Daniel J. Benor, MD, ABIHM discusses the therapeutic benefits of his hybrid technique, “WHEE” (Wholistic Hybrid derived from EMDR and EFT).

by Daniel J. Benor, MD, ABIHM


I have come to understand how pain can be a friend rather than an enemy, over the 40 years of my clinical practice in the US, Israel, England and now in Canada. I trained as a psychiatric psychotherapist 35 years ago, when psychiatry was all about helping people sort out their lives through talking therapies. Over the years, I was distressed to see my profession shift to being all about prescribing medications. I was even more distressed as managed care whittled away the time available for client sessions from 50 minutes once or twice a week to 15-20 minutes once a month.

I refused to bend under the pressures of modern psychiatry – to relinquish doing psychotherapy and only focus on medications. I constantly sought to develop ways of providing brief psychotherapy along with the medications I was increasingly pressured to prescribe, but was unable within the limited timeframes allowed by insurance companies in the US to use the psychodynamic approaches I was taught as a psychiatric resident. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR – see: www.emdr.org) was a blessing to me, as well as to my clients. I was able to use EMDR particularly with children who had post-traumatic stress disorders, because children respond very quickly to this approach – not having barnacles on their problems like adults do. I also used EMDR to de-stress myself.

With adults, it is recommended that EMDR should be used only during sessions with the therapist. This is to prevent being overwhelmed by intense emotional abreactions that can occur during treatment. I worried, therefore, that there might be intense emotional releases that could be traumatic to my clients, and did not suggest that they use EMDR at home.

I then learned to use the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) of Gary Craig (www.emofree.com). In EFT you tap or press a finger at a series of acupuncture points on your face, chest and hand, while reciting an affirmation. Because it works more rapidly than EMDR and does not evoke intense emotional releases, it can be used as self-healing for stress and distress.

I had difficulty getting client compliance with EFT. Because it requires tapping on a long series of acupressure points, clients would get frustrated when they were upset and most needed the stress relief – but could not recall the sequence of points to press.

I then discovered ways to blend elements of EMDR (alternating tapping the eyebrow points (on either side of the bridge of the nose) with elements of EFT (reciting an affirmation). I found that this works just as well as the entire series of EFT points. Ever conscious of my time limitations, I immediately started exploring this hybrid approach. I now call this the Wholistic Hybrid derived from EMDR and EFT, or WHEE.

Further explorations led to other helpful variations in using WHEE. EMDR suggests the use of a “butterfly hug” as one of its self-treatment interventions, particularly for children: Your arms are crossed so that your hands rest on your biceps muscles, and you alternate tapping on each arm with your hands. Instead of tapping at the eyebrows, I often have children and parents use the butterfly hug with the affirmation. Many find the self-hug comforting, in addition to being highly effective in combination with the affirmation.

Clinical experiences with WHEE for pains

I found that WHEE is outstanding in relieving pains of all sorts.

WHEE has been hugely successful for several reasons.

  • It takes a fraction of the time that EFT requires.
  • It allows for much greater flexibility in working on target problems within the session because it is so rapid. If the child is successful but the parent is not, or vice versa, there is plenty of time to explore alternative target symptoms or alternative methods of addressing these.
  • It is better accepted and the compliance outside the therapy room is much higher because of this simplicity.
  • It works marvelously well and rapidly on pains, and is excellent for allergies, though it may take several days to be effective for the latter.
  • It is tremendously empowering, as it is so simple and so rapidly effective in self-healing.
  • It taps into (pardon the pun) the excellent research database of EMDR, providing greater confidence to professional colleagues when I explain what I am doing with clients.

Generic affirmation:

“Even though I have this [anxiety, panic, fear, etc.” – be specific when filling in the blank], “I completely and totally love and accept myself [or use whatever strong positive statement suits you best at the time you need it].”

Prior to doing this self-healing technique, it is helpful to assess how strong the negative feeling is that you want to address. The most commonly used scale is the Subjective Units of Distress Scale (SUDS), where you rate it on a scale from 0 (not bothering you at all) to 10 (the worst it could possibly feel).

After tapping for a few minutes, check the SUDS again. It will usually go down. Repeat the assessing and tappng until it is zero. Then you can build up a positive affirmation to replace the negative, simply stating the positive as you tap.

WHEE for pains

To my surprise, and to the delight of clients, WHEE has proven to be an easily learned and used, potent, quickly effective, self healing method that relieves pains of all sorts within minutes, along with associated stress and distress. Once you know this method, you can treat your own pains and stress any time this is needed. The effects of WHEE are rapid, deep and lasting.

Here are some examples of people who have responded well to WHEE:

– Lucia is a nurse who suffered lingering pain for two years following surgical repair of her hamstring muscles, after tearing them while wind surfing. Using WHEE for 20 minutes, her pains were cleared. If they return with exertion or tiredness, she continues able to clear them very quickly with WHEE.

WHEE has been marvelously helpful to people with pains from tension headaches, migraines, backaches, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, physical trauma and surgery, fibromyalgia, cancer and more.

– ‘Terry’ had a fear of driving her car over bridges, following a serious auto accident she had witnessed on a bridge four years earlier. Using WHEE, she was able to release both of these fears in a single one-hour session. Her anxieties about driving on bridges were permanently cleared. She had a slight recurrence of her driving fear when she passed the scene of the accident, but was able to clear this rapidly by using WHEE on her own.

WHEE is wonderful for emotional pains. WHEE can relieve anxieties, fears, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), even when these have been present for many years. People in their later years in life have been astounded at how deeply WHEE clears residues from childhood traumas.

– Ramona suffered from a childhood post traumatic stress disorder due to abuse. She reported, following a WHEE workshop, “I can’t believe that in less than one hour using the tapping,  affirmations and coaching WHEE allowed me to move from a place of fear, anger and grief with regards to the abuse to one of forgiving myself.  That is a place in all my therapies that I have never been.  To finally be able to say after struggling with this ‘I love and accept myself, wholly and completely’ at the end of the process fills me with gratitude.  Even when I write this letter I feel emotional but joy for this healing. The night following my experience I couldn’t sleep as all I wanted to do was tap every part of me, so I got up and journaled. Thank you for WHEE.  Your workbook will be my guide for peeling my onion, it’s a sweet Vidalia.”

Children learn WHEE and respond more quickly than adults, as they have not grown barnacles on their problems. They will use WHEE for self-calming when worried or upset, as with nightmares, exam anxieties, and worries about speaking in public.

WHEE is different from conventional medical care, which addresses the symptoms and illnesses a person has. WHEE addresses the person who has the symptoms.

Readers can check how the WHEE process works for themselves, following instructions on my website (www.WholisticHealingResearch.com/WHEE_procedures.html). People have been amazed at the simplicity of the WHEE process. Technically it is as simple as dipping a brush in paint. Yet it is elegantly simple, and its many and varied applications require careful study and understanding, as does the process of painting a masterpiece.

Helpful websites

EMDR  www.emdr.com   See references and meta-analyses of research, and details of organizations (e.g. the American Psychiatric Association) which acknowledge EMDR as equivalent to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for severe stress and post traumatic stress disorder.

EFT  www.emofree.com See references for early research and lists of anecdotal reports of diverse problems where EFT has demonstrated benefits.

WHEE www.wholistichealingresearch.com/wheearticles See articles detailing benefits of WHEE for treatment of pains and problems of children, soldiers and others in transition and stress.

Benor Daniel J., 7 Minutes to Natural Pain Release: WHEE for Tapping Your Pain Away – The Revolutionary New Self-Healing Method, Fulton, CA: Energy Psychology Press (in press, August 2008). www.wholistichealingresearch.com/paintap

Dr. Benor will be giving lectures and workshops in Calgary at the Uniting Healers Worldwide Conference; the Prema Sai Holistic Living Centre care@premasai.ca and More on WHEE at http://www.WholisticHealingResearch.com/WHEEarticlesl.html.

For tutorials by phone or for a personal session contact

Daniel J. Benor, MD
Editor, International Journal of Healing and Caring www.ijhc.org