expert therapy online

Energy psychology online: Five reasons this is a perfect fit!

The pandemic is hopefully fading into our rearview windows, though the covid-19 virus with its myriad variants is here to stay. We are learning to live with these new risks, adjusting to the new normal, and learning to love some of the changes that the pandemic brought about. One of those changes is the explosion of teletherapy! Back in 2020, people wondered if energy psychology was going to be as effective when delivered online. Today, the resounding answer is YES! Here are five reasons why doing energy psychology (EP) online is powerful and effective as it is in person.

Tapping Tools Work Well

Energy Psychology’s tapping tools, such as EFT and TFT, work like a charm over Zoom (or other online platforms). People can assess their distress before and after each round of tapping. In some ways, the screen makes things easier. For example, it is really easy to show people the finger points on camera. Even the 9-gamut eye roll is doable online! The imaginary clock in front of the client’s face is a great way to “walk” their eyes around the circle. Tracing outside their glasses frame is another trick that some people can use. (for information about the finger points and 9-gamut, go here – link to listicle blog “Simple Tools that Get Great Results”).

We Can Do Muscle Testing by Proxy

Some energy psychology tools, like TFT, can incorporate muscle testing, also known as applied kinesiology. The principle of muscle testing is that our bodies are strong when we are expressing a truth, and weak when we are expressing a lie. The body doesn’t lie! In the old days, we often used the arm test to see what acupoints were at play. Fortunately, we don’t need the client’s arm to do muscle testing. There are many other approaches, such as the postural sway and the finger lock, that can differentiate the true from the false. (For more information on applied kinesiology, read this).

Consciousness is nonlocal.

We can have telepathic connections with others – it happens all the time! How often do you and your bff say the same thing at the same time? You don’t have to be in the same room to connect with their vibe, their energy, their thoughts and feelings. When we are deeply and empathically connecting with our clients, we still “feel them” even when they are on Zoom.

Everything is energy, and teletherapy may save yours

We can connect when we are on Zoom, but maybe we have more of a choice about it than when we are physically together. At the beginning of the pandemic, people complained of Zoom fatigue. Dayslong Zoom meetings can still be a bore. But Zoom therapy is a different animal altogether. Some people, including yours truly, actually find ourselves less tired at the end of a Zoom day than an in-office day.

Clients want results, and energy psychology delivers.

Whether you are using approaches that rely on language (like AIT and EFT), tapping (like EFT and TFT), chakras (like AIT and CEP), energy psychology delivers reliable outcomes. Our clients are happy, and our clinicians are committed to continuing to use and spread the word about these fabulous techniques.

Teletherapy is perfect for energy psychology.

No matter how you look at it, the cutting-edge family of techniques we call energy psychology are a perfect fit for today’s move toward online therapy. What started out as a response to a crisis has become mainstream. In doing so, it has given us a new way to make it easier than ever for people to access therapy and get the help they need to live lives they are excited about.

What are your favorite reasons to use energy psychology in your teletherapy practice? We would love to hear from you, so leave a comment below. If you would like to learn more about these exciting techniques, check out ACEP's training calendar.

Author: Sarah Murphy, LPC, NCC, is a licensed and nationally certified professional counselor. She specializes in energy psychology, including EFT, as well as mindfulness and meditation. Sarah works with individuals seeking to find peace within themselves, people who have serious medical diagnoses, and couples who want to resolve conflict and live in harmony. Sarah is an ACEP Board member and chair of its communications committee; she has a private practice and serves as staff therapist with Unite for HER.

Upset by memories? Try simple EFT

Upset by memories? Try this.

Learn an easy tool you can use to help leave the past in the past.

One of the fastest and most effective ways to heal old memories is to tap lightly on a series of points on your body. One technique that can really help is Simple EFT (emotional freedom techniques)*. This simple body-based technique helps your body to relax and allows you to feel calm and balanced. It also is great for reducing stress quickly. You can also download written instructions in EnglishSpanish, and Portuguese.

How it Works

You can follow along with the video and do the EFT basic recipe: Tap on the side of your hand. Then tap the top of your head, inside eyebrows, corner of the eyes, under the eyes, under the nose, under the mouth, under the collarbones, and under the arms.

Why It Works

Being upset causes a disruption in the flow of energy through your meridians. Easy TFT  helps your energy flow again by clearing blocks along your meridians. When you do this, you reduce stress quickly and easily. This allows you to reduce or even eliminate the troubling feelings that often accompany old memories.

If you haven’t given Simple EFT a try yet, do it now. Take notice of how your body feels both before and after you use the technique. This technique is just one of many you can use to resolve the feelings from memories and leave the past in the past.

More Techniques to Help Heal Old Memories

If you found Simple EFT helpful, here are a few more tools that you can use to calm anxious feelings: Easy Thought Field Therapy and the Trauma Tapping Technique. If you want to learn more about using techniques like this to improve your wellbeing, contact me.

Video Resources Provided by the ACEP Humanitarian Committee

The mission of the ACEP Humanitarian Committee is to develop and implement humanitarian projects that alleviate emotional distress caused by catastrophic natural and man-made events around the globe. We do this by encouraging and assisting ACEP members in developing humanitarian projects that utilize recognized energy psychology and other modalities that meet ACEP’s standards and guidelines. Learn more here.


simple tools to boost therapy results

Simple tools to boost your therapy results

Are you a therapist who is always looking for tools that get great results? If you are already using energy psychology tools like EFT, TFT, AIT, or CEP, you know how powerful these approaches can be. And as great as they are, sometimes a little tweak can lead to big improvements, even in an already-fabulous therapeutic toolkit! Here are four often overlooked yet simple tools to boost your therapy results.

Tapping the finger points

The most popular form of energy psychology is EFT tapping. EFT stands for the emotional freedom techniques. Plural. Yet we often think of it only as tapping the side of hand with the setup statement, then tapping the head and torso points while stating the problem. That is certainly the basic recipe for EFT. But there’s more!

Tapping the points at the base of the fingernail on the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and pinky finger allows us to access important meridians where energy can also be stuck. Try adding these points in your next EFT practice and see how it feels. You may be surprised at how powerful it is!

The 9-gamut

Another underutilized technique in EFT is what’s called the 9-Gamut. This term was coined by Roger Callahan, father of energy psychology tapping techniques and creator of Thought Field Therapy (TFT).

To do this, tap the back of your hand, between the bones leading up to the pinky and ring fingers. This is a treatment point for the very important Triple Warmer or thyroid meridian. This meridian is associated with a host of emotions. While steadily tapping this point, do the following nine things:

  1. Close your eyes
  2. Open your eyes
  3. Look sharply down to the left
  4. Look sharply down to the right
  5. Roll your eyes slowly in a big clockwise circle
  6. Roll your eyes slowly in a big counterclockwise circle
  7. Hum a little tune
  8. Count to five
  9. Hum a little tune

You will be amazed at how the distress level drops after doing this simple exercise. In fact, in online tapping groups, my group-members found that adding the finger points and 9-gamut reduced their SUDs (units of distress, on a 0-10 scale) by at least a point or two, and often more. Adding these techniques to a round of tapping, at least with these groups, seems more efficient than adding a new round of tapping.

The Brief Energy Correction

This is a simple tool that is taught in ACEP's comprehensive energy psychology training. It was designed to rebalance an energy field that had become scrambled, where the nerves are not sending the correct signals. A "tell" of this scrambling is homolateral walking (same arm and leg move forward together, rather than the opposite arm as normal). Confusion and clumsiness are also "tells".

Interestingly, Robin Bilazarian found that this simple exercise reduced workshop participants SUDs dramatically in just 90 seconds of practice. You can read more about Robin’s study here. Her article even has an image showing the hand placement!

To do this simple exercise, place one hand below your naval. Then place your other hand on the following areas, holding each for just one breath:

  • Both sides of the collar bone, using thumb and index finger on either side
  • Under the nose, using index and middle finger
  • Under the mouth, using index and middle finger
  • At the tailbone, with the back of the hand on your body and thumb facing upwards

The next time you need a quick fix for your energy or mood, give the brief energy correction a try. I recently guided a stressed-out client who was having therapy from his car in this subtle exercise. He dropped from a ten to a four after three rounds, and to a two after an additional three rounds. It was easier for him to do than a full tapping protocol because of logistics, and got him a dramatic reduction in just a couple of minutes.

Collar bone breathing

This is another simple tool that is part of the comprehensive energy psychology training but can be a fantastic standalone technique. It also was meant to help restore balance in a scrambled energy system and offered help for clumsiness and confusion. However, clinicians like Mandi Freger are using it to address more basic issues in therapy.

To do this technique, cross your hands over your chest with your fingers resting just below your collar bones. You’ll do two sets: for the first, put your fingertips under your collar bones. For the second set, place your middle knuckle just under your collar bones. For each set, breathe as follows:

  1. Inhale and exhale completely
  2. Inhale halfway and hold
  3. Inhale the rest of the way and hold
  4. Breathe halfway out and hold
  5. Breathe the rest of the way out and hold
  6. Inhale and exhale completely

Give this simple technique a try and see how easy it is to come back into balance!

Simple tools to boost your therapy results

These four simple tools will help you get great results, quickly and easily. Even better, they are free and have no side effects! Give them a try and see how you and your clients feel even better, even faster!

What are your favorite tools to use energy psychology in your teletherapy practice? We would love to hear from you, so leave a comment below. If you would like to learn more about these exciting techniques, check out our training calendar.


muscle testing 101

Muscle Testing 101: Four Tools to Tune into Your Body’s Wisdom

We know that our body holds a storehouse of wisdom. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to tap into that? Well, it turns out, we can! The field of applied kinesiology, or as it’s more commonly called, muscle testing, gives us access to our bodies’ innate wisdom. Some of these tools are meant to be used on yourself, and others are meant to be used with another person. Each of them can be mastered with just a little practice. This “muscle testing 101” introduces four techniques that will help you understand your body’s messages.

Some people use these technique to find out whether a certain food or supplement is “good” or “bad” for their bodies. Others ask their body questions, especially when they are having trouble deciding, like “is taking this job for my best and highest good?” At ACEP, we use these in our comprehensive energy psychology program. It allows us to ascertain which problems need to be addressed first, whether we have scrambled energy, or which chakras or meridians to stimulate or clear. We don’t recommend using them for fortune telling, but they are great for energy psychology detective work!

The Postural Sway

This technique is so simple it’s nearly impossible to mess it up. You simply stand up and relax, and ask your body to show you a yes, and then a no. Unless your energy is scrambled, you will tilt slightly forward for a yes, and slightly backward for a no. (Some people swing in a circular motion, usually clockwise for yes and counter-clockwise for no.) At first, the movement may be quite subtle, but it’s definitely there. With practice and confidence, you will find yourself stumbling forward or backwards, getting unmistakable cues from your body!

The Arm Test

This is a partner activity. One person is the subject, and the other is the tester. The subject holds their arm out to the side; the tester places a hand gently on the subject’s shoulder (not everyone does this) and the other hand just above the subject’s wrist. Then, the tester gently applies pressure to the wrist. The arm will hold strong for a yes, and become weak for a no.

An easy way to test this is to ask the person to say “my name is (their name)” and press; then have them say “my name is (some other name)” and press. The arm will hold strong for the correct name, and grow weak for the wrong name.

You can also test this by having the tester place their other hand, palm down, over the subject’s head, then press the arm. Then turn the tester’s hand palm up over the subject’s head, and press the arm. The arm will hold strong for the palm down and grow weak for the palm up. If that doesn’t happen, have the subject drink some water, relax, and try again. If it is still not working, do one of the brief energy correction or collar bone breathing techniques. You can read about them here (link to list post simple tools).

The Finger Lock

This is a self-help tool. You make interlocking circles of your index finger and thumb. (I.e., right index finger to right thumb, and looped through, left index finger to left thumb.) Pull your hands away from each other with gentle but firm pressure. This puts pressure on the connection between fingers and thumbs. The pressure will hold, however, with a yes. It will release the lock for a no.

Another Finger Technique

This is a very subtle technique that you can use without anyone else even knowing what you are doing. Because it is so subtle, it takes a bit more practice to master than the other techniques. You can use it for the same reasons that you use any of these techniques. Again, we recommend sticking to diagnostics rather than fortune telling!

To do this, hold our index finger straight, and slightly bend your middle finger, placing it on the back of the index finger near the nail bed. Use gentle pressure to press your middle finger onto your index finger. Your index finger will stay still and strong for a yes, and drop slightly and grow weak for a no.

Muscle testing 101: Four ways to unlock your body’s innate wisdom

Each of these tools may feel awkward at first, but you will get more comfortable with practice. They should not be used, of course, to make medical diagnoses or to tell a client what to do. However, they can help you move intelligently through the process of determining which points to treat in an energy psychology session.

If you would like to learn more about muscle testing and how you can use it intelligently in your energy psychology practice, check out ACEP’s comprehensive energy psychology certification course.


Conquering Pain with Energy Psychology 

Greg Nicosia is the founder of Advanced Diagnostics, PC (Pittsburgh, PA) and creator of Thought Energy Synchronization Therapy (TEST), a form of energy psychology. Over the course of his career, Greg explored ways of conquering pain with energy psychology.

Accident leads to new discovery

Greg came to energy psychology through his own experiences after a serious motor vehicle accident. He says that pain increased his sensitivity, leading him to begin delving into the mind-body-spirit connection. This connection played a significant role in his work and personal life.

Greg saw and was amazed by how rapidly and effectively energy psychology produces drastic shifts. These include spontaneous reframing of trauma experiences, deep and lasting healing, and the promotion of spiritual development.

“I’ve often said that I never met a pain that couldn’t be reduced by at least 50% and, in my honest opinion, this extends to emotional pain/distress, as well.”Greg Nicosia

Links to ACEP

Across his prolific career, Greg has worn many hats: researcher, professor, innovator, trainer, practitioner, and leader. What ties them all together is his burning desire to “teach and lead an army of energy healers to help reach the tipping point that allows for a metamorphosis in human consciousness.”

The concept of ACEP “came to me in a dream,” says Greg. He shared his idea with David Gruder (co-founder of ACEP). Greg’s involvement with ACEP over the years has been pivotal in defining its shape. He worked with other ACEP colleagues for over two years to develop the ACEP energy psychology training program. He also has served on the ACEP board of directors and presented at the ACEP annual conference.

Conquering Pain with Energy Psychology

Greg has experienced and seen the astounding results that energy psychology delivers in treating physical pain. One client came to him with severe, unremitting back pain, which was causing her to feel depressed, anxious, and hopeless.

Greg used TEST to treat the client, providing her with a protocol to use outside of her sessions, as well. Within three months of starting treatment with Greg, the client reported being able to cease use of pain medication, showed no symptoms of depression, had not experienced a panic attack for many weeks, and was feeling optimistic about her ongoing recovery.

Impressively, the client shares “I look at my life now like a person who has a second chance. When I had the pain, I never thought about my life… all I could think about was that pain. Thank you for your treatment here. It literally saved my life.”

Looking Forward

“We are all gifted with the ability to co-create life experience. We easily lose touch with these abilities and so do not develop these senses into reliable and powerful tools that promote healing,” shares Greg. From his viewpoint, energy psychology approaches can be a valuable tool for anyone to have in support of their own healing.


If you are interested in learning more about energy psychology, visit the ACEP website. Stay tuned for ACEP’s revamped Comprehensive Energy Psychology course, first created by Greg, coming next year!



Renee LaFountain is a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC), living and working in Massachusetts. She is the clinical director and a staff therapist at Bay State Counseling and Wellness Center, with a passion for serving individuals who are the helpers and “deep feelers” of the world. Renee is a member of the ACEP Communications Committee and is a provider for Unite for HER.

help for families of people with autism

Help for families of people with autism: The people of energy psychology  

Mandi Freger is a licensed counselor in Pittsburgh. She specializes in help for families of people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) using energy psychology techniques. Her book, _____,  delves into the many ways that energy psychology techniques can make a world of difference to family members of people with autism spectrum disorders.

Help for family members of people with autism

Mandi found her niche and her passion working with people with ASD. She worked in hospital and outpatient settings and became director of autism services in a hospital system affiliated with Cleveland Clinic Autism Development Solutions. Eventually she transitioned to private practice, specializing in ASD.

Early in her career, she joined ACEP-founding-member Greg Nicosia’s (link to bio of Greg) practice right out of graduate school. She became a member of ACEP in 1999 and went on to chair the education committee and serve on the board of directors. During her years of working and serving with Greg and ACEP, she travelled the country, assisting in energy psychology trainings.

The ASD service cliff + Mandi Freger = solutions, service, and opportunity

People on the autism spectrum age out of services at 21, and then few resources or services are available.

“When I originally went into private practice 8 years ago, ASD population was very underserved in outpatient. Aging out of most services at 21, few services were available,” she says.

“I thought I could condense family behavioral training with individual treatment through outpatient services and that is what I set out to do.”

Finding a need and filling it

Mandi says she had not planned on being a therapist, having grown up in an entrepreneurial family and studied business in college. However, the Universe had other plans, and “dropped” her into her job with Greg and her career. Today, service is simply a way of life.

In creating a successful private therapy practice, Mandi combined her clinical skills with business savvy.

“It still blows my mind one can make a good living from something that seems so easy – counseling and consulting,” she says.

She remains service driven and says she is fortunate to have the tools that match clients’ needs.

Help for families of people with autism

For Mandi, the most consistent gratitude seems to come from families of kids diagnosed with ASD.

“I think they are most appreciative about how I can streamline training and practice for them on the layered complexity of the disorder,” she says.

“’Helping,’ however, is an ongoing conversation. So, all of my clients have successes, if goals are appropriate and effective from the start of treatment.”

She is proactive in helping people define goals and measure progress. In her sessions, she focuses on processing the emotions, then moving forward with action. A change in some troublesome action, in turn, contributes to more positive emotions.

Looking forward

Looking to the future of energy psychology and mental health therapy in general, Mandi says we need strong energy psychology mental health practitioners to provide support and coaching to people around the world.

Energy psychology is becoming mainstream, but not necessarily in the hands of people with strong clinical skills and training. We risk diluting the field with pop-culture influence and misinformation.

“The difficult thing is that most are not clinical mental health providers and that can significantly change the lens through which one sees the issues of importance. However, relatively few still have mastered the art of using these tools, including practicing good clinical and energetic boundaries and hygiene, and I think that is where the need will remain,” she says.

Feeling inspired?

Want to learn more about the tools and theoretical framework that Mandi uses? Stay up-to-date with ACEP’s comprehensive energy psychology (CEP) training here. Be sure to check out Mandi’s book here.

Do you have an interesting story about energy psychology in the real world? We’d love to hear from you! Email Sarah at


help for the emotional effects of cancer

Help for the Emotional Effects of Cancer

This is the third in a three-part series on EP and cancer

Cancer causes tremendous emotional pain. Some cancer patients who have been diagnosed say that cancer is more of an emotional problem than a physical one. Energy Psychology tools seem uniquely positioned to help alleviate the distress that a diagnosis causes. Tools like EFT and TFT, as well as the many techniques listed on ACEP’s Resources for Resilience site, can provide great relief. In this blog, we share stories from the treatment room, describing how energy psychology can help alleviate the emotional effects of cancer.

Mis-hearing leads to PTSD-like symptoms, relieved with EFT

A woman in her early 50’s had a breast cancer diagnosis. As often happens to people diagnosed with cancer, she was in the throes of shock and distress when she met with her oncologist. Clients often report that they can’t “take in” what their doctors are telling them, that they leave appointments wondering what was just said, and realizing that they have many questions they forgot to ask. In this case, the client mis-heard “grade 4 tumor” as “stage 4 cancer.”

Though she quickly realized her error and understood that she did not have metastatic breast cancer, she was extremely distressed about the idea and still felt terrified. In our individual counseling session, we tapped together using emotional freedom techniques (EFT) Tearless Trauma and Tell the Story protocols. The tearless trauma is a misnomer in this case because she cried easily at the thought of the story. However, we were able to reduce her distress and worked to clear her trauma. Within one session, she experienced a reduction in subjective units of distress (SUDs) from a ten to a zero. The clearing held in subsequent counseling sessions four to six weeks later.

Fear of recurrence

For women with breast cancer who have some understanding of the mind-body connection, fear of recurrence can create what seems like a trap. These women often express a fear that their fear is going to create a negative outcome. Effortfully trying not to think about it, or to think positive thoughts instead, often proves futile. One woman in such a paradoxical trap came for therapy and we began using EFT to manage her fear of recurrence. Her distress reduced during the session. Additionally, having EFT as a self-help tool provided her with a coping tool that she used regularly to help manage her fear as it arose.

EFT tapping in groups

In regular facilitated support groups, women with various cancer types use EFT at the beginning of the sessions to come together and relax. Often, we use the “constricted breathing” technique to demonstrate and reinforce the physiological effect of tapping. (In this technique, tapping on constricted breathing allows the breath to become fuller and more satisfying/less constricted). Most women achieve a feeling of un-constricted breath after one round of tapping. They also report feeling more relaxed, more present, and, in one case, feeling “warm and tingly.”

A vision for the future: alleviating the emotional effects of cancer

Because of the deep emotional distress that cancer patients often feel, it is important to provide them with tools and support to reduce these feelings. Energy psychology techniques have a demonstrated ability to reduce subjective distress. Moreover, these are tools that we can use therapeutically and as ongoing self-initiated self-help practices. Incorporating mind-body techniques such as these for the management of mood and stress in people with cancer can provide a tremendous benefit to patients' subjective wellbeing. Because of the role of stress in disease progression, these tools may even improve outcomes.


Are you a therapist interested in learning to use these techniques with your clients? Check out ACEP’s training catalogue. Are you a client looking for a clinician trained in these methods? Check out ACEP’s practitioner directory.

Author: Sarah Murphy, LPC, NCC, is a licensed and nationally certified professional counselor. She specializes in energy psychology, including EFT, as well as mindfulness and meditation. Sarah works with individuals seeking to find peace within themselves, people who have serious medical diagnoses, and couples who want to resolve conflict and live in harmony. Sarah is an ACEP Board member and chair of its communications committee; she has a private practice and serves as staff therapist with Unite for HER.

Help for the emotional effects of cancer

Energy Psychology Offers Help for the Emotional Effects of Cancer: The Research

This is the second in a three-part series on using energy psychology tools when working with people who have been diagnosed with cancer.

A cancer diagnosis causes tremendous emotional upheaval for many people who have received a diagnosis. Energy psychology tools may be uniquely positioned to help. Here is a brief review of the research on EP and cancer from around the world. These tools can offer relief for the emotional effects of cancer.

EFT improves physiological markers of health

Bach et al published a study in the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine in 2019, examining the psychological and physiological outcomes for people (n=203) who attended a four-day EFT workshop. Participants experienced reductions in anxiety, depression, PTSD, pain, and cravings, and an increase in happiness. Several physiological markers were taken of some study participants (n=31). These demonstrated a significant increase in Immunoglobin A (SigA), an antibody that plays a role in immune function, and decreases in resting heart rate, cortisol, and blood pressure.

EFT for chemo brain

Laura Track et al conducted a randomized, controlled study of EFT for cancer-related cognitive impairment (CRCI; aka “chemo brain”). The study was published by EClinicalNews in August of 2021. Participants were 121 patients in Belgium and the UK who met diagnostic criteria for cognitive impairment. The study lasted 16 weeks. For the first eight weeks, half of the participants received instruction in EFT tapping and tapped with a clinician and at home, while the other half waited. They all took a second cognitive test and other assessments. Then, the second group got EFT training. The difference between groups at eight weeks was significant, with the tapping group achieving a reduction in cognitive impairment. The second group “caught up” at 16-weeks, after they had done eight weeks of tapping.

EFT for side effects of treatment

Baker and Hoffman published a study in 2014, investigating the effect of EFT tapping on depression, anxiety, and side-effects of hormone therapies used to treat some types of breast cancer. The side effects include pain, fatigue, and menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. The study participants (n=41) received three weeks of instructed EFT and we assigned self-tapping for the next nine weeks. They achieved statistically significant improvements in total mood, depression, anxiety, and fatigue, as well as a reduction in hot flashes and the experience of hot flash as problematic.

Pain in cancer patients

Niken, Wahyuningsih, and Prasetyorini published a case study in 2020, documenting the experience of four cancer patients who complained of moderate to severe pain. They found that using EFT reduced the experience of pain.

Spiritual EFT for self-concept of women with mastectomy

Afriyanti and Wenni used Spiritual EFT in a quasi-experimental study of 33 women who had had mastectomies. At baseline, only three had a good self-concept. After three days of tapping, the number had risen to ten. This improvement was statistically significant and gives rise to some questions, including what would happen if the intervention lasted more than three days.

Pilot study in Australia found EFT helped decrease anxiety in cancer patients

Peta Stapleton conducted a pilot study of group EFT for palliative care among cancer patients. Researchers randomly assigned thirty-two cancer patients to EFT or treatment as usual (TAU). The EFT group received two-hour EFT sessions, led by a trained psychologist, for four weeks. Delivery moved from in-person to Zoom after the Covid-19 lockdown. All patients took assessments for depression, anxiety, PTSD, quality of life, happiness, pain, hope, and meaning of life. After treatment, the EFT group received significant reductions in anxiety, and trends toward improvements in meaning of life, quality of life, PTSD and happiness. The TAU group did not receive any benefits. These results were compelling enough to launch a full study, which is now underway.

Advanced Integrative Therapy (AIT)

Practitioners of AIT have used this energy psychology technique to address the underlying emotional causes of cancer. They are seeing good enough anecdotal evidence to warrant a full study. Today, a study of AIT and cancer is underway, with preliminary data expected this spring.

The research on energy psychology and cancer is underway and growing. The results so far are promising, which makes sense, according to the theories underpinning energy psychology. We look forward to a growing research base and to helping more and more people with this diagnosis.


Are you a therapist interested in learning to use these techniques with your clients? Check out ACEP’s training catalogue. Are you a client looking for a clinician trained in these methods? Check out ACEP’s practitioner directory.

Author: Sarah Murphy, LPC, NCC, is a licensed and nationally certified professional counselor. She specializes in energy psychology, including EFT, as well as mindfulness and meditation. Sarah works with individuals seeking to find peace within themselves, people who have serious medical diagnoses, and couples who want to resolve conflict and live in harmony. Sarah is an ACEP Board member and chair of its communications committee; she has a private practice and serves as staff therapist with Unite for HER.

energy psychology and cancer

Energy Psychology and Cancer: Where we are and where we are heading

This is the first in a three-part series on using energy psychology tools when working with people who have been diagnosed with cancer.

Energy psychology tools may be helpful for people with cancer. And there are many people living with cancer: In 2018, the United States saw 1.7 million new cases of cancer. In 2020, 19.3 million new cancer cases were diagnosed worldwide. Moreover, cancer is not just a physical disease: it takes a tremendous toll on patients' mental health.

That's because cancer creates an existential crisis for many. People with cancer also experience an elevation in distress: depression rates in the US jump four-fold among cancer patients, with nearly a quarter of cancer patients experiencing depression. Anxiety rates among cancer patients in the US climb as well, affecting nearly a fifth of people with cancer. Many people with cancer report experiencing PTSD-like symptoms, and almost all say they experience feelings of overwhelm.

Sadly, the system in the US does not universally encompass mental and emotional care in cancer treatment. This has costs, not only in terms of emotional wellbeing, but perhaps in resilience and ability to heal. Energy psychology techniques, including the emotional freedom techniques (EFT), may be uniquely positioned to fill the emotional need of cancer patients. These modalities often focus on addressing and clearing underlying emotional traumas while providing effective self-soothing routines that may help cancer patients navigate the emotions that often accompany diagnosis.

Energy Psychology and Cancer: Addressing the Body-Mind

A key to remission?

Kelly Turner studied cases of unexpected and medically unexplained remission, conducting interviews with people who had experienced these seemingly miraculous cures. She distilled the data and found seven key factors that were almost universal. You can find them in her book Radical Remission.

Among the factors identified are eliminating negative emotions and increasing positive emotions. While the sentence is easy to write, achieving the essence is not! However, EP methods are famous for their ability to heal underlying traumas and the ensuing energy disruptions, which lead to distress and may contribute to disease.

The stress-inflammation-disease cycle

Researchers in the field of cardiovascular disease were perhaps the first to identify the role of stress in disease. Today, people widely recognize the role of stress in disease. Psychoneuroimmunologists have discovered some of the mechanisms by which stress leads to diseases including cancer.

Episodic stress is an important part of life, mediating injury and pathogenic assault. When cells are under attack or have been injured, a cascade of activity on the molecular level causes cells to become inflamed, holding fluid. In other cases, it is the threat of assault that causes inflammation: the hypothalamus (a region in the limbic brain) signals to the pituitary body (often called the master gland) to tell the adrenal glands to release adrenaline. We call this cycle the HPA axis.

From stress to distress

Under normal stress conditions, this action reduces inflammation. However, this cycle changes in people experiencing chronic stress. Researchers have found that this is at least partly because an immune system cell or cytokine called interleukin 6 (IL6) triggers inflammation in times of stress. And IL6 plays a role in cancer, as well as a host of other diseases including diabetes, autoimmune disease, obesity, depression, and anxiety. It might not be unreasonable, then, to wonder if decreasing stress levels might assist in the healing response of those with cancer diagnoses, and to prevent cancer occurrence in the first place.


Are you a therapist interested in learning to use these techniques with your clients? Check out ACEP’s training catalogue. Are you a client looking for a clinician trained in these methods? Check out ACEP’s practitioner directory.

Author: Sarah Murphy, LPC, NCC, is a licensed and nationally certified professional counselor. She specializes in energy psychology, including EFT, as well as mindfulness and meditation. Sarah works with individuals seeking to find peace within themselves, people who have serious medical diagnoses, and couples who want to resolve conflict and live in harmony. Sarah is an ACEP Board member and chair of its communications committee; she has a private practice and serves as staff therapist with Unite for HER.

The Brief Energy Correction: A Tool to Rapidly Reduce Pain and Distress?

Robin Bilazarian is an experienced EFT trainer. During one training, she was working with a volunteer who was experiencing pain. Usually, a few rounds of EFT tapping reduces pain. This time, it did not. Bilazarian remembered a tool from her training in comprehensive energy psychology: the brief energy correction (BEC). She led the volunteer through the simple process and their pain finally diminished. Intrigued, Bilazarian enlisted expert researcher Marg Hux to design and perform a study to see if this fast tool could be as effective and efficient as it seemed. What they found is intriguing: this is a simple process to rapidly reduce pain and distress.

They published the findings of their pilot cohort study, Rapid Group Treatment Of Pain And Upsets With The Brief Energy Correction, in the International Journal of Healing and Caring at the height of the pandemic. They found that indeed, the BEC reduced pain and other symptoms remarkable rapidly, even where tapping therapies had failed. This may be the first study that investigates this technique and certainly the only to investigate it as a standalone treatment.

The theory

There is a theory in the world of energy psychology that sometimes, some people’s nervous systems get disorganized or “switched.” This is said to cause problems like confusing left and right, not swinging arms while walking or swinging the wrong arm (i.e., left leg steps forward and left arm swings forward too, homolaterally), spatial issues like bumping into things, and even severe psychological distress and learning difficulties.

A disconnect in nerve impulses seems to cause this disorganization. And when our energy fields are disorganized, meridian tapping techniques are not effective. The BEC hand positions and breaths allow us to reorganize and “un-switch” the energy within our system. It’s sort of the human version of ctrl-alt-del – a reboot. The procedure is part of Thought Field Therapy and in ACEP’s comprehensive energy psychology (CEP) curriculum.

The study setup

To do the BEC technique, place one hand on your navel. Move your other hand to the following places, holding each for just one breath:

  • Both sides of the collar bone, using thumb and index finger on either side
  • Under the nose, using index and middle finger
  • Under the mouth, using index and middle finger
  • At the tailbone, with the back of the hand on your body and thumb facing upwards

For the present study, participants were recruited in an online workshop at an annual conference on meridian-based techniques. One hundred thirty people participated in the workshop. Of those, 75 responded to the study questions. Some had pain (39) and others used a current “upset” (36).

Bilazarian led the group through three rounds of BEC-6. A round consisted of six repeats (hence the term BEC-6). Each hand placement lasts one breath, or approximately five seconds, so a round of six takes about 30 seconds. After a round, participants rated their pain or distress, and then proceeded to the next round.

Study results

The group rated their pain or distress on an 11-point scale (0 – 10) before beginning the procedure and after each of the three rounds of treatment. The entire process lasted just 90 seconds. (!!) The drops were substantial.

For pain, the mean ratings were:

  • Baseline: 5.53
  • Round 1: 3.72 (p<0.0001)
  • Round 2: 2.6 (p<0.0001)
  • Round 3: 1.58 (p<0.0001)

For distress, the mean ratings were:

  • Baseline: 6.06
  • Round 1: 3.64 (p<0.001)
  • Round 2: 2.22 (p<0.001)
  • Round 3: 0.89 (p<0.001)

This intervention significantly reduced the intensity of both pain and distress. Moreover, it achieved these results faster than most meridian therapies.

It’s interesting to note that the participants in this study had attended a two-day workshop, and this was at the end of it. After two days of EFT tapping, one would expect that most people would not have much pain or distress left! Yet it is precisely this type of resistant pain that the BEC seems to be so adept at clearing.

Rapidly reduce pain and distress: use the BEC!

This adds to the body of research on mind-body tools for healing. It’s the first to explore the BEC and shows it to be a great tool to rapidly reduce pain and distress.

Want to learn more?

Are you intrigued and want to learn more? Sign up for certification in our upcoming comprehensive energy psychology (CEP) training program. You can also get trained in TFT with master trainer Suzanne Connolly – make sure you give credit to ACEP!