TFT Trauma Relief and Training in Uganda

UGANDA 2012 – Short Report

by Howard and Phyll Robson 

We are delighted to make this short report on the TFT Foundation’s work in Uganda in June. The team worked hard to complete a packed program of research and training.

Training was provided for 310 Catechists at three centres within Kasese District of Western Uganda. To prepare for the PTSD study we first provided two days training for 40 catechists. These catechists would be the trainers in the PTSD study immediately following their Trauma Relief training.

The first day of the study was anxiety provoking, would all the participants attend? Many had to travel long distances, of-ten on foot. We were expectant that the study would be carried out effectively as we had been working on the details for over six months. Due to the lack of email facilities much of the detail was planned on the telephone with Fr. Peter, these conversations were recorded on our computer and sent by mail to avoid any misunderstandings.

Our first day went well in spite of our anxieties. However, the team met to identify and rectify any actual and potential problems. Working in a foreign language was challenging, due to pronunciation it was often difficult to understand each other, this difficulty improved quite quickly. The first part of the study took four days.

The first Catechist training took place in Nsenyi, the home of Fr. Peter and Training Centre for Catechists and 116 Catechists attended this two-day training.

We only had one day off before we undertook the second part of the study, again it took place over four days. We employed the same diligent method of having a team meeting each evening to ensure that all was going according to plan.

For the second training we moved to Bukangara Parish where we trained a further 104 Catechists. Each time we provided training and treatment for anyone who requested our help. The team travelled each day during the training to keep the cost down.

Following another day off, we moved to Hima Parish. Due to the distance involved we were guest of Fr Walter. We trained 90 Catechists at Hima Parish. Many of the sick in the Parish came to mass on Thursday, the day we arrived, and Fr Walter asked us to treat as many as possible. Two of the team were assigned to training and two treated the sick with the help of the Catechists we had trained for the study. We worked in the shade of the trees, watched by anxious relatives.

Saturday 30th June was the final day of the study, we planned to review 128 of the wait list group participants, for their post treatment assessment. Some of these participants had first attended on 13th June. We were concerned that there might be considerable fall off in attendance at this stage. It was therefore gratifying to be greeted by a large welcoming group of participants, still clutching their attendance tickets.

We are obligated to Fr. Peter and the catechists for their support and commitment to the completion of the PTSD study. They welcomed us into their lives and it was a pleasure to share the gift of Thought Field Therapy with them.

TFT Studies in Rwanda and Uganda

I’m very pleased to report that a study conducted by the TFT Foundation in 2008 has been published in this month’s issue of International Journal of Emergency Mental Health.

Connolly, S., & Sakai, C. (2012). Brief trauma intervention with Rwandan genocide survivors, using Thought Field Therapy. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, 13 (3), 161-172. 

I’m also pleased to announce that the TFT Foundation has recently been awarded a $5,000 grant from ACEP (Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology) to be used towards research that the Foundation will be conducting in Uganda this June: Using Thought Field Therapy to Treat Victims of Violence in Uganda. Many thanks to ACEP–and to Suzanne Connolly, MFT, LCSW, who submitted the proposal for the grant.

The TFT Foundation’s mission to Uganda is in response to a request from Father Peter Mubunga Basaliza of the Catholic Diocese of Kasese for a TFT trauma relief team to train 36 community leaders in Kasese in TFT trauma symptom reduction techniques.

The grant money will assist the TFT Foundation as it joins with the U.K. TFT Foundation and the Mats Udal Humanitarian Foundation in an effort to conduct the study in conjunction with the requested training.

The objectives of the TFT Foundation’s mission to Uganda this June are:

  1. To continue developing and scientifically validating a model in which local community leaders can be trained to treat community members in the aftermath of large-scale disasters, especially in regions where trained professionals are scarce.
  2. To relieve the distress of those suffering from trauma and promote Post Traumatic Growth (PTG).

Please push here if you would like to donate towards these efforts.

Rwandan Orphans Project Recommendation

This letter was written by the director of the Rwandan Orphans Project in support of the upcoming TFT project in Uganda, a collaborative humanitarian mission between the USA-based TFT Foundation, the U.K. ATFT Foundation, and the Mats Uldal Humanitarian Foundation, Norway.

The project will follow the TFT Foundation’s large-scale model for trauma relief which includes giving humanitarian relief through TFT and training local leaders in TFT so that they can continue the work after the relief teams have left. The project will also include a 3rd TFT/PTSD study, as well as a TFT/malaria study led by Dr. Howard Robson.

If you would like to help us promote world peace and relief from suffering through the upcoming Uganda project, you may donate by clicking here. However much you can help is greatly appreciated.

TFT Relieves 16-Year Old’s Trauma from Uganda Massacre

Photo-AfricanFace19094933.thbSuzanne Connolly, LCSW, TFT-Adv, shares the following story from the ATFT Foundation‘s recent mission to Rwanda:

Kamal holds his hands to his head and says with wonder, “It’s gone! I can’t remember it!” He jumps up and gives me a hug and won’t let go. He dances around the room so we dance around the room hugging tight.

Kamal is 16 and been through more than anyone of any age should have to go through. He was born while his mother was still studying at the University so he lived with his mother’s sister.

When Kamal was three years old his mother died. When he was six his aunt, the only mother he had known, was killed, leaving him and his cousin Abdul orphaned.

He and Abdul were sent to a refugee camp in Uganda and while there he witnessed a horrific massacre. Until now he could never get it out of his mind, and he felt constant sadness and could trust no one. He thought anyone could change at any moment and kill him. He lived in constant fear of danger.

“I know it happened still” he says, “but I can’t think about it!” “Oh I am so happy!” Thank you!  Thank you” “Murakoze.”  He hugs me again and we do the dance for the second time. He finally lets go and we say good bye.

I see Kamal later in the school yard. He has changed to a dress shirt and walks like he has springs attached to his feet. Sometimes he almost skips. He comes back to thank me once again.

It is great to be able to share this moment with Kamal, and to be able to share it, like so many moments, with you. So many beautiful moments shared here in Rwanda, thanks to TFT and the wonderful ATFT members who have contributed to this mission.

There are so many stories, Kamal’s (not his real name, of course) only the most recent.

To go to Suzanne’s blog about this mission to Rwanda, click here.

TFT for Trauma from Violent Kidnappings in Uganda

Uganda Man during ATFTF Trainings

Roger Ludwig describes the profound healing and transformation that took place at recent ATFT Foundation trainings in Uganda:

“Several of the those participating had been at the Lachor seminary in 2003 when LRA rebels attacked. Government troops fought back, unleashing a two hour gunfight at the seminary. But the rebels succeeded in kidnapping 41 teenage boys, marching them, roped in a long column, away to be conscripted into their guerilla army. Three people were killed.

The priests’ anguish as they silently reflected on their memories of this horror was palpable. As their newly trained priests treated them, all watching were eased to feel it pass like a great oppressive weight lifting from the room. Several of those treated were transformed, explaining to us the profound compassion and forgiveness they now felt, compassion even for the rebels. This was a grace that they had longed for but had resignedly feared they would never know in this life.”