Jed Diamond, Ph.D. has been a health-care professional for the last 45 years. He is the author of 9 books, including Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places, Male Menopause, The Irritable Male Syndrome, and Mr. Mean: Saving Your Relationship from the Irritable Male Syndrome. He offers counseling to men, women, and couples in his office in California or by phone with people throughout the U.S. and around the world. To receive a Free E-book on Men’s Health and a free subscription to Jed’s e-newsletter go to www.MenAlive.com.
When I began training as a psychotherapist in 1965, I wanted to save the world. Well, if I were telling the whole truth, I’d say that I really wanted to save myself. I wanted to understand why I did the things I did and felt the things I felt. And if I were being completely honest I would tell you I became a psychotherapist because I wanted to understand why my father tried to commit suicide when I was five years old and what I, or anyone, could have done to help him.
Although I still work with men, women, and children, I specialize in treating men. O.K., another bit of self-disclosure. I really became focused on helping men when my first wife and I divorced in 1976 after 10 years of marriage. She got custody of our two children and I was left with a lot of rage, doubts, and blame.
“How come the courts assume that she would be a better parent for my boy and girl, just because she’s a woman?”
“How come most of our friends are now her friends?”
“Why do I have to be the one to leave our home and live in a raggedy-assed apartment?”
“How am I going to live without her?”
“Will my kids ever forgive me?”
It took me a long time to forgive her, forgive our friends, forgive “the system,” and most of all forgive myself for my raggedy-assed behavior and uncontrolled rage. It took even longer to heal myself.
Medicine for Men
I began medical school in the fall of 1965 after graduating from U.C. Santa Barbara. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a doctor, but it was a high-prestige, helping profession and my mother thought it would be great to have a docta in the house.
Although I considered myself a manly man, I found I passed out at the sight of blood (OK, full disclosure. I don’t even have to see blood to pass out). I left medical school and enrolled in the School of Social Welfare at U.C. Berkeley. Why social welfare? It was better than being drafted and sent to Viet Nam. I wasn’t that manly and I wasn’t keen to spill my own blood or the blood of anyone else for a war I didn’t believe in.
There were three types of social work when I was in Berkeley: Case Work, Group work, and Community organizing. I was drawn to community organizing, but found that my emotions got in the way of being effective. I kept wanting to “kill the cops” and anyone else in authority that were oppressing the common man.
Case Work and Group Work were about as interesting as they sound, so I joined Synanon. Founded by recovering alcoholic, Chuck Dederich, this alcohol and drug treatment program, opened its doors to college students who were interested in getting an education they wouldn’t get in the classroom.
We learned to play the Synanon “game,” an intense verbal, sparring match that teaches you how to express a range of emotions and shows you how to listen to strong feelings without coming out of your chair and strangling the guy who just called you a “pussy” and suggested that your sister has more “balls” than you do.
I also learned that therapy didn’t have to involve long sessions on the couch and hours delving into your past trying to discover why you were so angry at your mother or disappointed with your father. In Synanon, we learned a kind of “reality therapy” that was more interested in teaching you how to live effectively in the now than trying to sort out your troubled past.
How I Found Energy Medicine
Shortly after my wife and I were married we moved to the country. We couldn’t afford our own house, so we rented a cottage in the back of a country estate. The owners had a number of horses which they rode through the hills when they weren’t working.
The horses were easy-going, but when our friends visited with their two year old son, disaster struck. While we were talking and drinking wine, the little boy wandered into the corral and was kicked by one of the horses before we could catch him. He was unconscious when we rushed to him and we called an ambulance.
While we were waiting, the boys mother held him in her lap, and with tears running down her cheeks she held her open hand over his head and run it back and forth about 3 inches from his body. I asked her what she was doing and she just said, “energy healing.”
Quite frankly I thought she was nuts and trying to save her child with some kind of Voodoo magic when he really needed real medical care, but there really wasn’t anything else we could do. By the time the ambulance arrived, the boy was conscious again and seemed to be fine.
Never-the-less, we all went to the hospital to get him x-rayed and checked out by “real doctors.” The Mom felt confident that he was fine, that her “energy healing” had done the job. The doctors confirmed that the boy was OK and I forgot all about the experience until years later when I heard about the work of Donna Eden, David Feinstein, and Gary Craig.
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) with Gary Craig
I learned about EFT from an acupuncturist I had gone to for shoulder pain. I wanted help in the worst way, but I couldn’t tolerate the needles. Even though she assured me that they wouldn’t hurt (and in fact they didn’t hurt), I still got light-headed and nearly passed out. You now can fully understand why I dropped out of medical school. I faint at the sight of blood and needles.
I was immediately drawn to EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) because the founder, Gary Craig, was a hands on kind of guy. He says, “I am neither a psychologist nor a licensed therapist. Rather, I am a Stanford engineering graduate.”
Craig describes EFT this way:
EFT is a powerful new discovery that combines two well established sciences so you can benefit from both at the same time:
- Mind-Body Medicine
- Acupuncture (without needles).
In essence, EFT is an emotional version of acupuncture wherein we stimulate certain meridian points by tapping on them with our fingertips. This addresses a new cause for emotional issues (unbalanced energy meridians).
Properly done, this frequently reduces the therapeutic process from months or years down to hours or minutes. And, since emotional stress can contribute to pain, disease and physical ailments, we often find that EFT provides astonishing physical relief.
Here are some of the important features of EFT:
- There is no long, drawn out, “tell me your life story” feature to EFT.
- There are no pills.
- There is no painfully relived past traumatic events.
- It takes a fraction of the usual time and is often done in minutes.
- Though it takes practice to do it well, anyone can learn how to use it effectively.
This was my kind of medicine–men’s medicine–no needles, no drugs, no long talks about the past, and its quick. Of course, these are aspects that make it attractive to women as well.
Energy Psychology with David Feinstein
Candace Pert, the neuroscientist who was one of the discoverers of the brain’s opiate receptors, remembers David Feinstein when she was working at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in the 1970s. “Dr. Feinstein was there conducting research on psychotherapeutic innovations.”
Thirty years later Feinstein has turned to the intersection of psychotherapy and energy medicine. Recently he led a team of twenty-seven health and mental-health professionals to bring the new tools of energy psychology to psychotherapists.
His research demonstrated that energy psychology builds upon conventional psychotherapies. It works within the context of established psychological principles such as the key role of early experiences in shaping our current emotional and behavioral patterns.
“But energy psychology,” he says, “also has a special card in its deck.” Stimulating energy points on the skin, paired with specified mental activities, can instantly shift your brain’s electrochemistry to:
- Help overcome unwanted emotions such as fear, guilt, shame, jealousy and anger,
- Help change unwanted habits and behavior, and
- Enhance your abilities to love, succeed, and enjoy life.
Energy Medicine with Donna Eden
David Feinstein was a research scientist and, at first, was very skeptical of the claims of energy medicine. Gradually he gained a new perspective. Here’s how he describes what happened. “My personal voyage into the perspective reflected here occurred over many years and with much resistance. I happened to marry a woman, Donna Eden, who was destined to become one of the world’s most renowned natural healers. For the first nineteen years or so of our relationship, I did not know what to make of here work.”
I know how he felt. I had a similar experience when I met my wife, Carlin. She two is a natural healer and “sees” energy changes in the auras of her clients. It also took me a long time to recognize the value of these “unusual” techniques. But the more you learn, them more sense it makes.
Here’s what Donna Eden says on her webpage describing her findings.
- Energy medicine is the oldest, safest, most organic, most accessible, and most affordable medicine there is.
- It teaches you how to participate more fully and knowledgeably in your own healing, health, and well-being.
- It is both an empowering system for self-help and a powerful tool in the hands of competent health care practitioner.
The Promise of Energy Psychology
“The cell is a machine driven by energy. It can thus be approached by studying mater, or by studying energy. In every culture and in every medical tradition before ours, healing was accomplished by moving energy.” –Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
Just as we have gotten out of balance with nature, we have gotten out of balance with our own energies, but there is still time to heal. Gary Craig, David Feinstein, and Donna Eden have brought their considerable talents together and written a wonderful book, The Promise of Energy Psychology: Revolutionary Tools for Dramatic Personal Change.
In the introduction to the book, David Feinstein makes the following statement, which seems on the face of things seems to be
“too good to be true”:
“Your emotional health, your success in the world, and your level of joy can all be dramatically enhanced by shifting the energies that regulate them. That is the promise of the fascinating new field of energy psychology.” He goes on to say directly that energy psychology and energy medicine can deliver results for some of the most difficult problems we face.
- With it, phobias and stubborn anxieties often fade in minutes.
- The lifelong grip of an early trauma can frequently be released within one or two sessions.
- Anger can be managed more reliably.
- Depression can in many cases be alleviated without drugs.
- Achievements in sports, school, music, and business can be given a powerful boost.
- Even elusive physical problems may respond where other treatments have failed.
I admit that I was very skeptical. Everything I had learned in school taught me that these kinds of problems were extremely difficult to fix, required a great deal of professional skill to fix them, and required many years of concentrated effort.
What got me to even consider that these therapies might work was an open mind, a curiosity to see what I might be missing, and seeing the techniques work with people I knew. What finally convinced me of their value was that they worked on me.
I was able to I improve my own mental and physical health, quickly and easily. Also, like most people today I have become disenchanted with our current medical system. It’s clear that modern medical practice is too expensive and often relies on expensive surgery and drugs even when there are less invasive and less costly alternatives. This may help the bottom line economic success of those practitioners who are dependent on these expensive practices to make a living, but they don’t serve the rest of us.
It was the philosopher Schopenhauer who offered the reminder of how truth advances in the world.
“All truth goes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Then it is violently opposed. Finally it is accepted as self-evident.”
Why Energy Psychology and Energy Medicine is Good for Mankind (and Womankind as Well)
In their book, New Psychotherapy for Men, William S. Pollack and Ronald F. Levant recognize the sorry state of men’s health.
Slowly, the truth emerges. In a society in which men are expected to be strong, independent, aggressive, and impervious to emotional stress, it is inevitable that men’s health will suffer. They offer the following examples of what is happening with males in society today:
- Boys are nine times more likely than girls to suffer from hyperactivity.
- Young men are five times more likely to commit suicide than young women.
- Men have far higher rates of substance abuse and antisocial personality disorder than women.
“Clearly, many men are in need of psychological treatment and psychotherapy,” they conclude.
The problem is that men, as a group, hate psychotherapy. They often resist efforts to get them involved. Clearly the same kinds of social pressures that cause the problems in the first place make it difficult for men to reach out for help. I’ve spend a good deal of my career trying to help men get past their resistance to counseling and their resistance to getting good medical care.
Until I learned about energy medicine, I assumed that I just needed to try harder to overcome men’s resistance to getting help. I’m beginning to recognize that men may be smarter about treatment than we had once thought.
Could it be that men have resisted traditional medical and psychiatric treatment because deep down inside they knew there was something better for them? Could energy psychology and energy medicine be what men have been waiting for? I’ve found energy work very helpful in my own life and in the lives of many men I counsel.
If you’d like more information about the field, a good place to begin is with the three visionary practitioners I discussed earlier—Gary Craig, David Feinstein, and Donna Eden.
You can learn more about my work at www.MenAlive.com