9/11 Trauma Relief in New York


In memory of those who suffered from the 9/11 tragedy–and in the effort to relieve their suffering and that of the many others who are traumatized by violence–we are reposting Ms. Bahr-Groth’s story of visiting New York five days after the event to help survivors with TFT. For another profound 9/11 TFT story, click here. 

World Trade Center Trauma Relief in New York

By Diane Bahr-Groth, CH, TFT-Adv

On Sunday, September 16, 2001, Kay and Jan, two women I trained in TFT, and I left our seemingly safe little town of Stamford, Connecticut and drove toward New York City. Unable to simply watch the horror of the World Trade Center disaster and its aftermath days before we decided to make our way into the city and find a way to help those in need. Armed with 2,000 copies of the Thought Field Therapy trauma/anxiety algorithm, a simple paper sign reading “Free, Trauma Relief”, a few bottles of water and a little folding table we began our somber journey.

It was one of those lovely late summer days with a perfectly clear blue sky and bright sun. We decided to put the top down on my convertible hoping the sunlight would lighten our spirits. The beauty of the day made it seem more incredible that such horror could have occurred.

As we passed the George Washington Bridge, just minutes from midtown Manhattan, the truth of the disaster could be seen and smelled. The awful sight of the empty skyline shrouded in white smoke shocked me beyond words. I, of course, had seen the news day after day and knew that the World Trade Center no longer stood tall and majestic in the sky. Still, I heard the words in my mind over and over saying “It’s not there…… It’s not there.”….. The tears streamed down my face as the truth and reality of all I knew set in.

The acrid scent of the smoke filled our nostrils and reinforced the certainty that so many had died. While driving and trying to absorb the shock of the situation, I treated myself with the trauma algorithm, often fixing my reversal. I noticed Kay and Jan treating themselves as well. We drove for miles in silence looking at the skyline which is now and forever changed.

We drove to lower Manhattan and tried to get as close to Ground Zero as possible. We miraculously found a parking space just in front of the memorial sight at Union Square Park. It is a lovely little park naturally filled with flowers and trees and but now filled with photos, candles and posters of those who were missing.

Thousands of New Yorkers were walking through the park bringing flowers, praying and connecting with others. It was there, close to the makeshift memorials, that we began treating the shocked New Yorkers. Even the setting was rather surreal as we watched grief stricken people walking through the park as the sunshine streamed through the trees and colorful flowers growing all around.

On that beautiful summer Sunday it was incredible to see so many people walking through the park with vacant eyes. They were still very much in shock from Tuesday’s tragedy. The park was becoming quite crowded. We set up our little makeshift TFT center close to the memorial for those lost or missing hoping to find those who needed the most assistance.

We were ready to begin. Our paper sign immediately caught the attention of those in need, “Free Trauma Relief”. People began asking us about what we were offering, hoping for relief from their pain. After explaining that we could help them to reduce the level of the pain, fear and anxiety they were experiencing dozens of New Yorkers lined up. Without question, they began tapping themselves in full view of dozens of onlookers who were watching with curiosity. It was an amazing site.

At times we each had one or two people being guided through the complex trauma sequence. However, sometimes there were up to ten people, all tapping at once. Often people simply stopped walking and just stood next to a stranger who was already tapping various points on his body. They were happy to join the stress reduction exercise already in progress. Each would smile when it was over and then asked if they could take a copy of the algorithm with them.

Many of those people who participated in TFT returned later that afternoon with friends or family members in need of relief. Some simply returned to pick up copies of the algorithm for others surprised by their emotional changes. One homeless man was very interested in our help and participated in reducing his fears rather quickly. He had witnessed the second plane hit the Tower. He asked for a few sheets of the algorithm which we happily gave him. He returned later in the afternoon for another sheet for himself since he had given away his copy to someone else in need.

Although we often didn’t even know the first names of those we worked with that day, several New Yorkers’ stories are memorable. Elizabeth stopped to ask for help for her sister. However, Elizabeth, a young woman, worked at the high school facing the World Trade Center had seen both planes crash into the buildings. Her eyes were vacant and she was very sad. She feared that she would never be happy again. She was afraid all the children in the school would die. She was a level 10 upset but very quickly began to come back to life with the complex trauma algorithm.

Within two minutes she was smiling and actually glowing. There were tears of joy running down her face. She couldn’t believe that the horrible pictures in her mind were gone and she was actually happy. She immediately brought her sister to us and she too quickly began to smile and relax. They hugged us and rushed off to share TFT with others. She hoped to share it with the students and teachers in the school.

A young Japanese girl was brought to us by her mother. She was very sad at the onset. However, within a few minutes her upset was reduced from 8 to 0. She smiled and was very happy to be free of the trauma. She returned to being a child without fear.

A very handsome, young male dancer named Philip was uncertain as to whether or not he wished to be free of his upset. He apparently had several friends who died in the restaurant at the top of the WTC. He had performed there several times before the tragedy. He began at a level 8 upset which quickly reduced to a 1 after two rounds of complex trauma. To his amazement the horrible images in his mind disappeared as well.

A woman named Joan had been watching us for a few hours and finally had the courage to join us. She was understandably upset by the level 8 trauma, which we cleared. However, she had Bell’s Palsy, fibromyalgia and love pain and loss having to do with personal issues not related to the WTC trauma.

While reducing her anxiety she was shocked to find her physical pain dissipating and the Bell’s palsy symptoms decrease from a 9 to almost a 2. She needed more assistance than I could provide that day and I suggested she call someone to help her with TFT. She also received a copy of the algorithm to use at home. She promised she would do so because she was so surprised with her positive results.

Susan, a young woman, was one of the first and possibly the only person who cried that day. She originally joined one of our first small TFT groups earlier in the day. I could see that she needed more personalized assistance and gently took her aside to work with dx since the algorithm was not enough to help her. She was obviously PR and at a 10+. She had witnessed the second plane crashing.

She was on a rooftop nearby and thought the second plane was going to kill her. She hadn’t slept in days and was terrified. She was crying for a moment while we worked. “The plane was so big” and coming toward her. However, within moments, the tears of horror turned to tears of joy. She smiled, a little confused and amazed that we could elicit such a remarkable change in her. She now saw the plane as very small and then it disappeared from her mind. She, too, was free of the trauma and now could help others. She was no longer frozen in fear. Much love and hugs and blessings were given to us and to Roger.

A young man stopped by to talk to us but preferred not to work with TFT at that time. Apparently all of his friends had been killed. He worked the night shift and had left work at the WTC just prior to the first plane crash. His friends on the day shift were on the upper floors and all perished. He took a copy of the algorithm home. He said perhaps he might use it when he was alone.

Alice, a lovely young woman stopped by hoping to reduce her stress. She was carrying many shopping bags and packages but happily put them all down on the ground to focus on TFT. Her eyes welled up as she thought about the trauma but the 10+ upset soon became nothing at all. She was relaxed and peaceful. Those horrifying pictures no longer haunted her. Her body relaxed and the tension in her neck disappeared. She very eagerly asked if she could bring her friend over for assistance as well. Her friend too was pleased with the results. Several other people participated in reducing their stress along with her.

I approached two police officers who were off duty and relaxing in the park. One was female and the other male. They were curious as to what I was offering. However, the male began to perform TFT and as the female officer began tapping she broke into laughter feeling rather uncomfortable about the process. The male then felt obligated to stop as well. If they had not been in uniform and in the public’s view the response would have been different, I am certain. They accepted a copy of the trauma algorithm to perform in privacy.

We left the city at 6:00pm. Our original intention was to stop at St. Patrick’s Cathedral to help those leaving the memorial service being held for those missing and lost. However, as we listened to the lovely service and heard the voices of angels singing on the radio broadcast we decided it was best to simply go home and be with our own families and friends. Those at the service were in a peaceful place for the moment.

We listened to the uplifting music of Enya on the drive home to Connecticut happy that we could help so many. However, I needed gas and didn’t realize that all the gas stations were closed on Sunday evenings since the attack. I wanted to have dinner with my son who was waiting for me and didn’t want to go back a few miles to the one station we thought might be open. I hoped I had enough gas to reach a station closer to home.

Well, for the first time in my life, my car ran out of gas. There was no place to pull over and the car just stopped in the middle of the road half way up a hill. I was on a back road, alone, in the dark on a Sunday evening and my cell phone said “no service”. I wondered how long it would be before someone would even drive by. It was too far to walk to “civilization”. I didn’t have to wait more than two seconds.

A lovely couple stopped to ask if I needed help. They were on their way to a funeral but they offered to call my husband to assist me since they had cell service. They pulled ahead of my car to lend me their phone. Within seconds two or three other cars stopped to help as well.

Within a minute the police were there helping me move my car and offering to take me to pick up gas. It was amazing to receive so much help from strangers on a deserted road. The policeman commented that so much love was pouring out of everyone since the tragedy. We picked up gas and he filled my empty tank and made sure my car would start. However, before he left he allowed me to work with him with TFT!

He was upset that he could not be in NY because he was covering the shifts for those officers who were at the Trade Center helping. He was due to go in on Wednesday of that week. His frustration was an 8 which quickly reduced to a 1. His face lit up as he said “This really works!” He took several copies of the algorithm to leave at the station for other officers. At that moment I was very happy that I ran out of gas.

In general, most people I have worked with since the WTC disaster were immediately helped with the complex trauma algorithm or the algorithm for complex trauma with anger and guilt. Most were PR.

TFT was completely effective for those who were directly at the site and with those who had lost friends or had friends missing whom I worked with at my office.

We were able to work with approximately 123 people that Sunday, sometimes with groups of up to 10 people at a time. We also gave away nearly 500 copies of the trauma algorithm along with the web site address. Many of those we helped returned later in the day for more copies of the algorithm and/or brought back friends or relatives to be treated. People with vacant eyes prior to the treatment had life brought back in them that day.

I have since also helped approximately 100 clients privately who have been traumatized by the World Trade Center disaster in some way as well as those who lost loved ones on that tragic day. All have been greatly helped with TFT.

I was also fortunate to work with several firefighters in NYC who were open to using Thought Field Therapy in their firehouse. They were helped immediately and the shift was, in all honesty, surprising to those who participated.

Roger Callahan was blessed many times by those who experienced Thought Field Therapy.

Thank you for making this available to help those in need. It is such a gift to have a tool like Thought Field that can change lives help others and so quickly.

Excerpted from Tapping for Humanity, Winter 2013

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