Dr. Robert Bray discusses using TFT to aid those who suffer from PTSD.
Dr. Robert Bray discusses using TFT to aid those who suffer from PTSD.
By Suzanne M. Connolly, MFT, LCSW
The Gulf War was a short war and a war with few Allied casualties. And yet one young soldier, we’ll call him “Gary,” left a large part of himself back in the large flat desert to the North of Kuwait.
He wanted that part of himself back.
The war was officially over. The multitude of invading tanks and infantry had retreated and formed a long contiguous line stretching from the North of Kuwait and into Iraq. The tanks had been disabled, most burned by the Allied Forces beyond recognition. The bulldozers had plowed the Iraqi tanks into trenches, sometimes inadvertently burying live Iraqi soldiers, still entombed in their sandy graves, arms sticking up here and there from the sand.
Gary’s job was to bury the dead. Cleanup duty.
The sight of charred Iraqi bodies and eyes still staring out from burned corpses haunted him. But even more, it was the smell of charred flesh he remembered most. It was a smell that wouldn’t leave him.
It had been over a year and Gary was still paralyzed by the sights and especially the smells of war. He was not available to his wife. He was not available to his two small children. And work was not going well.
Gary numbed the sights and smells with the bottle when possible, providing his only relief but causing even more problems in his life. It was the only form of relief he could find, despite some attempts at therapy.
Gary thought that the idea of tapping while he focused on the sights and smells frozen in his memory was a little crazy, but he was willing to try anything. As we tapped, Gary reported that the visual memories began to fade and seemed far away and lost their charge.
The smells from the past that seemed to permeate his world in the present didn’t go away as easily. But they, too, eventually disappeared with more TFT. Soon Gary was present to his family and doing well at work, no longer haunted by the sights and smells left behind in the desert.
He was finally home.
Excerpted from Callahan Techniques’ latest book, The Tapping
Solution: Tapping the Body’s Energy Pathways
In 2006 and 2007 when the ATFT Foundation first began its missions to help heal the genocide survivors in Rwanda, we had no idea how great an impact TFT could have on this beautiful country. Our first team treated nearly 400 orphans at the El Shaddai orphanage, with wonderful results (PTSD study published 2010 International Journal of Emergency Mental Health).
The Foundation team went back in 2008 and 2009 to train the local community leaders to be able to use TFT to help their own country men and women. Much healing occurred and many were trained in TFT. The PTSD studies that were done had excellent results (2008 study accepted for publication and 2009 study soon to be submitted).
Entire communities were changing from sad, hopeless people, to productive and hopeful communities. The Foundation model for large scale trauma relief had succeeded both in the studies and follow-ups–and particularly in the real life experience of the Rwandan people.
Our desire to expand the reach of this healing even more led to the ATFT Foundation bringing four Rwandan TFT trainees to Hawaii to be trained to become TFT trainers back home in Rwanda. Our hope was that their ability to conduct trainings themselves would enable TFT healing to spread to surrounding communities–and even surrounding African countries.
The ATFT Foundation flew four of the Rwandan leaders, two from Byumba, Rwanda, and two from Kigali, Rwanda, to Hawaii where they spent the month of September, 2011, teaching TFT and supervising staff at pro-bono Hawaiian clinics, treating underprivileged local people and perfecting their skills. Both the Hawaiian people and the Rwandans benefitted tremendously.
And now we see the dream of sharing TFT coming full circle. The Rwandan trainees from Byumba have already been asked to train a team in the Congo.
They have met with and provided support for 60 of the TFT trained therapists in their region and shared their Hawaiian experience with them. With the help of the ATFT Foundation, their sister Rwandan charitable organization, the IZERE Center, is treating up to 35 people per day and has already helped nearly 2000 people this year.
One of the Rwandan leaders and trainers from Kigali is the Director of the Rwandan Orphan Project (new name for El Shaddai Orphanage), and he is also expanding the reach of TFT. We just heard from him that he is training eight Counselors and Social Workers to help the disabled and retired military. He will then supervise and assist them as they treat nearly 80 wheelchair bound ex-military.
It is truly a blessing to see and hear about these hard working young leaders sharing and expanding the healing of TFT in Africa. The ATFT Foundation, the IZERE Center and the Rwandan Orphan Project need your help to continue this wonderful healing and teaching process.
Please go to www.ATFTFoundation.org to donate to the furthering of this model of trauma relief, to www.IZEREByumba.com to help the IZERE support their TFT treatment programs, and to www.RwandanOrphansProject.org to help with their work in the community in TFT training and treatment.
I work with a unique population–Russian immigrants 65-years-old and up. Our practice is in the heart of a Russian community, famous Brighton Beach.
Coming here to the U.S., my patients brought with them a myriad of issues – some are unique only to this population group and some are universal for all elderly–the loss of social status, familiar surroundings, life-long friends, rich Russian culture, profession or career, and part of the family (left behind).
And much more…They miss the traditional cultural closeness of the family. They come here so they won’t be separated from their children, and their children often move to different parts of the country, leaving them in Russian neighborhoods to take care of themselves.
They also have unique pain and memories: fighting in WWII, running from Germans, famine and labor camps of Stalin’s era, and concentration camps or ghetto.
They are now getting older, with more medical problems that also affect their emotional well-being.
Mr. T, our patient for many years, is a WWII veteran. He fought during the war from Moscow to Berlin and was wounded a few times. He fought in the battle of Stalingrad.
Every night he would still fight during his sleep: screaming, yelling and making strange sounds. TFT has relieved this trauma. He still has flashbacks and talks about his war experience, but his wife reports that he is not screaming in his sleep anymore.
PTSD symptoms are normally very hard to treat, especially with the elderly. I am very grateful that I now have this knowledge and skill with TFT.
The main difficulty in my work with the elderly with different levels of dementia is their comprehension level. I find it hard to explain to them the concept of SUD and often have to judge our progress by the facial expression and patient’s subjective reaction.
The other problem is how to make the handout and explanation easy to understand for use at home. It often takes three or four sessions to do so.
I am very glad I learned TFT–and have it as the main tool in my tool box. It helps my patients enormously.
Charles G. Hayward, Sr., tells how he finally found relief with TFT after many years of suffering from war-related trauma:
Many thanks to Dr. Caroline Sakai for her much needed work with veterans, and to Carmelo Cruz Diaz for sharing his story: