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Figure 1. A representation of the medical model conceptualisation of the relationship between “symptoms” and “treatment.”

Figure 1. A representation of the medical model conceptualisation of the relationship between “symptoms” and “treatment.”

Thought Field Therapy – The missing link to effective trauma-informed care and practice

By Christopher Semmens Clinical Psychologist Perth, Western Australia

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. Arthur Schopenhauer

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Niccolo Machiavlli

Trauma- informed care and practice is a framework for the provision of services for mental health clients that originated in the early 1990s and has especially been put forth as a sensible service model since Harris and Fallot’s 2001 publication Using trauma theory to design service systems. Trauma-informed care can be seen to be characterised by three main considerations in regard to the provision of treatment services:

  1. That they incorporate a recognition of the reality that there is a high incidence of traumatic stress in those presenting for mental health care services.
  2. That a comprehensive understanding of the significant psychological, neurological, biological and social manifestation of traumatic and violent experiences can have on a person.
  3. That the care provided to these clients in recognising these effects is collaborative, skill-based and supportive.

In Australia these ideas were the focus of a consciousness raising conference: Trauma-Informed Care and Practice: Meeting the Challenge conducted by the Mental Health Coordinating Council in Sydney in June 2011. The conference was part of an initiative towards a national agenda to promote the philosophy of trauma-informed care to be integrated into practice across service systems throughout Australia.

It has only really been since studies such as (more…)

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stock photo

stock photo

Resolving Trauma Without Painful Reliving

By John Plester

I was doing some supervision work with a newly qualified hypnotherapist this morning who was talking through a complex case study that had involved hypnotic regression to the initial sensitizing event in order to reprocess past trauma, and he was expressing the difficulties encountered with the client who was reluctant and guarded in going back to the initial traumatic event. This reminded me of the old days pre TFT, when this kind of method was the most effective way to work with such events. I felt a sense of relief that this exhaustive and sometimes complex methodology was something I rarely had to do anymore.

I was reminded of a client I did some intensive work with before Christmas. This was a complex case with multiple layers of trauma and abuse spanning over 40 years.

In particular, she reported a possible sexual abuse event, that she had an instinct that it had occurred, but had no memory of the event. She did report a strong negative emotion whenever she was in the company of men with pony tails but had no idea why she had such a dislike. There was no negative memory consciously of any event occurring with a character with a pony tail.

In the old hypnotherapy way of working, we would have had to induce deep trance to regress back to any initial event, that if found would have been most disturbing. It would also be questionable whether the unconscious would have permitted such access to a memory, because after all, if there was an event the unconscious mind was clearly protecting her from it.

Furthermore, false memory syndrome could have created an event, that might not have actually happened and there has been much reported cases such as this in the media in recent years. Finally, if there was an event and it was identified through hypnotic regression, then there would be a lot of work required to reprocess this event in such a way as to ensure it was dealt with.

Fortunately, TFT came to the rescue, in particular diagnostic TFT. All that was required was to tune into the thought field around the possible abuse and the whole men with pony tail feeling, sure enough diagnostic TFT revealed that there were perturbations in those thought fields and revealed a number of sequences, unsurprising beginning of the eyebrow for trauma and Index finger for guilt and under eye for fear appeared in the sequence.

TFT enabled me to deal with this completely within 30 minutes with no need to go back and uncover any traumatic past events.

Needless to say the client was amazed at the speed and the fact we could do the work without detailed knowledge of the event. A couple of weeks after our session, I received a call from her partner who thanked me for the work I had done and told me how much she had changed. Truly transformational work that as TFT therapist, I often take for granted, as this is expected. However this case reminded me of the true gift of diagnostic TFT to surprise and amaze when working with some of the most complex cases.

I am eternally grateful to Paul McKenna who originally introduced me to TFT when I used to assist him on his NLP training courses in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and of course both Roger and Joanne whom I had the good fortune to have been able to train extensively with over the years. TFT truly transformed my therapy practice when I introduced it into my interventions back then, now I have the privilege of being able to share my experiences and learning when I train the TFT Boot Camps in the UK for other therapists to help their clients in a similar way.

Excerpted from “The Thought Field”, Vol. 23, Issue 1

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UgandaMission2013_05_14Ugandan TFT Mission: January 12 – 27, 2014

By Roger Ludwig*

Mists of mosquito netting drape around me as I type, cross-legged, on my bed. Beyond are cracked walls and doors ajar. Any effort to make and keep parallel lines in Africa is usually ephemeral. But to do that, in the form of a well ordered scientific study of Thought Field Therapy’s effectiveness, we have come, in addition to training many people and treating dozens of others.

Beyond this room, in the haze of heat, humidity and dust, are now familiar sounds. Children shout, men laugh. There is the loud cawing of ravens, relentless hoopoe of grey doves, and the distant, throbbing hum of the hulking cement factory which towers over this gritty town of Hima. It brings meager paychecks to workers who come from all over Uganda with their separate languages and appearances. They toil in hope of better lives for their wives and children. Our sweat is small in comparison but our dreams are similar for these Ugandan peoples we have come to love.

The work of our mission is now finished, ending, as it began, in fatigue. I arrived two weeks ago at 3:15 am, a smooth landing in Entebbe, grabbed bags and passed customs to see the ever hospitable Fr. Peter waiting to “most welcome” me. It is my third trip to Uganda. Fr. Peter’s musical laugh and loving heart is a tonic, to me and to hundreds of others.

Our Volunteer Team

After two hours’ sleep in a guest house I meet the team at breakfast. Dr. Howard Robson and his wife Phyll are here from England. They have recently retired, he from his cardiology practice, she from nursing. We have worked together on both prior Ugandan trips. It is great to see them.

One of our most important goals is to add to the 2012 study. At that time we trained volunteer TFT counselors, who pre-tested, then treated 256 people who came admitting symptoms of PTSD. A week later they were post-tested. It was a wait-list controlled effort that involved hundreds of people. Dr. Howard directed the study and has taken charge, in his relaxed manner, of this one. We hope to bring many of those 256 back, now 18 months later, for post testing. How have they fared after their brief treatment? (more…)

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Alphonse

Following is the testimony of one of the handicapped children who live in the Izere Center in Byumba, Rwanda. Supported by the TFT Foundation, the Izere Center provides TFT to the children, as well as to the surrounding community.

Alphonse spontaneously offered her testimony after the recent community TFT treatment day that was made possible by generous donors to the foundation.

She talked about how she came to the Izere Center to be helped with her studies and necessary medication. She shared her long time feelings of fear and isolation. She had complex challenges and had been traumatized because at home her parents prohibited her to go outside of the house.

Alphonse shared the following:

“I had fear to look or to talk with any people because I was not like them. I saw them with arms, with legs and I don’t have them, and I figured that I’m not a person.

When the other kids came to me I had difficulty to be with them. I only had peace when I was alone in the room, and although I’m in Izere Center for 6 years, I never had peace

After Adrienne (a TFT trained psychologist supported by the TFT Foundation) came to me last month, she started to focus on me… she treated me with the technique that I’ve seen many times being used to treat the people who come here. Now you see, I’m very happy and I can stand between you and talk with you. I had refused to be treated for a long time; and now I’m going to convince my brother and sister to come to this school.”

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Relief Effort Continues In The Philippines After Typhoon Haiyan Devastation

On Nov. 8, the Philippines experienced a devastating typhoon that left over 5,700 dead and more than 1,700 missing, with about 4 million people displaced. The TFT Foundation is very pleased that the blog now has instructions for the TFT trauma relief technique translated into the Filipino language, Tagalog. You will find it on the right side of this page, under Pages–Technique Instructions–Filipino/Tagalog. Many thanks to Maribeth Cowley for this translation! Please share it with anyone you know in, or having access to, the Philippines. With your help we can do much to relieve the severe trauma experienced by thousands of Filipinos.

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The TFT Foundation is happy to share this new trailer for its documentary “From Trauma to Peace.” What you see here is only the “tip of the iceberg.” The stories Rwandans have shared with our documentarian Robert Stone, about how TFT has completely changed their lives in the aftermath of a horrendous genocide, are truly moving and inspiring, and give great hope that peace on this earth really is attainable.

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Dr. Howard Robson training Ugandan leaders in TFT

Dr. Howard Robson training Ugandan leaders in TFT, 2012

Phyll Robson, board member of TFT Foundation UKgave the following report on the presentation given by foundation chairman Howard Robson, M.D., at the 2013 ACEP conference:

Dr. Howard Robson was very pleased to be presenting the research results from the PTSD study undertaken in Uganda in January last year, 2012. He described the care taken to follow protocol to ensure the study undertaken on 256 participants would be valid.

The Research presentation session was well attended, and there were many questions from the floor about the study itself, and about the psychological and physical changes we witnessed in the study participants after treatment. The audience were very impressed to learn that only one treatment session was provided to each participant, by a newly trained Algorithm Ugandan Therapist, to achieve our results.

Roger Ludwig gave a moving account of the changes he observed in the study participants, followed by an overview of the many transformations we observed in the local people not included in the study, but who were treated by the TFT team, some of the Catechists trained in 2009, and some of the newly trained Catechists who were keen to practice their new TFT skills.

I talked about a group of women we had treated the previous day, who were very excited when we met them again at the training centre. They told us how they had been able to sleep all night for the first time in years. Many people in Uganda suffer (more…)

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