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By conventional therapy, we mean conventional talk therapy (CTT) and much of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  Energy Psychology (EP) approaches are generally more focused, goal oriented and more active than CTT.  EP differs from these approaches by the deliberate use of the body’s energy systems (e.g. meridians, chakras) to create a change in experience.

Much of CTT involves talking about events and experiences in life within a supportive therapeutic relationship. CTT is often unstructured and does not necessarily include specific goal setting; therapists typically focus on listening and reflecting. CBT, on the other hand, is usually goal-oriented and focused, concentrating heavily on thoughts and behaviors. In a classic CBT session, a therapist might listen to how a client talks to himself or herself. The therapist would then explain to a client that their negative emotional condition is a result of distorted thinking and demonstrate "better thought patterns" to use. To improve one's condition through the CBT model, the client is supposed to consciously practice the new thought pattern/behavior.

In contrast, an EP approach might have the client focus on the "distorted thoughts” while tapping on a series of energy points on the body. After a round of focused tapping, the client then reports the changes that have occurred in the thoughts related to the stressful event or emotion. In many cases, the EP therapist then helps the client trace these thoughts to earlier experiences that are the roots of the distress being experienced in the present. Another round of focusing on the stressor while tapping on energy points is done. This is repeated on all aspects of an issue until the client no long feels distress when thinking about it.

Where most non-energy psychotherapies engage only thought and emotion, EP activates emotion, cognition, the physical body and energy system all within a single session. This may be why EP approaches appear to work more quickly than conventional psychotherapy.

Another unique aspect of Energy Psychology is identifying and resolving "Reversals."  While we do not completely understand how and why they come about, reversals act as forms of resistance and self sabotage. It is common for EP therapists to use the analogy that a reversal is like "your wires being crossed."  The felt experience of a reversal varies. It ranges from "being into experiences that ought to feel bad" (i.e. addictions) to somehow "just not being motivated" to making progress towards some goal (losing weight, making more money, etc.) then all of a sudden all progress halts. EP has methods to easily identify these issues and then resolve them, often very quickly.

This does not mean that people who use EP approaches have abandoned all the useful aspects of conventional approaches. In fact, many EP practitioners work in an integrated manner. In a recent ACEP poll, 73% of respondents stated that they also use "good old fashioned talking.” 50% of those who responded use some sort of CBT method; 45% use some aspect of mindfulness therapy; 30% use traditional coaching approaches.





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