The Energy Model of Therapeutic Change is a mode of therapy that I developed back in the early 1990's as a final project for my Master's in Psychology. Originally, I called it the "Total Life Management Therapeutic Model of Change". The premise was that most people come to therapy because of three things: Anxiety, Depression, and Relationship issues. But the further along we got working together, the more evident it was that these were mere manifestations of symptoms from other things going on in their lives, much of which could be dealt with quite simply.
Comparing current and long-held therapy approaches of delving into a persons past and dissecting it to find a source of their current trauma, it was evident that this only seemed to keep them in therapy much longer - sometimes years - while they are still toiling and spinning just to find peace in their present. There was a lot these people could do in the moment to alleviate their stress and anxiety that would give them the upper edge on dealing with the past if it was still needed. There were several whom, once they applied simple approaches no longer felt the need to continue to dig up past events that no longer held power over them because the symptoms they sought help for were gone.
Not long ago there was a stigma attached to those who sought mental health help. These days, it's become a badge of honor. Neither is good as both serve to keep people sick! During the stigma days, I went on my own six-month therapy stint, doing my best to keep people from finding out, yet having that heart-racing feeling of withdrawal as each next session drew near. The biggest help for me, though, came from a co-worker – twenty years my senior (I was 18) – who told me my issue was panic attacks and gave me a complete, accurate description which, for the first time, assured me I wasn’t alone or nuts.
Years later, after going to school and becoming a therapist myself, it was disillusioning to attend workshops and conferences that seemed to focus on keeping people on the counseling couch rather than guiding them back to living their life completely and holistically. We were trained on ways to probe to bring up memories and, at one seminar, was even told it didn’t matter if the memories were true or false if they could be used as a tool to work with the person. My mind screamed that feeding a false narrative is neither healthy nor healing, but only offers a fictitious scapegoat. New labels and diagnoses were put on common maladies such as moodiness, Premenstrual Syndrome, and rambunctiousness, calling them things like bi-polar, personality disorder, and ADHD. The common denominator was that all created the need for medication and therapy where, previously, people relied more on family and friend support and it was just as effective without the side effects.. It seemed that my clients who went on medication ended up needing long-term therapy while those who rallied their support system and made (often very simple) lifestyle changes had a speedier recovery. Worse, many are told that they will never be able to get off their medication without relapsing into mental illness, yet the medications themselves often cause side effects that are the same or worse than the symptoms they are trying to treat, not to mention severe withdrawal of coming off them.
The foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone
The ankle bone’s connected to the leg bone
The leg bone’s connected to the knee bone
The knee bone is connected to the thigh bone
Did you ever wonder what would happen if you woke up one day and your ankle bone was missing, and you got up and tried to walk? Or perhaps the thigh bone went off on vacation? Well, to be honest, me neither. But obviously, each component of our skeletal structure is critical to the overall functioning of our body. Believe it or not, the same concept applies to human energy within our own body and lives. An energy blockage or breakdown in one key-life area will cripple you in other, if not all areas. Without a total understanding of how one area affects the other, it is easy to become a ‘repeat offender’ in one of our energy fields (key-life areas) and not realize that it is the cause of a failure in another. It makes me think of that cliché definition of mental illness: repeating the same actions over and over expecting different results. This was common place with clients in the past and, perhaps, I may have been guilty of it myself.