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Natural Awakenings Healthy Living Magazine


By Brad May, Ph.D.

One can certainly argue that depression is part of the normal human experience. After the loss of a close relationship, perhaps it’s normal to be depressed. But what about those whose depression never lifts, long after the loss? Or those who seem to feel always depressed?

Is it a “chemical imbalance?” Or is it genetic? Genetics are not destiny. As someone once said, “Genetics deal the cards, but environment plays the hand.” These days, “playing the hand” refers to the emerging science of epigenetics— the lifestyle choices and experiences that tend to influence us. Or, even if depression is indeed a chemical imbalance, where does that come from? Perhaps it comes from the unresolved past.

Muscle testing can be used to access the relevant experiences in the past that have led to the present depression.

Muscle testing involves pushing down on the client’s forearm or pulling apart the client’s fingers, (when the middle finger and thumb are pressed together at the tips). The muscle(s) will either hold strong, meaning the arm doesn’t move much at all or the fingers remain together, or go weak, meaning the arm comes down or the fingers come apart. If the muscle test is preceded by a question, this curious phenomenon can be used to glean information from that deeper part of the client—whether you call it the unconscious, the inner self, or the higher self. These answers seem to bypass conscious filters and access a deeper truth. So what is revealed is not what they think, or the clinician thinks or what the client wants the clinician to think, but what is really so!

In Emotional Complex Clearing, a STRONG response means TRUE, and a WEAK response means FALSE. Also, if an experience is still a hot issue, so to speak, the muscle test result will be WEAK. If it is resolved, on the other hand, the response will be STRONG.

The total number of “hot issues” of significance that someone tests WEAK for then comprises their Target List.

Darlene was thirty-seven-year-old, extremely depressed, alcoholic, and close to losing her job. As revealed by muscle testing there were thirteen items on her Target List.


In the womb. Dad forced sex on Mom. Darlene experienced

great fear.

Age four. Dad slapped Mom. Darlene felt more fear.

Age six. She was physically and emotionally abused by her dad.

Age seven. Dad slapped Darlene. More fear and pain.

Age eight. Dad was physically abusing Mom. Darlene tried to rescue Mom and got hit as well.

Age ten. She and her brother went exploring on a camping trip. Her father, who couldn’t find them, thought they got lost, and flew into a rage when they returned. He threatened and belittled her.

Age twenty-five to twenty-seven. Her first husband was a “rage-aholic” and physically abusive to her. She left him.


Age seventeen. Her father died. She wrote a goodbye letter and read it to me.

Age twenty-one. Her close friend committed suicide.


Age nine. Playing with boys, she was tricked into exposing herself and was laughed at and humiliated.

Age eleven. A lecherous uncle hugged her repeatedly, pressing her close. She didn’t know how to deal with him.

Age twenty-one. She was raped by an acquaintance. She blamed herself for this.

Age twenty-two. She had an abusive sexual relationship with a boyfriend.

Over several sessions, we resolved all of these. Her goals for treatment included:

1. I take good care of myself

2. I accept other people just the way they are.

She muscle-tested weak on both of these at the start, indicating they were valid objectives, and strong on both at the end, confirming her progress. At the end of our work, with her depression gone, she commented: I’ve been in therapy five or six times. It was all just talk or taking tests. I used to lie to my therapist. That’s why I wanted to work with you-- you found a way of getting the truth.

This was truly amazing to me! My head is clearer, and people say I sound better. I feel not just relaxed, but relieved, and much more centered. Also, I’ve been able to say No without guilt, and that’s a new feeling for me.

At a two year follow up she was still sober and doing well.

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