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Controversies in Energy Psychology
David Feinstein, PhD.
Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, & Treatment, (2009), 1(1), 45-56.
In the nearly three decades since tapping on acupuncture points was introduced as a method psychotherapists could use in the treatment of anxiety disorders and other emotional concerns, more than 30 variations of the approach have emerged. Collectively referred to as energy psychology (EP), reports of unusual speed, range, and durability of clinical outcomes have been provocative. Enthusiasts believe EP to be a major breakthrough while skeptics believe the claims are improbable and certainly have not been substantiated with adequate data or explanatory models. Additional controversies exist among EP practitioners. This paper addresses the field’s credibility problems among mental health professionals as well as controversies within EP regarding (a) its most viable explanatory models, (b) its most effective protocols, (c) how the approach interfaces with other forms of clinical practice, (d) the conditions it can treat effectively, (e) what should be done when the method does not seem to work, and (f) how the professional community should respond to the large number of practitioners who do not have mental health credentials.