The ‘psychological reversals’, originally identified by Dr. Callahan, are often expressions of internal objections to healing that have precise psychodynamic meaning. They represent the mind in conflict and reveal particular unconscious motives that oppose the conscious desire for relief of the problem. Muscle testing will bring to light the particular unconscious agenda that is set against the conscious agenda. Commonly these might be to do with inner objections based on safety (it is not safe to be over this problem), deservedness/guilt (I do not deserve to be free of this problem), or identity (I will not still be me if I am over this problem), or revenge (if I get better too easily, it will trivialise my suffering and they will think it was OK how they treated me). For example, a woman consciously wanted to overcome her difficulty in sleeping at night – but muscle testing revealed her feeling that it was not safe to overcome her insomnia. On enquiry and introspection, what occurred to her were her childhood circumstances in a country where gangs would maraud at night and she would stay awake in case there were sounds of a break-in. Once this reversal was identified and cleared, the insomnia was rapidly tapped away. A man who felt a strong sense of grievance towards a member of his family registered a reversal against becoming well; this turned out to be based on his wish to maintain his suffering as an ongoing reproach against this person. Another client, a woman who had experienced much childhood abuse, remarked, as we were tapping through some of her traumas: “I think part of me is resisting this – my identity is a survivor of abuse – what will I be if I don’t have that?”. Usually these motive-based psychological reversals will clear easily once they are identified, put into words, and tapped.

There are other instances of reversal, particularly where it is pervasive (e.g. the muscle is weak to “I want to be well”, or where the palm down on top of head registers weak rather than strong), that are due to energy toxins (ingested or inhaled). The action of energy toxins illustrates how some seemingly psychological phenomena (e.g. some panic and anxiety states) are triggered by non-psychological factors. In practice there is often a complex and subtle interplay of toxic and traumatic aspects – and people who have suffered a great deal of trauma often seem to develop multiple chemical sensitivities, as if their system has become phobic of the chemical constituents of the world in general.

In conventional psychoanalytic work, we often address internalised representations of parental figures. These internal structures are often harsh and undermining, perhaps more so than the original external figures. We can apply energy psychology methods to these too, addressing all the times a person has suffered trauma from the internal figure, and also modifying the internal figure itself [with thanks to Asha Clinton for these Seemorg applications].

I have found that energy methods may often appear to have worked well, in that the person feels better and muscle testing may no longer show any distress, but it is possible to locate more hidden areas of perturbation – for example, in the unconscious mind, or in the body, or in dissociated parts of the self. By addressing these hidden areas it is possible to achieve a more thorough therapeutic result. I am grateful to Dr Judith Swack for teaching me this basic idea in her Healing From the Body Level Up workshop.

Sometimes we may have little idea of what is behind a presenting problem. Another way of approaching it then is to locate the first meridian involved in the issue (using Callahan’s diagnostic procedure) and then to have the person speak freely of whatever comes to mind as he or she taps on that meridian. This will often reveal startlingly relevant information. Following this, the next meridian can be addressed – and so on, in a process of exploring and clearing the perturbations in the energy system that underpin the problem. In this way we allow the meridians to ‘speak’.

These are some of the ways in which we can use energy methods to identify and resolve deep areas of the psycho-somatic-energy system, including those that are not accessible to consciousness. By addressing the energy system at the same time as the (conscious and unconscious) psyche we create a therapeutic synergy that propels us far beyond our earlier paradigms of psychological healing.

Phil Mollon PhD.

Phil Mollon’s new book - Psychoanalytic Energy Psychotherapy [PEP]: Inspired by Thought Field Therapy, EFT, TAT, and Seemorg Matrix – is published by Karnac, London.

Further information and contact details are available via Phil Mollon's GoE trainers page.
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