One does not have to look far to discover that there is great controversy in the mainstream therapeutic community over how bi-lateral stimulation techniques such as EFT and EMDR work, whether they are any more effective than standard cognitive behavioural exposure therapies or indeed whether they even work at all. (See, for example, the article, “EMDR: Taking a closer look” by Hal Arkowitz and Scott O. Lilienfield – Scientific American – Dec 6th 2007)
Much of this controversy stems from the fact that the current scientific paradigm cannot explain how these tools works. There are theories, but as these do not fall within the current paradigms ability to observe, measure and quantify, they remain just that, theories.
However, for the purposes of this article I am going to assume the validity of the energetic paradigm. This paradigm recognises that all is energy and that body, mind, feelings and thoughts are all fundamentally energy vibrating across the whole spectrum of creation. And since modern quantum physics supports this concept of things, I am not going to assume the energetic paradigm out of pure faith or belief. There is now scientific evidence for this assumption albeit not yet applied to the field of human consciousness.
But most importantly I also have the evidence of my own direct personal experience. The energetic paradigm and the interconnectedness of all things which is its foundation, is a direct, experiential reality to me. It has been a reality since I was a child and one that caused me great confusion and some considerable trauma as it was not validated by any of the adults around me or the wider social community. In fact, there were a number of occasions when this awareness was quite severely punished as the truth it revealed to me was not one which the grown ups wished to be made aware of.
Only later on in life did my journey take me into contact with other people who shared the same experience that I did, teachers who could validate my experience and train me how to use it in an empowering way.
This kind of training is generally referred to as “esoteric” or “occult” but these are really just old fashioned terms for the energetic model of the unity of creation. In this model, no matter how the world appears to our five senses, things that appear separate are, in fact, inextricably connected on a deeper level. EMDR and EFT can be very easily understood from this perspective.
This model of energetic unity states that it is imbalances in the human energy field which lead to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dis-ease. These imbalances are caused by traumas (big, small and everything in between) which create constrictions within the energy field. These constrictions are always held in place by unresolved feelings, beliefs and unmet life needs. Bi-lateral stimulation of all kinds is the key to unlocking these constrictions and returning the energy field to optimal functioning within the remit of the individual’s karmic condition.
EMDR is one way of achieving this (bi-lateral stimulation through eye movements). EFT is another (tapping bi-lateral points on the body), but any kind of bi-lateral stimulation to the energy field can have the same result. Stimulating the left and right auditory fields with alternating sound frequencies will work. (I use tuning forks) Bi-laterally stimulating the energy field with Energy Healing will work. I discovered this by accident in my early training as an Energy Healer. When I worked to energetically balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain, clients would spontaneously recall and release traumatic experiences. Indeed, if you’ve done enough esoteric training to be able to mentally project energy, you can do bi-lateral stimulation by sheer intent alone.
I can also verify from my own experience that simply being in the presence of someone who has sufficient training to maintain a high level of energetic coherence can have the effect of setting up an oscillation within a less coherent energy field. This creates a spontaneous bi-lateral pulse within the less coherent field. In this case, even mental intent is transcended. The individual is able to heal, if the less coherent field is open to receiving it, by sheer presence alone.
I was both highly alarmed and incredibly excited the first time I experienced this myself upon my first meeting with one of my teachers. I was even more amazed when my own clients started experiencing the same thing in relation to me! With a few sensitive clients I have been doing nothing but simply paying attention as they speak and I have had them stop in mid sentence, just as I did with my own teacher, and say, “What are you doing?”
They can feel their energy field moving into entrainment with mine and they think I am consciously doing something. But I’m not. I am simply being present and their own energy field is spontaneously wanting to become more coherent because that is what it is entirely naturally inclined to do when the opportunity presents itself.
This can feel highly alarming for the client but it’s quite easy to hand them back a sense of power and control by teaching them a bi-lateral stimulation technique such as EMDR or EFT. Once they understand that they too can do this thing, that they are a participant, not an object to which something is being done, then a whole new world of highly empowering possibilities starts to open up for them and this, to my mind, is the greatest value of techniques such as EMDR, EFT, TFT, and the whole raft of similar emergent techniques. Over time, as the client learns how to listen and pay attention to themselves, these tools hand more and more power back to the client to be their own authority and master of their own energetic domain.
Now one can say that traditional psychotherapy aims to do the same thing but it is my experience that if you combine psychotherapeutic understanding with energy techniques such as EMDR, you significantly enhance and speed up the process. The article I reference above claims that in clinical trials EMDR is no more effective than standard exposure techniques in terms of final outcome. But what the article fails to address is just how much quicker those standard techniques work if you throw in an energetic technique such as EMDR or EFT. What might take many sessions of exposure to fix, (for example, a fear of spiders), gets collapsed into one or two sessions if you throw in a bi-lateral stimulation technique. Roger Callahan, the creator of Thought Field Therapy, discovered this. His discovery, (like Francine Shapiro who created EMDR), was a serendipitous one, but once he started experimenting with bi-lateral stimulation he fixed his clients so quickly he went out of business! This could well be one reason why the orthodox community is so loath to give validation to these techniques. But perhaps the bigger problem is that to couch them in scientific terms means changing the currently accepted model of science. Once you are in a world where there is no separation between subject and object and the outcome of any therapeutic process is as much a result of the synergistic interaction of energy fields as any tools or techniques being used, then the current scientific model falls down.
For me however, it is quite simple. I really don’t care how things work so long as I get the desired result for the client. It is of course possible that in time a whole other way of understanding these things will emerge that means the energetic model I have postulated also falls down! Personally, I don’t mind. I understand the quest to understand how things work. I simply object to the ‘not understanding how’ being used to dismiss as worthless ‘quackery’ a whole raft of techniques that are of immense value and benefit in the relief of human suffering. Just because you can’t explain how, doesn’t mean it can’t possibly work. It does work. End of story.