By Dick Brown, PhD (from “The Thought Field”, Vol 2, Issue 2):
Jimmy, a 10-year-old foster child, came to his first therapy session with the hesitancy, reluctance, and resistance common to this population. In an attempt to engage him, he was invited to create some pictures but stubbornly refused. I then took the pencil and started doodling upside down and unconsciously sketched a person walking a dog.
My border collie, Murphy, was an extraordinary spirit who enriched my life immeasurably. He was, in effect, “the nicest person I knew”…cheerful, happy, and affectionate to all. When he reached the age of fourteen, his health began to fail dramatically, and slow organ failure had reduced his life to a miserable existence.
In an attempt to make the most compassionate decision possible, I sought the advice of his veterinarian and subsequently had him euthanized.
While I had psychologically prepared myself for the process of mourning his absence, I truly had not thought about the intensity of emotion that would be precipitated by my having made the conscious decision to have Murphy’s life ended. I was genuinely devastated by feelings of sadness, guilt and confusion for weeks after his passing.
I had met Dr. David Hanson in my work as an entertainer, and in one of our many conversations, he told me of his work in the arena of Thought Field Therapy.
When he offered to help me address my challenges in mourning Murphy through an impromptu session of therapy, I consented with only faint belief in its ability to help.
Despite my hesitation, the session proved to be a miraculous experience. Almost immediately afterward, I felt a clarity of thought and a lightness of spirit unlike anything I had experienced in weeks. Dr. Hanson’s treatment allowed me to process emotions that had simply remained in my head and heart as an unsolvable puzzle of pain and angst.
I will always be grateful for the gift of his healing treatment, TFT, and I encourage anyone who has suffered a loss of this nature to seek it out.
Martin Law, C.Psych, describes how he used the TFT trauma technique to relieve his wife’s severe trauma after having witnessed the killing of their dog by a cougar:
It was a beautiful Fall Saturday in November 2001 when my wife (Viv) decided to go for a walk into a forested area close to our acreage west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Our one year old Samoyed dog (Nakoda) happily trotted along with her.
One of our twin sons (David) tagged along as well, then decided to turn around for home after walking for 75 metres. To this day we are thankful that he chose to turn back for home.
About a half-hour into her walk a flash of light brown came bolting from behind a tree, knocked Viv to the ground, suddenly did a 90 degree turn and pounced on Nakoda.
Totally stunned and bewildered, Viv stood up to witness the cougar mauling Nakoda. The sights and sounds of Nakoda’s death were seared into Viv’s brain as she began to take in what was happening. In a panic she fled the scene, feeling helpless, confused and disoriented, as well as guilty for leaving her beloved dog to the mercy of this wild animal.
I was with our oldest son 60 kilometres away at a tennis tournament when all this took place. Fortunately, a distant neighbour who lived close to the site of the attack was home when Viv came crashing through the bush. He drove Viv home.
While this was a short drive, Viv was panicking, not knowing if David had made it home safely. Fortunately he had and for the rest of the day, Viv and our twins stayed with our neighbour until I got home.
Up until this time, we had no idea that cougars would be anywhere near our acreage. We later deduced that this particular cougar had actually been prowling around our home!!
When I arrived home, I heard the whole story. Not surprisingly, Viv was incredibly shaken up. We talked about what happened and I basically followed the standard protocols for defusing following a critical incident (per the Jeff Mitchell CISM model).
Thought Field Therapy isn’t just for humans. Many animal lovers are using TFT on their pets. You might be asking how can I use this for my pet and for what? Well, animals have emotions and can experience many of the same things we people do like anxiety, depression, sensitivities, loss of a family member, pain and trauma.
My Yorkie that I’ve had for 8 years was a rescue dog. Tiny Nugget was abused as a puppy and suffers from pain from his two broken legs that he got as a puppy plus separation anxiety, and fear of men and small children. He becomes very agitated when there are new men or small children running around.
Recently, I had to be gone for 2 weeks which is the longest I’ve ever had to leave him. My dad called me a couple times to let me know he wasn’t really eating and my dog had to be carried outside to relieve himself because he wouldn’t go outside on his own. By this time, he had diarrhea. I had my 17-year-old take him to the vet. They said he was still hydrated enough but took some blood to be tested just in case and put him on an IV for a couple hours.
After returning home from my TFT advanced training, he wouldn’t get out of his doggie bed and even acknowledge I was home. His eyes were glazed over and I almost thought he was dead. Normally, he would zip to the door and bark and carry on until I picked him up and ran around the parking lot with him.
I immediately picked him up and laid him in my lap. I used myself as a surrogate for him and started tapping on myself while thinking of him and the trauma of me being gone and what he endured at the vet’s office. When I was done, I then tapped under his eyebrow, eye, under nose, under leg and collar bone, just as if I were doing it on a human.
It didn’t seem to work at first so I decided to do a diagnostic test to see if there was something else going on. I tested him for sensitivities to his food and outdoor allergens. His food was fine yet he was sensitive to weed pollen and tree pollen. I used myself as a surrogate again and then treated him for those things and he started perking up.
I treated him for anxiety as well. I even treated my border collie for the trauma of me being away because he was not his usual self either. Sammy was too big to fit in my lap so I just knelt down next to him and worked on him.
Within 2 hours, Tiny Nugget was back to his usual happy little self and barked insanely until I took him for a long walk. I had my two shadows and buddies back.