My purpose in this blog is to introduce you to energy psychology to help you understand why it is so valuable so that you can make good decisions in your pursuit of health through energy healing. It is a cornerstone of my healing practice, Energy Healing and Relationship Guidance. Combining energy healing with energy psychology opens up an array of new ways to help you heal, learn and grow.
In this two-part blog series, you will learn:
1) What is energy psychology and how is it used?
2) Energy psychology and the body
3) How to get started with your own body/mind energy healing today
What is Energy Psychology: Part I
Energy Psychology, also known as body-centered psychotherapy, blends both mind and body into therapy in distinctive ways. The domain of traditional psychotherapy - recurrent thought processes, emotions and behavior –– are combined in energy psychology therapy with the body’s physical sensations and its systems, such as the nervous and immune systems. Therapy based on energy psychology has been found to be beneficial for treating an array of ailments, including trauma, anxiety, depression, chronic pain and stress, self-damaging behavior, and difficult to treat mind-body problems that may not respond to traditional psychotherapy. There is even a learned society dedicated to its practice, the Association of Comprehensive Energy Psychology, so you can be assured that the practice stands on a solid professional foundation.
Where did this distinctive form of therapy first appear in the West? Elements of energy psychology first appeared in the West in late 18th century with mesmerism. For the purpose of this blog, however, I am focusing on how energy psychology was shaped by Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis.
Energy Psychology and Western Psychotherapy
From the earliest days of psychoanalysis in Vienna in the early 1900s, Freud and his first students paid special attention to the various ways the body’s sensations and emotions interacted. In their therapeutic work, they referred to a “psychic energy” and how it shaped the sufferer’s experience. They wove these observations into Freud’s ideas about how ego defenses operated to block growth and perpetuate repression and anxiety.
One of Freud’s successors, Wilhelm Reich, took Freud’s ego-defenses in a different direction. Reich proposed that “wounds” to the self were inflicted in early life. They may happen due to a hostile parent, or due to a lack of nurturing, or due to a parent rejecting a child’s natural expressiveness and creativity. These wounds become internalized and “preserved” in the unconscious as a part of the individual’s character structure. Thereafter, the effects of the activation of this character structure becomes automatic and it operates independent of the conscious mind (Reich, 1933/1945 p. 154). Within the person, these processes create what Reich called “character armoring,” which as it sounds, is a kind of armor whose purpose is to protect, but inadvertently burdens the person. As internal, unconscious structures they play a central role in psychological problems, in mind-body ailments and in other socio-emotional disorders (Corrington, 2003; Reich, 1933/1945). For Reich, the purpose of psychotherapy was to dissolve the armor (what Freud called ego defenses). This in turn, provokes the memory of the childhood experience that was the impetus for the blockage in the first place (Greenberg & Saffron, 1987). That realization was considered a key to healing and the dissolution of the armor.
In the mid-20th century, Reich became a highly controversial psychologist for some of his ideas and his work remains a topic of dispute. His student, psychiatrist Alexander Lowen, however, took Reich’s work, incorporated it into his own advanced understanding of the human body and developed a therapeutic system called Bioenergetics. Lowen’s system combined psychoanalysis, Reich’s character defenses, and a decidedly physical component: subconscious muscle tension. He introduced a number of compelling techniques to help “ground” mental and emotional states in the body with the understanding that doing so helped unlock a cure. For example, in Lowen’s system, a client’s feet and legs become important. By bringing conscious awareness into the lower half of the body, and out of the mind, compulsive thinking and psychological obstacles generated by the mind that resist healing, can be circumvented (Lowen, 1975). Lowen and another student of Reich’s, physician and psychiatrist John Pierrakos, founded a school of Bioenergetics, which In turn, was very influential in the formation of energy psychology.
In Part Two in this blog series on energy psychology, I will describe the relationship between energy psychology and energy healing and show how energy healing can help you create an electric life you deserve with relationships that cherish you!
To experience energy healing and energy psychology yourself, schedule an initial phone consultation with Julie Schmit, MA, Energy Healer, Reiki Master, Relationship Guide and Marriage and Family Therapist. You can learn more about Julie and her work by visiting her website: www.julieschmit.com
Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology (2019). https://www.energypsych.org
Corrington, R. (2003). Wilhelm Reich, psychoanalyst and radical naturalist. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Lowen, A. (1975). Bioenergetics. New York, NY: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, Inc.
Reich, W. (1933/1945). Character Analysis (Higgins, M., Ed.). New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
©2019-2020 Julie Schmit, Shakti Bodyworks, LLC