Tune in to this week's episode on The Sensitive CEO Show where I have a wonderful conversation with Dawson Church.
Dawson Church, PhD, is an award-winning science writer with three best-selling books to his credit. The Genie in Your Genes was the first book to demonstrate that emotions drive gene expression. Mind to Matter showed that the brain creates much of what we think of as “objective reality.” Bliss Brain demonstrates that peak mental states rapidly remodel the brain for happiness.
Dr. Church did his undergraduate and graduate work at Baylor University, and obtained his doctorate at Holos University under the supervision of Harvard-trained neurosurgeon Norm Shealey, MD, PhD, founder of the American Holistic Medical Association.
Dr. Church has conducted dozens of clinical trials and founded the National Institute for Integrative Healthcare to study and implement promising evidence-based psychological and medical techniques. Its largest program, the Veterans Stress Project, has offered free treatment to over 20,000 veterans with PTSD over the past decade.
His groundbreaking research has been published in many prestigious scientific journals. Dawson Church is the editor of Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, & Treatment, a peer-reviewed professional journal.
He shares how to apply these breakthroughs to health and athletic performance through EFTUniverse.com, one of the most-visited alternative healing sites on the web.
💝 Key Takeaways
📚 Resources Mentioned
🔗 Where You Can Find Dawson
🌹 Rose's Resources
Ep#49 - Supporting Sensitive CEOs using EFT for Confidence, Abundance, Mindset and Other Goals - Dawson Church
Rose: Hey, it's Rose and welcome to another episode of the Sensitive CEO Show. And in this week's episode, it's my pleasure to introduce you to Dr. Dawson Church. Dr. Church is an award-winning science writer with three bestselling books to his credit, including the Genie in Your Genes Mind to Matter, and Bliss Brain.
Dr. Church founded the National Institute for Integrative Healthcare and EFT universe.com, which is one of the most visited alternative healing sites on the internet. Welcome, Dawson. Wonderful to talk with you today.
Dawson: Rose, what a pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Rose: And before we hit record, I was telling you that I loved your book Mind to Matter, and I'm looking forward to reading your other book, Bliss Brain. I think something I loved about Mind to Matter was all the research that went into it and all the science behind it, which I just thought was absolutely fascinating.
Dawson: Well, I was so surprised, you know, because when I first began working on the book, it began as a series of podcasts and I thought, I, I knew there was some evidence to suggest that our minds actually are instrumental in creating what we think of as, as the reality outside of ourselves, and certainly our brains are in all kinds of ways. But what I was so surprised to find in the book was that when I trace the science behind every step from Mind to Matter, we can show, demonstrate, prove every single link of that chain from mind to matter scientifically with really good experiments.
So, that was the big surprise, is that this is not just a metaphysical idea, it's a scientific fact.
Rose: Amazing. so I know that EFT is a big part of your life. For those who are unfamiliar with EFT, can you please explain what it is and how it works?
Dawson: EFT is a stress reduction method, Rose, and what it uses is a number of really effective therapies.
So we use techniques from cognitive therapy and exposure therapy, and exposure therapy is remembering things that happened that upset you, that traumatized you, that disappointed you. That give rise to negative emotion. And so most of us don't really wanna dwell on the bad things of our lives, and exposure therapy actually has you really focus on them.
But while you are doing that, you're throwing in an additional component, which is the regulation of your energy system. And so we have people tap with their fingertips on. Acupressure points. Now this tapping produces rapid shifts in the brain. So when you think about the bad stuff, which again, you'd rather not do, but we request you do in EFT, we find that the emotional part of the brain is highly triggered.
And so you see the limbic system, the midbrain, become really active on EEG scans when people are processing negative memories. When they start to tap, it's like a miracle. I had some neuroscientists with me this last weekend who have done thousands of brain scans and they did their first ones with EFT many, many years ago, like about 15 years ago.
And they said when they first saw brain scans of people tapping, they'd never seen anything like it. That emotional brain, that midbrain just calms down in a few moments. And the reason it does that is because the pressure on the acupuncture points produces a safety signal going to our brains. So the bad memory is producing the stress response fight or flight response, and then at the same time, the second signal is coming into the brain saying, you're safe.
I'm tapping on acupressure points. I'm regulating the body's energy flows, and that second signal tells the body, tells the brain that this traumatic event is not a threat to your survival. It's not a reason to go to fight or flight. And you break that association one time.
Like we worked with over 20,000 veterans with PTSD and they have absolutely tragic stories to tell very often childhood trauma and then combat trauma, just things that are about as terrible as a human being would ever, ever witness. And yet, when they tap, often they tap into EFT, applying accupressure while remembering those traumas, their levels of emotional triggering go way down.
And they stayed out as well. So it's really powerful and that's the way EFT works. And again, we've now done randomized controlled trial showing that in only six sessions it, it reduces or eliminates the PTSD symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts and hypervigilance. So it's really remarkable and swift therapy technique.
Rose: Wow. And I know that your EFT universe, you train EFT practitioners. Can you share a little bit about that please, Dawson?
Dawson: Yeah. We have a one year training program and we've trained thousands of practitioners over the last 15 years, and it's really great to see people stumble into energy therapies initially.
And if you're used to talk therapy or pharmacology or externally, effective therapies, it's really a shock to see that when you adjust the body's energies, when you regulate the energy system, that all of these things, things shift. But here we have, we have a one year training program in EFT, and we bring people in from all walks of life.
Many of them are therapists already, all the life coaches, but we have bus drivers and hairdressers and all kinds of other professions who come into certification, give 'em the thorough science-based training. After a year they graduate, they go on to work with other people. Many of them work with hospitals and clinics and corporations and other places as well.
A lot of them work with refugees, people who are the victims of natural disasters and are able to make a radical difference. Like one of our volunteer teams was in Haiti. And they were working with a little girl whose mother had died in an earthquake. And this little little girl who's 10 years old, hadn't spoken for three years since the earthquake.
She was so traumatized by her mother being killed in the earthquake. And in fact, the girl had been trapped in the rubble for three days, three days off of the earthquake with her mother's body. And so the, the, this little girl had been totally traumatized, hadn't spoken for the next three years. And as she taps as she does this acupressure base technique, she begins talking again after treatment. She's running around with the other kids, smiling and laughing, and her whole energy has changed.
So it's just amazing to see, examples like that from, from refugee centers, from disaster zones, from people with PTSD and also people, the ordinary people, people in offices who are stressed, children. There is a lot of EFT going on now with children, especially in school, to deal with social anxiety, test anxiety, all the stressors that they experience in school, and it makes a radical difference to their, their wellbeing.
Rose: And how rewarding to be able to make such a difference, especially to that little girl in Haiti. Gosh. must be so rewarding as a career and as a practitioner doing that sort of work.
Dawson: It is, and it's also a somewhat baffling Rose, because you see these shifts happen and they seem like magic. It, you know, watch somebody who's, who's been shouldering this burden of traumatic stress from their childhood and been carrying this heavy load around for 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years, and then they tap and sometimes literally it just falls off.
One woman who's a therapist, I've worked with her on stage at the big conference and, she'd been abused as a child, and, she, she tapped, You just saw her body shift, her body language start to change. And after this long tapping session with me, after we tapped and done that simulation of the pressure points, while she worked on the childhood abuse, she stood up in front of the whole audience and she said nothing that man could do could take away my joy. 15 years of abuse. And I was joyful before underneath the abuse. I was joyful then. I am joyful and grateful now. And so she stood up in front of the audience and said that to the whole group. And so she turned her story of 15 years of abuse as a child into the story of triumph and, and resilience as an adult.
Now, I'm getting chills this very moment as I, I tell the story as I remember this, this woman and you, you see these miracles as a practitioner every day, and it's, it's just a remarkable profession to be in, to be an EFT practitioner and, and just the, the kind of, of, of satisfaction you get. Another woman that actually had me, a friend of mine, is just emailed me in desperation. She was going on stage and had a lot of stage fright a couple of weeks ago, and she just texted me today and said, Dawson, I'm so grateful. All my stage fright went away. I did a great presentation and I felt wonderful ever since. So, yeah, you really are, are grateful to make those kinds of impacts in the lives of people.
Rose: And I guess it's the ripple effect as well, isn't it? You are helping that one person, but then in the example of the lady who got on stage, imagine all the people she would've impacted by sharing her talk. So yes, it's wonderful.
Dawson: Ripple effect, yes. And in my book, Mind to Matter, I talk about something called emotional contagion.
And we all know what contagion looks like because covid spread worldwide and killed a lot of people. So, epidemiologists study the spread of infectious diseases and they've now begun to apply those models of analysis to emotion and they find that emotions are infectious. If I'm happy, this is a long writing study called The Framing of Heart Study.
It shows that if I am happy, The chances that my neighbor is happy, my next door neighbor where I live is happy, is about 35% higher, and that person's neighbor is about 15% more likely to be happy. And that person's neighbor, who I don't even know, is about 6% more likely to be happy. So, misery loves company as the old saying goes. And misery is also contagious. Happiness is actually more contagious than misery.
Rose: That's wonderful. What a wonderful contagion to have. Happiness. I love that.
Dawson: Go spread the happiness bug.
Rose: Yeah, definitely. Yeah. That's a good one to spread.
I would love you to share some of the science behind the mindset and the modalities that support EFT Please Dawson.
Dawson: Well, science can be identified in several different ways in terms of how it affects our bodies. So I mentioned the emotional brain, the midbrain. Mm-hmm. And how that gets quiet after we have another, set of studies I was involved with that looked at gene expression.
So we all have these genes, 25,000 or so genes and whether you have the gene or not is less important than whether the gene is turned on or expressed or not. So either genes are expressed or they're suppressed or silenced, and so they're people with cancer genes, they're people with heart disease genes, people with Alzheimer's genes, and unless those genes are expressed, they never get those diseases.
So what we looked at with EFT was what the effect was on gene expression. After you do the EFT acupressure tapping, and it turns out that it's very substantial. In one study I did with veterans with PTSD, we found that after 10 eef T sessions, ten one hour sessions, their anxiety dropped dramatically, their depression dropped. Their PTSD symptoms dropped by more than half, but their gene expression changed radically, and we found genes that regulate inflammation were turned on, and inflammation is a really big problem throughout your whole body. And those inflammation genes were, were highly expressed after EFT and also, genes that boost your immune system were highly expressed.
So here we're getting these changes physiologically as well as the neurological changes with the brain shifts. In another study the researcher found that after a one hour EFT session, 72 genes were dialed up. Genes that combat. Throat cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, lower abdominal cancer genes that help the brain signaling pathways become stronger and better at conducting signals, genes that protect the sun.
Your, your, your skin from the sun's, ultraviolet rays, genes to do with cell metabolism. You have cell metabolism. It improves after EFT genes. That code for. Fertility, both male fertility and female fertility. All of these genes being improved by that EFT session. So yeah, the science by EFT is remarkable and there's a lot of it.
There are over 200 studies of EFT and it shows that it's having these effects on your mind. Again, mind to matter. Our minds change. We feel happier, we feel more resourceful, more resilient. We feel more content, and you just know how your body feels way better after you get happier. And so those effects spread throughout your gene expression, throughout your hormones, your stress hormones go down, your cell repair hormones go up, and then your whole nervous system functions differently.
You're much happier and more calm if you use EFT and the other kinds of methods like meditation I talk about in the book.
Rose: Amazing, amazing. I trained in RTT Rapid Transformational Therapy with Marissa Pier, and I know there are a lot of wonderful ways to help with the genes and to help with cells, like tell the cells what to do and how to, how to behave and how to look after your body.
And inflammation, as you say, is such a, well, it's the root cause of pretty much every illness and disease that we have in our bodies.
Dawson: Accelerates aging, accelerates disease. Yep.
Rose: Yeah, yeah. Now Dawson, you very kindly offered to share a process with the audience today.
Dawson: Yeah, I wanted to share something simple and my book Mind Matter has about 30 different stress reduction techniques.
I teach these, we do classes on them, and EFT takes a couple of minutes to do. You have to be guided through it. It's very visual, you have to see where the points are. So I wanted to pick something easy and Rose, this is about as easy as it gets, and so I'll have. Dood little test right now. So you do this Rose.
And everyone listening, you do the same little test. So think about something that happened in the last two weeks that bothered you emotionally, that triggered you emotionally. Some event that happened, a very recent event. Make sure it's fresh in your mind. So some event that happened. And the start, middle and end happened in the last two weeks.
What is the event? And then just, just maybe give it a label. So it could have been the argument, it could be waiting in line, it could be bad grade, whatever it might be. So just give your little event, your event, a little name, a title, and now score your event. On a scale of zero to 10 in terms of how triggering it is, how, how triggered are you thinking about the event right now?
So, Rose, don't tell me what your event was. Just tell me your title.
Dawson: Boundaries. Okay. Yeah. And what's your number? Zero through 10.
Rose: Seven? Mm-hmm. Boundary seven. So, Rose, do something very simple right now. I want you to relax your tongue. On the floor of your mouth. Normally our tongues are rigid and they're often against the roof of our mouths.
Dawson: I want you to relax your tongue on the floor of your mouth. Okay? So relax your tongue. Think about that event, recent event, which you labeled boundaries. Keep your tongue relaxed. I'll keep it totally relaxed. And see what number you are while keeping your tongue totally relaxed.
Rose: It's four.
Dawson: A four, okay. Now think about it again. Try and get. A higher number, but keep your tongue relaxed. See if you can get any higher than a four, and the chances are you won't be able to get any higher than a four, and it may even start to drop more because that stimulates a nerve system called the vagus nerve, which is responsible for our parasympathetic system, which governs relaxation. So we trigger our relaxation system just by relaxing our tongue. It's that simple. So EFT, relaxing the tongue. There are many simple therapies that shift our bodies physiologically and make us a lot less stressed.
Rose: Thank you for sharing that, and that's something that I can, well, everyone listening can redo when different issues come up.
So it's wonderful. Thank you, Dawson. I would love you to share how EFT can help sensitive CEOs overcome challenges related to confidence and mindset.
Dawson: Well, I'm one of them. I am what psychologists call conflict avoidant. I don't like to deal with the tough stuff, I want to deal with the fun stuff all the time. And as you know, if you have an organization, you have to deal with all kinds of things that are difficult sometimes. And so I'm also what they call a highly sensitive temperament. HST, which means like if I go into a big store, a big retailer, my whole energy system just goes haywire. I can literally hear every voice of every person there. It feels to me like 2000 people are talking at the same time. And so I get totally dysregulated. And so, what I do is a number of things to try and fix that and alter that and regulate that.
And, what you can do is, use techniques that keep you centered and grounded and well-regulated, and those are things like breath work. Stay conscious of your breath. If you stay conscious of your breath, you're likely to stay in your heart. You're likely to stay heart-centered. Say you have to have a difficult conversation with an employee.
Say there's an employee you're talking to and you're having to review their performance and they're failing. What do you do? I find that moving into my heart and being centered there and being aware of my breath while I'm speaking to them is a powerful strategy for remaining centered and calm.
Then you'll feel yourself getting triggered when you all get triggered and you return. To the breath. So as a sensitive CEO I found that I practice that. Another thing you can do is turn your sensitivity into a gift. I lead team meetings every week I have our whole team meeting. I have marketing meetings, I have operations meetings.
I have a variety of meetings and I turn those into fun. So we get together and we do a little bit of personal sharing beforehand. We may do some meditation for a few minutes, or some EFT for a few minutes beforehand, and we just keep them light. When I feel the energy going down, when I feel the tone becoming negative, I will then say something.
I'm the leader. I'll say something to raise the emotional tone and bring it up to a high vibrational level. So you can use techniques like that with other people and they're really influential. They really influence your whole team. You, as the leader of a business, set the tone for the whole business.
You are the head of the business and you are setting the tone for members of your team. And the final thing I would recommend is guard your consciousness as something precious. I make sure I don't let things get to me because the whole business is dependent upon the quality of my consciousness, and if my consciousness is weighed down by negativity, by doubt, by fear.
If I'm not doing the inner work to clarify all that stuff, then I'm not gonna be effective. So guard your consciousness. For example, I don't watch violent movies. There are movies that are full of, you know, blood and gore and horror and misery, and I just avoid them.
I need this consciousness to be positive and uplifting because I'm leaning people in that direction. So I don't read books. I don't listen to music. I don't watch movies. With that emotional tone, I do watch things and fill my awareness with positive messages. Positive thoughts. I'm listening right now to the Tao te Ching over and over and over again.
Just really memorizing the Tao te Ching. Read the Bhagavad Gita. Read positive, positive, inspiring words. There are so many great books by so many different authors, so fill your mind with those positive inputs and guard your consciousness. Be very careful you're not letting people in, letting influences in that are gonna bring you down cuz you will then have an effect on your whole team and your whole business.
So your sensitivity can actually be a gift. You're taking care of your consciousness, you're using your heart intelligence to connect with people around you. You're lifting up the emotional tone of everything you, you work with everyone you work with, every project you work on. And so, I know when I had one of my first big jobs as CEO more than 30 years ago, I was running a big publishing company and, the reporter for the biggest publishing magazine interviewed me and, he, I shared my plans for the company.
Then he interviewed me again three years later. Then he said, you know, Dawson, I interviewed you three years ago. I thought, this is too much of a nice guy. He'll never make it in business. He's not tough enough. And, here the business has grown fivefold. So, you, you, you can make a difference and still be a wonderful human being and run your business effectively and have a fun time doing it.
Rose: I love that. Such good advice, and I'm, I'm laughing or internally laughing when, when you were talking about your team meeting, I can see your background with all those amazing positive words behind you. And I'll just, I'll read some out. Obviously the audience can't see these, but graciousness, determination, dignity, excellence, integrity.
Harmony, inspiration. I mean, I just imagine sitting in a team meeting on Zoom and seeing all these beautiful words. It's wonderful. So lovely to see.
Dawson: Is it, it sets the tone. I had a friend of mine who's a graphic artist, create this post behind me with all my favorite values on it. And so there are a few that you can't see too, because they're behind me.
But, you know, integrity, giving faith, health, equanimity and so on. So filling your awareness with that business is a spiritual path. The values you hold internally are those you express all around you, in your family, in your money, in every decision you take. And so seeing it that way, perceiving it that way is a way of serving other people is, is such a, a powerful frame for what you do during the day and is gonna help you in all kinds of ways as you help the world.
Rose: So well said. I have one final question before we wrap up. Dawson, when you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?
Dawson: I tap, I meditate, I take a walk. I ground myself, so I ground myself. I really, take time to like to stand with my feet on the ground and really feel my connection with, with, with the Earth.
I meditate. I'll take some time and meditate. I exercise, I love, I exercise about twice a day. I'll just jump on my mountain bike between meetings and I'll go for a really hard, fast half hour mountain bike ride. So, that'll help, help ground me. I meditate every day.
My meditations used to take about a half hour. Now they're usually about an hour and a half, and you feel so good after immersing yourself in. I mean, you're one with you all. It is. You also find your business ideas are of such high quality cuz you're downloading them from the universe that way. So, that hour in the morning of plugging into all it is, is so powerful and you then frame your whole day with that positivity.
So Desmond Tutu was an inspiration to me. The archbishop of Cape Town and during the, the deepest, darkest times of apartheid in South Africa where I was born, Desmond Tutu said. He was asked one day, you know, there's all this injustice around you. You have an overwhelming workload, all the cards are stacked against you.
And he said, well, on those days when it all seems hopeless, I then know I need to pray and start my day with twice as long a period of contemplation. So that is the antidote, is just immersing yourself in wellbeing when the pressure gets. The most intense meditate, more immerse yourself in that. Plug into the all that is the infinite wisdom of the universe. Napoleon Hill who wrote, think and Grow Rich writes about this in chapter 15 of the book, how he has his invisible counsel and he, he just, He just collaborates with an invisible counseling, plugs into the universe and downloads all of these ingenious solutions.
From there, I also talk to a practitioner like we have an app called Stress Solution, where people can talk to a therapist one-on-one in real time, on demand whenever they want. So sometimes I'll go and I'll just. Phone a colleague, talk to one of our therapists and have a way of shifting myself. But there's so many resources to do that, and then you're taking care of yourself, even then taking care of your family, your business, your money, and the rest of the world.
Rose: Wow. Thank you so much. It's been wonderful talking with you today, Dawson, and I'll pop all of your links in the show notes, but if there was one place where you'd like people to come and find you, where would that be?
Dawson: The best place to find me. In one location is my website, Dawson. Just my name, dawson gift.com.
Cause you can download the FT manual at Dawson Gift. You can get a free meditation at Dawson Gift. One of my favorite meditations. Is it dawson gift.com and that also gives you the ecosystem of EFT universe access to our practitioners, our courses, our thousands of pages of free content. So just go to dawson gift.com and that will be your portal to everything else.
Rose: Wonderful. Well, thank you so much. It's been awesome talking to you, Dawson.
Dawson: Rose, it's been a pleasure. Thanks for connecting.