People in Rwanda are helping one another heal using a form of energy psychology called Thought Field Therapy (TFT). TFT is the original form of energy psychology and the original tapping therapy. It was developed in the early 1980s by psychologist Dr. Roger Callahan. It has continued to be refined and updated through the years. It is the first energy psychology technique to be recognized by the National Registry of Evidenced-based Practices and Procedures (NREEP) as being evidence-based.
Rwandan community leaders, professionals and para-professionals have treated at least 20,000 members of their communities for symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In most cases, the PTSD has been directly or indirectly the result of atrocities com- mitted during the 1994 genocide in which between 800,000 and one million persons were killed in a matter of ten weeks.
Suspicious at first, former subjects in a research project have reported that they thought the professionals were “evil” and “from Satan” when they were asked to think about what happened to them and/or their families during the 1994 genocide and then tap on themselves in a particular way. They said things like, “At first we took it as an opportunity to hang out.” Then they thought the professionals “were crazy” and this could not possibly work. Some of these same skeptics later became TFT facilitators, helping their neighbors to heal using TFT.
Many of the survivors of the Rwandan genocide have suffered from PTSD in the more than twenty years since this tragedy. People suffering PTSD often experience flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive memories, anger, rage, hypervigilance, shame, anxiety, depression and sometimes even suicide. Overwhelmed, they feel there is no way out. They often turn to alcohol and drugs. Individuals and families, and often entire communities and countries, can be devastated.
Small groups of professionals from the non-profit organization the Thought Field Therapy Foundation* have made seven trips to Rwanda, beginning in 2005, teaching community leaders to heal themselves and then to train others in their communities to heal themselves using TFT. Continue reading “Rwandans Teach the World to Heal”
Energy Therapy Acupoint Tapping: The Best PTSD Treatment?
Vets may quickly find themselves free of PTSD with this new treatment method
PTSD, post traumaticstress disorder, is akin to choking. When food gets stuck during the process of swallowing we call it choking. When the emotions that are raised by an intensely negative experience do not get digested by the mind’s usual means (talking about it, dreaming about it, coming to a way of understanding it that makes it digestible) the negative emotions continue to emerge as quickness to anger, anxiety, marriage problems, flashbacks and other means for a very long time after the triggering incident.
The most intensively researched of the new energy therapies is the group of treatment methods referred to as acupoint stimulation, also known as tapping treatments. Interestingly, the techniques, though usually administered by a mental health professional, can also be self-administered as in this teaching video.
Psychologist David Feinstein PhD conducted an excellent broad metastudy of this research reviewing 3000 studies of tapping techniques. Published in the Review of General Psychology (August 12, 2012), this excellent article focused on the 50 or so studies that met Dr. Feinstein’s criteria for presenting clinical outcomes and having undergone peer review.
Dr. Feinstein concluded that EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)* and other similar protocols for tapping with fingers on acupoint points successfully released the emotional pain associated with traumatic memories, and did so faster and more comprehensively than most traditional treatment methods:
These studies have consistently demonstrated strong effect sizes and other positive statistical results that far exceed chance after relatively few treatment sessions. Investigations in more than a dozen countries by independent research teams have all produced similar results.
Use of tapping techniques in Europe
From Norway, Mats Uldal wrote in response to initial publishing of this blogpost:
In Norway we have been treating more than 10000 people in my clinic the last 16 years. I have developed a direction of TFT called Simplified TFT with advanced questioning techniques (AQT) and I can wholeheartedly say these techniques work.
I have been doing traumawork on Kosovo war survivers, Katrina survivers in New Orleans, human trafficking survivrs in Moldavia, and violence and poverty survivers in Uganda all as part of a large-scale 2012 study. If you want the best for your clients, free yourself from your sceptisism and try for yourself. When you start using it, tapping proves itself…
The Bottom Line
Energy psychotherapies are to traditional psychotherapy as the alternative physical therapies like acupuncture are to medical treatment. We do not really know how or why they work, but the potency of their healing impacts are clearly evident.
I have written this posting in hopes that all who work with people who have suffered trauma from disasters, including vets and prisoners of war, or who suffer with chronic feelings of anxiety, anger or other negative emotions, will take these new energy psychology healing methods seriously.
911 dispatchers are a unique group, for they are the first responders. They are the first ones to connect with the individuals or groups with an emergency need. They must take the information, figure out the need and then relay that information to the proper responders with the correct location in seconds.
There is no room for error for they are dealing with life and death situations. Like the military and their special operations individuals; they are a challenging group to gain entry into.
With the development of CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) procedure and CISM teams working with the various responder groups, the value of this to the members was being recognized. Unfortunately the dispatchers we’re not included in these groups because they were not at the scene of the incident and it was felt that they were not affected by the event.
A number of years ago, I was called in to help with a crisis that had occurred within the northern zone of the Pittsburgh call center. On the northern zone’s weekend off, the team’s group leader/mentor and his wife were killed in a tragic car crash. The crew members were unaware of the incident until reporting to work. The whole crew was impacted by the event and unable to safely work on the screens.
The Chief Administrative Officer for Allegheny County requested immediate help from Pittsburgh’s CISM team. I was available and I went in to assess the need and give them what I was trained in regarding crisis intervention.
The following is a case study submitted by a recent TFT algorithm course graduate:
Client 1a: 1a is a 40 year old male with emotional seizures, PTSD, anxiety disorder, schizoaffective disorder. When he gets very anxious, he starts to hear voices that tell him he is no good and no one likes him; he gets flashbacks of his childhood when his father beat him.
I have known 1a for several years; he has caseworkers, a psychiatrist and a neurologist on his team. I have spoken to each of these professionals and have been encouraged to try tapping with him.
I could see that 1a was upset; his face was red and his eyes were wide and had an intense look that I recognized from past experiences. He said he was hearing voices that were telling him he was no good. I could tell he has close to having an emotional seizure. 1a had some tapping experience with a former therapist.
I did the algorithm for anxiety: e, a c.
I chose this algorithm because it was simpler and I thought it had the best chance of reducing the SUDs.
• Baseline and intermediate SUD(s) – 8
I did the simple PR first thing right off the bat, because I did not know how long I could hold 1a’s attention, and wanted to be as effective as possible as soon as possible
• Final SUD(s)
1a’s SUDs went right down to a 1
After 1a’s SUD went down to a 1, he was able to think of the myriad supporters and loved ones in his life; he was able to name his family and friends who love him; he was able to think of something he could do that day that was both good for him and fun; he was smiling. He was able to see that he could get through a tough time like he had just done.
I am very happy to have TFT in my tool kit; when 1a was so anxious, talk therapy may not have been able to reach him. Tapping was the thing that got him to readjust his body and mind.
The TFT Foundation offers its sincere condolences to those in Belgium affected by the recent terror attacks. Please let anyone you know that has been traumatized by this tragic event about our site, which has the instructions for the TFT trauma relief technique in 15 languages, including French. Here is the link you can pass along: www.TFTtraumarelief.com.
La fondation TFT présente ses sincères condoléances à ceux en Belgique qui ont été affectés par les récentes attaques terroristes. Faites connaître notre site s’il vous plait, à toute personne de votre connaissance traumatisée par cet événement tragique. Il contient les instructions de la technique TFT d’allègement des traumatismes dans 15 langues différentes dont le français. Voici le lien que vous pouvez diffuser largement: www.TFTtraumarelief.com.
Many thanks to author Dr. R. Howard Robson for an excellent job! Much gratitude also goes to fellow research participants Phyll M. Robson, Roger Ludwig, Celestin Mitabu and Caitlin Phillips
Abstract: Thought Field Therapy (TFT) is a promising treatment for posttraumatic stress in a resource poor environment. This study further explores the benefits of this treatment in a rural population in Uganda, which had suffered from the psychological consequences of previous violent conflict. Thirty-six local community workers received a two-day training in TFT trauma intervention and treated 256 volunteers with symptoms suggestive of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) who had been randomly allocated to a treatment or waitlist (control) group. Assessment was by the Posttraumatic Checklist for Civilians (PCL-C). One week after treatment, the treated group scores had improved significantly from 58 to 26.1. The waitlist group scores did improve without treatment, from 61.2 to 47, although significantly less than the treatment group, but improved markedly to 26.4 following treatment. There was some evidence of persisting benefit 19 months later. This study supports the value of TFT as a rapid, efficient and effective therapy, empowering traumatized communities to treat themselves, although repeated treatment may still be needed.