A Blog about Sensory Processing Sensitivity from the Worldview of a High Sensing Male
Many HSPs have trouble dealing with anxiety, stress, and emotional turbulence. For HSPs, these stressors are more than just coping with everyday emotions. This is an often normal reaction for HSPs to environmental and sensory cues that overload our systems.
In the last thirty years or so, a new area of psychology has emerged that focuses on human energetic attributes and uses this energy for healing and calming. This field is called Energy Psychology or EP.
What is Energy Psychology?
Energy Psychology (EP) is a group of therapeutic methods that intervene with human energy fields to promote physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. EP combines cognitive tools to raise awareness and focus with stimulation of bioenergy fields to promote healing. These biofields include the use of meridians (acupressure points) and chakras (traditional Indian Ayurveda).
Many EP practitioners use tapping methods such as EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique, which uses acupressure points combined with gentle tapping. The client states verbally what the issue is while tapping the meridian points to provide results.
Chakra based methods include Advanced Integrative Therapy (AIT) and or Heart Assisted Therapy (HAT). In addition, other combination methods are umbrellaed under the term Comprehensive Energy Psychology. For the focus of this article, we are exploring EFT only.
Emotional Freedom Technique
Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as tapping, was created by Gary Craig in the mid-90s to simplify Roger Callahan's Thought Field Therapy technique (TFT). TFT was a complicated algorithm-based protocol that used tapping points but required specific ordering of those tapping points based upon the problem. Craig found that he could get better results using a set routine of tapping points and reduce tapping locations.
EFT is a therapeutic technique based on the theory that negative emotions are caused by disturbances in the body's energy fields. Tapping on specific acupressure points while thinking or saying the negative emotion releases the target emotion and restores the body to balance.
The difference between EFT and traditional Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is that recounting and discussing the negative experience (CBT) while offering relief does not always wholly release the negative disturbance from the body/mind. Tapping in a defined sequence while repeating the unique setup phrase will stabilize the trapped emotion over several rounds of tapping, providing a sense of relief and release.
The technique is easy to learn, but assistance from a trained practitioner/therapist is the best way to start. Depending on the problem's complexity, the individual can tackle simple issues by themselves with guided practice.
Does it work?
The evidence for EFT is beginning to gain traction. Over 125 research studies have shown Energy Psychology's effectiveness with a small but growing body of research showing the positive effects on the client's biology. Furthermore, some studies suggest the EFT is as effective or more so than traditional acupuncture treatment in alleviating stress and anxiety. EFT compares favorably to CBT in treating general anxiety, depression, and some forms of trauma.
More than merely a distraction, EFT appears to reduce limbic arousal in the brain, helping to disassociate the emotions with the memory - causing relief in subjects. This is supported by both Integration Theory and Reconsolidation Theory, which explains how the brain moves the individual past traumatic experiences.
My Personal Experiences
I learned EFT about ten years ago and was formally trained in its use around 2015. The technique itself is simple and straightforward to understand. However, like most things that are easy to learn and broad in their application, it takes time to master. Nevertheless, I felt that EFT was an excellent technique for learning stress reduction and anxiety relief.
EFT can be done inconspicuously if needed and still provide relief. For example, it can be done while flying if flying gives you anxiety. It has even been shown to be useful if you do the tapping in your head using your imagination.
EFT is very portable and, with practice, efficient and reliable. I have used EFT to reduce anxiety, keeping a positive attitude in adverse situations, and it is useful in getting immediate results. This is an ideal tool for HSPs to master in helping control overwhelm.
Because we HSPs are by nature sensitives, I think it makes sense to explore new areas for healing, relaxation, and recalibration. Emotional self-regulation for HSPs is essential and finding and using tools and techniques that are close and portable make them easier to use at any time for emotional regulation. Our sensitivity may in many ways aid in making these tools even more useful for us in dealing with anxiety, overwhelm, and stress, as well as for therapeutic reasons in working with a trained therapist.
I would be interested in your comments if you have tried EFT and whether it was useful for you.
Bill Allen currently lives in Lutz, Florida. He previously lived in Bend, Oregon. He is a certified hypnotist and brain training coach at BrainPilots.com. He believes that male sensitivity is not so rare, but it can be confounding for most males living in a culture of masculine insensitivity which teaches boys and men to disconnect from their feelings and emotions. His intent is to use this blog to chronicle his personal journey and share with others.