Thought Field Therapy

Thought Field Therapy (TFT) is a variation of psychotherapy which involves using a precise sequence of gentle tapping on certain energy meridian points whilst the individual focuses their thoughts on the emotional problem they are trying to expel.

This treatment is renowned for its immediate and dramatic results, most individuals gain lasting relief within one treatment and the success rate currently stands at around 98%.

Though it is not known exactly why the treatment is successful it is thought that the finger tapping on meridians breaks the connection between the triggering of thoughts and the emotional response.

Post treatment the individual will still be able to experience the relevant emotion but it will now only occur in appropriate situations.

All things considered, TFT is one of the most natural and non invasive systems of eliminating the root cause of negative emotions and this is the reason why it is already in use in a number of NHS Trusts.

How did it begin?

Around 25 years ago Dr. Roger Callahan discovered that by simply tapping on certain energy meridians a problem could be cured.

This discovery came during the treatment of a women named Mary Ford, who had gone to Callahan to seek help for an extreme phobia of water.

It just so happened that at this time Callahan was learning about energy meridians in the body and this was to be the beginning of what we now know as Thought Field Therapy.

So what are meridians? Meridians were discovered in China thousands of years ago and played an essential component in the system of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The overall objective of Traditional Chinese Medicine is to restore the body's equilibrium, as the treatment is based on the principle that physical and mental illness are caused by unbalance within the body. For the body to maintain balance its vital energy, known as Qi, must be able to flow freely throughout.

The system considers the human body to be a balance of two opposing forces, yin and yang. Yin represents the cold, slow or passive aspects of a person while yang represents hot, excited or active aspects. If these two opposing forces become unbalanced then it leads to a blockage in the flow of the Qi.

Meridians are channels that allow qi and blood to circulate through the body. Qi is continuously flowing through these pathways and any break in the flow is an indication of imbalance.

There are twelve major meridians, all of which correspond to a specific organ or function within the body, 6 representing yin and 6 representing yang: Heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, stomach, small intestines, large intestine, bladder, gall bladder, spleen, pericardium and the triple burner.

With the knowledge that Mary's stomach meridian began under her eye, Callahan requested that she tap that particular point. Though he was not expecting much of a reaction, he actually found that Mary's stomach pain and nausea had gone as had her fear of water.

Although it is unknown how and why this instantaneous cure took place Callahan continued to develop this new found technique over the course of the next fifteen years, shaping it into the therapy which we know today.

Since its development in 1979 the technique has gone onto help millions of people worldwide and has been used globally to help those suffering from psychological effects of natural or human disasters. Trauma relief projects have been carried out in the USA, Kosovo, Rwanda, Nigeria and have been used to ease the suffering of those effected by Hurricane Katrina, the world trade centre attacks, the Oklahoma City bombing and the high school shooting at Columbine. It was also adopted by the Chief of Medical Staff in the former Yugoslavian region of Kosovo as the treatment of choice for war trauma.

The technique is also a favourite of Paul McKenna, an extremely high profile psychotherapist and UK best selling non-fiction author. McKenna has written and produced a number of books and multimedia products, hosted self improvement TV shows and presents a number of seminars on various topics ranging from hypnosis to neuro-linguistic programming. He has now been using TFT in his work for several years and champions the technique for it's power to change peoples lives for the better.

Does it really work?

Numerous studies have been conducted in order to try and determine the effectiveness of the treatment. In 1986 a study was carried out to find the success rate of the therapy, producing results showing TFT had a 98% success rate. The same study was repeated again in 1996 and once again in 1998, both replicating the results of the first.

In October 2001 Dr. Shkelzen Syla, Chief of Staff with authority over all medical decisions in Kosovo conducted a supervised clinical trial which examined TFT when used to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The study produced a 100% success rate and TFT was subsequently adopted as a treatment for those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the region.

What does treatment involve?

During your treatment your practitioner will ask you to focus on the distressing thought or feeling before establishing the location of the imbalance and your discomfort on scale. Where there is an imbalance there is a corresponding blockage in the flow of energy through the meridian system. Light taps on certain meridian points aim to release the blockages that are caused when you think about an emotionally disturbing incident. When this blockage is treated and released, all emotions will regain their balance. The above process means that although the memory is still there the catalyst is gone meaning it's unlikely it will cause you upset again.

In the next step your practitioner will talk you through and show you how to tap the correct meridian points and will explain to you the precise order in which you are to do so. This process will help introduce vibrational energy into the meridians therefor reducing your level of distress.

The amount of sessions needed will really depend on the severity of the issue and your susceptibility to treatment, but generally most patients achieve success from between one and five sessions.

Another important factor in TFT treatment is that your practitioner gives you the information you need to treat yourself at home. This way you will be able to put into play what you have learned should any problems reoccur in the future or indeed if you wish to maintain the progress you have made.

There are many people out there who are suffering as a result of an extreme and highly distressing emotional upset, perhaps too afraid to seek help as they do not wish to talk at length about what happened. TFT requires very little discussion about the problem during the many hours of treatment and your therapist will be able to treat anyone not wishing to share their problem just as well as somebody who does feel comfortable discussing it.

How can it help me?

TFT offers significant relief from various emotional problems in a timely manner, it is a simple and painless method that you will be able to continue to apply yourself when your course of treatment is over.

What training and qualifications do practitioners need?

As more individuals opt to use complementary and alternative healthcare practitioners alongside conventional medical treatments, both the public and medical professionals are becoming increasingly interested in the safe practice and efficacy of complementary therapies.

There are currently no laws in the UK regarding the training and registration of Thought Field Therapy practitioners. However, when searching for a therapist it is always reassuring to know they are working to certain levels of good practice. In the case of Thought Field Therapy, practitioners can choose to register with a professional association with its own code of ethics and complaints procedure and all members listed will have met certain eligibility requirements.

Below is a list of professional bodies for Thought Field Therapists. It is not an exhaustive list, but does features the main organisations. To find out more information about accreditation visit the professional bodies’ websites below.

The British Thought Field Therapy Association (BTFTA)

The British Thought Field Therapy Association (BTFTA) is a well established training institute of Callahan Techniques® Thought Field Therapy (a set of techniques established by TFT creator Dr. Roger Callahan) and it is also a directory of qualified practitioners. Listed below are the various qualifications which can be achieved and evidence of successful completion must be provided before practitioners are listed on the directory.

  • Algorithm Practitioner (TFTalg): At this level trainees are taught the basic skills needed to treat trauma, addictive urges, anger, anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, obsession (OCD), depression, grief, rage, shame and guilt. Many practitioners of other therapies - counsellors, life coaches and hypnotherapists for instance - choose to incorporate this level of TFT training into their practice as they feel it enhances their treatment.
  • Diagnostic Practitioner (TFTdx): At this level, practitioners have been trained in Casual Diagnostic Procedures which allows them to offer individualised treatment for many psychological and physical problems.
  • Voice Technology™ (TFT-VT) or Advanced Practitioner (TFTadv): These are the most advanced levels of training that can be achieved. Practitioners trained in Voice Technology™ will have undergone one to one training under the direct supervision of Dr. Roger Callahan himself. Advanced Practitioners have studied the TFT ''Optimal Health'' program which offers more generalised training to a similar level.

Upon joining all potential members must also agree to abide by the associations code of ethics and complaints procedure.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Therapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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