Thought Field Therapy

Thought Field Therapy (TFT) involves tapping the fingers at meridian points on the upper body and hands to heal a variety of mental and physical ailments. It works along the same lines as acupuncture—but without the needles, obviously!

I first came across TFT during a healing session in which the therapist tapped on the side of my head several times and my headache vanished immediately. He then tapped on my hand and reduced my craving for tea. I was intrigued, to say the least.

Two days later there was a feature in a newspaper about Thought Field Therapy helping people to stop smoking. Later that day, a chap named Gerard came to see me. He told me he had trained in Thought Field Therapy under Dr roger Callahan (who developed the therapy) and how he used it to clear anything from trauma to phobias and addictions. I have long since learnt to take notice if something pops up repeatedly in a short space of time, so I decided to investigate by reading Dr Callahan’s book, Tapping the Healer Within.

Roger Callahan discovered TFT almost by chance; he was a “by-the-book” psychologist with a phD in clinical psychology from Syracuse University and holding the post of Associate professor and Director of psychological Services and research at Michigan University. Roger had always been open to new approaches and, like many of his colleagues, was disappointed by the lack of success of the traditional talk therapy.

He saw many people with phobias, depression, or relationship issues who talked endlessly about their problems for months, or even years, but with traditional therapy, were simply not getting any better. Roger commented how he and a number of his fellow psychologists often discussed their dismal track records, with only a few clients recovering. But then came a huge turning point, via a patient named Mary.

Mary had the most intense water phobia roger had ever encountered. The sight of water almost paralysed her—she could not bathe her children, was terrified of rain, and had terrifying nightmares that the ocean was “getting” her. Roger tried every therapy he had available but nothing worked. On one occasion, he managed to get her to sit by his pool, but the poor woman was desperately upset and described sitting there as sheer torture. In that moment, roger had a flash of inspiration. He knew a little about Chinese medicine and how energy flows along meridian lines that correspond with acupuncture points.

Mary had said that she felt a sickening feeling in the pit of her stomach, so he instructed her to tap on the energy point just under her eye because it corresponds with the stomach meridian. Within minutes, Mary lit up and exclaimed, “It’s gone, the awful feeling in my stomach has gone.” She ran down to his pool, dipped her feet in and splashed water on her face. Roger thought she had gone mad. Later that day, she faced the ultimate test. She drove to the ocean during a storm and waded waist-deep into the crashing waves. To this day, over twenty years later, the sickening feeling has never returned.

Roger Callahan then began to experiment with tapping and by trial and error he found that certain sequences or algorithms work with certain problems. Today, the success rate can be as high as 98 percent, unheard of in any other therapy.

Thought Field Therapy and Trauma Patients

Thought Field Therapy is now an established form of treatment with open-minded therapists working in the complementary medicine field. In fact, TFT was used on the most difficult cases in kosovo in 2000 when 105 victims of ethnic violence received TFT from an international volunteer group of therapists. These people were suffering from post-traumatic stress as a result of rape and torture; some had seen their loved ones slaughtered. The chief medical officer in kosovo, Dr Shkelzen Syla, sent a letter of appreciation to the group of volunteers, headed up by professor Carl Johnson, who sits on the American Board of professional psychology. It read: “Many well-funded relief organisations have treated the post-traumatic stress here in kosovo. Some of our people had limited improvement, but kosovo had no major change or real hope until volunteer American professor Carl Johnson came to help us ... with Thought Field Therapy. We referred our most difficult trauma patients to the professor. The success rate from TFT was 100 percent for every patient.”

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