The History of Emotional Transformation Therapy (ETT®)

Steven R. Vazquez, PhD

Founder of ETT


About the Founder

Steven R. Vazquez, PhD has been a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in the state of Texas for over 35 years.  He attended the University of North Texas where he received his BS in Education in 1970 and his MEd in Education and Sociology in 1974.  Dr. Vazquez completed graduate counseling / psychology courses at Texas Woman's University from 1975-1976.  He was an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Sociology at Tarrant County College from 1976-1984. Dr. Vazquez received his PhD in Counseling from Western Colorado University in 1981.

Dr. Vazquez has taught ETT in nine different countries and extensively in the United States. His work has been cited in several books and he has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed professional journals.

Dr. Vazquez now lives in Austin, Texas where he has a private practice.

The Origins Of ETT

Dr. Steven Vazquez is the founder and developer of Emotional Transformation Therapy (ETT®).  His intuition, ingenuity, and life experiences contributed to its discovery. Here are a few of the stories he shares that inspired him along the way. When my daughter was about 6 years old, I was putting her to bed one night, and read a story to her. Of course she wasn’t sleepy, so she said, “Daddy, would you please leave the light on and come back and check on me?” I said, “Okay.” In about 20 minutes, I came back to the room. She had a look of awe and wonder on her face. I asked what happened and she said she was lying in bed staring at the ceiling light, and she went into a dark tunnel and came out to this light. There was an uncle who died a year ago whom she saw as whole and complete and happy. There was a man, a neighbor of her grandmother, who died 6 months before. He was happy and complete. There was a cat that was lost and was happy and walking about. The grief of 3 losses was completed in this 20 minute span of time as she lay in bed staring at the ceiling light. It was pretty obvious something big had happened staring at the light, and these losses never bothered her again. I was curious and puzzled. How could staring at light produce anything like that? I didn’t do anything for well over a decade, yet I remembered it provoked a curiosity.

Some years later I met some optometrists from the College of Syntonic Optometry who did some work using colored light devices. Brian Brieling connected me with these people and Jacob Leibman. He was using the device to correct eyes, but noticed it changed emotion and affected other parts of the body. People would look at the device for 20 minutes at a time. It intrigued me, so I got my first device. I would gradually put clients on it. We would talk about the normal counseling process on the device, and I would gradually see results. A lady crippled with arthritis came to see me. I would put on this and that color and suddenly when I put on orange, all the pain stopped. I didn’t know how to select colors, but things would happen. It was random at first. I worked with 100 people before I had sharpened up a system that was precise and very accurate.

Over time I have gone through 5 different light devices. It was a long evolution of learning how it worked. I started with this optometric device, the lumatron, developed by John Downing. The Chromapulse Light Machine Models I and II were developed by Doug Fisher. The NeuroTheraLight and it’s digitally operated software is the brainchild of Matt Johnson who has worked closely with Dr. Timothy Hall to offer this most advanced system that ETTIA trained therapists use today.

About 1991 I read an article by Shapiro about EMDR published in 1989. I was on my way to do a workshop on energy medicine. I was in California in the San Francisco area. I was reading the EMDR article in the car, and got about half way through it, so I didn’t finish it. In the workshop, at one point an individual had a spontaneous birth regression, so I instinctively did eye movement, and it relieved the trauma. As a result of this experience, I started watching people’s eyes move and developed multidimensional eye movement (MDEM). By the time I knew of EMDR training, I had developed MDEM with color.

The Spectral Chart began when I was teaching in Germany in early 1990. I had some relationship problems disturbing me. I had one day off after teaching and was going to Neuschwanstein Castle, the one Disney used as inspiration for the castle in Sleeping Beauty. No one was with me on the train ride to the castle. As I was thinking about what was disturbing to me, I noticed the walls, pillars, everything were all one color at the station. The next station was another color. The next station was another color. The wall was right there outside my window, so as the train stopped, I processed what was going on at each station. By the time I got there, I was euphoric, so I was surprised. That was the discovery that led to using the spectral chart. I found a spectral chart while teaching in Norway, and had to trace down where they were. I began to use the chart based on my experience of looking at colors while in Germany. Who knew looking at colors could create that change? I had people look at the chart and focus on what they feel while talking about issues. Then I noticed they reported seeing changes in the color. Eventually I recognized that the changes had meaning. Later I found research about diminished light perception when people are depressed. I found documentation indicating that when people are disturbed, a visual perception change occurs. I had to dig out the scientific evidence of this. Spectral resonance developed that way.

Later the goggles originated. I was aware of a Harvard psychiatrist, Dr. Fred Schiffer, who developed glasses taped so that light only comes in on the right part of the eye. He had another pair of glasses taped so light comes in on the left part of the eye. He associated it with the left and right hemispheres of the brain. I found this intriguing, but wondered what would happen if light entered the eye at other angles like 6:00 or 12:00, etc. I originally had several pairs of goggle safety glasses. I would tape them, so only one spot was open to allow light in at a certain angle. The client would change goggles to allow light in at varying angles. Different things would come up at different angles of light exposure. How to use the goggles crystallized over time. Then I realized we could do this on the light box. I would have people look at different angles on it, and so I developed Peripheral Eye Stimulation.

These experiences are how we came to use 4 different techniques. ETT took a lot of trial and error, intuition, some ideas that didn’t work, and many that fortunately did work quite well.


Emotional Transformation Therapy (ETT®) is form of therapy that often rapidly alleviates emotional distress as well as physical pain which has been caused by that stress. The term “transformation” refers to the unusual degree of improvement that occurs when ETT facilitates change through the therapeutic use of light and/or color wavelengths. It is a non-drug approach that can bypass the intellect and directly relieve unresoldved emotions around personal conflicts. ETT coumbines the best of the new research on interpersonal therapy with new discoveries in visual brain stimulation.

ETT Professionals believe that therapy should be

  • Effective: focused on producing the client’s desired results
  • Thorough: completely resolving the client’s problems
  • Timely: brief therapy, often resolving problems in as a little a single session

The range of applications for ETT is enormous. Breakthroughs in treatment have been observed in relieving the following conditions:

• anxiety • marital conflicts • sexual addictions • ADHD • panic attacks • sleep problems • depression • phobias • substance addiction
• eating disorders • PTSD • weight loss • OCD • seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

ETT operates on the stress component of illness, injury, and physical pain. It has been observed to often relieve the symptoms of numerous physical chronic pain conditions such as the following:

• arthritis • irritable bowel syndrome • sciatica • fibromyalgia • low back pain • shoulder and neck pain • gout and neuropathy • migraine headaches • temperomandibular joint pain (TMJ)


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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Insurance Reimburse for ETT Therapy?

ETT is covered by insurance carriers that reimburse for psychotherapy fees by a licensed therapist.  One must be a licensed mental health profession to be eligible to receive training in ETT.  ETTIA certified therapist are required to provide proof of good standing with their licensure boards to remain certified ETT therapist.   It is also possible for you to receive therapy from a registered intern only when that intern is practicing under the supervision of a fully licensed therapist.

How Do I Find An ETTIA Certified Therapist Near Me?

Check the "Locate a Therapist" tab on this site for the name, address and phone number of an ETTIA member in your community.  You can also submit an inquiry to ETTIA from this website.

How Long Will My Treatment Last?

Overall, ETT treatment is considered a brief therapy approach. Many problematic symptoms have often been reduced and/or eliminated in a few sessions, sometimes even in a single session. Your personal therapy will always be uniquely predicated on your individual circumstances, history and symptoms.

Can I Have ETT Therapy if I’m on Medications?

Yes, medications are prescribed by your physician. ETT Therapists will often consult with your doctor to see that you receive the best therapeutic treatment for your condition. Depending on your individual circumstances, ETT treatment has often resulted in clients reducing and/or eliminating the need for their medications with the approval of their physician.

What Circumstances Would Prevent Me From Getting ETT Treatment?

For ETT treatment it is strongly recommended that you do not smoke for at least a few hours before your appointments. It is imperative that you also refrain from using alcohol and/or any recreational drugs for at least eight hours before your session. Utilizing your full conscious attention will produces the best treatment results.

Schedule an Introduction to ETT

ETT Teachers are available to present an Introduction to ETT for groups who are interested.  Contact ETTIA to arrange a presentation in your area.