In Consultation


In Consultation

Teaching Couples to Tap

By David Feinstein

September/October 2016


Q: I’ve heard about energy psychology and the use of tapping with PTSD, phobias, and depression. Can this approach be extended to issues that commonly come up in couples therapy?

A: As you know, but others may not, tapping refers to the stimulation of acupuncture points (acupoints), by tapping on them, as part of a self-help technique or as a component of psychotherapy. Phrases or images that mentally activate a difficult memory, a problematic emotional or behavioral response, or a desired outcome accompany the tapping, which involves the client firmly tapping for about 5 to 10 seconds each on about a dozen acupoints. Techniques designed to facilitate left–right hemispheric integration, such as humming and counting, are also often part of the protocol. Self-reported shifts in emotional and physiological states (rated on a 0 to 10 scale and taken many times in a single session) guide the therapist in forming the words and imagery that will accompany the next round of tapping.

So the short answer to your question is absolutely. Couples therapy provides a rich context for acupoint tapping, both in the office and as a tool to use at home. The primary psychotherapeutic effect of acupoint tapping is the rapid reduction of limbic system arousal, but its applications are varied. As a back-home tool, for instance, you can teach a couple to use tapping when either partner feels an interaction is becoming uncomfortably charged. At that…

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Sunday, October 23, 2016 12:00:41 PM | posted by Pamela
I have personally experienced the benefits of tapping for myself, and find it a useful tool. I am wondering if you, David, have ever used it to address sex addictions, whether with individual clients or as part of a couples therapy. I would be very interested in learning if your experience with this. Thank you.