A NEW Series of Monthly e-Letters
Featuring Cutting-Edge Articles
by DAVID FEINSTEIN, PhD,
on ENERGY PSYCHOLOGY
(Emotional Freedom Techniques /
DAVID FEINSTEIN, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and NY Times best-selling author, is an internationally recognized leader in the rapidly emerging field of Energy Psychology and a trailblazing pioneer in developing innovative therapeutic approaches to healing.
David and his wife, Donna Eden, are passionately committed to teaching, and to sharing their love for, the art and science of Energy Medicine – and its offshoot Energy Psychology.
In addition to having written many other award-winning books, they are co-authors of the landmark and state-of-the-art 1998 book entitled ENERGY MEDICINE, a masterpiece that has now been published in 20 languages and is referred to as "Gray's Anatomy of the Subtle Body."
To fulfill their long-cherished dream of making the powerfully healing tools of Energy Medicine more broadly accessible, they have established an Energy Medicine Training Program that has become the largest, most influential, most vibrant, and most popular such program in the world!
Energy Psychology – a scientifically validated methodology sometimes described as "emotional acupuncture" – is an umbrella term used to encompass such "personal growth" modalities as Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), Thought Field Therapy, acupoint tapping, and a variety of other evidence-based – albeit still somewhat controversial – revolutionary treatment methods that work with the body's subtle energy to promote profound healing of emotional distress and physical pain.
DR. DAVID FEINSTEIN'S GENEROUS ANNOUNCEMENT
David has just made the exciting announcement that he is launching a 10-month series of e-Letters, each one to feature a journal article (or book chapter) that he has published about the clinical usefulness for, and scientific validity of, tapping on acupressure points to provoke deep psychological and physiological changes in mind and body.
Every month David will both summarize highlights from the selected article and provide the article in its entirety; he is also generously making himself available for an online forum and encouraging readers to reflect, comment, share, and ask questions of him!
THERAPEUTIC MEMORY RECONSOLIDATION
I am delighted that David has given me this opportunity to showcase his monthly series of articles on Energy Psychology – an opportunity that is particularly meaningful to me inasmuch as I have recently come to appreciate that EFT (acupoint tapping) is a perfect illustration of the therapeutic impact of memory reconsolidation.
Indeed, at the very heart of my own brain-based Model 5 (the most recent addition to my Psychodynamic Synergy Paradigm) is the cutting-edge concept of THERAPEUTIC MEMORY RECONSOLIDATION – a recently revitalized neuroscientific construct that speaks to the "adaptive capacity of the brain" and the "dynamic nature of memory" in response to new experience and information.
The concept also provides an overarching theoretical framework for understanding how it is that outdated, growth-disrupting life scripts – constructed early on by a young child attempting desperately to make sense of the relational traumas to which she is being exposed – can be rewritten and updated, growth-promoting narratives about self, others, and the world can take their place.
In fact, therapeutic memory reconsolidation is now being embraced by both the dedicated group of cognitive neuroscientists who study “how the brain can be rewired” and the similarly impassioned group of neuroscientifically inclined clinicians (spearheaded by David Feinstein and Bruce Ecker) who study “how the mind can be reprogrammed and traumatic emotional narratives rewritten” – such that a traumatized mind and body can recover and MindBodyHealth® can be restored.
When therapeutic memory reconsolidation updates a traumatic memory, what is it that changes and what is it that remains the same? Importantly, the fact of the event underlying the traumatic memory will not change, that is, the episodic memory itself will remain intact. What will change, however, will be the affective coloring of the experience, how the client positions herself in relation to it, and the relational narrative she constructs about self, others, and the world as a result of it.
JUXTAPOSITION OF REACTIVATED OLD BAD
WITH ENVISIONED NEW GOOD
By way of example, consider the case of a client who resists venturing into new social situations for fear of being shamed by others.
The psychodynamically informed approaches in Models 1 – 4 of my Psychodynamic Synergy Paradigm (classical psychoanalytic, self psychological, contemporary relational, and existential-humanistic, respectively) would focus on exploring the historical roots of this irrational fear and on then gradually working it through – quite possibly within the context of the transference – by way of promoting the grieving of whatever early-on disappointments and heartbreak might have given rise to it.
The quantum-neuroscientific approach of Model 5, however, would highlight the client's fear of being shamed as outdated and maladaptive and would then repeatedly and decisively challenge this learned expectation of being shamed by highlighting the possibility of experiencing, going forward, something different and better.
The jolting violation of expectation resulting from this repeated and decisive juxtaposition of envisioned new good with reactivated old bad would ultimately generate enough cognitive, emotional, and somatic dissonance that a new, more reality-based narrative would be locked in, or reconsolidated, in the place of the old, now-disconfirmed one – such that, going forward, the expectation would be not of being shamed but of being, say, accepted.
Similarly, an approach using EFT would involve repetitive tapping with the fingers through a series of specific energy meridian – or acupressure – points on the surface of the body (thereby guaranteeing, amongst other things, an "embodied" experience for the client) accompanied by verbal statements designed to juxtapose various elements of the client's conditioned expectation of being shamed with the envisioned possibility of encountering a different response, such as acceptance, going forward.
The tapping would involve alternately "tapping on" the negative expectation of being shamed (in order both to release the obstructed flow of energy caused by activation of the limbic system and to deconsolidate, destabilize, and unlock the neural synapses encoding the old, dysfunctional expectation of being shamed) and "tapping in" the positive anticipation of being accepted (in order both to deactivate the limbic system arousal, thereby restoring the ease of flow and balance of energy throughout the MindBodyMatrix, and to prompt reconsolidation, restabilization, and locking in of the new, more functional narrative of expecting, say, acceptance).
So, whether by way of "quantum disentanglement statements" (featured in my Model 5) or "setup and reminder statements" accompanied by acupoint tapping (featured in EFT), destabilizing internal tension would be created that would provide both impetus and opportunity for therapeutic memory reconsolidation.
In both instances, the outcome would ultimately be adaptive updating of narratives resulting from the ongoing, dramatic, and embodied challenging of preconceived, ill-founded expectations with new, more relevant experiences (whether real or simply envisioned) that would violate those expectations – such that the conditioned response of being shamed would be disconfirmed and replaced by the envisioned possibility of being accepted.
Dr. David Feinstein's New e-Letter Series on
Energy Psychology / EFT (Acupoint Tapping)
David writes – "Whereas my papers were written primarily for therapists who use Energy Psychology methods in their practices, some of those papers are proving to be highly instructive for clients as well. Whether you are a therapist, life coach, or someone looking into Energy Psychology for your own growth and challenges, I have selected 10 of my most influential and most informative journal articles (or book chapters) and will present one each month – in the form of an e-Letter over the course of the next 10 months.
"The e-Letter will provide a brief overview of the topic, highlight some of the most salient points, and then link to the entire paper. Among the topics covered will be Energy Psychology Through the Eyes of Those Who Use It, Healing from Trauma, Addressing the Psychological Roots of Illness, Treating Addictions, Working with Death and Dying, Research Demonstrating That Energy Psychology Is Fast and Effective, and How Tapping Works.
"My hope is that the series will offer greater understanding about what might be one of the most revolutionary developments for psychotherapy and personal evolution in the 21st century."
The first article in David's series follows:
How Tappers See Tapping
David writes – "Tapping on acupuncture points while saying certain statements aloud is a powerful tool for resolving mental, emotional, and physical difficulties. More than 120 clinical trials show the approach (which falls under the category of “Energy Psychology”) to be fast and effective in producing strong outcomes.
"But how can tapping on the skin make a difference? It looks strange and seems like wishful thinking, yet informed estimates suggest that millions of people worldwide have experienced substantial positive transformations!
"To unravel the mysteries of tapping, a new in-depth analysis by psychologist David Feinstein examined the reports of more than 800 practitioners and clients who participated in 15 studies based on interviews or online surveys."
David Feinstein, after reading my 10-page summary of Model 5,
generously wrote me the following –
"I have never seen a more cogent, concise description of the reconsolidation process than in your first two pages! Anywhere. Congratulations! What I love as we get to page 4 is the conceptual flexibility of your Psychodynamic Synergy Paradigm. Whatever the phenomena that arise in the session, utilize the theoretical model that best fits it rather than trying to fit it into a limited theoretical model! A foundation for integrative psychotherapy beautifully articulated!"
UNDERSTANDING LIFE BACKWARD
BUT LIVING IT FORWARD:
Analyzing to Understand
but Envisioning Possibilities
to Incentivize Action
by Martha Stark, MD
Model 5 of my Psychodynamic Synergy Paradigm is an action-based, solution-focused, future-oriented psychodynamic model that conceives of the mind as holding infinite potential and of memory as dynamic and continuously updating itself on the basis of new experience (whether real or simply envisioned).
A constructivist model at heart, my freshly minted Model 5 is a quantum-neuroscientific approach to healing that is informed by the groundbreaking discovery that when implicitly held traumatic memories are reactivated in an embodied fashion, the network of neural synapses encoding those procedurally organized memories will become deconsolidated for a time-limited period. This unlocking – fueled by repeated and dramatic juxtaposition of old bad learned expectations with new good envisioned possibilities – will create opportunity for both rewiring the brain and reprogramming the mind by way of therapeutic memory reconsolidation.
More specifically, over the course of the past two decades, a dedicated group of cognitive neuroscientists (Verkhratsky & Butt 2007; Dudai et al. 2015), ever intent upon teasing out the neural mechanisms underlying the dynamic nature of memory, have been using advanced neuroimaging techniques to deepen their understanding of the brain’s remarkable neuroplasticity, that is, the brain’s innate capacity continuously and adaptively to reorganize itself in response to ongoing environmental stimulation – if certain conditions are met.
Indeed, repeated embodied juxtaposition of the reactivated experience of something old and bad with the intentioned experience of something new and good will create decisive – and potentially transformational – mismatch experiences. If these mismatch experiences are repeated often enough, forcefully enough, and joltingly enough within the critical time frame of four to six hours, then these ongoing violations of conditioned expectation will eventually trigger energetic disentanglement of the patient’s toxic past from her present and quantum advancement of the patient from entrenched inaction to intentioned action as growth-impeding and disempowering narratives are replaced by growth-promoting and empowering ones.
When therapeutic memory reconsolidation updates a traumatic memory, what is it that changes and what is it that remains the same? Importantly, the fact of the event underlying the traumatic memory will not change, that is, the episodic memory itself will remain intact. What will change, however, will be the affective coloring of the experience, how the patient positions herself in relation to it, and the relational narrative she constructs about self, others, and the world as a result of it.
Dudai Y, Karni A, Born J. 2015. The consolidation and transformation of memory. Neuron Oct 7;88(1):20-32.
Ecker B, Ticic R, Hulley L. 2013. A primer on memory reconsolidation and its psychotherapeutic use as a core process of profound change. The Neuropsychotherapist 1,82-99.
Feinstein D. 2019. Energy psychology: Efficacy, speed, mechanisms. Explore 15(5):340-351.
Stark M. 2021. Understanding Life Backward but Living Life Forward (International Psychotherapy Institute eBook).
Verkhratsky A, Butt A. 2007. Glial Neurobiology. Marblehead, MA: John Wiley & Sons Inc.