By Dr. David Lake
Probably the most powerful application for tapping (or meridian stimulation therapy) is in the treatment of anxiety. Unfortunately, tapping does not seem to deliver the same result when treating what looks to be anxiety in different people. This is because what looks like the cause of the symptoms could be many different things. Anxiety is a universal human emotion however common sense says that there are a range of symptoms and that all people are not the same.
I make a plea for thorough assessment before applying techniques such as EFT or SET (Simple Energy Techniques). This is essential when symptoms are severe. That way, you might pick up the presence of underlying depression, which is a notorious “driver” of severe anxiety. You might also find the tendency to panic disorder, or to phobic anxiety, or the presence of a generalized anxiety disorder. Most people suffering personality disorders and more severe mood disorders also have anxiety. Then there is obsessive-compulsive disorder and its minor varieties. All these conditions require individualized approaches. If this is starting to sound like diagnosing the symptoms—you’re correct!
I think it is fudging the issue of effectiveness to imply that techniques do work equally well on everything when so obviously they don’t. It is up to us, the practitioners, to discover the facts and to investigate them. I notice a great reluctance in the new field to apply critical thinking, or even scientific thinking, to what we notice after using the techniques.
Energy Psychology techniques are now popular but the ‘psychology” part of the label has passed many practitioners by. I think it’s because the technique is thought of as the whole treatment. And if the practitioner has no knowledge of the world of therapy they are going to make some basic and avoidable mistakes. There is a book called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) which collates symptoms and conditions but very few “alternative” practitioners seem to have read it. This ignorance will eventually bring the wonderful energy techniques into disrepute since they will be misapplied while “trying (them) on everything”. Severe problems may go unrecognized or passed off as due to “psychological reversal”. The main person to suffer will, of course, be the client.
What’s wrong with having a colleague from the orthodox profession do an assessment in order to find out what the more severe problems might be? Both sides can work together rather than each thinking in black and white ways. It might even help doctors and psychologists learn more about what seems “too far out” (of their paradigm) to use or respect.
Since psychological reversal is just a fancy term for the blocking belief or issue underlying the failure to go further during treatment, then surely it is the next problem and can be treated as such? This is the approach in SET. Note that no amount of treating the presumed psychological reversal in addictions or severe depression will do very much in most cases. There is no magic in tapping on any particular points and stating clever phrases about the reversal in my experience. This means that such issues are very deep-seated—not that energy reversals become the focus. A multi-level and thorough therapeutic approach which includes tapping is needed. Tapping alone is not going to be the main treatment.
It is even more poignant to imagine that anxiety symptoms can be treated comprehensively using self-help alone. This is quite true for minor conditions and symptoms, where tapping is ideal. But the life issues of loss and loneliness will never be healed by a technique alone. The great faiths and the love of a family and community is what humans have always used and needed for living well through what life dishes up.
Let’s practice realistic and appropriate help while keeping an open mind.