Energy Psychology in Disaster Relief: New Benefits from an Age-Old Paradigm
David Feinstein, Ph.D.
Energy psychology utilizes cognitive interventions—combined with methods derived from acupuncture, acupressure, and related systems—in the treatment of emotional and behavioral problems. It has been applied as a post-trauma psychological intervention in the wake of natural and human-made disasters in the Congo, Guatemala, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Mexico, Moldavia, Nairobi, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, and Thailand, as well as in the U.S. following Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, generally in response to invitations from local governments, churches, and private groups. The Green Cross, a humanitarian relief organization founded in response to the Oklahoma City bombings in 1995, has adapted energy psychology as a standard treatment in its post-disaster missions. This paper reviews these developments, considers their viability, and places them into a framework based on lessons learned from the application of Critical Incident Stress Debriefing and Cognitive Behavior Therapy in the aftermath of disasters. Issues addressed include the formulation of energy psychology interventions according to 1) the natural phases that follow a disaster, 2) specific mental health objectives, and 3) the distinction between psychological first aid and long-term healing.
David Feinstein, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, is the national director of the Energy Medicine Institute. Author of seven books and more than fifty professional papers, he has taught at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Antioch College. Among his major works are The Promise of Energy Psychology, The Mythic Path, and Rituals for Living and Dying. His multi-media Energy Psychology Interactive was a recipient of the Outstanding Contribution Award from the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology. For further information, visit www.EnergyPsychEd.com.