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).
That evening Viv could not sleep, with classic flashbacks to the event, a re-living of the sights and sounds of Nakoda’s last minutes. The next day we
continued to talk and debrief the whole episode. The second night was a repeat of the first for Viv. She was exhausted and in incredible emotional pain. I had to do something to get Viv some help.
I am a psychologist in charge of an Employee Assistance Program for one of the largest employers in Calgary. I started to think about the options for referring Viv to a specialist in psychological trauma.
Then it occurred to me that I should try something I had just learned in Edmonton at a 2 day workshop by Dr. Robert Bray. Yes, I should try Callahan Techniques Thought Field Therapy! It was now Monday and I made a point of bringing home from the office the protocols from the workshop.
Monday evening, I selected the algorithm for Complex Trauma with Guilt (guilt because she left Nakoda at the mercy of the cougar, and guilt for all the “what if’s” knowing that it could have been David!). Viv could not speak as I asked her to tune the thought field. Her eyes immediately filled with tears. I knew she had a SUD of 10 (her face was raw emotion!). We tapped.
She dropped to a SUD of 8. Thank goodness, a two-point drop. Straight in to the9 Gamut series. We finished the tapping. She did not give me a final SUD rating however. She just said she was incredibly tired and felt like sleeping! I ‘cemented’ with the floor to ceiling eye-roll and we went to bed.
Viv immediately fell asleep and did not wake up until the morning. She was energetic, refreshed and back to her normal, bubbly self. Whew, what a relief.
This was my first, real-life application of TFT, and what an incredible impact it had on our family. What a relief, but would it hold? I knew about toxins and how a toxin could undo the wonderful work to date.
Six months after the attack, with no more nightmares, no negative emotional residue. In fact, Viv and I decided to walk together and re-visit the site. Not far from the attack site the cougar had dragged Nakoda’s body and buried it at the foot of a tree. This was now the permanent burial site for our dog.
To my horror, as we approached the burial site, we found bits of fur, bones and two front paws strewn about the forest floor! – the result of other animals (coyotes probably) having dug up bits of the body! (I had previously reconnoitred the site and no such remains existed then!).
I watched closely to see how Viv would react. Incredibly, nothing. She was just very matter of fact, describing again what happened, where she was, where the cougar came from and where Nakoda was mauled. But absolutely no further evidence of the emotional pain she had experienced six months prior. I was amazed, and relieved!
We recently visited the site again 12 months following the attack. Viv has shown no ill effects since the evening we tapped!
I am most grateful to Dr Roger Callahan for discovering this incredible treatment. I have purposefully waited a year before writing this as I wanted to be sure the treatment effect would hold. I’m pleased to say it has and now I expect it always will.