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TFT trauma relief for Haiti

UPdate Magazine, Issue 16, Autumn 2010

Haiti 2010: TFT Mission to Haiti

By Phyllis Robson, TFT-Adv, and Howard Robson, MD, TFT-Algo

When we heard of the disastrous earthquake that struck Haiti on 12th January 2010, we immediately thought that TFT would have much to offer to the traumatised population following the initial rescue and emergency interventions.

Haiti has a troubled history; It was occupied by European colonists. The native population died out and African slaves were used to replace them.

Plantations and logging provided great economic benefit for the colo­nists, but at a critical cost to later generations of Haitians. Deforestation caused soil erosion and mudslides. Despite achieving independence over 200 years ago, the country has been marred by violence, instability, poverty and corruption. There is a lack of infrastructure and a susceptibility to hurricanes.

When the opportunity to visit Haiti came later in the year, on behalf of the ATFTFoundation, we were in a position to volunteer. We were to be part of a mission led by Dr. Jean-Murat Carolle (Angels for Haiti), which was part of a larger medical mission led by Dr Charles René.

We immediately thereafter began collecting supplies for the visit, especially as part of the project was to enable the children to express themselves through arts. These supplies included pens, paints, brushes, books and paper, as well as some medical and dental supplies and toiletries.

We were particularly grateful for the help of our dentist and family and friends. We were also grateful for the provision of the TFT algorithm manual in French from Suzanne Connolly, which we modified slightly for the local requirements, and printed sufficient copies for our expected training sessions. We managed to obtain a reasonable rate from the airlines for our considerable luggage excess.

Essential to visiting a country such as Haiti is to understand the local culture and attend to personal safety and health (vaccinations and anti-malarial drugs). We attended to these issues as much as possible, to maximise our contribution to the mission and not be a burden.

We left home in the early hours of 1st July, 2010, via Newcastle, London, Miami and Port-au Prince for La Vallee de Jacmel in Haiti. La Vallee is a mountain village serving a rural population in southern Haiti, 11 miles from the coastal city of Jacmel. The primary occupation is farming; there is economic hardship, and lack of resources and infrastructure.

Although some distance from the epi-centre of the earthquake, there had been ten deaths within the region of La Vallee Jacmel which also had suffered considerable structural damage. The experience of the earthquake and after-shocks had affected many local people. There had also been an influx of people from more affected areas. These people had lost homes, posses­sions and whole (more…)

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In July, 2010, Carolle Jean-Murat, MD, facilitated an ATFT Foundation training and treatment project in her native Haiti, following the devastating earthquake in January. Dr. Carolle recently sent this heartfelt words of gratitude:

The ATFT Foundation (charitable arm of the Association for Thought Field Therapy) provided a generous grant and the gracious help of a husband and wife team Dr. Howard and Nurse Phyll Robson, both TFT trainers from England, we provided a 3-day training involving 30 Haitian teachers, nurses, community leaders, medical and nursing students, from as far as Port-au-Prince.

The training not only helped them personally but also gave them the opportunity to help relieve the trauma of as many earthquake survivors as possible. Even more importantly, trainees learned techniques on how to relieve pain, which would be beneficial in an area when medical personal and pain relief medications are scarcely available.

Many community leaders asked me to convey their heartfelt thanks to the TFT team. I have talked to some of the attendees in Haiti for these past few days. Here is what they had to say:

“In a culture where a mental illness is frowned upon, the TFT training gave us a new perspective on how we human work. This tool is a lifetime gift. Many of us now see our fellow human being in a different light.”

“After taking the training, it has helped me improve my communication with those I serve.”

“After losing everything including my home, family members, and everything I worked for, participating in the TFT training gave me a new lease on life. I am now a healthy citizen who is using the tools I have learned to help those who were suffering just like me.”

“It was such a great gift that we received from the Robsons – who taught from the heart.”

“As a teacher, I use these techniques with my students; their attention span in the classroom has greatly improved.”

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The ATFT Foundation (ATFTF) is very pleased to be sending a TFT trauma relief team to Haiti on July 2, 2010. As on previous ATFTF missions, their purpose will not only be to relieve the symptoms of trauma of as many earthquake survivors as possible, but will also be to teach local leaders how to continue giving TFT relief to their community once the ATFTF team is gone.

The trauma relief team will be joining a medical team led by Dr. Carolle Jean-Murat, a physician from Haiti who currently lives and practices in the U.S. Having trained at the algorithm level in TFT, Dr. Carolle knows its power to relieve the effects of trauma and has spearheaded these efforts to bring relief to her home of Haiti.

Dr. Carolle writes:

The commune of La Vallee de Jacmel is situated in the Southeastern portion of Haiti and is comprised of 18 townships dispersed throughout the territory. The area was within the epicenter of the devastating earthquake of January 12 and its deadly aftershock on the 16th. There are about 4,500 homes that had an average of 3 to 5 members. The majority of these homes were badly damaged or completely destroyed.

Following the earthquake, they are overloaded with relatives –young and old, who had emigrated to Port-au-Prince or Jacmel, survived the earthquake but have lost everything. The average household is now 15 to 20. THERE IS NO MENTAL HEALTH HELP AVAILABLE!

Many who survived the earthquake are now dying of sadness, heart attacks, or just “going crazy.” I guess that it is a way for them to “check out” because there is no hope.

We are elated about the idea of offering a 2-day TFT training that will help alleviate the suffering of our people. Little help have reach them since the earthquake last January the majority of the population is living under tarps and few tents with no hope in site.

We are contemplating offering the two-day training to people in position to affect many others such as teachers, nurses, community leaders, medical and nursing students (the only medical school in Haiti was destroyed killing most of the doctors, patients and medical students), etc. Imagine all these people living under tents or tarps themselves. It would also be a great opportunity FOR THEM TO HEAL WHILE LEARNING!

I am sure that with time, trainees will eventually return to other areas of Haiti armed with an excellent tool for healing.

In view of the threat and the acuity of the mental health deterioration, I have already told my medical team that I would not spend time delivering medical care but be with the ATFTF team, whatever time it takes during our stay to make this a success.

Thank you so much for offering this opportunity to the earthquake victims. I am confident that it will create a lasting impact in their lives, as well as given them a tool for healing others as well.

Love and blessings,

Dr. Carolle

The ATFTF team will be led by Dr. Howard and Phyll Robson from the U.K., who are generously paying all of their own expenses and providing many medical items to take with them. The foundation still needs additional funds to cover the training events. If you’d like to support these efforts to relieve the suffering in Haiti, please click here.

If you know anyone in Haiti, or going to Haiti, and would like to provide them with instructions for the TFT trauma relief technique in French, you will find the instructions by clicking here.

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This photograph produced by Agência Bras

Message from Ms. Joanne & Dr. Roger Callahan (founder and developer of TFT):

While it may be too soon to think about helping with the psychological traumas of the survivors in the after effect of the massive earthquake in Haiti, it is important to begin the psychological healing of the families and friends who are living elsewhere, and providing trauma relief for the rescue crews, first responders, troops going in to serve and their families. Even the press and viewers are being effected by the constant stream of heart wrenching images and reports of losses.

The ATFT Foundation has provided Thought Field Therapy® (TFT), the original meridian tapping therapy for trauma, to victims of wars, genocides and natural disasters including Hurricane Katrina and the floods in Tabasco, Mexico. TFT  has been safely used to heal psychological problems for 30 years, and PTSD studies have demonstrated it to be highly effective in quickly eliminating the debilitating effects of even the worst of traumas with lasting results.

Early and regular use of these safe, self-applied protocols, can reduce or eliminate crippling grief, secondary traumatization, compassion fatigue and burn-out of our rescue workers and first responders. TFT can also reduce the stress and fears burdening the families of the rescue workers and response teams on the ground.

To this end, the ATFT Foundation’s TFT Trauma Relief Blog teaches these TFT
trauma relief procedures in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish. These procedures are the very same powerful tools used successfully in Kosovo with war victims, Rwandan genocide survivors, New Orleans Hurricane Katrina victims, and other traumatized regions.

The tapping techniques are provided in print and video formats to all who are in need. Please, if you have any family or friends that have been affected by the devastating earthquake in Haiti, or have loved ones deployed in the rescue efforts, take advantage of these free, powerful self-help tools.

You can also receive a Free Stress Relief Guide at www.RogerCallahan.com.

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