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Energy Psychology

The term “energy psychology” refers to a number of related energy therapies that are based on the Chinese Meridian System of medicine. Energy psychology quickly and thoroughly relieves mental health problems by eliminating emotional traumas or blockages from the mind/body continuum by touching or tapping key points on the body. Some of the more popular forms of energy psychology are Neuro Emotional Technique™ or NET™, Thought Field Therapy or TFT, and Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT.

All these energy psychology techniques were developed in the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, but are still rather unknown by the general public. These energy psychologies have been dubbed “power therapies” because they work so quickly compared to traditional talk therapy. This appears to be because they target the more primitive parts of the brain, including the limbic system, the medulla oblongata, and the enkephalin system, which is in every cell of the body. EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, and hypnosis often are included as “power” therapies although they do not directly utilize the Meridian System.

EFT, TFT, and NET™ all work by accessing the mind/body matrix. Chinese medicine addresses the body’s need for balance or homeostasis. If the “chi” or energy of the body is in balance then it is assumed that the body will be able to cure itself and run at top efficiency. Practitioners assess the body’s balance by testing acupressure or acupuncture points in the body, which are divided up into 12 main “meridian systems.” These systems are named for the main organs of the body such as the lung meridian or the liver meridian. Each of these systems corresponds to particular emotions. For example, the lung meridian is associated with grief and sorrow and the liver meridian with anger and resentment. Through a process of tapping acupuncture points on the body, trauma is relieved and homeostasis is reestablished.

Applied kinesiology tests the chi by taking a strong indicator muscle, almost any major muscle, and asking the client or patient to lock that muscle while the practitioner tries to challenge the strength of the muscle to see if it will hold its position. The practitioner might ask a client to hold his or her arm straight out in front of the body and lock it, while the clinician with an open hand firmly pushes down on the arm right above the wrist.

The body contains water and electricity. It is believed that muscle testing checks to see if the muscle has enough electrical activity in it to hold. It appears that chi is essentially the same as this electricity. Dr. Goodheart, the father of applied kinesiology or AK, first demonstrated therapy localization. Therapy localization occurs when the therapist tests a strong muscle alone or in the clear. Then either the client or the therapist touches another part of the client’s body to test if a change of muscle strength occurs. If it does, then dysfunction is assumed to be present in the localized area.

Chiropractors who practice AK routinely test or challenge a vertebra in the neck or the back, and if the muscle goes weak then they can assume that the vertebra is misaligned. They then put the vertebra back in and retest. When the muscle is strong it is assumed the vertebra is back in alignment. The client routinely reports feeling much better.

Although there are great similarities among these three main forms of energy therapies in that they all are based on Eastern medicine, there are also many salient differences, at least between TFT and NET™. Robert Callahan is the formulator of Thought Field Therapy. He developed his system after being introduced to Chinese medicine from a chiropractor who was practicing applied kinesiology.

Energy Psychology

Jef Gazley

APA Reference
Gazley, J. (2020). Energy Psychology. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 19, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 14 Jan 2020 (Originally: 17 May 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 14 Jan 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.