Energy Psychology and the American Psychological Association

doi 10.9769/EPJ.2018.10.1.DF

David Feinstein


What happens when two major intellectual and practical disciplines from separate cultures and contexts—both of which seek to understand, heal, and enhance the human mind—first come into contact after centuries of separate development?
—Walsh and Shapiro (2006)

Discussing the early challenges in bringing Eastern meditative practices into Western psychotherapy, Walsh and Shapiro answer this question by noting that the relationship passed through a series of stages: shared ignorance, misunderstanding, dismissal, and even pathologizing before a stage of mutual enrichment and integration began to emerge. The incorporation of principles and techniques from other time-honored practices into the West are also susceptible to this sequence, as may be unfolding in the case of an approach that has come to be known as Energy Psychology.

Western psychotherapy is an enormous enterprise. In a 2004 survey, nearly 60 million people in the United States reported having used the services of a psychotherapist in the past two years for help with issues intimately entwined with their abilities to cope, overcome suffering, and enhance well-being (Chamberlin, 2004). The American Psychological Association (APA) has assumed the weighty responsibility of advising the public and the institutions delivering these services about which therapeutic methods and innovations are most likely to bring about these passionately longed-for outcomes.

It is not an idle commitment. The public has been known to flock to approaches that have subsequently proven to offer no benefit except to those promoting them, and with more than 400 therapeutic approaches having been identified, valid information is critical for making the most promising choices.

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