The following is an article by Sharon Hales, TFT-Dx, rape crisis specialist, from “The ATFT Update”, Issue 11, Spring 2009:
TFT MUCH NEEDED IN RAPE CRISIS WORK
I’ve worked full time in a rape crisis centre for 14 years, counseling women who had been raped or sexually abused. It would typically take about 1- 2 years of weekly therapy sessions for survivors of rape to reach a satisfactory level of recovery, but not a complete cure, from their trauma. For survivors of child abuse, it could take anywhere between 2 and 4 years to stabilize.
In addition to our rape therapy, many of the survivors had previously accessed psychological support through the National Health System.
Repeating The Trauma Is Cruel
Although I accepted the longevity of this work, I equally felt it was very cruel. Throughout those 14 years, I studied as many different techniques as I could, and I strove to develop resources that would speed up this process for survivors.
When I received an invitation in 2002 to train in Thought Field Therapy, I was extremely skeptical and cautious. It sounded too good to be true. But, on the other hand, I argued, if it does what it says it does then this is exactly what I have been searching for to help relieve the suffering of survivors, so I decided to attend the training.
On the first day of the training I achieved an immediate resolution for a driving phobia. I had suffered for 5 years with it and had received both counseling and psychological help. I have to admit I was blown away! My mind began to race with the possibilities.
I then began to put TFT to the test within my counseling work. The results were astounding. Traumatic memories that would previously have brought survivors to their knees were suddenly bearable and quickly resolved. Cognitive processing began to function with more clarity, logic and speed. Suddenly, survivors had an almost instant new survival skill that didn’t hurt or disadvantage them in any way. In fact, it was quite the opposite since they dramatically grew in confidence, congruence, motivation and determination. Recovery rates were far more rapid than I had ever believed possible.
Recovery rates today continue to be rapid and the relief that clients express is almost palpable as the following cases show. (Names have been changed to protect identities.)
SUE: At the age of 18, Sue was held hostage and repeatedly raped by two assailants, 1 male and 1 female, over a period of 12 hours. For the next 13 years she suffered on a daily basis, with the trauma negatively impacting on every area of her life. She had tried counseling and felt the counselor was out of her depth. She felt more miserable after every session, raking up the trauma and reliving it (her counselor had told her she would have to talk about it if she was going to get through it) and she began to dread each session.
Sue came to me 5 months ago, when she left her counseling. We have had a total of 15 sessions together – although resolving the rape issues didn’t take too long, she wanted to clear other issues from her childhood as well!
We ended our sessions together at the beginning of December and I received this email a short time ago:
Hey Sharon, I have said this before but today I need to say it again – thank you so much for everything.
I longed for the end of 2008, it was a year I never believed I would see the end of, at least not still alive and kicking. But last night for the first time in almost 14 years I celebrated a new year. In fact at midnight I sat in the middle of Sam’s living room and cried my eyes out with a good bottle of wine !!! So now to 2009 – a new relationship, which is amazing and wonderful and fantastic and I could go on and on!!!!! My counseling course is booked for April as are my self- defense classes. There have been a few hiccups but so far I am managing to tap them out on my own.
This is the way it is meant to be isn’t it?? This is the life I am entitled to and finally I get to prove wrong the bastards who raped me….they didn’t win and they won’t win. Happy New Year Sharon and thank you.”
HANNAH: Hannah was sexually abused by a nurse in her nursery at the age of 3. Following a high profile investigation, the perpetrator was found guilty. Hannah described being passed from psychiatrists, to psychologists to counselors for over 16 years. She did not believe that she could recover.
I saw Hannah on a fortnightly basis and we ended our sessions together after 6 months. This is a letter she sent a few months after we ended:
Well where can I start…. This has been the most amazing thing I have ever done and achieved in my life, especially after going through what I have, and that’s right I am a survivor! I used to be so depressed because I thought there was no one to help me. From psychiatrists, to counselors with clip boards trying to help me, no one ever seemed to know what to do. I used to cry and never know why I always doubted myself and put myself down, my biggest issue was trust. I never trusted anyone at all, never letting anyone get close to me because I thought I was going to get hurt and now when I’ m talking and writing this I can see a big difference because none of that was my fault.
I was so scared when I first went but could not hold my tears back. Sharon introduced me to tapping therapy, which most people haven’t heard of. This was great and I would encourage anyone to give it a go, I would love more people to hear about it.
It did not take me long at all to make me feel better. I had issues that I thought no one could help me with and let me be me. I can now look in to the future with my head held high.
Sexual trauma is much more common than people think.
Police recorded 57,542 sexual offenses in England and Wales in the year ending March 2007. (Source: Crime in England and Wales 2006-07). Whilst these statistics are high, please bear in mind the real scale of sexual trauma is likely to be much higher as a large majority of survivors do not report to the police.
Around 21% of girls and 11% of boys experience some form of child sexual abuse. 23% of women and 3% of men experience sexual assault as an adult. 5% of women and 0.4% of men experience rape. (Cross Government Action Plan on Sexual Violence and Abuse www.homeoffice.gov.uk/documents/ Sexual-violence-action-plan).
I believe there is a great need for survivors of sexual trauma to access adequately trained practitioners who use TFT in their practice. Waiting lists continue to grow for NHS counseling, psychotherapy, and psychology, and Rape Crisis Centres are woefully under funded. And because of the slow nature of these therapies, many clients have to go through years of suffering before they reach a satisfactory level of recovery.
In my experience, using TFT alongside other healing modalities dramatically cuts the length of time needed to gain recovery, and survivors report feeling solid, congruent and in control for the first time in their lives.