Model for Addressing Trauma after Large Scale Disaster Comes Full Circle
by Suzanne M Connolly, LCSW, LMFT, LISAC
ATFT Foundation Trauma Relief Committee Chair, Suzanne, being a social worker and systems therapist, began thinking in terms of community involvement and sustainability and together with a colleague, Arizona State University professor Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, developed a model and a research design to explore this model, in a country well known to have experienced such a large-scale trauma. This model would begin with two day training in TFT and Energy Psychology, presented to carefully selected community leaders and followed by a random controlled study in which the newly trained community leaders assist in implementing the research and the newly trained Rwandan community leaders deliver the therapeutic intervention. The next three ATFT Foundation deployments to Rwanda were devoted to the study of this model and were led by Suzanne Connolly. The research from 2008 has been accepted for publication but has not been published to date. The 2009 and 2010 research is waiting in the pipeline.
After participating in five successful ATFT Foundation trauma relief missions to Rwanda, Dr. Caroline Sakai, of Honolulu, took the helm as ATFT Foundation team leader, and led a sixth Rwandan ATFT trauma relief mission in Hawaii. Four trained, English speaking Rwandan TFT practitioners arrived in Hawaii early in September and attended advanced trainings in TFT. Funds and air miles provided by ATFT Foundation donors delivered the four men to beautiful Oahu and back to their beloved Rwanda. ATFT Foundation members also raised funds for in country transportation, meals, a computer and printer, and other needed supplies, and local Hawaiian therapists warmly welcomed their Rwandan visitors.
In Hawaii, the Rwandans received a Diagnostic Level TFT training from Dr. Sakai. The four Rwandans then trained Hawaiian therapists who work with vulnerable groups to use TFT. Later, at the pro bono clinics, the four Rwandans supervised the newly trained Hawaiian therapists as they treated clients in their vulnerable population groups.
Dr. Roger Callahan and Joanne Callahan, founders of TFT, arrived for the last week of the pro bono clinics. Dr. Callahan received two special awards at the farewell dinner, which officially closed the ATFT Foundation deployment. Dr. Callahan was awarded a beautiful crystal globe designed by Stephanie Sakai, who is a Diagnostic Level TFT practitioner, engraved with “Lifetime Humanitarian Award presented to Roger J. Callahan, PhD, for healing the world with TFT, October 20, 2011” from the Hawaii-Rwanda Project. The Rwandans presented Roger a crystal picture frame with a picture of the four Rwandan men with Roger and the engraved words, “In gratitude and honor as we spread the gift of TFT throughout our beloved Africa (engraved with the names of the four Rwandans) Father Jean Marie Vianey, Deacon Augustin Nzabonimana, Reverend Celestin Mitabu, and Prosper Ishimwe.”
And, as during the last five ATFT trauma relief deployments, research was begun during this ATFT Foundation deployment that will enrich both the ATFT Foundation and ACEP. The ATFT Foundation looks forward to working together with ACEP in a shared future.
Excerpted from The Energy Field, Winter 2011,
published by ACEP (Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology)
*ATFT Foundation’s name has changed to TFT Foundation