Thought Field Therapy is a unique mind-body therapy that capitalizes on the power of the body's energy system to relieve the emotional distress associated with most psychological problems.
Although this article discusses TFT, I believe that EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) is FAR superior. EFT was developed by Gary Craig who was one of Dr. Callahan's first TFT students.
For more information on how to learn EFT go to the EFT Video Page.
Basics of Thought Field Therapy Explained
"Thought Field Therapy is the study of the structure of thought fields and the body's energy system as they pertain to the diagnosis and treatment of psychological problems," says psychologist, Roger J. Callahan, Ph.D., founder and developer of TFT, also known as The Callahan Techniques.
Dr. Callahan considers TFT to be a "revolutionary experiment in psychology" since its high success rate cannot be explained or predicted using conventional theories of psychotherapy.
According to TFT, neither a traumatic event nor the person's thoughts about that event are the fundamental cause of negative emotions. Instead, perturbations (disturbances) in the thought field contain active information which triggers the neurological, chemical, hormonal, and cognitive changes in the person which result in the experience of negative emotions.
These perturbations exert their influence by causing imbalances in the body's energy system. This is the same energy system used in acupuncture but without the needles.
A trained TFT practitioner is able to quickly diagnosis which of the energy meridians are out of balance. Once diagnosed, the treatment involves having the client tap on certain locations on their body in a specific order, while focusing on the psychological problem. Mentally tuning into the problem is vital during both diagnosis and treatment.
The tapping, which occurs at the endpoints of different energy meridians, provides the additional energy needed to promote the healthy flow of electromagnetic energy throughout the system.
The treatment, which doesn't require any touching of the client, is usually completed within minutes, and renders the perturbations in the thought field inactive. Even in most complicated cases, treatment may take only a few sessions.
Clients are delighted to be relieved of their emotional problems so quickly, especially because the process is painless and long-lasting. Because nature is not capricious, several treatment algorithms (recipes) for various psychological problems have been discovered.
The algorithms, which work well in about 80% of the cases, were determined through the process of individually diagnosing thousands of clients. The remaining 20% of clients require individual TFT diagnosis of their problems.
Another important aspect of TFT treatment discovered by Dr. Callahan is the psychological reversal (PR). PR creates a polarity block in the body's energy system and prevents an otherwise effective treatment from working. PR is also an important discovery in the areas of psychological and physical healing.
It is associated with self defeating and negative behavior, and may be a causal factor for why some people don't heal from either psychological or physical illnesses. Fortunately, there is a quick way to correct a reversal within seconds that enables treatment to become effective once again.
TFT is Quick and Effective
Although TFT doesn't work for every problem in every person, two recent studies have shown treatment success rates of well over 90% for a wide variety of psychological problems -- anxiety, panic, fears of all types, traumas, painful memories, grief, addictive urges, and depression, just to name a few.
Many TFT practitioners treat fears, traumas, and many other conditions daily with TFT with a success rate that surpasses all other forms of psychotherapy. The treatments, which quickly rebalance the body's energy system, are so robust and on line with reality that neither the therapist nor the client have to believe in the treatments for them to work.
TFT Draws Initial Skepticism
Many professionals who are first exposed to TFT, are so skeptical of the claims being made about its success that they struggle for several months before they can bring themselves to learn more about the treatments. They waiver between thinking that TFT is absolute hocus-pocus to seriously wondering if it was a profoundly powerful treatment and important discovery in the field of psychotherapy.
It is easy to see why many professionals and clients alike are initially skeptical about TFT. "I don't believe it!" This is the exclamation of emotional relief and disbelief from clients after undergoing treatment. How could something so apparently simple work so quickly and painlessly to create such a profound emotional transformation?
Because the results with TFT can neither be predicted nor explained by conventional theories of psychopathology, TFT first makes many professionals squirm in their seats and scramble to find alternative (false) explanations for its effectiveness. This state of mental shock is usually overcome when one grasps that the results with TFT are consistent and clinically significant across different clients, settings, problems, and therapists.
On a deeper level, TFT challenges our concepts of human change and suffering. Almost everyone expects change to be painfully slow and inconsistent. Yet with TFT, change is non-linear and occurs in quantum leaps.
Moreover, the ease and effectiveness of TFT in promoting psychological freedom have profound implications for the understanding and treatment of emotional suffering.
TFT Research and Training
Although TFT began with Dr. Callahan over 15 years ago, it is just beginning to obtain more widespread attention in professional circles. A growing number of professionals are using TFT in their clinical practices, and research efforts are not far behind.
One such research project was headed by Charles R. Figley, Ph.D., a noted traumatology expert at Florida State University, in which TFT was compared to EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and three other brief therapies in the treatment of posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
Mary Sykes Wylie, Ph.D., Senior Editor of The Family Therapy Networker, writes about this study in the July/August 1996 issue: If it had been a horse race, which the investigators as well as the innovators were all at pains to deny, the TFT contingent would have won, hands down.
Requiring virtually nothing in the way of personal interaction, TFT can bypass all that tedious therapeutic business of joining, empathy, history-taking, reprocessing and the like, and zero in on the problem immediately at hand. With 10 minute treatments not at all unusual .
In addition to case studies and radio listeners calling in for treatment, well controlled, experimental studies are being conducted on TFT. The results so far are consistent with the claims being made by TFT practitioners.
Thought Field Therapy has the potential of revolutionizing the delivery of psychotherapy. With its extraordinary success rate of over 90% for most psychological problems, and its unique and rapid treatment process, TFT challenges conventional theories of psychotherapy.
Conventional therapies attempt to intervene at the neural, chemical, hormonal, or cognitive levels, whereas TFT addresses psychological problems energetically on a quantum level.
Psychologist, Dr. Roger Callahan, founded and developed TFT over the last 16 years based on his discovery that the same energy meridian system identified by the Chinese approximately 5,000 years ago and used in acupuncture for centuries could also be used to successfully treat most psychological problems.
From the perspective of TFT, our thoughts and emotions are energy expressions of human consciousness contained in thought fields. A thought field, having many of the same characteristics of other fields known to quantum physics, carries information, has memory, and can be perturbed.
When perturbed, the energy in the thought field is disrupted, causing negative emotions and an imbalance in the body's energy system. The perturbations or disruptions of energy in the thought field are corrected via the energy rebalancing interventions of TFT.
With TFT, permanent improvements (and oftentimes cures) occur almost immediately by working with this subtle energy meridian system, and without addressing the neural, chemical/hormonal, and cognitive subsystems.
This strongly supports the notion that the energy system is primary in the formation and treatment of negative emotions. Dr. Callahan's position is that all psychological transformation occurs at the energy level, although it may also be enhanced by changes in the subsystems.
Other therapists across the country are also having great success with this extraordinary new therapy. However, TFT is not widely known in most professional circles yet.
Fortunately, there has been increased interest in TFT since it was studied recently in the "Active Ingredients" Project headed by Charles R. Figley, Ph.D., a noted traumatology expert at Florida State University.
The efficacy of TFT was clearly demonstrated and it compared favorably to EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and three other brief therapies in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A growing number of therapists are using TFT in their clinical practices, and more research efforts are underway.
TFT has been used to successfully treat a wide variety of problems, including PTSD, depression, phobias, anxiety, panic, grief, addictive urges, and more. As a therapist trained in several other treatment modalities, I find TFT to be compatible and easy to integrate with other approaches. The treatments are specific and powerful, and do not interfere with the goals of other therapies.
The treatment of a psychological problem (or the perturbations in the client's thought field) begins with having the client focus on the problem. Mentally tuning into the problem is vital during both diagnosis and treatment.
A trained TFT practitioner is able to use a diagnostic procedure based on manual muscle testing adapted from the field of applied kinesiology to determine the precise order of meridians to be stimulated.
Because nature is not capricious, several treatment algorithms have been derived from the successful treatment of thousands of clients. The algorithms are standard treatment sequences and work well in about 80% of the cases. The remaining 20% of clients require individual TFT diagnosis of their problems, using the manual muscle testing.
The treatment itself involves having the client tap on the energy meridians in the precise order diagnosed, while focusing on their psychological problem. The stimulation of the various energy meridians, generated by the tapping, provides the additional energy needed to promote the healthy flow of electromagnetic energy throughout the system.
This usually renders the perturbations in the thought field inactive, witnessed by the sudden removal of disturbing thoughts and emotions about the problem under treatment.
The treatments are often completed within minutes. Even in most complicated cases, treatment may take only a few sessions. Once relief is obtained in the office, clients have an opportunity to test out the treatment to see how it holds up in real life situations.
The therapist works with the client until they are satisfied that the emotional distress is no longer present in and outside of the office. Clients are delighted to be relieved of their emotional problems so quickly without undergoing lengthy and expensive psychotherapy. In addition, the process is painless and long-lasting.
Sometimes neural disorganization or various forms of psychological reversal (PR) can block an otherwise effective treatment. Each of these complications represents a reversed energy flow in the meridian system and is associated with self-defeating, negative behavior.
PRs may be a causal factor for why some people don't heal from either psychological or physical illnesses. Fortunately, once detected, a PR can be corrected easily within seconds, enabling the treatment to now work effectively. It is interesting to note that simply learning to recognize and correct PR greatly facilitates the speed and success of almost all effective therapies, and promotes the overall health and wellbeing of the client.
As noted earlier, a success rate of over 90% was previously unheard of in psychotherapy. Even more extraordinary is the fact that the treatments are so robust and on line with reality that neither the client nor the therapist have to believe in the treatments for them to work.
The consistent and repeatable results using TFT, which impacts the electromagnetic energy system, strongly support that this energy system is vital in controlling the generation and healing of negative emotions. If the basic problem of negative emotions were simply neural, chemical/hormonal, and/or cognitive, then TFT would not work at all.
TFT has been used to successfully treat hundreds of clients suffering from traumatic accidents, rape, war, crime, and various types of losses. For example, Elaine, a 27 year old woman, was in a terrible car accident in which a young child was killed.
For months following the accident, Elaine experienced many symptoms of PTSD, including nightmares, irritability and agitation, difficulties concentrating, flashbacks of the accident, and avoidance of driving. I treated the emotional trauma of the accident using the trauma algorithm and procedure described below.
Within a single session, her mood and outlook changed dramatically. She reported feeling stronger and no longer feared getting behind the wheel again. At the following session, she reported that she was driving and her nightmares and flashbacks had vanished. Elaine was seen a total of three times before she was functioning normally again.
Please note that the procedure presented below should not be used with anyone else unless you are versed in the treatment of trauma victims. In the event that this procedure doesn't work well, which is most likely due to a lack of proficiency, it is important that you know other ways to help the victim.
Training and experience with TFT are usually needed to obtain the highest success rates available through TFT. You might want to experiment with the trauma treatment by first relieving the distress of a painful memory of your own. There is no risk of causing any harm. The worst that can happen is nothing at all.
1. Focus on the painful memory and rate the level of distress you feel at this moment on a scale from I (no distress at all) to 10 (worst possible distress).
2. As you continue to focus on the painful memory, tap with your finger tip 8-10 times:
At the end of the eyebrow on the inside bridge of the nose.
Directly underneath the center of the eyes on the bony orbit.
On the side of the body about 4 inches directly below the armpit.
Under the collarbone 1 inch to the side of the sternum in the gap between the collarbone and first rib.
3. Continue to focus on the problem while you tap on the GAMUT spot on the back of the hand 1 inch behind and between the bones going to the ring and little fingers. Tap continuously while you close your eyes, open them and look down and to the right (keeping your head still), look down and to the left, roll your eyes in one direction, roll them in the opposite direction, hum a couple of bars of any tune, count outloud to five, then hum again.
Tap continuously 6-8 times per position. This gamut series stimulates and balances the energy in various parts of the brain, and helps to decrease the intensity of the problem.
4. Repeat the tapping in Step 2.
5. Re-rate the intensity of your distress at this moment as you think about the problem. If it has decreased by two or more levels (e.g., went down from an 8 to a 4), then repeat the tapping in Steps 2-4 until the intensity has decreased to a 1.
If it has not decreased by two points, then you are likely experiencing a psychological reversal. This can be corrected by tapping the outside edge of one hand against the palm of the other hand, and repeating the, following phrase out-loud three times: I deeply and profoundly accept myself, even though I am upset by this memory. Now repeat the tapping in Steps 2-4.
Please note that it is important to try and stay focused on the specific memory you started working on, even though related memories may arise during the treatment. Once treatment is completed on one memory, related ones can be treated using the same procedure.
Clients are usually helped significantly by relieving the emotional pain of the trauma in this way. Although it doesn't change the reality of what happened, it enables them to feel stronger in the face of their situation and motivates them to make further adjustments, which may require further therapeutic intervention.
Because relief is so immediate, and the results can neither be predicted nor explained by conventional theories of psychotherapy, clients and therapists arc often stunned by the changes that occur using TFT. I know I was when I was first introduced to TFT. This is a phenomenon called the Apex Problem.