The most common question I get about IEMT is, "Is it ok (or safe) to use IEMT on X" where X is an exotic, unusual or condition that is uncommon to the therapy room. So I thought it timely to write a piece regarding this question to help clarify the issues.
In short, and you may not like this, but if you need to ask the question in the first place, the answer is a resounding "NO! No it isn’t safe." Or, if we add in the referential index, "NO, it isn’t safe, for you, to use this technique, on that thing."
IEMT training is brief, mostly just two days. It is not a license to be a psychotherapist nor does the training presume to make a person such. Other experience, supervision and training may well be needed by the majority of people.
To give an example, "Is it safe to use IEMT on a person who is epileptic?" my answer will always be "NO". But that said, I have no hesitation in doing such myself. Why? Because I have an extensive background working in neurology and neurosurgery and am extremely adept and confident in dealing with all types of seizure and know how to respond should a seizure occur. If you do not have this experience, then you should not do this.
This is my position on any condition one may name. If I have the competency to deal with it should it arise, it will not preclude the client from my clinical practice. If I do not have the competency, then I will need to calculate the following: Is the session likely to worsen or trigger the condition, or interfere with the concurrent treatment the client may be receiving? If the answer is "yes, it might" then obviously I won’t be using IEMT. If the answer is "I don’t know"” then this will mean that I am most unlikely to be using IEMT with that client at all.
It is the vestibular disorders and ocular conditions that are the on immediate exclusion conditions for IEMT and are on the banned list for IEMT practitioners. For more information on this and other exclusions, please click here (opens in new window).
But for all other conditions, the main problem is one of misattribution. For example, if you see enough clients over a long enough period then a person without any history of a particular disorder will develop it during or immediately after an IEMT session. IEMT is unusual in terms of its appearance in psychotherapy when compared to merely talking things through and so it will stand out as the unusual event that preceded the onset of symptoms.
It would be easy for a person to make the attribution that the IEMT was the causative trigger for the symptom onset. To date, this has not yet happened, but we can be certain that eventually it will.
Should this happen and proceed to litigation, then the practitioner will have some very awkward questions to answer in court:
- are you a qualified psychotherapist? (chances are, you aren’t)
- how long was your training? (two days! You can imagine how that will look, right?)
- do you have supervised clinical or medical experience? (probably not)
- Is IEMT proven by clinical research to be safe? (it isn’t, at least not yet)
You can also be certain that the manner in which you represent yourself on your advertising and website will also be scrutinised closely - i.e. what claims do you make, how do you inflate your own status, experience and competency, and so on.
You can see how this will go. It won’t be pretty.
It is for these reasons that whenever a person asks me, "is it ok to use IEMT on X condition" or "Is it safe to use IEMT on a person who has X condition" my answer will always be NO.
At the Association we are very keen to collect any reports of adverse events that occur during or following IEMT work. So far the only adverse events that reported have been mild and transitory nausea and dizziness occurring early in the session during/following the first round or two of eye movements. This is not uncommon in IEMT training where it is often treated as a manifestation of the 3 stage abreaction. There has been one full seizure that has occurred during one of my own trainings in the early days of development. Unknown to myself the trainee had a history of pseudoseizures and there were no complications to what was an ordinary medico-psychiatric event.
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