|Revolutionising The Individual Experience
Susan Courtney, B.A., Regional Co-Ordinator Europe, ACEP, Chair, European Energy Psychology and Energy Therapies Conference Interviews Silvia Hartmann On EMO.
Over the years that I’ve known Silvia Hartmann through the Energy Psychology/Meridian Energy Therapies community, I’ve been full of admiration for her enormous energy, creativity, perceptiveness, and clear and original thought.
She’s introduced an uncountable number of powerful new patterns for working with change over the years. I’ve appreciated their value, but in fact, have only tried a few of them. ‘Too busy, too painful to go into,’ has been my feeble excuse.
When I learned that she was working with something new, something that was all hers, called EMO™, I heard a new energy in her voice – not just the diligence and dedication I’ve always known, but tremendous enthusiasm and excitement, as well.
Naturally, I wanted to know more, wanted to know what this is all about, how it works, and how it is different from what she’s done before, but most importantly, would it be different for me.
So I asked Silvia if I could interview her to find out more. Busy as she is preparing to publicly launch EMO™ in London at the end of June, I am grateful that she would spare me the time.
Susan: Thank you very much for finding time in your hectic schedule to speak tonight.
Silvia: Oh not at all! Delighted you should be interested - and your schedule is at least as hectic as mine! .
Susan : Yes but we must always find time for things that are important, so the first question I must ask right away. You are very well known in Energy Therapies circles for your excellent book, "Adventures In EFT". Is EMO a variant of EFT?
Silvia : Ah, no, of course not! What do you take me for!
Seriously, anything that is just a variant of anything would never be anything I could put my name to or call it "mine". You know my feelings about “sticking a tail on EFT and calling it a weasel”. I can seriously assure all our listeners most personally that EMO has nothing to do with EFT at all. Nor with any of the other energy psychology or energy therapies approaches. There's no tapping, no opening statements, and no keywords.
Susan: So, is it more like BSFF then?
Silvia: It's best to try and think of it as something different altogether. It is not like BSFF, the only similarity is that you don't tap in EMO either. We don't "talk" to the unconscious mind or anything like that, it's more of physiological/kinaesthetic based process – EMO is a SKILL not a technique.
I know it's hard to understand something you don't know, so you try to say, it's like this, it's like that - so many people say that EFT is hypnosis or like acupressure or just a pattern interrupt and that's both way off the mark as well as unhelpful in really getting to grips with what EFT can do.
To say EMO is like this or that is just the same. It doesn't get us anywhere and especially not to the benefits of these techniques.
"It’s not a technique but a SKILL that your body learns."
Susan: You wrote the original Adventures In EFT in 1998. I have been watching and waiting for some time for you to release your own energy therapies system - why did it take so long?
Silvia : That's a good question. As you know, I spent all that time working with and researching EFT 24-7, give or take and then went on to start some experiments. Of course, there were a lot of add-on techniques and variants along the way - I've posted dozens and dozens to Gary's list, to the MET list, to the amtcom and so on.
But all the while I was doing that, what I was doing was to try and understand the energy system better, what was going on with the various forms of METs, what was going on when they didn't seem to work, what the unconscious mind has to do with the energy system and so forth.
I found some really surprising and yes, you could say "paradigm shifting" things. Guiding Stars is one of those. When you understand Guiding Stars, a whole heap of human behaviours and suffering all of a sudden makes sense - perfect sense, in fact.
See that's one of my real core beliefs, namely that the universe (and we with our systems!) is COMPLETELY LOGICAL and that you can understand what's going on if you take a close look, a really close look.
Susan: Yes, Guiding Stars was - to me - an extraordinary revelation. And unbelievably powerful in the application, too powerful even.
Silvia: Yes that's right, absolutely. GS is a dangerous pattern in the wrong hands and that's why I've really never made a song and dance about it nor have sought to have it be "out there". I sat on it for a year and a half because of that. But what GS showed me, really profoundly, was that we needed something - SOMETHING! - more than just pick up the pieces when someone's been through some form of emotional hell or heaven. There was something *structural* that was going not as it should, and to be honest, I've been looking for a pattern, technique or understanding to do something with the energy-system/emotional expression/physiological reaction system ever since.
"The Energy Systems are a Wonderworld that has hardly been explored at all."
Susan: And you believe you found this and that is EMO?
Silvia: Yes and no. I'm not going to say that EMO is the definitive, end-of-story, ok, that's it folks kind of revelation. There's always more, always better - the energy systems and of course, their relationship to what we think, what we experience, how we feel, what we get to feel in the first place and all of that are a Wonderworld that is hardly explored at all.
As you know, I'm always developing techniques and patterns and make a note of them "on the wall". What was different about EMO to all the other patterns and techniques we've been through - and you've been through most of them yourself in one form or the other! - was most of all, how much FUN we were having in doing it.
The base technique - the breakthrough experience - was not like any form of therapy or healing intervention I've ever done. We were actually screaming with laughter, doing it for two-and a half hours straight, on one thing after the other, so excited!
Now I've never had a technique that can do that! but also, the feelings, the sheer ENERGY of the thing, God it was good. It *is* good. It feels good. And that's when I said, Ok, this is it. EMO is going out there, I'll put my name behind this, I just love this.
Susan: I'd like to come back to something you've said earlier - that the energy system is a "wonderworld that is hardly explored". It is my understanding that healers have worked with the energy system for at least 6000 years - you could hardly call this unexplored?
Silvia: Sure you can. What we have is this stuff handed down. Meridians. Chakras. That's not even the garden gnome's red pointy hat perched precariously on the very top of the tip of an ENORMOUS iceberg! I would have said that just TFT and all the other METs following in that trail is the perfect testament to that - where's the ancient parchment scrolls that point out if you tap under the eye, your hayfever may disappear? Your fears can just dissolve?
The trouble is that the people who, over the ages, really understood some things about the energy system and were working with it, most often were NOT of the type to sit down and write it up, and then that would have required that they consciously were aware of what they were doing in the first place.
I had a real breakthrough experience when I had a go at "re-modelling" Virginia Satir who clearly works with energy and even refers to it repeatedly and most freely, yet there's nothing said about that at all in the many write-ups of her work. People are still debating if what she was doing was hypnosis - ha! They're debating in the wrong corner of the park, that's what. Energy shifts produce state shifts of course. State shifts are held to be indicative of hypnosis. They're not. They're indicative of *energy shifts* that are taking place behind the theater scenes of the words that are being spoken to keep everyone amused whilst the real work is being done elsewhere.
Susan: So, is EMO then based on Virginia Satir's work?
Silvia: Not really although it is absolutely so that watching Virginia at work gave me some new ideas to try out. She, like myself, was working with complex systems - and I guess there are no more complex systems to be had than a family of humans, each one with their own contributary system of the self and their own lifetime and experiences behind them.
But I tell you what she did for me and my explorations. She used people as "living metaphors" to model relationships so you can "see" and most importantly "feel" what these energetic states actually are like, bringing them up into conscious awareness. Seeing that really *confirmed* a theory I was playing with for a long time and gave me the courage and incentive to really put my attention to that directly.
Susan: There's that word "trance" - so is there a component of hypnosis?
Silvia : No, not really! I wanted to call it EmoTrans with an S - transforming emotional energies, see? But when I came to register the name, it turned out that an international haulage company owned that name. Goodness alone knows what they are transporting! Anyway, by that time I was so used to talking about EMO, I didn't want to change the name anymore and then we found the trance spelling was free to use.
There were some concerns that "people might think it's hypnosis and be put off" but then I thought, if they're put off that easily, then they're probably not the right people for the power of these techniques anyway and they don't have an open enough mind. I've done a lot of hypnosis – I used to teach it - and I still find it truly fascinating and simply can't understand anyone not being amazed at what hypnosis reveals about human potential and possibilities. But no, no trance. State shifts, yes. Energy shifts - yeah definitely, that's what it's all about. Instant energy shifts on automatic pilot.
“You can’t feed a starving energy system with a hamburger.”
Susan: Explain what you mean by automatic pilot?
Silvia: EMO comes directly out of my research into what I call the "human immune energy systems" - the immune systems of the energy system. See, the energy systems are a complete ecology just like the mind is and the body too. In a way they are reflections of each other, and in another way, they are different in that they require different things to function. You can't feed a starving energy system with hamburgers - although millions are trying as we speak!
Anyway, the physical immune systems respond to the environment without us having to do much or anything about it other than to make sure they're in a fit state to *do their job*.
It was my theory back then that there simply *must* be the same functions in the energy system, and that the energy system can take care of problems automatically - like the skin automatically heals a cut, step by step. That IS what EMO does - it brings these systems back on line and gets them to take care of "incoming energies" automatically and as it was designed to do.
Which leaves our hands free to do something else instead.
Susan: But HOW do you do that?
Silvia: Ok, look, I'm NOT going to tell you how EMO works, step by step. I'm just not. I'm going to show the people who want to know in London end of June, so I can be there to field the questions, and make sure it's done correctly. It is amazingly simple BUT there is finesse in the application and I want people to get really the full benefits from this amazing thing. As you know, they get a trainer's certification and they can tell others about it freely and in person. Pass it on. Sure, later we're going to have books and so on, but I tell you frankly, I'm doing this for myself as much as for anyone else. For years and years I've been doing these patterns and never got anything significant in the way of either financial reward or even a pat on the back out of it.
It has been truly like just chucking my life's work into a black hole.
Honestly, Susan, I'm sick of it.
EMO deserves better, and so do I. I want to *be there* when people "get it" for the very first time and the energy just zips and sparkles and whooshes through the room. I want to be there when they go, "Bloody hell! That is amazing, I've never felt anything like that!" I want to be there, and stand there, and know that that's the result of my work, and I've showed these people, and then the "interaction is balanced" as far as I am concerned and I'm gonna go home happy with a brand new Guiding Star in my pocket and I can finally stop bitching that no-body appreciates me or my work.
Also, and talking about "feeding your energy system with the nutrients required for life and growth and repair", you know I've never before known how to derive joy and nourishment out of a standing ovation, even when it was offered, I just couldn’t receive it or process it. I’d just stand there and think, “Duh?”, feeling a bit sad inside and this idea that I was missing out on so much.
Now and thanks to EMO I can and I want to feel what that's like. For the first time. Ever.
Susan: Wow. That’s something! Aren't you afraid that it'll go to your head?
Silvia : No! That's EMO for you - you can experience but don't need to hold on to it - you just take what you need from the momement, from the environment and it does it's thing and then it's *gone* - in a whole lot less than 60 seconds!
You know I was talking to this person who's done a lot of research into the energy systems over the ages and I taught her the base technique and she said, "I've read about this in these really old Ayurvedic texts, that this is what you should be doing but it never said HOW you do that."
I laughed and said, "Well now you do!"
"Wow! We actually HAVE an energy system!!"
Susan: Does EMO replace EFT, or the other METs, for that matter?
Silvia: No, I don't think so. EFT is really good for problems and for emergency treatments and so forth. It's freely available for everyone and a fine technique as an first introduction to the radical idea that, "Wow! We actually HAVE an energy system!!"
EMO and the techniques are for people who already know that, have done their tapping like we have and have lightened the load and want something else now. People who want to bring their energy systems online in a whole new way, who aren't afraid of feeling something new and something else. It's not that the base technique isn't simple enough "so that a child could learn it" but I'm not really interested in having to "convince" anyone that there *is* an energy system, and that it *does* have nutrition requirements for full functioning and that "mind body energy system" are an interactive ecology and so forth.
The self-help/practitioner/trainers format allows those who want to to go out and teach people from scratch, so I don't have the responsibility for that once I've had these people learn it.
These people who are constantly hungry, if they learned how to "feed on energy" instead might find that that their endless hunger is finally alleviated.
Susan: Where can you see the most benefits for people learning EMO - mental health, physical health, any specific applications?
Silvia: In that way, EMO *is* like EFT. EFT is a basic pattern and you provide the content and so whatever your content, it does it's thing for you. I've admired that so greatly, it makes EFT so wonderfully flexible and PERFECT for one individual - and that's a core concern for me. I absolutely abhor therapies that tell you you must this and that and if the wrong type of person gets hold of it, they can't help but fail miserably. Like all those weird diets out there that probably worked *for that one person who invented them* because they were banana-reversed or what have you.
You must remember that EMO is really quite new. The more we're doing it (the research and test team, that is), the more applications become apparent. One of the most obvious ones is of course addiction and diet and such. These people who are constantly hungry, if they learned how to "feed on energy" instead might find that that their endless hunger is finally alleviated. And thus it is with other types of "endless hungers" - for love, for approval, for being rejected time and time again, for freedom, for peace - ah, so much.
See, people just don't "think energy". Emotions are only symptoms, they're not the cause of stuff and they're not the cure either for these hungers, not really. Not if you can't receive and digest them properly, handle the underlying energy-nutrients properly in your energy system.
Susan: This is really fascinating and it makes a lot of sense to me. What do you think is the cause for this not being able to handle energy in that way?
Silvia: Well many things, really. That's the "other side of EMO" - when your own energy system comes even a little bit more alive, what does that do for your healing abilities, say like in Therapeutic Touch? This is very much about healing, about restoring the Even Flow to our energy systems. The basic EMO skills set about being able to use energy in a very natural but very different way from what most people do. I know it's natural because people learn it so quickly - it's not even learning, much more like, oh I remember how to do that, and your body remembers it too and does it hungrily once it's allowed to, once we give it permission.
The cause of this unnatural handling of energies? I think it's possible that's happened because at one time or the other, people stopped paying attention to these things and then just went along and behaved as though there was no such thing as an energy system at all. That's like Darwin's story of these natives who didn't see the great big sailing ship in the bay - just saw nothing there at all, just horizon - because they'd never seen one and never been told about the possibility of such a big structure, they couldn't process it. For them, the white people just appearead out of nowhere in their little rowing boats. That's like emotions appearing out of nowhere, or illness appearing out of nowhere, and perhaps even good or bad luck - well it doesn't. The energy system's there alright, and we're finally getting to see it.
Susan: While we're talking about seeing the energy system, I've heard it said that energy follows imagination, but many people are also concerned about the distinction between imagination and intuition. For people who can't see subtle energies, how can they tell if they're using their intuition accurately or just making it all up?
Silvia: Wait there. We're not talking about "looking" but about feeling here, at least as far as EMO is concerned. Also, to me, there is no difference between an imagined pain and a real pain anyway - if someone's curled up with misery, trembling, tears falling from their eyes, there is *pain* there inside them, totally. That is a *real experience* for THEM.
It's not a question of knowing where that pain has come from or if it's "all in their head" - who cares? Pain is pain. As long as they can feel that something's wrong, they'll be able to change that and feel the change. This is not about "subtle energies". It's purely experiential. Feelings and physiological responses and how they change. How we can change them.
We’re not working with maps, we’re working in the territory.
Susan: Well, you're talking about the energy system, just what energy system are you talking about? meridians, basic grid, chakras, aura?
Silvia: I've always had a hard time with those. It seems to me, they're like those little symbols on a map for trees and mountains, you know? Some people are really good at reading those, but I'm not like that. I look at those symbols that are supposed to be this and that and I get confused. EMO is not another map but the true endeavour to look at the landscape that's really there instead - clouds, trees, mountains in the distance, rivers - 3d and in real time and work with *what there is* not what the map says should be there.
On the map there's this bridge - but what if it was blown up in a war 20 years ago, what then? What if there was a flood that washed away the mountains and re-routed the rivers and the map doesn't match at all? That is the structural limitation of all maps.
That’s why EMO is not about working with the acupuncture system or the chakras or the aura. Every time I look at those in other people, they're all over the place, they're nothing like the diagrams. So, in EMO we're not working with the maps at all. We're working directly in the territory. In the individual's own personal landscape and ecology. It's about 'What are these like FOR YOU?' An experiential system about how that one, unique person feels just at that moment. EMO is not a system or a model. It simply works with what is.
EMO is about dancing with our own energy system, not that of some dead Chinese guy who's been in a monastery since he was three years old.
Susan: I’m sure that the acupuncturists will not be happy with what you’re saying there – surely, we need these maps of, for example, the meridian system to be able to treat someone effectively?
Silvia: You have to remember where all these ancient, revered maps of the energy system come from. All the oriental things, for example. On whose energy system were they based? What kind of persons were modelled there? Think about it. That's a group of cultures that is extremely patriarchical, extremely rigid and they have values built in like sameness, non-individuality, radical perseverance, denial and self torturing your way to enlightenment and so on. Maps based on people from a culture way back when who were nothing at all like me or you, living in an environment totally unlike what we're doing, thinking totally different thoughts and of course, all those life experiences. Including child birth!
Take Tai Chi. Used to be a martial art just like Karate and Aikido. Who invented that, for what purpose and who was doing it? So, you could say EMO is about dancing with your own energy system, not that of some dead Chinese guy who's been in a monastery since he was three years old.
Healing that is based on those models has never worked for me, nor for a lot of people I know. Some 'healer' comes along and tries to make my chakras spin in such-and-such a direction or whatever - and it not only doesn't work, it HURTS me, because I'm not an anatomically correct doll, I'm a person, and I'm not so unusual, I think. The people who’ve gone down with systems failure after Reiki initiations are legion. I want to train healers who can heal someone like me. Don't heal chakras, auras, meridians. Heal ME. Go with the person who's in front of you. Ask them 'How does that hurt you? Where does it hurt? What's wrong?' And then heal that – in their world, in their own ecology that is totally unique to each one of us.
EMO is about the present and what that means for the future, and not about the past.
Susan: Well, I've already got the message that you're not going to tell me how in this interview, the readers will have to wait until the workshop for that. But along with wondering if people can do this without some special abilities to see energies, I also wonder if it will work for everyone. Do people need to be able to recognise their problems, limiting beliefs, for example?
Silvia No, look, that whole business about 'Is there a limiting belief behind this? Is this a value?' and all that is just another version of map-making, but it's the talk-therapist's version. You don't have to be able to do a DSM-IV diagnosis or use NLP to de-construct pre-suppositions in order to do EMO. All that's irrelevant. That's the beauty of it. Describing all that sort of thing is just another systems map, and it's a device to keep the reality of painful feelings at bay by going third party on it.
EMO is about being able to have emotions safely. So we don't have to be afraid of being afraid, or even of being horrified. Even horror can be the source of life-giving food. You see something really horrific and allow yourself to see it, it might have just the right kind of energy to make you get up and say, "Enough is enough. I will DO something about that." If you block it out and don't feel it, that never happens.
All the energies in the Universe have their purpose, but no one shows us this. All our role-models were too busy avoiding anything outside their comfort zone. But those fears, that discomfort, were based on the wrong outcome. It was based on the assumption that painful or intense feelings would last for months. Well, of course, if they're blocked, they do, they can. But EMO teaches people how to let feelings move through them freely not in months, but in moments. So it becomes possible to let ourselves feel them and actually be energised by them. Not to let ourselves feel is to block our energy for action. The kind of action that could change the horrors, the kind of energy that shudders through us and ends with a determined 'No, this cannot go on. I must do something to stop this, to change it.' and then, the added energy to be able to!
EFT has shown me how you can undo old blockages and what happens as a result when the emotions "have gone", and really in a way, taught me the true value of emotions. BSFF has shown me that your unconscious mind can do many things for you that you don't have to do yourself.
EMO is about your experience from moment to moment, and to teach a person a whole new set of skills to not just handle but thrive on these experiences - not just their unconscious mind, but all of them, their whole system that includes their physicality, mind, unconscious mind, all of that together. So you get an instant response, a learned response like a reflex to deal differently with the emotions you're experiencing right now, from moment to moment, and they're always different, fluid or should be.
People get stuck in these very narrow ranges of emotional experiences and rarely ever move out of them. When it happens by accident - trauma, guiding star situation - it blows the whole mind-body system out of the water that's just not used to this experience and of course, it simply doesn't really know what to do. Chaos and confusion must ensue.
If you wanted to say that, you can say that EMO is designed so we can stop right now creating new things we need to tap on with EFT next year, two years from now and so on. EMO is about the present and what that means for the future, and not about the past.
Susan: Thank you very much for your time, Silvia. This really sounds like a fascinating system and I for one can’t wait to find out more about it.
Interview Conducted on May 25th, 2002, United Kingdom.
What happened next ....
The interview was a transcript of our conversation but all of this is now, in hindsight exactly as Silvia keeps saying throughout, not important. It was what happened after the interview was over and it is hard to put in word what a difference it was between “processing something intellectually” and really doing it, experiencing it for yourself.
As I write, what I’m wishing I could find words to convey is how eager I felt, after talking with Silvia, to try EMO™. Eager. Me, the reluctant admirer of Silvia’s work from a suitably safe distance. Following our formal interview, Silvia encouraged me to try EMO™ for myself.
Now here’s the interesting part, the challenge was to deal with something painful, something I had truly consigned to the bin as not being ever wanting to see again – and quite literally as I had just thrown away a pile of highly unflattering photographs of me, taken specifically to illustrate an article and needed by the designer over the weekend.
Following our interview, Silvia suggested I retrieve them and do an EMO™ procedure while looking at each one.
Now here’s the really exciting part. I actually WANTED to do it. I felt, not just interested, not just curious while wondering how I’d fit this into my heavy workload, but impatient, with a shiver of excitement. I wanted to do it right now. So I did. I retrieved the photographs from the trash.
What a range of feelings I encountered as I worked through them, one after the other.
Pain to see how ageing is showing in my face, the jowls beginning to sag, anger at the photographer for not noticing that my hair was astray, for not having chosen a better angle, for not correcting the sharp shadows from the flash, anger at the camera for taking so long to click that the expression on my face was sometimes glazed, sometimes moronic, sometimes creased with puzzlement and impatience, anger at myself for not having powdered my nose, even disgust that I’ve done nothing about my eating and exercise patterns to counteract the heaviness I was seeing so graphically.
‘I know how I can look, could look, should look. I’ve been letting myself go. What a stupid pose. Why didn’t I button my jacket? Why didn’t I do something different with my hair?…’ and on and on.
‘This isn’t me, can’t be me. Oh, but the camera doesn’t lie. Is this really what people see when they look at me? Yikes, how much my self-confidence has been based on the security of my attractive appearance.’
And that was just the first photo.
I’m sure you can imagine it, and more. By the time I was finished, though, in just a few moments, not only was all that gone, but I was able to say, “Well, if we have to use some of these, then I think that’s probably the better one.’
What a contrast to the panic I’d felt the day before when the designer told me he absolutely, positively had to have them over the weekend, so there was no chance to re-shoot. Not only that, I could even appreciate the warmth and sincerity and openness I saw in my own face. I could find the person in the photos appealling, likeable. “Hey! That’s me I’m talking about!”.
I’ve never experienced such a shift from fear and doubt to… ‘Oh, WOW!’
I’d caught the scent of it during the interview with Silvia, the scent of something truly different, truly new, of enthusiasm and eagerness But I had to eat this pudding for myself to really taste the difference, the keen, avid, glowing, buzzing, FUN of doing EMO™.
I still wish Silvia had been able to use EmoTrans as the name for this, because it might begin to hint at the transformative power of this approach. Now I can think of it as a means to break out of the trances we’re locked into – the trance of ‘I’m not pretty enough, and I have to be pretty or…’ And many, many others.
And as I write this, I’ve got those photos sitting on on my desk right here, in front of me. I look at them and I feel affection, a real warmth for the person on these photographs and that is ME.
I can still see the faults, mistakes, and it’s just fine, I don’t want to throw them out, they are fine, nice even, I am fascinated by that look in my own eyes. I like the photographs and I like what they are showing me aboutself, so much more and so other than just the skin type beauty.
I’ll do whatever I need to do to be there for the full EMO™ training. This is so good, I want more.
Copyright Susan Courtney 2002. All Rights Reserved.