A teacher at the El Shaddai orphanage in Kigali, Rwanda, describes how TFT continues to relieve the fears and anxieties of hundreds of children who have lost their parents through genocide and imprisonment.
Diane Bahr Groth, TFT-Adv, shares how she used TFT with a mother whose son was tragically killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11:
Today I worked with a lovely woman who lost her only son in the World Trade Center disaster. He was just 24 years old and newly hired by Cantor and Fitzgerald who lost 700 people. She has allowed me to share her story.
We spent approximately 2 hours together. She was at peace when she left my office. The most difficult aspect of the session was to help her alleviate the pain associated with her son’s last phone call to her.
Miraculously his telephone in the office worked only long enough to call her. He described the scene of horror to her very calmly.
“Mom, something hit the building. The ceiling is coming down, the walls and floors are coming apart and there is smoke all around. I have to tell you that I love you and I am going to die”.
At first she thought he was joking but did not interrupt. She realized the severity of the situation and calmly told him she loved him, and to find someone to be with so he would not be alone. Instantly they were disconnected.
She rushed to the television and saw the horror we have all seen over and over. Her husband was in tower 7 and could not be reached.
She has heard her son’s words over and over in her mind and pictured the hell he was in before he died, and felt his fear.
She also expressed fear for her husband’s safety, guilt that she had not said the right words, that she had not protected her son and fear about anthrax.
As soon as she was at peace about her son, she realized that she had been with him so he was not alone–and the “picture” she held in her mind about his last moments was gone. All the other fears vanished as well. She was exhausted, as many clients are after such a session, but left transformed.
Juanita Van Ham describes the horrifying trauma and how TFT relieved her of its debilitating effects. At the end of her story is a link to 5 drawings she did depicting the healing process that came to include other parts of her life as well. Juanita’s husband, Lee, adds his perspective.
Remembering August 1, 2005–
I entered the credit union shortly after 9am on Monday morning. There was no line so I walked up to a teller and handed her my checks, suddenly there came from behind very loud voices yelling obscenities. It felt surreal.
It took me a few seconds to realize these voices were here, now, yelling and cursing for us to get on the floor.I turned around and there were three men in black hooded sweatshirts with white cloth over their faces pointing weapons, large – not handguns, but rifles. They had a young male hostage.
I didn’t get far enough down on the floor. The leader, a very large, aggressive man was barking out orders to everyone and for a moment his words were directed at me. I tried to imagine myself as part of the carpet. I also thought that none of us had any value to these desperate men and we could be shot at any moment.
Feeling like both a fleeting moment and a life-time, the armed robbery was over. We were gathered into an office to await the arrival of the police and FBI.
As the bank employees and I talked a little and cried, I remembered that there was a young African-American man waiting in a car outside as I entered. He had caught my attention because I liked the music he was listening to. I was concerned that he may have been the hostage and walked with one of the tellers over to the window.
Dr. Caroline Sakai shares the following story from the ATFT Foundation’s recent mission to Rwanda:
One older woman was hearing voices, as well as reliving the traumas and horrors of the genocide in a highly agitated state. She was initially unable to focus, and she had a vacant yet frightened look.
She started gritting her teeth, looking around at the voices she was hearing that were threatening to kill her and her family, and talking back to the voices while rolling her eyes, or looking around at what she was experiencing internally, and waving her arms, stamping her feet on the ground, and tipping herself backwards on the bench she was sitting on.
At one point she spat as she yelled out while flailing her arms. She stood up and was about to run away from the voices, when the psychological reversal and initiation of the trauma algorithm started getting her more grounded in the here and now. She shook her head as she started to look directly and intently at the therapist and assisting support ATFT team therapist as if actually seeing them for the first time.
We then did a TFT diagnostic assessment, and the Rwandan therapist continued her treatment using the diagnostic treatment points. Her agitation subsided, and she remained focused, and her body visibly relaxed, and the light went back on in her eyes. The gritted teeth relaxed into a broad smile of release and relief.
The voices disappeared, and she remained in good eye contact and fully present. She no longer went in and out of dissociation, and was not responding to compelling internal experiences.
Her only fear at the end of treatment when her subjective units of distress went from 10 plus to 0, was that it might come back again. The treatment protocol was written in Kinyarwanda for her even though she could not read, since she lived with the surviving 7 of her 13 children, and a couple of them could read. She also was informed of the on-going TFT services that would be available twice a week at the Izere Center.
She stated with amazement that it was as if she had been lost far away, and she had come back to earth now. She stated that it was now quiet in her head without the voices and painful flashbacks. She no longer felt she was cursed, and her stabbing pains in her chest and stomach totally remitted. She was elated and expressed her joy and gratitude for her experiencing release and relief.