The Successive Point Process

Willem Lammers © 1999

In this article, a new meridian-based psychotherapy method is described, the Single Point Process. It is a very effective integration of a number of so-called power therapies like TFT, EMDR, EFT and BSFF, with a number of specific additions based on acupuncture knowledge and Lipke's model of information processing.

Individuals normally process information to reach a state of adaptation. This processing can be blocked, especially by traumatic events and consequent dysfunctional beliefs. Emotional, cognitive and psychosomatic symptoms may be the result of such processing blocks.

The Successive Point Process (SPP) helps clients in reprocessing dysfunctionally held information: maladaptive beliefs, thoughts, behaviour, emotions, sensations, painful intrusive images. The process also helps clients to acquire and process new information to enhance adaptive functioning.

The SPP takes place within the context of a psychotherapeutic relationship, which establishes contact and reduces anxiety, recognises the positive intention of the client, frames the learning goal and allows learning, and helps with the integration of learning experiences into the future. The client is informed about the dynamics behind the procedure and the method itself.

SPP starts by bringing already stored information into awareness. This information may come from declarative memory systems (events, dates, facts), conditioned emotional responses and behaviour from non-declarative systems.

Examples are: a memory of a specific real event, a principle, a rule, a bodily sensation, an emotion, fantasies or beliefs — what could have happened? what is going to happen? Psychotherapy systems focus on different types of information. SPP focuses on concrete memories, as well as emotions and beliefs.

Successful information processing between brain networks leads to adaptive transformation, as described by Lipke (you find a copy of his article under In therapy methods like EMDR, TFT and EFT, painful nonadaptive information can be reprocessed very rapidly, with the same speed as such maladaptive elements were acquired. The MPC Successive Point Process is an extremely gentle variation of this type of process. The treatment may go on for a longer time, usually up to an hour and a half for a first session and an hour for consecutive sessions. It is a synthesis of various meridian-based psychotherapy methods with EMDR/CB procedures, surrogate diagnosis and consecutive tapping of a number of single treatment points. SPP is recommended for issues not clearly defined, highly uncomfortable, or resulting from beliefs rather than emotions. It is indicated in situations which would take many rounds of tapping or many sets of eye movements. It's also indicated for clients in unstable situations, with whom abreactions can be expected when working with EMDR. A therapist can treat large numbers of aspects without explicitly defining them. Neurologically, SPP matches the associative, network structure of the brain, jumping from issue to issue and finally dissolving the problem completely. Separate treatment of psychological reversal, as in TFT and EFT, is not necessary. Reversal issues are part of the continuing process and their treatment is integrated.

The process is comparable to EMDR and to Larry Nims' BSFF in the way issues show up and are treated. The client stays in full contact with the psychotherapist and is not confined to a narrow state of consciousness as may be the case in EMDR treatment. In working with trauma the client doesn’t need to focus on the traumatic event itself: The memory is just the point to depart from and return to after treatment. In some cases, this may prevent retraumatisation. The deep, small steps give the client the opportunity to let go of traumatic or irrelevant material rather easily, without cognitive interference or psychological reversal.

SPP works on the base of bodily sensations connected to memories and beliefs. Traumatic events exist as conditioned responses without words or images at the level of the amygdala in the brain. A trauma is healed when the body doesn't react to the memory of the actual event anymore and information is processed in the hippocampus and higher centers.

The process is done in cycles. Each cycle requires accessing of an inner state of the client, naming the inner state, diagnosing an acupuncture point according to the state and the treatment of this state by tapping or touching this point. By tapping or touching, the information seems to be reprocessed. The cycle is repeated until the issue of the client has cleared up.

The treatment may use all 13 classical TFT points, or the yang triad: St-1 (under the eye), Bl-2 (end of the eyebrow) and GB-1 (side of the eye). The points can be diagnosed by muscle testing or by surrogate diagnosis by means of the ideomotor response or the O-ring method as used in Applied Kinesiology.

Starting procedure:

Note that you have three measurement instruments for the severity of the issue of the client: the SUDs, the value of the PC and the bodily symptom.

Treatment departs from the bodily symptom. The PC and the SUD scores are used to evaluate the process. The process is finished when the body symptoms associated with the issue have vanished, the validity of the PC has gone to a 6 or 7 and the SUD scores have reached a level under 3, which may correspond to a "normal" discomfort connected to unpleasant memories.

Diagnosis & treatment cycle:

Every experience, thought, emotion, belief or sensation is a valid new step in the process. This is also true for signs of resistance, like "I don't know where this is leading to!". Don't discuss new aspects, just find a name to catch its essence.

Options if the client reports no change:

Finishing steps:

Willem Lammers


Bahnhofstrasse 17

CH-7304 Maienfeld