I am an Advanced Practioner in a therapy called PSTEC and am often contacted by people who find me on the PSTEC Register wanting to know more “from the horses’ mouth” as it were. So, here’s my take on it. Apologies to Tim Phizackerley who created this wonderful therapeutic tool for any misrepresentations I might appear to be making to the purist view of how PSTEC works and how it should be used. These comments are based on my own experience and my own way of working.
OK, PSTEC stands for Percussive Suggestion Technique. It has been around for a couple of years now and marks a real advance in tapping therapy technique.
Without going into tedious detail, tapping therapy came into public view with the growth of EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique. This is a therapy whereby repeating a mantra such as “Even though I eat like a pig, I still completely love and respect myself” whilst tapping a number of acupunture points around the face, neck, chest and hand areas, helps the mind to process negative thoughts and feelings. This in turn leads to the elimination of negative self beliefs and behaviours and leads to a change in behaviour (in the case of the example above, a change in eating habits to a more healthy and controlled attitude towards food and eating). EFT works, I’ve proved that on myself, but I have never been happy with the acupuncture pressure point explanation. Although medical science reconises that these points exist and that they can be stimulate through use of needles, the idea that tapping “roughly in the area” a dozen times or so three times a day can bring about change has always bothered me. It seems to be imprecise and haphazard, even though I know it works!
PSTEC also uses tapping, but combines it with a number of other very effective therapeutic techiques, to form a treatment session which lasts c.13 minutes.
It involves the client tapping right or left hands,or both, on a hard surface as instructed by a recording made by Tim. Its cleverness comes in the way in which the recording is constructed. The client responds to tones representing left, right and both hands. So their mind is busy trying to remember which tone represents which hand. At the same time they are instructed to recall the event/emotion which is causing them distress and to keep that event/emotion strongly in mind as they follow the tones. On top of this, they listen to Tim speaking very quickly, using a combination of Ericksonian confusional language, NLP reframing, CBT-style logic language and a host of other things designed to bombard the mind with ideas and concepts which alter the mind set of the client, their perception of their problem and emotional response to it. All the while they are also trying to remember which hand is represented by which tone and trying to follow the tapping patterns of the random and rapidly changing tones. If this sounds exhausting, it is! After 13 minutes, a client begins to feel fatigued and is only too glad to stop. We might do two or three rounds of tapping, taking a new score at the end of each round, before using hypnosis to reinforce the gains made during the session.
The remarkable thing is, that it we score the anxiety/fear caused by the thought of driving a car again after a serious accident at 10 out 10 (zero = not at all worried about driving; 10 = too terrified to get back in the driving seat), after one 13 minute round, the fear will often have dropped to perhaps 7. After another round it might have dropped further to 4. And these changes are more or less permanent.
PSTEC works because the client’s mind has processed their negative thoughts and emotions and released feelings of fear/anxiety/anger etc, during the struggle to follow the instructions on the CD. Tim generously allows anyone to download this great therapy to try it for themselves. You can find it at http://www.pstec.org.
Whilst working alone, without a therapist, can work for a number of people, the calls I receive tend to be from people who’ve tried it on themselves and for whom it hasn’t worked. They understandably want to know what they are doing wrong.
The answer can take a number of forms – some are just being too impatient and not using it enough times or with enough frequency or enough energy to deal with their issues thoroughly. Others have not correctly identified the issues or the emotions which need to be dealt with (sometimes people are just too scared to approach the real deep underlying emotional problem and so focus on one they feel more able face. As a result, of course, the therapy doesn’t do what they want it to). Others just don’t want to lose their problem; they are identified by it; they get secondary gains from it – agoraphobia is an illness which stops sufferers from going out, socialising, visit friends and relations. It’s a horrible and suffocating problem. But for some, it also carries the secondary, subconscious gains of not having to struggle to earn a living, deal with difficult people, deal with difficult situations. They are not CONSCIOUSLY doing this, It is simply their unconscious mind trying to protect the individual from harm or further stress. So it won’t let go of it without additional stimulus.
As a result, I usually recommend that people who have not been successful with PSTEC on their own find a local practitioner who can use PSTEC plus other therapeutic interventions in combination.]
With my own clients, I use PSTEC for anyone suffering from stress or trauma. But before we begin, we examine the causes and effects of the emotions and thoughts created by the trauma, sort through the mental debris left by the event and isolate the most powerful feelings. Often, these are not the one’s the client presented with at the beginning. Fear might become anger during discussion. Or anger might become regret. By identifying and dealing with the right emotion, PSTEC is a powerful weapon in the therapist’s armoury.
In three years, I’ve never had a negative reaction to it (though sometime I’ve had a reaction I didn’t expect!), and every time it has helped a client to lower their levels of anxiety, fear, anger, or whatever their life is being dominated by.