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American Psychological Assn/Energy Medicine Institute Correspondence

On December 23, 2009, the American Psychological Association (APA) denied an appeal by the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology (ACEP) to become a provider of APA-approved continuing education courses for psychologists.

The critical public welfare question raised by this decision is whether the APA is blocking the dissemination of a therapy that is more effective than conventional treatments with serious mental health conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The Energy Medicine Institute (EMI) undertook a review of the proceedings and concluded that the decision 1) appeared to ignore considerable evidence regarding the efficacy of Energy Psychology, 2) effectively branded Energy Psychology in the eyes of the professional community as being a bogus therapy, and 3) will severely curb the use of the method among therapists.

EMI wrote a press release presenting its conclusions for the general public but decided to give the APA a chance to review it before distributing it. This led to the following dialogue, between Carol Goodheart, Ph.D., the APA’s President, and David Gruder, Ph.D., EPI’s Mental Health Coordinator. The letters from Dr. Gruder establish the EMI position on the case. The letters from Dr. Goodheart essentially state that the APA stands by its position and is unwilling to review it. EMI decided to post this exchange, following, to assure its constituency that the strong language in the press release was used only after every effort was made to resolve the dispute prior to taking it to the court of public opinion.


The Dialogue

March 13, 2010
To: Carol D. Goodheart, Ed.D. , APA President <president@apa.org>
Cc: Norman B. Anderson, Ph.D., APA Chief Executive Officer <nanderson@apa.org>

Subject: Requesting APA Input on a Press Release Prior to Distribution

Dear Dr. Goodheart,

I am a clinical psychologist in San Diego and the Mental Health Coordinator for the non-profit Energy Medicine Institute, which has a constituency of approximately 20,300 health care consumers. The focus of the Energy Medicine Institute is public education and advocacy regarding "energy therapies." Energy therapies draw upon healing and spiritual traditions from around the world and throughout history—such as yoga, acupuncture, qi gong, and meditative practices—and incorporate them into modern health and mental health practice settings.

We have been monitoring a clinical development known as "Energy Psychology." Energy Psychology applies principles and procedures derived from the energy therapies to psychological issues. Our assessments establish to our satisfaction that emerging scientific evidence combines with substantial clinical experience in demonstrating that Energy Psychology is an unusually rapid and effective treatment for anxiety disorders, including PTSD.

The APA, however, has been actively restraining the dissemination of the approach for more than a decade, as detailed below. One of our mandated concerns is at the interface of energy therapies and the public’s welfare in health issues. After carefully reviewing the APA’s actions in relationship to Energy Psychology, we have had to conclude that they are detrimental to public welfare, countering even the APA’s statement of purpose: "The mission of the APA is to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives" (http://www.apa.org/about/index.aspx).

Following our assessment, our staff prepared a press release to distribute our findings. I have delayed approving its distribution until first contacting you in an effort to resolve this matter without having to bring it into a public arena.

Background

In a 1999 memo to all its CE Sponsors, the APA took the unprecedented step of singling out a treatment, in this case a form of Energy Psychology, and declaring it a topic that could not be offered for psychology CE credit (rather than leaving that choice to the discretion of its CE Sponsors, whose offerings are reviewed at the time of their 5-year sponsorship renewal). APA CE Sponsors teaching other forms of energy psychology have since been threatened with loss of sponsorship status as the restriction has been applied to all Energy Psychology methods rather than only the original variation. Meanwhile, applications from organizations wanting to become APA CE Sponsors in order to teach Energy Psychology courses have also been denied. A highly reputable 850-member professional organization, the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology (ACEP), has applied three times, has been denied each time, has gone through a formal appeal process, and their appeal was denied in December 2009.

We undertook an independent analysis of these proceedings based on the APA CE Committee’s published standards and the formal communications between the parties. We enlisted three APA members who are familiar with APA CE procedures to informally review the most recent ACEP application, the request for reconsideration, the appeal, and the notices of denial. They compared each piece of evidence presented by ACEP that energy psychology meets Standards D1.1, D1.2, and D1.3 with the refutations to that evidence presented by the CE Committee and the Appeal Panel. Based on this analysis, our reviewers concluded that the ACEP application decisively establishes that Energy Psychology meets all three standards, that the CE Committee failed to refute the evidence presented by ACEP, and that no justifiable basis for denying the application was presented by the CE Committee or Appeal Panel.

We of course understand that it is APA’s prerogative to make the final ruling. But, as an outside health advocacy group, it is within our purview to publicly challenge a decision regarding energy therapy that negatively impacts public health. The basis of our challenge falls into three categories. The APA’s stance on Energy Psychology is 1) inconsistent with its own CE Standards, 2) reflects a disregard of interdisciplinary developments, and 3) does harm to the public.

1. The APA’s Decision on the ACEP Application Was Inconsistent with Its Own Published Criteria.

  • A course is considered appropriate for APA CE credit if the "program content has peer-reviewed, published support beyond those publications and other types of communications devoted primarily to the promotion of the approach."
    • More than a dozen peer-reviewed studies supporting the efficacy of Energy Psychology have been published in independent journals. The literature review in the attached paper, scheduled for publication in the APA’s Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, cites eight of these studies as well as numerous others that were published in peer-reviewed journals that specialize in energy therapies or that were presented at conferences and are currently being prepared for publication [available from www.EnergyPsychEd.com/mechanisms.pdf].

    • While the APA CE criteria necessitates the existence of such published support rather than requiring any specified level of support, our investigation was able to identify a large number of courses provided for APA CE credit by APA sponsors that have far less scientific support in independent peer-reviewed journals than does Energy Psychology.

  • A course is also considered appropriate for APA CE credit, according to the published criteria, if its "program content has obtained credibility, as demonstrated by the involvement of the broader psychological practice, education, and science communities in studying or applying the findings, procedures, practices, or theoretical concepts."
    • Energy Psychology is being used by at least three relief organizations in their deployments to post-disaster settings, as described in the ACEP application.

    • Energy Psychology is being used to treat psychological disorders in the Veteran’s Administration, in HMO’s including Kaiser Permanente, and in a growing number of social service programs.

    • APA CE sponsors have been granting CE credit for Energy Psychology courses to non-psychologist mental health professionals for more than a decade.

The APA’s published CE standards specify that meeting any one of four criteria renders a course’s program content appropriate for CE credit. The ACEP application documented that Energy Psychology content meets three of the four criteria, including the two discussed above. The APA’s denial of the ACEP application hinges on the contention that none of the criteria were met. Our review concluded that any objective assessment of the standards and analysis of the published evidence and existing practices would have to conclude that Energy Psychology far exceeds the criteria, establishing it as appropriate program content for APA CE credit.

2. Disregard of Interdisciplinary Developments

The APA’s position on Energy Psychology, established in the 1999 ban on psychology CEs for studying the approach and reaffirmed in the December 2009 decision on the ACEP appeal, would seem to reflect a disregard or ignorance of developments in allied health professions, such as:

  • Acupuncture, which originated in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is recognized as a valid treatment—both by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization—for psychological as well as physical disorders. A number of preliminary studies have shown that percussing (tapping) on acupuncture points is as effective as using needles.

  • Energy Psychology, which applies the percussion of acupuncture points in the treatment of psychological conditions, is being used within integrative medicine.

  • "Energy Field Disturbance" is a standard diagnostic code recognized by the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association and by insurance carriers. Energy system interventions have become a part of the standard-of-care within nursing as well as other disciplines.

3. Harm to the Public

The "Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct," in the first of its five "General Principles," states: "Psychologists strive to benefit those with whom they work and take care to do no harm." Actions that prevent a patient from receiving needed care – "acts of omission" – even more than "acts of commission," are cited in health care ethics and legal rulings as "doing harm." The APA’s stance in relationship to Energy Psychology is viewed by our constituency as an institutional violation of this fundamental ethical principle. The basis of this strong response includes:

  • Evidence for the effectiveness of Energy Psychology with war veterans suffering from PTSD, as well as other traumatized individuals who have been non-responsive to conventional treatment, has been accumulating to the point that Energy Psychology is arguably more effective than conventional treatment strategies such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy. The accompanying paper "Rapid Treatment of PTSD: Why Psychological Exposure with Acupoint Tapping May Be Effective" provides a basis for this position [available from www.EnergyPsychEd.com/mechanisms.pdf].

  • The paper also directs its readers to a 10-minute video clip (www.vetcases.com) that demonstrates the approach in the treatment of PTSD (from a peer-reviewed study) and provides a glimpse into the method. If you are not familiar with Energy Psychology, you may find this an informative starting point. Members of our constituency have been persuaded by the paper, the video clip, and numerous other forms of evidence that it is irresponsible for any mental health organization to inhibit the dissemination of the method.

  • The APA’s 1999 ban on the study of Energy Psychology by psychologists for CE credit curbs the dissemination of the method in a variety of ways. Not only are psychologists unable to dedicate limited continuing education time and money to learning the methods, they are given the message from their professional organization that the method is "not appropriate" for their ongoing professional education. This branding of Energy Psychology as a method not suitable for clinical practice is conveyed to other professionals as well. For instance, of more than 160 presentations at the 2009 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium, attended by some 3600 psychotherapists, the only clinical presentation whose listing was accompanied by the inauspicious note, "This workshop does not qualify for continuing education for psychologists," was the one on energy psychology, presenting its applications in disaster relief settings.

  • Despite the need for such notices in their printed programs, which reflect very poorly on the APA, some of the APA’s largest CE-sponsors—such as The National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine, CE-credit.com, and Psychotherapy Networker—have seen fit to continue to offer courses in Energy Psychology, attended by non-psychology mental health professionals.

  • By inhibiting the dissemination of Energy Psychology methods to psychologists, the APA’s position is defacto causing consumers of mental health services who wish to benefit from the approach to seek help from providers with less training than psychologists, both mental health professionals and non-professionals. Rather than taking its rightful role in providing leadership for the safe and appropriate application of Energy Psychology, the APA, by refusing to recognize the efficacy of the approach despite substantial evidence to the contrary, is abdicating this opportunity and responsibility.

Closing Remarks

We believe there can be no rational dispute about the fact that Energy Psychology exceeds the APA CE eligibility criteria or that it is in the public’s interest for the professional community to continue to examine, experiment with, and apply its methods. One of the Energy Medicine Institute’s purposes is to advocate for energy therapies in situations where their responsible practice is being improperly restricted. The negative public impact of the APA’s stance on Energy Psychology is, in our assessment, significant. We strongly urge you to reassess the outdated policy implemented in the 1999 memo to your CE providers and to rescind that policy so your CE Providers are free to exercise their own discretion in determining if an Energy Psychology course is appropriate for their psychology CE audience.

The accompanying draft of the press release that would present the facts of the case for public review is likely to receive substantial attention if distributed. We are contacting you first with the hope that the 1999 policy will be updated, making the press release unnecessary.

Our tentative schedule for sending the press release is April 5. I am available to answer questions or to discuss any aspect of the situation. I hope to hear from you well before the April date.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

David Gruder, Ph.D.
Mental Health Coordinator
Energy Medicine Institute
www.EnergyMed.org
dgruder@energymed.org


Dr. Goodheart’s Reply, March 25, 2010 (this and all subsequent correspondence was also cc’d by both parties to Dr. Norman Anderson, APA’s CEO):
 

Dear Dr. Gruder,
 
Thank you for writing and expressing your concerns.  I do want to inform you that as APA President I cannot make any changes to the decisions of the Continuing Education Committee.  The Committee operates in accordance with the Standards and Criteria for Approval of Sponsors of Continuing Education for Psychologists.  These standards were adopted by APA’s Council of Representatives in 2009.   The Committee’s decision in this case was based upon the requirements of those Standards and Criteria.   
 
I note that you have sent a prepublication copy of a paper on this topic.  Of course any sponsor that has new information addressing the standard against which it was found deficient may consider reapplying for approval through the Sponsor approval process.
 
Best wishes,
Carol Goodheart
 
Carol D. Goodheart, Ed.D.
President, American Psychological Association
Independent Practice: 114 Commons Way, Princeton, NJ 08540
Tel/Fax: 609-987-8844
Email: carol@drcarolgoodheart.com  
Website: http://www.drcarolgoodheart.com


Dr. Gruder’s Reply, March 25, 2010:

Dear Dr. Goodheart,
 
I appreciate your response and assure you that I am well aware that you would be overstepping your organizational powers if you changed a Continuing Education Committee decision. EMI is not asking you to overstep your bounds. EMI has asked you to intervene in an organizationally appropriate way because one of your committees appears to have gone renegade. We believe that, based on the evidence presented in my cover letter, you not only have the power to intervene along the lines we proposed in it; you have an ethical responsibility to do so.
 
Your response left me with the distinct impression that you did not closely read that cover letter, and this concerns me greatly. So, please allow me to briefly recap in light of your response:
 
1.    We contacted you because we have determined that, contrary to your assertion in your response to me, the Committee’s decision was quite clearly NOT based upon the Standards & Criteria document. The cover letter I attached to my original e-mail provides a point-by-point review of how and why we reached this conclusion. The evidence does not appear to the Energy Medicine Institute to be in the gray area of subjective judgment calls; it appears to be quite incontrovertible. We are asserting that your Continuing Education Committee has disregarded what is set forth in the Standards & Criteria document. This is why we are also asserting that you have an ethical responsibility as APA’s president to effectively intervene in an organizationally appropriate way.
 
2.    As to your proposed remedy, I must reiterate that the numerous attempts that have been made to do precisely this have proved ineffective in getting the Continuing Education Committee to objectively apply the Standards & Criteria document to the field of Energy Psychology. The Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology has repeatedly reapplied for approval through APA’s Sponsorship approval process, and has each time been turned down, despite the fact that the field of Energy Psychology now more than adequately complies with the Standards & Criteria document.
 
I hope this further elucidation helps you understand why I find your response to be non-responsive. If you are trying to say between the lines that you disagree with our point-by-point analysis in the cover letter, then please do me the courtesy of being direct. If you have not given due consideration to that point-by-point analysis, I ask that you now do so and then respond to me in a more considered way.
 
The reason I am asking you to please do this is because I don’t like the alternative: if we cannot resolve this matter outside of the glare of public opinion the Energy Medicine Institute is committed to bringing this matter to the media in a big way. I assure you that I most sincerely do not want to see the Energy Medicine Institute do this because I do not believe this is in the best interests of the field of psychology in general, or the APA in specific. I therefore consider this action to be an absolute last resort.
 
However, and I say the following in a truly collegial state of mind and heart, I do need you to know that at this point EMI’s decision about whether to take this matter to the media now depends on whether you stand by your non-response despite my clarifications in this e-mail, or whether you can find an organizationally appropriate way to successfully intervene within APA on this matter.
 
I most sincerely hope you will join with me to resolve this dilemma without EMI having to take it to the media.
 
Best wishes,
David Gruder
 
David Gruder, Ph.D.
Mental Health Coordinator
Energy Medicine Institute
dgruder@energymed.org
www.energymed.org

PS. Just wanted to add a further clarification: The Energy Medicine Institute is NOT asking you to change the CEC's December 2009 decision on the ACEP application. We are, rather, asking that you provide leadership in getting the APA to rescind its outdated and, at this point, ethically vulnerable1999 blanket policy regarding all Energy Psychology courses. My letter outlined abundant evidence demonstrating that the policy is both outdated and ethically vulnerable. A memo rescinding the memo that instituted the policy would allow current APA CE sponsors to immediately stop preventing psychologists from being awarded CE credit for the Energy Psychology courses they already present.


Dr. Goodheart’s Reply, March 28, 2010:

Dear Dr. Gruder,

I received your response to my message. Please be assured I have read your materials and taken them seriously.  As I said, decisions on sponsor approval are made by the Continuing Education Committee, pursuant to the Standards and Criteria for Approval of Sponsors of Continuing Education for Psychologists.  As you may know, the APA Continuing Education Sponsor Approval System Policies and Procedures provide significant due process to applicants, including an extensive appeal process.  Sponsor applicants may request reconsideration of a decision by the Continuing Education Committee, and if not satisfied with the outcome of the Reconsideration, may request an Appeal before an independent appeal panel.  The panel is drawn from a pool established by the APA Board of Educational Affairs, and the sponsor filing the appeal is given the right to challenge any appeal panelist if it chooses.  The sponsor may also choose to be represented by counsel during this Appeal, and is given other procedural rights and protections. 

This appeal procedure is designed to provide careful review and oversight of Committee decisions, and provides significant due process to Sponsor applicants. As you note in your letter, the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology (ACEP), has gone through this appeal process, and been afforded the significant protections it entails.  As APA President, it is not my role to intervene in this process.

You also mention, in your "addendum", a "1999 blanket policy regarding all Energy Psychology courses."  I am aware of no such policy related to Energy Psychology.  While I am aware of a memo written in 1999 by the Director of Sponsor Approval Programs regarding Thought Field Therapy, that memo is not at issue in this discussion.  Decisions of the Continuing Education Committee are made based on the criteria set forth in the Standards and Criteria for Approval of Sponsors of Continuing Education for Psychologists (approved as policy by Council in 2005, amended in 2009). The Standards and Criteria represent the basis on which all applications are currently judged.

Best wishes,
Carol Goodheart

Carol D. Goodheart, Ed.D.
President, American Psychological Association
Independent Practice: 114 Commons Way, Princeton, NJ 08540
Tel/Fax: 609-987-8844
Email: carol@drcarolgoodheart.com
Website: http://www.drcarolgoodheart.com


Dr. Gruder’s Reply, March 31, 2010:

Dear Dr. Goodheart,

Thank you so much for this more detailed response.  You have helped me identify where the confusion has been. Your understanding is that the 1999 memo disallowed APA CE for Thought Field Therapy ONLY, not for ALL Energy Psychology training programs. While that may indeed have been the document's original intent, the incontrovertible fact is that it has been repeatedly used since then to disallow APA CE for ALL Energy Psychology training.

At least three major APA-approved CE providers (Psychotherapy Networker, National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine, and CE-credit.com), each of which offers a very wide range of coursework, have in recent years been required to stop providing APA CE credit for all Energy Psychology course offerings. One of them, we were told by its administrator, received a call from the Education Directorate a few months before their 5-year renewal application was due, clearly indicating that their renewal was in jeopardy if they continued to offer Energy Psychology courses.  They immediately dropped those offerings.  Training in Thought Field Therapy was not, however, being provided by any of these sponsors.  The restriction on Thought Field Therapy has simply been extended to all forms of Energy Psychology with no formal directive or due process.  This, in itself, does not conform to the APA's February 2006 "Approval of Sponsors of Continuing Education For Psychologists: Policies and Procedures Manual." The Procedures allow approved sponsors to choose their own curriculum while being called upon to defend their choices, according to the APA CE standards and criteria, at their 2-Year or 5-Year Renewal or in special circumstances that warrant a reassessment.   They do not include a provision for a priori restrictions.
 
Far more relevant than these somewhat technical quibbles is the fact that Energy Psychology has empirical support that far exceeds the APA's 2005/2009 "Standards and Criteria for Approval of Sponsors of Continuing Education for Psychologists" that you referred to.  As I read your accurate account of all the steps the APA has developed for insuring due process, and compared it with what actually occurred, I could only shake my head in amazement that the CE Committee and the Appeal Panel could get it so wrong.   I say this, of course, through my own bias, but the facts supporting that bias are there for anyone to review.  It is only with a strong negative bias that a psychologist reviewing the data could possibly come to the conclusion that Energy Psychology does not have enough preliminary empirical support to meet the CE criteria (the CE criteria recognize that before a new therapy has fully established itself as evidence-based, it is still a legitimate topic for psychologists to explore). Any fair review would have to recognize that Energy Psychology is a promising enough development and in wide enough use that psychologists drawn to it would have justification for investigating it as a possible addition to their existing clinical repertoires.
 
A week ago today, two Energy Psychology practitioners (including a licensed psychologist/APA member), met with six members of Congress, including members of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee and the Armed Services Committee. The Congress members were well aware that only one in ten veterans whom the VA diagnoses with PTSD  actually completes the recommended course of treatment (based on an N of 49,425 and reported in a recent issue of the Journal of Traumatic Stress) and other shortcomings of conventional treatments for PTSD.  All six expressed enthusiasm upon seeing the studies that were presented showing that Energy Psychology treatments with veterans to reduce PTSD have been strongly effective.  The next day, literally, Walter Reed opened the way for a major study of Energy Psychology in the treatment of PTSD.

Of course political developments add no evidential weight to scientific knowledge.   But the scientific evidence that persuaded these six hard-nosed members of Congress is the very evidence that the APA is ignoring in maintaining its outdated and misapplied 1999 directive on TFT.  The presentations to the Congress members opened with the 10-minute video clip found at www.vetcases.com. The treatment sessions of a (subsequently published) study (see Church, 2010, in the attached) had been filmed and brief excerpts from pre-treatment and post-treatment interviews, snippets of the actual treatment, and summaries of symptom changes are shown for four of the participants.  Seeing the video clip seemed to generate interest among the Congress members to hear about the research.  The studies that were cited are summarized on pp. 4 - 5 of the attached paper.

Just to be clear, while our assessment is that the CE Committee and the Appeal Panel did not adhere to the APA's CE Standards and Criteria in their rulings on the ACEP application, we are not asking you to overturn that decision. You have made it very clear that such an action would be outside your presidential authority.  What we are asking is that you exert leadership that rights a wrong which is having substantial social consequences, and it is a situation where the APA's position does not even conform to its own published standards.  Specifically, we are asking you to exert leadership that results in a reversal of the 1999 memo about Thought Field Therapy, or at least makes it clear to all APA CE providers that the memo applies only to Thought Field Therapy as it was being taught in 1999. Thought Field Therapy has been supplanted by numerous newer developments within Energy Psychology, but even for those still practicing Thought Field Therapy, the approach has evolved substantially since 1999.

Bringing this discussion to the public is not the way we like to work.  It was only after watching ACEP have three applications rejected, a formal request for reconsideration denied, and an appeal denied, and recognizing that the APAs intent of insuring a fair process was not being carried out, that we saw no other alternative if appealing to APAs leadership had no effect.  What makes this such a passionate issue for our constituents is that (a) more than 300,000 returning soldiers suffer with PTSD, (b) at least some preliminary evidence suggests that Energy Psychology offers a more effective treatment than conventional approaches, and (c) the APA is actively hindering the method's dissemination based on actions that do not conform to the APAs own standards.
 
We hope you will see cause and find a way to provide the leadership that will remedy this unfortunate but readily correctable betrayal of the publics trust.
 
Sincerely,

David Gruder, Ph.D.
Mental Health Coordinator
Energy Medicine Institute
www.EnergyMed.org


Dr. Gruder’s Follow-up, April 5, 2010

Dear Dr. Goodheart,

As you know, our press release was scheduled for distribution submission today.  More precisely, today was the day we were going to submit it to www.prnewswire.com, a service that will help us refine (and no doubt shorten) our draft and distribute it for maximum media impact.

However, because we remain in active dialogue with you, I have postponed that date for another two weeks, until April 19. 

I learned this weekend of another RCT using Energy Psychology with traumatized individuals where all the participants scored above the PTSD cutoff on a standardized inventory prior to treatment and nearly all were no longer in the PTSD range after treatment. This study adds corroboration to the other two studies (summarized in the paper I sent you last week) showing strong results with PTSD after single-session treatments. It also underlines the need for new explanatory models, such as those described in that same paper [available from
www.EnergyPsychEd.com/mechanisms.pdf], where therapies that combine the stimulation of acupuncture points with brief psychological exposure alter the neural pathways maintaining the fear response.

The three single-session studies illustrate a point made in an article that was released on the web last week about the Congressional meetings around Energy Psychology that I had mentioned in my previous e-mail.  The article states:  "The Congressman [Dan Lungren, R-CA] responded by relating stories from his own family that were highly pertinent to the discussion, but he then posed one of the key dilemmas for Energy Psychology’s acceptance.  'It sounds too simple!  Too good to be true!'   He let us know he would like to believe there is a simple cure for PTSD, but he would need a lot more convincing.  The ensuing discussion was brief, frank, and to the point, starting with our agreement that the field does indeed face this odd credibility problem that its methods are so fast and effective that people don't find the personal accounts or even the existing research to be plausible."

This "credibility problem" may be one of the key factors in the profession's continued reluctance to accept Energy Psychology despite the mounting accumulation of credible research.

I have shared our previous correspondence with a colleague who is familiar with APA CE procedures and asked what might be a plausible response on your part, given your concern that it would be outside your presidential authority to overturn the ruling on ACEP.   The reply:

If Dr. Goodheart agrees, as you have amply demonstrated, that Energy Psychology courses meet the published Standards and Criteria for appropriate CE course content for psychologists, it would be fully within the scope of her role as APA President to present her assessment of the situation to the head of the Education Directorate, Dr. Cynthia Belar, and to request that Dr. Belar consider a memo to all APA CE providers, sent under the same authority as the 1999 memo.  That memo would convey something along these lines:

In 1999, APA CE sponsors were informed by the Director of Sponsor Approval Programs that an approach known as Thought Field Therapy (TFT) is not considered an appropriate area of coursework for psychology CEs.  Since 1999, enough research has accumulated showing efficacy for stimulating acupuncture points during brief psychological exposure (the core procedure used in TFT and related approaches, collectively known as "Energy Psychology") that the 1999 directive applies only to TFT as it was practiced in 1999. APA CE sponsors offering courses in Energy Psychology may, however, still be called upon, at their regularly scheduled renewal reviews, to justify their choices according to the APA's "Standards and Criteria for Approval of Sponsors of Continuing Education for Psychologists." 

Dr. Goodheart, this simple action would from our point of view bring closure to the situation. We hope you will carefully consider it or another way of remedying the situation.

Sincerely,
David Gruder

David Gruder, Ph.D.
Mental Health Coordinator
Energy Medicine Institute
dgruder@energymed.org
www.energymed.org


Dr. Goodheart’s Final Reply, April 7, 2010:

Dear Dr. Gruder, 

The current Standards and Criteria for Approval of Sponsors of Continuing Education for Psychologists supercedes any previous standards documents or communications.  While I can appreciate your unhappiness with the decision, the bottom-line is the Committee found that the content for continuing education proposed to be offered by the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology did not meet the Standards and Criteria for Approval of Sponsors of Continuing Education for Psychologists.  Thus I cannot make a statement that suggests otherwise.

Best wishes,

Carol Goodheart

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