There are many tried-and-true therapeutic interventions for addiction and mental health conditions. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychoanalysis, and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) have a mountain of research supporting their efficacy. However, new therapy modalities that aren’t yet widely accepted can be just as beneficial and sometimes more so. Avery Lane believes in the constant evolution of mental health treatment. We are always looking at new research in order to find the best options for our clients. This is why we utilize unique approaches, such as energy psychology, at our treatment center.
Energy Psychology Overview
The energy psychology approach focuses on the connection between mind and body, which creates an energy field that moves naturally around and through individuals. Your thoughts, emotions, sensations, and behaviors all affect your biological energy systems. The idea behind energy psychology is that these systems can be altered and guided to your benefit. Energy psychology uses a collection of practices to improve your functioning and well-being.
Imbalances or fluctuations in your energy systems can cause and be caused by negative thought patterns, risky behaviors, and mental health disorders. This can lead to a discouraging cycle that can hurt your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Substance abuse, in particular, can have strong negative effects on your biological processes. This is why energy psychology can be a powerful tool in the treatment of substance use disorder (SUD).
While energy psychology practices can be used on their own, research has found them to be most effective when combined with traditional treatment options, such as talk therapy. In general, these practices have been shown to speed up the recovery process and increase the efficacy of other therapeutic interventions.
Two practices that fall under the umbrella of energy psychology that you may be familiar with are acupuncture and acupressure therapy. These practices are about 3000 years old and originate from ancient China. In acupuncture and acupressure, bioenergy is traditionally called Qi, which translates to “vital energy” or “life force.” When European colonists observed the practice, they rebuked it as mystical pseudoscience, largely because they considered their own medicine to be superior to Eastern medicine.
Since then, acupuncture and acupressure have remained in disrepute in the Western world. They are still considered holistic healing methods as opposed to evidence-based. However, in the past 100 years, they’ve had a resurgence in popularity, which has led to more research in the area. Though still not used at large in clinical settings, Avery Lane has used energy psychology techniques since our founding, and we have seen amazing results.
What Does Energy Psychology Treat?
This approach can be used to treat a variety of issues and conditions. It can be beneficial to anyone, even people who aren’t struggling with mental health disorders or substance abuse. This is because everyone has bioenergy systems, and everyone experiences fluctuations within these systems from time to time. Like meditation or mindfulness, even well-adjusted individuals can benefit from a practice that promotes being grounded, present, and in touch with your mind and body.
When first using energy psychology techniques, you should do so under the guidance of a professional, especially if you have specific issues you would like to address. Your guide can teach you self-help techniques that you’ll be able to use on your own.
Energy psychology approaches can be used to treat:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Anxiety symptoms and disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
- Aversion to change
- Feelings of shame, guilt, and fear
- Physical pain
Energy Psychology Modalities
The term energy psychology is an umbrella that encompasses a variety of practices and techniques. Each modality offers something unique to the patient, so discussing each one with your care team is important to determine the right steps for you.
Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET)
Neuro-emotional technique (NET) is a technique that focuses on the physical manifestations of stress in the human body. This can come in many forms; one example is tight or knotted muscles. NET requires the individual to visualize and confront uncomfortable or stressful memories. While doing this, the therapist identifies the physical manifestations of the discomfort. Then, they address those areas with physical corrections. The combination of mentally and physically addressing the root of the issues helps the individual process and heal.
This can be especially effective in treating women with SUD. Women, more than men, tend to turn to substances to cope with mental and emotional stressors. Substance use becomes an unhealthy outlet for stress, and a different, healthier outlet is often needed to replace it. NET can be that outlet for many women. In treatment, women with SUD are encouraged to focus on situations that cause them to crave substances in order to identify the source of the addiction. Understanding and confronting root issues is an important step on the road to recovery.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
EFT is another stress-relieving technique that can be helpful for those with SUD and mental health conditions. This approach uses cognitive therapy and acupressure combined to create a healthy outlet for stress. The idea behind acupressure and EFT is that the body’s bioenergy flows through specific pathways known as meridians. Specific points along those meridians are connected directly to the brain. By tapping these points, stress-relieving brain chemicals can be released, which improves mental well-being. The practitioners identify the tapping points that connect to certain memories and traumas and help individuals release the emotions tied to those events.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has been studied more than any other energy psychology modality. It has been shown to be effective when used in combination with traditional treatments because it gives the individual tools to face difficult emotions. Those who receive EFT treatment are usually more open to being uncomfortable in order to grow and change.
Cognition and eye movement have been shown to be connected. For example, when you recall a memory, you’re more likely to look to the side. Looking to the side helps promote interaction between your two brain hemispheres, which helps you recall memories faster and more accurately. Some research suggests that you’re more likely to look up when lying or imagining something that hasn’t happened. The brain spotting technique takes advantage of this connection to help you better access traumatic memories.
Sometimes when you go through a traumatic event, your brain pushes the memory away so that it isn’t continually hurting you. This is called repression, and it’s a defense mechanism. It’s a very normal occurrence; most people repress certain feelings or memories at some point in their lives. However, repression stops you from processing trauma, which is the only way to heal from it.
Repression can go so deep that, in some cases, even if you want to access the memory, you aren’t able to recall it. In these cases, steps need to be taken to retrieve the repressed memory. This can be upsetting and even retraumatizing, so it’s best to do this under the guidance of a mental health professional.
Brain spotting is a safe way to access repressed memories in order to process the trauma. It involves moving your eyes around your field of vision while trying to access the memory. The brain spotting therapist will help you identify points in your field of vision that are connected to the memory. You’ll then hold your focus on that point in order to fully confront the trauma. You can then begin to process and heal from it.
Tapas Acupressure Technique (TAT)
Similar to NET and EFT, Tapas Acupressure Technique (TAT) is an energy-releasing therapeutic technique that utilizes the bioenergy in the human body. The main difference is that TAT aims to open energy pathways that may be blocked by stress and trauma. These blockages can be removed by applying light pressure to four specific points on the skull. Opening blocked energy pathways allows the bioenergy to flow freely and the body and mind to move back into a balanced state. This reduces stress and allows traumatic memories to be processed.
Developed by Tapas Fleming in the 1990s, TAT is designed to address emotional and psychological issues by accessing the body’s energy meridians and promoting emotional healing. One of the advantages of TAT is its simplicity and ease of use. The technique can be quickly learned and practiced by individuals, making it a valuable self-help tool for managing emotions and addressing emotional challenges in daily life. TAT is usually used in combination with other holistic and traditional treatment methods. Meditation and mindfulness are often beneficial when combined with TAT. These practices help clear the mind and promote further relaxation, which can prepare the individual for TAT therapy and make it more effective.
Benefits of Energy Psychology Treatment
Energy psychology treatments can be very beneficial to a variety of clients. The benefits you get from it are largely dependent on your unique issues. You should talk to your care team, case manager, or therapist to determine if energy psychology is right for you.
Some of the major benefits include:
- Complementary to other treatment methods: Energy psychology can be used in conjunction with other therapeutic approaches, enhancing their effectiveness. Energy psychology can be used in conjunction with other therapeutic approaches, enhancing their effectiveness.
- Rapid and lasting results: One of the primary advantages of energy psychology is its ability to produce fast and enduring results. By working with the body’s energy system, practitioners can often alleviate distressing emotions, fears, and traumatic memories more efficiently than conventional therapies. Clients may experience relief in just a few sessions, and the positive effects tend to endure over time.
- Non-invasive approach: Energy psychology treatments are generally non-invasive and do not require clients to recount painful memories or rehash traumatic experiences extensively. This makes it a valuable option for individuals who are reluctant to undergo traditional talk therapies or who have difficulty articulating their emotions.
- Addressing root issues: Energy psychology seeks to identify and address the root causes of emotional distress rather than just treating the symptoms. By working on the energetic imbalances associated with negative emotions, practitioners aim to create deep and sustainable healing.
- Effective for a variety of conditions: Energy psychology has shown promise in treating a wide range of emotional and psychological issues, including anxiety, phobias, stress, depression, and PTSD. It has also been used to address performance anxiety, self-esteem issues, and even physical symptoms linked to emotional distress.
Energy psychology techniques can also have a profound effect on mental health. If you experience trauma-related triggers in your life, this approach can lessen your sensitivity and reactivity to those triggers. It can also help you replace negative thought patterns with more positive ones. When you’re mental health is improved, your emotional and physical health can flourish as well. Energy psychology can be effective enough at reducing stress, trauma-related symptoms, and anxiety that it can potentially replace traditional medications. Additionally, many of the skills you learn through treatment can be used individually without a professional once you learn how to apply them.
Energy Psychology Treatment for Women
This treatment approach can be particularly effective for women due to several factors related to their unique lived experiences and emotional processing. Women’s energetic spaces are so often encroached upon by others because they’re seen as nurturers and caretakers. However, they don’t often get time and space to nurture and take care of themselves. Energy psychology can help women release pent-up energy and learn skills to protect their energy fields in the future. Some other reasons why energy psychology can resonate with women include the following.
Trauma and PTSD
Women are more likely to experience particular trauma, such as abuse, assault, or gender-specific issues, which can lead to PTSD. Energy psychology methods, such as EFT, have shown significant promise in treating trauma and its related symptoms, helping women find relief from the emotional burdens of their past.
Hormonal changes throughout a woman’s life, such as during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, can significantly impact emotions and mental well-being. Energy psychology may offer effective tools for managing mood swings, anxiety, and hormonal imbalances during these phases.
Empowerment and Self-Compassion
Energy psychology often emphasizes self-empowerment and self-compassion, encouraging women to embrace their emotions, needs, and vulnerabilities without judgment. This can be especially valuable for women who may face societal pressures to suppress their feelings or prioritize others’ needs over their own.
Women often have a heightened awareness of their bodies, given the physical and emotional changes they experience throughout life. Energy psychology techniques, which involve focusing on specific points in the body, can enhance this body-mind connection, facilitating emotional release and grounding.
Stress and Anxiety
Women may encounter unique stressors related to juggling multiple roles and responsibilities, such as caregiving, work, and family duties. Energy psychology can offer practical tools to manage stress and anxiety, promoting overall well-being and resilience.
Energy psychology can address gender-specific issues that women may face, such as body image concerns, fertility challenges, and the impact of societal expectations on self-esteem. By tailoring treatments to address these issues, energy psychology can provide more targeted and relevant support.
Treating Trauma as the Root of Addiction
Avery Lane is different from other treatment centers because we go right to the source of addiction. In many cases, the root of substance abuse issues is trauma. Most treatment programs wait six months to a year to begin treating trauma and underlying issues, choosing instead to focus on the addiction itself. We take a different approach and aim to heal the client’s whole being, which means addressing the very source of the problem.
When you come to Avery Lane, you’ll begin receiving trauma-informed care immediately. From detox to outpatient programs, we’ll be at your side, helping you confront and process your trauma. We don’t just care about getting you sober; we care about your overall well-being and the health of your mind, body, and spirit.
If you are a woman struggling with mental health issues or substance use disorder (SUD), these things can imbalance your energies, which leads to a downward spiral of negativity. You may feel like there are no safe spaces for you to process and heal from your lived experiences, but there is. Avery Lane is a caring, understanding environment made specifically for women like you. You don’t have to hurt in silence; we are here to help. We’re located in the San Fransisco Bay Area and have fostered a space of empowerment and healing for women of all ages and backgrounds. The first step to self-improvement is just a phone call away. Give us a call at (800) 270-2406.