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Healing PTSD: Tai Chi and Energy Psychology to the Rescue…

Here’s a terrifying statistic for you – during 2012 alone, 349 active-duty U.S. military personnel took their own lives. More astounding is that number is 54 more than were killed in combat in Afghanistan that same year and a second all-time peak in three years! (Since 2001, more than 6,800 American service personnel have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan).

According to a well-known Veterans Affairs investigation, 22 veterans commit suicide in the US every day.

It is safe to say that many of these cases involve Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or other psychological consequences of combat such as depression. PTSD is not a phenomenon confined to soldiers, but for obvious reasons, its highest concentrations are found in military and veteran populations.

What is PTSD?

Like all forms of traumatic programming, PTSD creates involuntary behaviour. The difference with PTSD is that the trauma is so intense that it starts to invade every aspect of life. Intrusive memories, flashbacks, the involuntary engagement of the fight-or-flight response leading to difficulty concentrating as well as insomnia and other symptoms, and emotional numbing in response to the traumatic event are all common symptoms. The hyper-arousal state caused by PTSD can lead to violent outbursts, and the experience can lead to substance abuse and other aberrant behaviours.

Modern warfare is a perfect breeding ground for PTSD. In World War I, when it was known as Shell Shock, men faced with the decimation of their units by weapons they couldn’t see or fight against, with the constant danger of bombardment and the prospect of being asked to perform suicidal charges against machine guns, it became obvious that the human mind is not designed to cope with the machinery of modern war.

PTSD and its symptoms of hyper-vigilance, anxiety, anger, overreaction and helplessness are strongly associated with repeated subjection to danger that cannot be fought off or even seen coming. Think about it for a moment…

In “conventional” war, from World War II through the first Gulf War, there was a clear front line and you knew when you were in danger and when you probably were not. As traumatic as those conflicts could be, you had “down time”.

However, in a “Vietnam-like” scenario – which is exactly the kind of conflict allied forces have faced in Iraq and Afghanistan – you can never know what’s about to hit you. There is no clear, visible enemy to fight, everyday life can turn into a battlefield instantly and the next IED may be right around the corner. The repeated tours of front-line duty typical of Afghanistan and Iraq have actually exceeded those of any previous war in terms of prolonged exposure to this hideously complex war environment.

However, many types of traumatic events, and particularly repeated or sudden traumas, can generate PTSD in the civilian population. Auto accident victims, victims of childhood abuse and civilian victims or war and terrorism are among the most frequent groups of PTSD sufferers.

What We Can Do About It

Veterans’ organisations are generally very good at educating people about the basics of helping someone with PTSD. Patience and support are crucial, because by the nature of the disorder, the person suffering from it will often drive people away and destroy all ties with ordinary life. It is therefore important when acknowledging the condition to offer support and, in professional settings, to make it clear that while they should seek treatment, there will be no professional repercussions. The two essential points to remember with PTSD are to make sure those who suffer it get help, which they will often resist, and that as difficult as the symptoms may be for everyone, it is essential to give PTSD sufferers a stable professional and personal support system while they work through the disorder.

With that support structure in place, how can we ultimately deal with the condition? Numerous methods of treatment have been tried, from talk therapy and pharmaceutical medication to hypnosis and virtual reality therapy, with varying results. In many cases, without a substantial reduction in the underlying condition, the patient ultimately gives up.

In this video, Jacob White, a Vietnam veteran and Tai Chi master, talks about his own struggle with PTSD and how he used the techniques of Tai Chi to transform his inner state. What I like about this video is that Jacob underscores the transformation that needs to take place from the reactions and default settings of a soldier to those of a warrior, which is a fundamental change in how we process the world.

The Warrior Within from Jacob White on Vimeo.

Tai Chi is one avenue of work that has shown promise with PTSD, but there are a number of other approaches that have as well. Thought-Field Therapy (TFT) and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) are approaches combining acupuncture point pressure with cognitive exercises which have shown startling results in several peer-reviewed studies. In studies with child survivors of the Rwandan Genocide and combat veterans where the subjects were assessed using standard PTSD checklist measures, decreases across most symptom areas of 40% or more were recorded, and retained over time after 90-day and 1-year follow-ups (1). A control study with EFT showed that after three months, 86% of treated subjects no longer met clinical criteria for PTSD (Presented at Society of Behavioral Medicine 2010). In some studies, brainwaves were monitored before and after the therapy, and showed significant change.

TFT and EFT are among the most basic tools of Energy Psychology. The deeper baggage of traumatic events often takes more sophisticated tools to root out. It is in areas like cognitive reframing and the relationship between cognition, emotions and the body’s neurochemical responses that some interesting studies are being done. Psychoneuroimmunology, which studies this relationship, has found that PTSD sufferers literally have an altered biochemistry caused by the relationship between emotional states and immune system triggers.

In any case, it is reassuring to know that the decades-long struggles of PTSD sufferers of previous generations need not be repeated, that the condition can not only be managed, but substantially reduced.

Do you know any PTSD sufferers or those caring for them? Let’s get the word out that there is hope!

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

(1) (Traumatology, (2010), 15(1), 45-55; International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, Winter 2010, 12(1), 41-50; and International Journal of Healing and Caring, September 2009, 9(3)).

The 16th Annual Canadian Energy Psychology Conference

On October 24th, one of the most exciting events in personal development will be coming to Toronto. The Canadian Energy Psychology Conference has brought together practitioners, researchers and the interested public to talk about the therapeutic approaches we often talk about here for sixteen years.

What these approaches have in common is their holistic understanding of the human organism. Following in the footsteps of ancient medical and spiritual traditions, these people have recognised the interconnectedness of the human organism. The body, mind, emotions, energy system and spirit are profoundly interconnected. Just as we know that the mind can make the body sick or well, so we can use one element of the human organism to heal another.

Energy Psychology as a field starts from the insight that the body’s energy system as mapped primarily by traditional Chinese medicine stores emotional energy linked to neural pathways that surround particular sets of experiences, most notably traumatic experiences. It follows that by releasing that emotional energy, the brain can be freed to change in ways that classical psychology has never been able to achieve. The great thing is that this is not the only pathway to healing one part of the organism with another- you can approach it from all sorts of different directions. That realisation has the power to profoundly change the way that energy psychology sees itself.

So what does the field encompass? Well, here are a few past speakers whose names and approaches should be familiar to readers of this blog:

Dr. Gabor Maté

Brent Baum

Lynne McTaggart

Although I can’t make it this year, I’ve spoken at past conferences (you can see on parts of my keynote on this page), and the experience has always been tremendously rewarding and enabled me to connect with some truly amazing and talented people. Being able to spend three days with a group of highly intelligent, friendly and open-minded people whose primary focus is healing others is an electrifying experience. Their collective dedication to truth, to scientific rigor and their insistence on respecting the scientific method were very inspiring. As the website declares, “More than a conference, it’s an experience.”

If you’re in the area and would like a fantastic opportunity to connect with people who are serious about manifesting positive change for themselves and the world, I highly recommend that you consider attending.

“Theta Healing is the Answer. Now What was Your Question Again?”

While that may sound a little flippant, it does underscore the versatility of one of the top energy healing systems in the world today – Theta Healing.

One of the consistent observations of energy healing has been that both physical and psychological problems do not come into being on their own, but are caused by a particular way of living. That way of living is the result of carrying out a deep-seated subconscious program. Finding that program and then accessing it, changing it out for a new one that works better, can be a challenge of years or decades.

Theta Healing provides a creative response to these challenges through a multi-step approach. The first stage, common to many energy healing modes, is muscle testing. Muscle testing proceeds from the observation that, since our mind body and energy system form one organism, our instant, subconscious reaction to a thought or idea changes the strength of our energy field, and therefore the ability of our muscles to resist pressure. It is therefore a means of eliciting responses to simple questions directly from the subconscious mind about its own condition and programming.

When muscle testing has narrowed down the problem area, the practitioner and the patient, who need not be in the same room or even on the same continent, go into a deep theta state, corresponding to the brainwave patterns of deep meditation or certain stages of sleep. In this state, in which the subconscious is most readily accessible, the practitioner, through focused prayer and meditation, sends the patient a new program, and then tests that it is working.

Brent Phillips, probably the leading practitioner in North America, uses the example of money. A person may hold the (Biblically incorrect) subconscious belief that “Money is the root of all evil,” and be sabotaging their own possibilities for a financially prosperous life. If the patient wants that belief changed, the practitioner prays to the Absolute to change that belief. An essential part of this whole process is reconnecting the patient with the Absolute, with the source of life, which is essential to all self-transformation.

The result of a single healing session may be the cure of a physical ailment, or have nothing directly to do with what you wanted to accomplish, because you need other things to change in order to accept that change subconsciously. But Theta Healing also emphasises that it is the total underlying pattern of life, not the cause-effect sequence from a particular belief or program to a particular symptom, that must change for long-term physical and mental health.

To listen to Brent Phillips and others go into more depth about Theta Healing, watch the video above.

You can also learn more about Theta Healing in general and Brent’s programs in particular by clicking here.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger


The One Big “Catch” with Energy Medicine

In this blog, we’ve talked about energy healing methods from EFT to BEST to Theta Healing. These techniques are some of the most important personal development tools to emerge in our times. Their ability to clear traumas, phobias, other forms of neural conditioning and energy blockages, and even to address serious physical health problems, makes them invaluable and essential tools for laying the foundations of personal development.

Laying foundations is what these techniques do best. They allow us to reset our mental programming and energy systems, our body-mind organisms, to the point where we can embark on meaningful self-transformation without being held back by the conditioning and bruises we’ve accumulated.

However, in themselves they are not self-transformation. They are not the once-and-for-all reconnect with divine love, a magical formula that will suddenly turn us into enlightened beings. And therein lies the problem. It is one of our culture’s propensities to look for the instant fix, the cure-all pill, the shortcut. This tendency has brought us some good things, even in the personal development world, part of which, after all, is precisely about “hacking” different aspects of life.

It can also lead us astray. If the undeniably powerful impact of energy healing leads us to treat it as the be-all and end-all of self-transformation, we are mistaking the foundation for the building, the starting line for the finish line.

And we do this because we lack one thing above all – strategic perspective, the whole “map” or self-transformation. That’s a problem we’ll be addressing shortly, so keep an eye out for it.

Most Authentic Ancient Traditions of self-transformation were well aware of energy healing- many modern energy healing systems can directly trace their roots to these methods, and Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine, Qigong and Yoga contain the legacies of that ancient and extensive knowledge of energy healing methods. However, no AAT ever made the mistake of saying that energy healing by itself could lead a person to self-transformation.

Rather, they recognised the need for a change of energy to be followed by a change of life. Without that day-to-day, moment-to-moment effort to change our thought patterns, our choices, the way we use our mind-body organism, we will inevitably end up in more or less the same state. To be different, we have to change. Yes, it sounds redundant, but that’s the point that people often seem to miss.

If our lifestyle inhibits our emotional and spiritual development, because, for example, we continue to think in terms of the Newtonian Worldview, we will continue to live in survival mode, secreting harmful levels of neurotransmitters such as adrenaline and cortisol into our systems.

Let’s say that I use EFT regularly to address a particular recurring issue. Maybe a co-worker consistently makes me angry, or I experience acute anxiety in a particular situation. I do EFT beforehand, and the problem seems to be under control. The thing is, this is a stopgap measure. I haven’t grown beyond the problem. It’s still there.

Don’t get me wrong- phobias and trauma-based reactions will often dissolve for good. Often, though, it is we ourselves who need to change before we can become the person who lives without the problem we’re trying to address. And that takes decision, resolve, and methodical effort. It takes establishing a pattern of life that is healthy for both body and mind. And that’s not easy.

So we all need to beware of mistaking the foundation for the building or the starting line for the finish line. By all means use whatever energy healing works for you, but remember that the critical aspects of mind-body reintegration, identifying your true self, overcoming the ego and much more can only be accomplished through the proper combination of making the commitment, applying the right methods and, above all, enjoying this joyous journey through time.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

Undergoing “The Reconnection”: a Personal Experience

“You need to turn around; you’ve got your head at the wrong end of my treatment table.” The words registered rather slowly, probably because I was horizontal and already VERY comfortable.  Not only that, it was already ten o’clock at night, we’d both had a long day plus the better part of bottle of red wine.

“You’re kidding, right?” I muttered as I slowly got up to spin around.  Kathy – my long-time business partner – flashed a devious grin and pointed to where my head should end up.  The she had me tuck my loose fitting martial arts pants around my legs, explaining that she would have to be able to see exactly where my hip, knee and ankle joints were during the session.  And finally, she placed small markers on my navel and lower ribs, completing the preparatory process.

 Kathy's treatment room

Kathy’s beautiful Treatment Room


I was about to voluntarily submit myself as a “guinea pig” for what is, by all accounts, a powerful new energy healing method pioneered by Dr. Eric Pearl.  Pearl himself is a chiropractor by training and the recipient of the channeled information that now constitutes what he calls “Reconnective Healing” (RH).  You can get some idea of what RH is said to be capable of by watching Dr. Pearl himself use it in the video below:



Just What is Reconnective Healing?

Rather than trying to tell you in my own words, which might be inaccurate, I’ll simply quote a more official and authoritative explanation:

“Reconnective Healing is a new form of healing that utilizes an entirely new band of healing frequencies that removes “interference” and returns the body, mind and spirit to balance, or “original design”. It is an all encompassing, comprehensive spectrum of frequencies made up of light, energy and information that effects change on a DNA level, allowing us to tap into our full human potential — into the “fullness” of who we are.

Reconnective Healing in fact transcends technique. It is not confined to the limitations of typical healing modalities that tend to diagnose, focus on symptoms and specific outcomes, or “treat”, but rather relies on the person’s innate intelligence to chose the highest and best direction the healing should take for the patient. With Reconnective Healing, we do not diagnose, treat or try to influence the outcome or end result of the session in any way. Instead, as practitioners we simply act as neutral conduits for source energy, allowing Divine intelligence to direct the healing session for the highest and best interest of the patient without interference from intention, judgement, or physical manipulation on the part of the practitioner.
While science continues to explore how Reconnective Healing actually works, Reconnective healing has been confirmed and documented in more than 12 international studies.

When Reconnective Healing® frequencies entrain with our energy bodies, research shows that they literally restructure our DNA, resulting in measurable increases in bio-photonic energy emissions from every cell in the body. These frequencies allow our DNA to vibrate at a higher rate and emit measurably higher levels of photonic light.

Dr. William Tiller, Stanford professor and contributor to the movie “What The Bleep Do We Know” conducted several studies on the Reconnective Healing frequencies and concluded that when the light (information) carried through the Reconnective Healing frequencies is introduced to the body, “greater coherence and order is achieved” (in other words, balance and harmony on a cellular level is experienced.)”


However, what I was about to experience was NOT a standard RH session.  Instead it was a very particular “ritual” or “treatment” called “THE RECONNECTION”, which you only receive once in your lifetime.

The Reconnection employs the same frequencies and so healing is a natural by-product, but unlike a standard RH session, The Reconnection is a very structured once in a lifetime experience (a ritual of sorts) that is performed over 2 days. Whereas a RH treatment acts more as a “healing session” and can be experienced multiple times, whenever the need arises, you only get The Reconnection once, because the latter is designed to literally reconnect the energetic structures of your body with those of planet earth.

Kathy’s journey to becoming a certified RH specialist had begun as recently as seven months before.  She had asked me to come down to Toronto one weekend to attend a business workshop she couldn’t attend.  She couldn’t come to it because she had already committed to her first ever RH training.  That evening, as a few of us sat down together in a local restaurant for a late supper, I said to her, “I did some online research into RH and it sounded pretty vague, kind of like “you wave your hands over me and I get better.'”

“Yeah, that pretty well covers it,” she replied with a laugh.

However, Kathy isn’t one to go in for fluff.  She cares deeply about getting results for people and facilitating transformation in their lives, and she believes that Reconnective Healing has given her a valuable tool that increases her ability to do that.

Kathy and Symeon 1

Kathy Williams with Dr. Symeon just before part-2 of The Reconnection


Did It Work for Me?

The claim would be that The Reconnection works exactly as it’s supposed to for each person, irrespective of what they did or did not feel or experience during the two part session.  While that might sound like an easy out, experience has shown repeatedly that our immediate reactions during any sort of treatment are a poor predictor of the real efficacy of the treatment or what the long-term results will be.

Because The Reconnection as a one-time event aims to restructure you energetically and “accelerate” your life path, its effects may only become evident over the longer term.  Sometimes people who felt nothing during or right after their Reconnection will turn around six months later in total awe at what they’ve accomplished, at how much their life circumstances have improved or at the health challenges they’ve overcome.

In any case, I really didn’t feel very much during that first evening session.  During the second part, the following afternoon, I did feel some pretty unusual physical sensations in my neck and my hands at certain points.  Kathy claims I actually had a nap on the table, but I deny that totally, of course 😉  I have to admit, though, that despite (or perhaps because of?) nearly forty years of energy work, I don’t usually experience anything unusual during energy healing sessions of any kind.  It could be for reasons similar to why I don’t experience much during a generic cleanse, whereas some people get quite “ill” while cleansing – if your system is relatively clear already, you won’t feel much.  Now, whether that analogy explains my muted reaction to undergoing The Reconnection is debatable, but it may.

I should note that although The Reconnection is sometimes called a “ritual”, you may not notice the ritual aspect at all.  While I don’t doubt it’s a sort or ritual for the practitioner (who is trying to maintain a reverent attitude and become a conduit for a universal energy), the recipient has his or her eyes closed and is totally passive during the entire procedure.  Of course, being flat on your back in a peaceful setting, in total silence with your eyes closed does cause some people to drift off into a sleep state.  That didn’t happen to me, of course, but it does to some 😉

If you follow this blog, you know the huge emphasis we put on evidence.  We do take the clinical studies and anecdotal accounts very seriously as evidence to be considered, of course, but we also like to test-drive energy healing methods to get a feel for them first hand before recommending them to our community.  Thanks to Kathy, I was able to do exactly that with The Reconnection.  How effective was it?  Ask me again in six months or so!

If you or anyone you know has had an experience with RH or The Reconnection, please feel free to let us know and we would be happy to share those in a future post.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger 🙂

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