What is Energy Psychology? Part II
In Part II of this blog post series you will learn about the human energy field and its relationship to energy psychology. Read Part I of this blog here.
Few people know that there is a potent form of healing that comes to us from western psychotherapy: energy psychology. My purpose in this blog is to continue the conversation about energy psychology to help you understand why it is so valuable so that you can make good decisions in your pursuit of health.
What is the “energy” in “Energy Psychology?”
Energy psychology is based on the view that everything in the manifest universe is energy, and energy is always moving. Even material objects that can be physically seen or touched are actually energy that is moving so slowly that they can be perceived by our human senses. Not only has this long been the view of Chinese Oriental physicians and Indian Yogis, but it is also reflected in modern science. Proponents of this view argue that Einstein’s famous theory of mass energy equivalence, or E=mc2, provides such support. The theory states that mass (m or matter) and energy (E) are interchangeable. Matter is slowed down (or crystallized energy). When energy travels at the speed of light squared (mc2) it becomes matter. Another way of looking at the malleability of matter is illustrated by how easily it can be transformed. For example, water, a liquid, can be heated (thereby speeding up the vibration of the H2O molecules) which transforms the substance into steam, a vapor; or water can be frozen (which slows down the vibration of the molecules) and it becomes ice, a solid.
How Does This Translate to Human Beings?
According to former physicist, and renown educator Dr. Barbara Brennan, this energy is also, “intimately involved with human life [as] a person’s energy or human energy field.” In other words, each of us has a portion of this universal energy woven into our being. In this same light, Brennan points out, that as human organisms, we are not just comprised of physical bodies, but we are also “composed of energy fields.” Drawing on Asian philosophy (i.e. Chinese chi or Yogic prana), Brennan has described how we are actually made up of seven different bodies layered one on top of the other, varying in terms of the density of their energy. The ground level is our physical body, with the emotional, mental and spiritual ascending from there. Although these subtler bodies cannot normally be seen, they are most certainly felt, as when we intuitively feel another person’s happiness or anger. People adept at energy psychology have developed the ability to both perceive and adjust these subtler energy “bodies.”
The Energy Field and Health
Within the human energy field are “power lines” which run throughout the physical body, known as energy meridians. These meridians are connected to a series of “energy centers” (also known as the chakras) which are located at several key locations throughout the body. The chakras are responsible for the healthy flow of energy into and out of the energy field and they bind the seven bodies into a unified organism. In order for the physical body to remain healthy, there must be a healthy flow of energy through the body’s meridians and energy centers. Blockages, constrictions, or imbalances in these energy bodies may result in low energy, poor health, and sickness.
Emotions – embodied in the emotional body – are key to health in energy psychology. For example, if we continually carry hate or resentment, an energy block will form in our system, creating aberrant energy patterns that may result in psychological or physical manifestations of pain or illness. Traumatic stress especially registers in the emotional body, resulting in blockages and obstructions, suffering and distress.
All the negative emotions: anxiety, shame, guilt fear, anger; all can lead to a stressed, distorted, clogged energy field. Even emotions that we try to get rid of don’t go away. If we don’t effectively release negative emotions such as shame or guilt, our attempt to push them away will actually push them deeper into our energy fields. These negative emotions will then form a blockage that can disrupt the healthy flow of energy. Eventually, illness in the body may manifest. In these cases, medicine from a conventional physician may heal the affliction, but just as often the medicine simply masks the painful symptoms. From this view, the source of the problem is an energy obstruction or aberration.
Everyday language reveals how intertwined our emotions are with well-being. For example, when we say someone is “heavy with grief,” we are describing how grief is impacting their energy field with a heaviness that is palpable and relatively easy to see. By observing a person’s body language or carefully listening to their tone of voice or sensing how they make you feel sad or heavy when you’re with them, you can begin to appraise the effect of the emotion on the sufferer’s well-being. An energy therapist has developed the expertise to “read” a suffering person’s psychological and emotional condition and move their energy toward improved health and well-being.
You can feel your own energy field when you are exhausted. This experience of depletion is occurring because you are energetically undercharged. The treatment is to engage in practices to increase your energy flow. You can also feel your own energy field when you are over-booked, stressed out, and running around “putting out fires.” Your energy is scattered, unfocused and confused. The treatment? Calm down, release tension, and engage in practices to increase a sustained, smooth flow.
Mainstream Western medicine is slow to recognize the role of the human energy field in health and wellness. Human energy, however, is the central feature of traditional Chinese Medicine, Tibetan Medicine, India’s Ayurvedic Medicine, and Shamanic Healing. I am part of a movement of formally trained psychotherapists who see energy psychology as a vital link between western psychological approaches to health and healing of healing and these vital non-western curatives.
How Energy Healing Can Help You
I believe that the body, the vehicle where energy healing begins, is always honest. Unlike the mind, it doesn’t have an agenda. It also has its own timing and cycles which can be read and understood. Stressors, anxieties, negative emotions, trauma, interpersonal conflict, loss and deep disappointments register in the body-emotion-mind system. If left unaddressed, they can have a profound effect on our health and well-being; on our capacity for love, happiness, and relationship. Not only can the effects of these stressors and traumas be perceived, but they can be released and their effects manipulated toward restoring a normal energy flow, better health and well-being. For these – and many more reasons that we can explore in an energy psychology – I encourage you to explore the therapeutic benefits of this unique and unappreciated form of healing.
Written by Julie Schmit, MA, LMFT
©2019-2020 Julie Schmit, Jumpstart Counseling Studio, PLLC
Brennan, B. (1988). Hands of light. New York, NY: Bantam (p. 19).
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