How Does ETT Work?

ETT involves a certain type of empathetic interpersonal relationship between the client and the therapist. Each of us develops a characteristic way of relating to others that was originally influenced by our family of origin. These characteristic ways of relating are called “attachment patterns” for which there is now massive scientific research. These attachment patterns are responsible for the manner in which we regulate our emotions. Most psychological conditions are largely the result of inadequate emotional regulation. If a therapist understands a client’s attachment pattern, the therapist can interact with the client in ways that connect with the client effectively and actually influence improvement in brain function. Therefore, when a client happens to experience strong emotions, the therapist can guide him or her in ways that “contain” or change emotions.

Within this therapeutic relationship, visual brain stimulation can be used to relieve distress at rapid speeds. When light enters a person’s eyes, there are cells in the eyes called photoreceptors that convert what one sees into neural impulses. These impulses travel to almost every part of the brain and nervous system. If the therapist controls certain features of what the client sees, the direction and destination of the neural impulses can be precisely guided to the portions of the brain responsible for a certain symptom. When this process is guided well, the exact emotions, memories or thoughts responsible for a particular distress can be brought to complete relief in seconds, minutes or usually within a single session.

Many people wonder how light stimulation could possibly change chemical activity in the brain that is associated with emotional distress. Every cell in our bodies has integral membrane proteins (IMP). One class of these IMPs converts vibration such as light into biochemical signals. If a particular wavelength of light matches the targeted emotional or physical state, the experience of “resonance” is thought to occur. This principle can also be seen when one tuning fork vibrates and causes another tuning fork to also vibrate at the same rate. In the case of light resonating with emotion, the result is often a very rapid change in biochemistry and the conclusion of the targeted emotion.

It is common to feel confused after an ETT session because experiences may take place so quickly and strongly by a means that is unfamiliar to most people. How could looking at a light, a color or changing the angle at which light enters the eyes have such a strong effect? It is not commonly known that the system of nerves that carry out vision extends throughout the brain and nervous system. By carefully using this visual neural system in recently discovered ways, changes can be made that are quite striking. Therefore, it is important to trust the reality of your experience, not previous ideas about how therapy works or how your brain works.