Posts Tagged ‘Energy Psychology’

There’s a very interesting article in the current issue of E-Skeptic by Larry Sarner on Emily Rosa’s seminal therapeutic touch (TT) experiment that was published in the JAMA in 1998 of a study she conducted at age 9, making her the youngest person ever to publish in a peer reviewed medical journal.

Sarner addresses many of the misconceptions people have about this study and he lists the postulates (assumptions) that TT is based on, most of which also hold for the newer energy psychology therapies such as TFT and EFT. Emily Rosa’s experiment addressed postulate #3, although many people, even some skeptics, misunderstood it as addressing #1, which it was not designed to do. He makes an excellent point that many skeptics focus on #1, whether the HEF exists at all. If any of these postulates are falsified, however, the entire theory collapses. These postulates were induced and deduced from the TT literature since the TT proponents themselves seem to have resisted making any clear statements in this regard.

  1. THE EXISTENCE POSTULATE. TT is a widespread (primarily nursing) practice predicated upon a belief in the existence of a “human energy field.” This field may be too esoteric or “subtle” to be capable of measurement or detection by conventional technology.
  2. THE ETIOLOGICAL POSTULATE. The HEF is postulated as a physical reality that permeates a human body and extends beyond it. Disease, illness, injury, or discomfort are manifest in the HEF as “differences” (disturbances, imbalances, congestion, or the like). Also, the elimination of such differences in the HEF either returns the body itself to health or removes impediments to the body’s own healing processes.
  3. THE PERCEPTIBILITY POSTULATE. Each person’s HEF is perceptible by any other person, especially with the intention to do so, though it may be necessary in individual instances for the other person to be trained to recognize the perceptions as HEF-related. In particular, differences in an HEF can be perceived, thereby detecting the presence (and with refinement, the locale) of disease, illness, injury, or discomfort.
  4. THE MANIPULABILITY POSTULATE. One person can effect changes in another person’s HEF. Those changes can be controlled by the changer’s intentions, though training may be necessary to allow selection of the proper intentionality for accomplishing desired ends, such as the elimination of differences.
  5. THE MANUAL POSTULATE. A practitioner’s hand alone is an effective and reliable means for the perception and manipulation of the HEF of another person. Coupled with the proper intentionality, healing can occur through manual intervention in the HEF.

I have found this to be a useful framework for a critical examination of the assumptions between TFT/EFT. The only one that would not necessarily hold true for TFT/EFT is #3, which is the one that Emily’s experiment focused on, very important to TT but not so much, for TFT/EFT. With TFT/EFT, people finger tap on specified points on the body and so it would not be necessary for them to actually be able to feel the HEF. In other words, they can do #4 without having to do #3. All they have to do is know where and (for TFT) in what sequence to tap. My published experiment addressed and falsified the notion that sequence of tapping points mattered (the basis for Callahan’s $100,000 VT) and Waite and Holder’s experiment falsified the notion that the points mattered, since they had control conditions of sham points and tapping on a doll. Both studies were published in the peer reviewed journal, The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice.

Also, #5 is only partially applicable to TFT, although many of its proponents do hold that assumption, in full. TFT’s inventor, Roger Callahan has strenuously objected to the idea that intention had anything to do with his claimed results. His claim is that all a person has to do is to tap on specified points in specified sequences and results will occur. The person being treated must be thinking about the problem being treated, so in that sense, intention is important, but the intention of the practitioner to heal, presumably has nothing to do with it. However, many EFT/TFT proponents disagree and see intention as critically important to both successes and failures and that, of course, can be used as a way to explain away failure.

Sarner’s article covers a great deal of ground, addressing TT’s basic assumptions, correcting misconceptions about Emily Rosa’s experiment and issuing a point by point rebuttal to the criticism of that experiment. The article is well worth the read and available on the E-Skeptic website.


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Roger Callahan was presented with the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology’s (ACEP) lifetime achievement award. Since Callahan invented the tapping therapy that virtually started all of Energy Psychology this comes as no surprise. The only question some people may have is, what took them so long? As a former insider, I was privy to a back story that explains things.

While the old timers (people who have been around more than 10 years) are aware of this history, what many of the more recent devotees are not aware of is that the person who presented Callahan with the award, ACEP’s current President, clinical psychologist Gregory Nicosia, PhD, was sued by Roger Callahan approximately 13 years ago after quite an acrimonious split. Nicosia was one of the first people to train in Callahan’s TFT Diagnosis (TFTDx) course. At the time, the training cost $10,000 (or $5,000 for those who got a special early discount deal) and everyone who took the course was required to sign a confidentiality agreement that they could not reveal to anyone else what the secret of TFTDx was. In fact, the secret was already in the public domain as the applied kinesiology muscle testing procedure was shown in chiropractor James Durlacher’s book, Freedom from Fear Forever, with a Foreword by Roger Callahan himself.  Click here to see Durlacher demonstrating the technique, which, although not mentioned on this particular video, was actually invented by Callahan, derived from George Goodheart’s applied kinesiology. [what is not mentioned on the video is that what he was essentially doing was providing these people with phobias with exposure to what they are afraid of (heights) and that is the most likely explanation for the success, not the tapping]

Nevertheless, although the essence of the “trade secret” was already in the public domain, when the Callahans began to market the TFTDx course, they sold it to their trainees as a “trade secret”. Trainees also had to sign an agreement that they would not teach TFTDx. At the time, TFTDx was being taught exclusively by the Callahan’s company, Callahan Techniques, Ltd.  Although Nicosia has denied signing such a contract, most of the trainees did sign such a contract.

In 1997, Nicosia, who had trained with Callahan, split from Callahan and began to teach TFTDx on his own. Roger Callahan sued Nicosia for violation of the agreement, but Callahan lost. The decision was that TFT could not be trademarked. Since after that, people were legally free to teach TFTDx, in 1998, the Callahans discontinued the confidentiality agreement for TFTDx, and split the course up into three sections, which made it cheaper. I was involved with that reorganization and the development of the new training manual.

At that point, a number of other early students of Callahan had also split with him including Fred Gallo and Gary Craig (now retired), who was the first person ever to train in his Voice Technology. These people, along with some others who were interested in tapping therapies but did not want to abide by the Callahans rules and wanted a more open, flexible atmosphere free of secrecy, formed ACEP (this is very similar to what happened when Independent/Freezone Scientologists left the organization and began practicing Scientology outside the main organization and many people in ACEP, even the ones who split directly with Callahan revere him in a similar way to the way Freezoners revere L. Ron Hubbard, although, of course, LRH never attended any FZ gatherings).

The Callahans, until this year, have stayed completely away from ACEP conferences, as they had had quite acrimonious splits with several people involved, although ACEP repeatedly tried to make him feel he would be welcome. In 2000, ACEP also presented him with an award, but he declined attending the conference and had me go in his place and I accepted the award for him. Every year, during the time I knew him, Roger Callahan was invited to attend, but he declined. Since I have not spoken to the Callahans since early 2004, I have no way of knowing what lead to his change of heart and subsequent attendance at the 2010 ACEP conference and acceptance of the award, but it definitely represents a dramatic change that Callahan accepted an award from someone who he once had sued.

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Oprah is holding open auditions for someone to get their own TV show on Oprah’s upcoming new channel. The way it works is that people post an audition video on Oprah’s website and people can vote on it. The five people with the highest votes are the winners.

Long-time TFT/Energy Psychology proponent Mary Sise, LCSW, is trying out for the show. You can see her video by clicking here and then you can post your comments. However, it appears that critical comments are not getting posted because I know for a fact that at least two people have tried two days ago and the comments have not shown up whereas other later, positive comments have. So I am calling Oprah’s producers out on not posting critical comments about what is in fact a highly controversial therapy that does not have adequate research evidence to support its claims for curing a wide variety of different types of conditions.

Mary’s Proposal is:

Beliefs create your reality, and most beliefs are formed under the age of 7. Beliefs have energy stuck in them – shame, anger, guilt, fear – and by using your own meridian system you can learn how to release the stuck energy and replace your negative beliefs with positive ones. I’ve done this thousands of times with my clients and more importantly, with myself. The show I envision would have different participants who are unhappy with something in their life. I would teach you how to figure out what childhood belief is causing it, and more importantly how to release that and reprogram yourself. Everyone watching at home could participate and we would be able to release fear, shame, and lack on a global scale.

This statement is so packed with myths, it is difficult to know where to begin. To start with the most obvious one, “beliefs create your reality”. Oh really, Mary? How about the “reality” of 9/11? How about the reality of Rwandan orphans who witnessed and experienced hideous trauma and are unhappy with that? Did they create that with their beliefs?

Mary also appears to buy into the myth, soundly debunked in Scott Lilienfeld’s book on the 50 most common myths in psychology, that if someone is unhappy with something in their life, it comes from something in their childhood, particularly a belief. Does she seriously believe that? Obviously, there are all kinds of reasons why a person could be unhappy with something in their life, having nothing whatsoever to do with their childhood. For example, if Mary were to get her wish and get her show, how would she respond if a mother came forward who was grieving due to the loss of a child to cancer? Would that unhappiness be coming from something in her childhood that Mary would then have her tap away? That is just one of countless examples where her presumption would be utterly absurd. Get real, Mary. Do you have any idea how much bad therapy that at best wastes a person’s time and money and at worst, does harm, is done because of the belief that everything that makes a person unhappy comes from childhood? Maybe she needs to tap that one away.

Her last sentence seems to imply that people can even tap away “lack” on a global scale. Does she mean eliminate poverty through tapping? Quite possibly because everything, from her point of view, seems to come from beliefs that have “energy stuck in them” — whatever that means. I could see a naive young person falling for something like this but when these words come from a 58-year old licensed mental health professional, that is downright embarrassing.

There doesn’t seem to be much of a chance, however, for Mary to get her show. She only has 4,785 votes so far, while the front runners have over a million votes. Dr. Phyllis, a teacher from Tampa, FL, who is proposing a teacher reality show, has over 8 million votes and Zach, a young man with cerebral palsy and a great sense of humor from Austin, Texas has over 9 million votes.

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