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Follow-Up Visit To Rwanda July – August 2018

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Caroline Sakai made her seventh trip to Kigali and Bumba, Rwanda with  two other TFT practitioners from Hawaii and one from California visiting Rwanda for the first time:  Debra New, executive director of the Nalaniikaleomana Foundation  which funded the mission; Dr. Carlann Defontes, who works  as a medical doctor for the Veterans Administration on Molokai and does national  VA trainings, and Stephanie Sakai who is Caroline’s daughter.  Rwanda is prospering with more economic developments:  new buildings under construction especially in Kigali, new roads being built, new businesses being created, and numerous foreign investors developing  industries and technologies within the country.

Father Jean Marie Vianney Dushimiyimana and Father Augustin Nzabonimana took us to our first destination to pay our respects at the Kigali Genocide Memorial — a somber and educational memorial which documents the history of genocides in Rwanda, Germany, Cambodia and other countries.  The exhibitions describe the events that preceded genocides, precursor warnings, the inciting of discrimination and divisiveness which contributed to the horrific atrocities.  The lessons found here confront us with the consequences, when efforts are not made to preserve peace, unity and success for all.  We were inspired by testimonies of amazing grace, the power of forgiveness and reconciliation, and the remarkable potential for resiliency.

Pastor Celestin Mitabu then took us to the Institute for Disabled Children (Inshuti Zacu) where Sister Emeritha Myirandayezeye and the physical therapists, nurses and other sisters have been doing admirable work with the vulnerable children who have neurological, mental and physical challenges, including fragile bone syndrome.  They have done inspiring work despite limited funds and medical resources.

We also met with Nicolette Nsabimana, who gave us a tour of the Center Marembo, the soon-to-be-opened community health and rehabilitation center for street children and victims of abuse.  This center will provide many needed and currently unavailable services:  psychosocial and medical rehabilitation, care for victims’ children, educational or vocational training, assistance with income generation, business plan development or training, and reintegration into family and community.

The following two days we helped Pastor Celestin Mitabu with Algorithm Training at the Kigali Institute of Management (KIM), training over 100 new practitioners, including university students, nurses, psychologists, and nuns.  Adrienne Nahayo from Izere Center in Byumba came to assist.

The next two days we helped Pr. Celestin train almost a 100 more practitioners, including university students, social workers, and psychologists at the Integrated Polytechnic Regional College (IPRC Kigali).   Kabayita Musinga IPRC Counselling and Guidance Officer attended and addressed the students at this Algorithm Training.  Pr. Celestin and his Red Cross teammates provided a demonstration and reenactment of the procedures and treatments administered at the genocide memorials when overwhelmed participants faint or become hysterical.

The affected person is carried to an assessment room, and the person is placed on a mat and assessment is made by the Red Cross workers to rule out medical emergencies.  Then one TFT practitioner voice quietly talks to the person while the appropriate meridian points are tapped until the person recovers enough to sit up.  Then when the person is able to sit up they are moved to the next room or area where they are seated in a chair and calmly taken through the trauma plus rage plus guilt (or whatever is indicated) treatment and encouraged to tap on themselves as soon as they are able to do so.  Once stabilized and recovered, they check on anything else that may be immediately needed, and if stabilized, the person then can go to a quiet room to rest until they are ready to rejoin their family or neighbors at the memorial event. 

Since the incorporation of TFT teams and TFT interventions into the Red Cross procedures, the number of genocide memorial ambulance to hospital visits has been reduced from about two dozen each time, down to an occasional one or two with actual heart conditions etc.

We then traveled north of Kigali to Mutete which had suffered more atrocities than other sectors of Rwanda.  They had a memorial site there for 1400 deceased with several remains in each flag-draped coffin.  They had not found many of the victims, until they were later told by their killers where the bodies were buried, and the personal articles of clothing and jewelry were used to verify the identities of those buried there.  After treatment from Adrienne and Izere team the 4031 widows are now helping themselves to sustainability with raising pigs and cows, planting seeds for vegetables, and developing biogas.  Mutete has a model village where survivors and the genocidiers are now living together side by side in the identical homes, some even built together with help from others in the village.

Father Augustin Nzabonimana and Adrienne Nahayo led a review of TFT for 30 Rwanda Correctional Service (RCS) personnel from the 13 correctional centers from all the provinces in Rwanda.  Some had traveled over 6 hours by bus and motorbike taxi to get to the training Centre FIAT from their RCS sites.  We taught TFT toxin treatments in response to the class interest in addressing addictions and toxins.  It was joyful to hear from them how they have been using TFT in their centers, including the progress made by one of the most complex cases encountered last year.  The case involved a young un-socialized man who had survived alone in the forest for 20 years since probably around age 4.  He had been attacking people who tried to help him, but was able to calm down with the suggested interventions.  He has now moved out of corrections to rehabilitation services.

The working partnership between RCS and the Byumba Diocese is a model of successful cooperation, providing tools which can be used by anyone to transform their lives regardless of their situation or circumstances.  This was exemplified when all the RCS staff went to the Izere Center (Center of Hope) in Byumba to meet and work with the widows and single mothers there from the Ninyawimana Parish.   RCS therapists expressed gratitude for the experiences of helping widows and single mothers with their children and babies, and getting warm expressions of appreciation from them.  The widows and single mothers were appreciative of the RCS staff, many of whom had traveled from afar to meet and work with them.

The mantra of practice, practice and more practice making for greater ease and facility in utilizing the protocols of TFT was reinforced for all, as in a relatively short span of a couple of hours about 300 were treated with participants ending with smiles, handshakes, high fives, or hugs.  Testimonials by the Widows Cooperative related the journey from being unable to function after the genocide despite efforts for help with financial assistance, housing and sustenance prior to their treatment with TFT for PTSD, anger, survivor guilt, etc. to their transformation becoming successful farm owner-managers, entrepreneurs, and business women who were able to support themselves and thrive.  They epitomize the motto seen on the shirts of the TFT practitioners:  from Trauma to Sustainability. The Widows TFT Support Group is now coming together to help the Single Mothers TFT Support Group which is struggling with discrimination, repeated traumatization, and poverty.

We then journeyed to the west to the Nyakiriba Correctional Center in the Rubavu District.  142 inmates have learned TFT and gave testimonials of their progress in a center with 6000 inmates with differing needs including HIV, Teens, Seniors, Mental Problems.  The inmates are having 30 minute one-on-one TFT sessions.  Testimonials included an inmate who had been mute since the 1994 genocide who now was able to speak; and a survivor who had been hearing voices since the genocide and stayed isolated in his bed all the time, who had not been helped on medications over the years, but who now is socializing with others.

We then went to the Musanze Correctional Center in Gereza Ya Musanze where there are 2016 inmates, including men, women and children under three (the children are allowed to be with their mothers as babies until age 3).    Testimonials included a drug addict who came to realize why he started using drugs after TFT treatments and worked on the underlying issues; a depressed 86 year-old who was imprisoned at age 72 and had been unable to sleep until TFT treatments; a woman who is in for life and worries about her children but found help with her anxiety and acceptance of her situation; a woman helped with her anxiety; and a man who had been daily fighting about being wrongly accused and having to spend his life in prison who came to acceptance of his fate and finding he could have new meaning and purpose in his life helping others with TFT.  Pastor Celestin Mitabu made the several hour journey to Musanze to join and support the Byumba team but due to an unexpected delay of our not being able to enter the facility for two hours, he had to start his return trip back to get back to Kigali while late buses were still running.

The total RCS inmate population is approximately 60,000, with the largest correctional center holding 12,000, and the second largest 11,250.  Each district in Rwanda has its own center.  Rwanda has 3 prisons that hold children, 2 have only women, and 2 have men and women on the same grounds.  Sentences range from 5 years for bribery (offering as well as taking bribes), 10 years for robbery, 15 years for rape, life sentence for murder, 3 years for abortion before 3 months gestation, life sentence for abortion after 3 months.  The inmates receive vocational training, including sewing instruction and construction training.  Meals are mainly beans, rice, maize, and vegetables.  Mothers and children also receive porridge with milk.

RCS will be expanding their mental health and health staffing and will be needing training and advanced training for their staff with TFT.  They have demonstrated the power of TFT in helping to transform the prisons, and as seen in the villages with the widows and others, move people from despair and loss of hope to having renewed vitality, focus, enthusiasm, hope and ability to concentrate and move forward to productivity and sustainability.  For those who will be released from the correctional centers after their sentences are served, they are expected to go out into their communities to help others who are still in need of help.  This will be the completion of the cycle of transformation which started with the orphaned children, community leaders, widows, survivors, single mothers, inmates…..and full circle with everyone reaching out to help those in greater need.

What an incredible transformation of a nation from despair from trauma, to hope for recovery, to sustainability, to altruism and helping others.  Indeed as we noted how they have become a model for us and the world, exemplifying how we may all heal from trauma and rise to then help others, they sincerely said, thank you and how can we give back to help you?

(P.S.  The Rwandans assistance with the research on PTSD has already helped us start on the path to follow their example of taking TFT into the universities, schools, medical establishments, etc.)

Respectfully submitted,

Caroline E. Sakai, PhD

With thanks to TFT Hawaii teammates

Debra Nalaniikaleomana New (Nalaniikaleomana Foundation which raised funds for this mission and assisted with training)

Stephanie Sakai (logistical, technical, and training help)

Dr. Carlann DeFontes (medical advisory and training help)

 

 

 

 

Ugandan TFT Mission: January 12-27, 2014

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By Roger Ludwig

Mists of mosquito netting drape around me as I type, cross-legged, on my bed. Beyond are cracked walls and doors ajar. Any effort to make and keep parallel lines in Africa is usually ephemeral. But to do that, in the form of a well ordered scientific study of Thought Field Therapy’s effectiveness, we have come, in addition to training many people and treating dozens of others.

Beyond this room, in the haze of heat, humidity and dust, are now familiar sounds. Children shout, men laugh. There is the loud cawing of ravens, relentless hoopoe of grey doves, and the distant, throbbing hum of the hulking cement factory which towers over this gritty town of Hima. It brings meager paychecks to workers who come from all over Uganda with their separate languages and appearances. They toil in hope of better lives for their wives and children. Our sweat is small in comparison but our dreams are similar for these Ugandan peoples we have come to love.

The work of our mission is now finished, ending, as it began, in fatigue. I arrived two weeks ago at 3:15 am, a smooth landing in Entebbe, grabbed bags and passed customs to see the ever hospitable Fr. Peter waiting to “most welcome” me. It is my third trip to Uganda. Fr. Peter’s musical laugh and loving heart is a tonic, to me and to hundreds of others.

Our Volunteer Team

Uganda TFT team 2014, from left to right. Back row: Dr. Howard Robson, Ngub Nding, Alexandra Maillot, Fr. Peter Mbunga Basaliza, Phyll Robson, Celestin Mitabu. Front row: Roger Ludwig, Alosius, Oob Nding

Uganda TFT team 2014, from left to right. Back row: Dr. Howard Robson, Ngub Nding, Alexandra Maillot, Fr. Peter Mbunga Basaliza, Phyll Robson, Celestin Mitabu. Front row: Roger Ludwig, Alosius, Oob Nding

After two hours’ sleep in a guest house I meet the team at breakfast. Dr. Howard Robson and his wife Phyll are here from England. They have recently retired, he from his cardiology practice, she from nursing. We have worked together on both prior Ugandan trips. It is great to see them.

One of our most important goals is to add to the 2012 study. At that time we trained volunteer TFT counselors, who pre-tested, then treated 256 people who came admitting symptoms of PTSD. A week later they were post-tested. It was a wait-list controlled effort that involved hundreds of people. Dr. Howard directed the study and has taken charge, in his relaxed manner, of this one. We hope to bring many of those 256 back, now 18 months later, for post testing. How have they fared after their brief treatment? I’ve been wondering that with a quiet urgency ever since I left.

Phyll was the senior trainer on that 2012 trip. This time she will manage our logistics and support a new senior trainer, who has just emerged into the dining hall. Ngub Nding is a personal force; laughing, open to all and everyone, massive in frame and spirit, and spirit. A former pharmacist and pharmaceutical researcher, he is now a life coach and TFT practitioner in Paris. Ngub (pronounced nGoo) is accompanied by his partner, Alexandra Maillet, a gentle kindergarten teacher from Paris who is also now practicing TFT full time, and his brother Oob (pronounced Ob as in “job”) Nding, an engineer now living in Calgary, Alberta. Ngub and Oob were raised in Gabon, West Africa.

I am Roger Ludwig, a private practice psychotherapist of many years in Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA. I’m looking forward to the arrival of the important seventh member of our team, Celestine Mitabu, who is coming by bus from Rwanda, where he is a church pastor, orphanage and school director and the senior TFT trainer there. He worked with us in 2012 and I consider him a dear friend. He, with a few others, have established a very successful TFT presence in Rwanda.

Reflections

These two weeks are now a blur of images and sensations, of non-stop activity, late evening suppers, a collapse into sleep. Warm handshakes in the triple African manner; the upturned looks of curious children; handsome elders, character etched deeply in their faces; and of course our trainees, young and middle aged and old, often studious, always sincere, sometimes sleepy and bewildered like trainees everywhere. There has been lots of laughter and music, joy in life’s real joys—good company and ample, if simple, food. Yet also much suffering, children in dirty rags, fevers, swollen limbs, infants failing to grow, young men who have worked hard to achieve an education who now languish for lack of opportunity.

Suffering and celebration, all in a flow, streaming in a fast drumming rhythm, a blur of hands on skin. In the west we hide our suffering behind walls. Here it is all of a piece, open to eye and sky. Caskets on display next to the vegetables, meat and clothing.

Perhaps in the west have we also hidden, or perhaps lost our joys. Africa has taught me to recapture them.

The wedding scene typified it for me. Our team sits under a canopy among the guests of honor at the wedding of Fr. Peter’s niece Meresi Muhindo and Kule Felix, in a village at the end of a rutted track. 750 to 800 people are present, gathered around a rectangular open area of swept dirt. Directly across from us is Queen Ithungu Asimawe Agnes, Queen of the Rwenzori Region. She sits alone, radiant and regal in gracious splendor, personal attendants and muscled guards radiate in a semi-circle around her.

But also in the center of the celebration hobbles a beggar with a single crutch, pants torn off unevenly at the knees. From head to toe he is coated in thick dust, cupped hand silently reaching for alms as he slowly circles the crowd. We can see that he is developmentally disabled. But no one shoos him away. The hired security guard only moves him once, and that very gently, when he is directly in the way of dancers.

Here it all belongs. All are a part. And we have been welcomed into their lives, if only for a short time.

Kongota

In comparison to previous trips this one is low budget and we have concentrated on training smaller numbers of people but training them well. (Our training budget includes providing transport and food for all trainees.) From Nsenyi, a small idyllic campus midst the lush terraced farms of the Rwenzori foothills, we trained two groups of catechists, the first of 37 and the second with 12, two days of training for each group. The plan was to train them all in Dx, the diagnostic level, after a review of the Algorithms. But it became clear that review was what they needed most.

TFT Foundation in UgandaNgub taught with dynamism, inspiring, motivating, and at times cajoling. We kept our single blackboard busy. With few handouts, they were led to take careful notes. Practicum groups were coached.

The speed and effectiveness of TFT again inspires. Alosius translates all into Lukonjo. He is a school teacher, a catechist who translated for us in 2012. As we call TFT “tapping” for short, they are calling it “kongota”, which is literally translated as “knocking”.

We prod them into practicing post-training, on themselves and amongst the communities they serve. As catechists they conduct the mass whenever a priest is not available. And with two priests for forty parishes it is the catechists that are with their large congregations, volunteering Sundays and throughout the week. Most are men but a number of women are catechists also, well respected and included.

Research

Between these two trainings was the research day. We gathered with the catechists, organized our work, and reviewed the administration of the checklist, all the while wondering how many of the participants would return for this 18-month post-test. So many things don’t work as planned.

But come they did, 128 of the original 256, nearly all of them carrying the cards we gave them 18 months ago, each with their identification number! Tests were read from the translation, scores recorded, checked and double checked, entered in Excel and checked again. Lunch served, transport paid. At the end of the day only one sheet was deemed un-scoreable and discarded. The data are ready for the statisticians.

Much of the credit for this goes to a man who labored behind the scenes, visiting people in their villages, telling them of the follow-up, reminding them of their importance to this study. A man we never see unless we search him out. Bless you Andrew.

More Kongota

After the second training we packed up and moved to Bukangara, a parish compound along the busy asphalt near the Congo border. Chairs were arranged under a few spreading trees, a chalk board propped by a table. Ringing the bell of an old truck wheel hung from a tree brought in 45 catechists. Drums and praise songs, prayer and two days of algorithm review with a little Dx added. Ngub, Celestine and I tag-teamed with everyone helping with practicums in this little slice of Eden.

Saturday is the niece’s wedding, not far away. We sat for six hours of speeches, dramatic ceremony, a comic MC, feasting and a drenching downpour met the queen and took pictures of children. And the couple still had not actually gotten married. That came later at the Bukangara church. The occasion continued until midnight.

Sunday brings us to a parish church, a hundred or two in attendance, no glass in the open windows. A few hours of song, and celebration, then mass. We are treated like royalty, sung to and presented with baskets for cassava. I give a talk introducing TFT to the whole group and we lead them through a group demonstration. By raise of hand about 60% report relief of a real problem.

Ngub offers the team up to treat any who would like. And so we do, with two teams working with English translation, one with French and one with Swahili, we treat throughout the afternoon, one after another, after another. Then we visit a medical clinic established by Fr. Peter, six rooms in a concrete and tin building. We talk with the resident doctor and staff and admire the new equipment that had arrived last week.

Then another move, this time to Hima, an hour and a half to the north. Hima is hot, 100° plus. We’re teaching outside but the trees provide only a hint of shade. Just behind our group, beyond a hedge, is a dirt street, sided with a row of small shops, one erupting with blaring music. Motor bike taxis, “Boda-bodas,” go up down. But our catechists carry on. Our trainings last long. Ngub won’t quit as long as there is one more point that can be made. 35 participate; some repeats who attended one of the first three trainings. They wanted more.

Ngub, Celestine and I take sections of this one. Aloysius keeps up, claiming to never tire.

We close our trip like we began it, with a visit to the dignified, well-traveled, knowledgeable 78-year old bishop. He has supported and endorsed our work since the first trip in 2009.
Our trip is finalized with a visit to a village between Kasese and Hima to see some real estate where the church is willing to site a TFT center. One building is present, used in part as a small class room and a place for traveling catechists to stay, but it can begin use now for Kongota treatments. It sits near the Catholic Church and the Anglican, and near two busy schools. They envisage a national TFT center someday with local trainers.

Now, at the close of our work, RAIN! From the stoop I watch a hundred thousand silver rivulets streaming from the corrugated roofs. Fresh, clean, invigorating. Billowing in gusts. Cooling and washing away the day’s heat, the dust, the petty frustrations. Here rain following an event signifies heaven’s blessing. May these seeds of TFT grow in this rich, Uganda soil, amongst these generous, kind people.

TFT Brings Relief to Traumatized Children in Rwanda

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Helping Children in Rwanda

Last October, we had an anonymous donor offering the TFT Foundation matching funds to help IZERE Center community treatment days.

The last community day, held during the period of mourning, we were able to provide funding to treat 250 people and 435 came for help. So we were thrilled to have the possibility to continue to help these children and the others in the re¬gion receiving TFT relief. We asked for your help to raise the matching funds of $1100. You all responded and we received the matching funds promised.

We were able to send all the requested funds for the community treatment day.

Thank you all for caring and helping us continue to bring smiles to these children’s faces.

I would like to share one of the children’s comments with you.

Adrienne, TFT psychologist at IZERE with children

Adrienne, TFT psychologist at IZERE with children

Perhaps the most touching was shared by young child in Rwanda, Alphonsine. It is the testimony of one of the handicapped children who live in the Izere Center in Byumba, Rwanda.

She spontaneously offered it after the community treatment day that was made possible by many of your contributions.

It touched the hearts of the Rwandan therapist’s providing the TFT treatment and community day… and now ours as well. She talked about how she came to Izere Center to be helped with her studies and necessary medication. She shared her long time feelings of fear and isolation. She had complex challenges and had been traumatized because at home her parents prohibited her to go outside of the house……

She said, “I had fear to look or to talk with any people because I was not like them. I saw them with arms, with legs and I don’t have them, and I figured that I’m not a person.

When the other kids came to me I had difficulty to be with them. I only had peace when I was alone in the room, and although I’m in Izere Center for 6 years, I never had peace.

After Adrienne (a TFT trained psychologist supported by the TFT Foundation) came to me last month, she started to focus on me… she treated me with the technique that I’ve seen many times being used to treat the people who come here. Now you see, I’m very happy and I can stand between you and talk with you. I had refused to be treated for a long time; and now I’m going to convince my brother and sister to come to this school.”

Our Rwandan TFT Team in the Congo

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These photos are of our Rwandan TFT team and were taken during training and treatment programs. We send them to honor the legacy and lifetime of TFT’s founder, Dr. Roger Callahan.  We are therapists helping people in Rwanda and the Congo using Dr. Callahan’s innovations and research (TFT). The picture with the disabled children shows how much TFT is helping the disabled in Rwanda. Also, there is another picture taken while training the Congolese. They are doing exceptional work with TFT. They have included a French condolence message to honor Dr. Callahan who started the techniques which are now helping their community.

Also, I have included a picture with Dr. Roger Callahan in Hawaii, our first time to see and speak with him. May the Lord find his place in eternal peace.

Pr. Celestin Mitabu

TFT Foundation in the CongoNous avons recu le message avec grande tristesse qui nous annoncez la mort de notre haute Personne de grande Valeur,le Fondateur de TFT Foundation aux USA.

Nous savons combien de fois il etait trop utile pour l’Organisation et pour nombreuses Associations:Que son Ame reponse en Paix.

Nous,Equipe de TFT de la Republique Democratique du Congo(RDC) qui a ete forme en date du 05 au 06 Octobre 2013 en RDC etant au nombre de 60 Personnes, presente nos Condoleances les plus profondes a toutes les personnes de TFT Foundation partout ou elles se trouvent dans le monde entier,aux membres du Bureau et a la Famille de l’ulustre disparu toute entiere.

Nous regretons fort cet Evenement de sa mort car nous etions entrain d’attendre un Soutien Financier pour une descente sur terrain en faisant une pratique de la matiere sur le TFT AUX BENEFICIAIRES,neanmoins nous savons bien qu’il a forme plusieurs personnes et l’Oeuvre qu’il avait commence doit toujours continuer a travailler.

Nous avons ete bien forme par Monsieur Celestin MITABU le Directeur de Rwanda Orphans Project,et nous voulons en profondir plus.

Les 60 personnes formees sont entrain de faire l’exercice de la matiere dans leurs Familles respectives et ils sont tres interesses de cela et ces familles apprecient cette methodequi produit des bons Fruits.

Nous souhaiterions que cette pratique se passe au courant de ce mois de Novembre2013 car la Population traumatisee attend beaucoup cette assistance des methodes de detraumatisation nous enseignee.

Etant ensembe de Coeur et d’Esprit nous demandons a Dieu tout Puissant de consoler cette Famille qui vient de perdre un Grand Homme de Grande Valeur pour nombreuses personnes et Organisations.

Encore une fois nos Condoleances.

Pour l’Equipe de TFT Foundation Gilbert BANYWESIZE NGUDUKA/President-E.R.S.A.M asbl-RDC-Goma-North-Kivu et President de la Synergie ou Plate forme TFT-RDC.

TFT Expands Healing in the Congo – Rwandans Share with Their Neighbors

Celestin Mitabu, with the support of the TFT Foundation, began trainings in the Democratic Republic of the Congo a couple of months ago. The French letter of condolences (above) was a result of those trainings and the healing taking place.

Gilbert BANYWESIZE NGUDUKA, a psychologist and leader of the newly formed TFT team in the Congo, wrote the letter. He has also requested further trainings in the Congo.

Celestin shares that request and plans for these trainings, later this month.

They have been asking me to come back to the Congo. In fact the rebellion is defeated last month when the main rebel group M23 surrendered their armies. Since that defeat we have tried to roughly plan about two days of training and treatment, both to take place in Goma.

The first training and treatment will be at RSAM where we already have many trained therapists. The second training and treatment will be held at Heal Africa Hospital where we also have many trained.

The rough plan is for the therapists to gather communities for treatments and invite 28 new trainees for the morning trainings. Because last time we trained people from 5 different centers, we have agreed that all these people and clients may come to both RSAM center and Heal Africa. I have just called it a rough planning because so far it’s not yet funded. And it is badly needed to strengthen our TFT groups in Congo.

The meeting rooms for training and treatment are provided free of charge provided in addition to my personal accommodation.

This will be a very special treatment and training in Congo, accepted and protected.

I, and my friends from the Congo, have been working on that treatment and training by telling people about our success with the previous mission in the Congo. This is going to be called a Christmas and New Year’s Gift to the people of the Congo for this year of 2013. These will take place on Dec. 22-23, 2013. The two days will be as follows: mornings for training and evenings for treatment. The last day of our training and treatment we will be gathered for 30 minutes with all therapists in a big RSAM HALL just to share about the life and legacy of Dr. Roger Callahan and to commemorate him.

Since the meeting rooms and my accommodation is being provided for free, the estimate for the two days is $1400.

We look forward to hearing from you so that we may finalize our end year planning.

Yours,

Pastor Celestin Mitabu ROP Director and TFT Greats lakes trainer”

Please help support our efforts to bring this Christmas and New Year Gift to the people of the Congo.

Tapping into Healing – Uganda 2012 Brief Summary

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Uganda TFT MissionBy Roger Ludwig

I have just returned from Nsenyi, Uganda, the site of our current training and research project and offers this brief update. The project has been going very well, thanks to the efforts of so many.

Fr. Peter organized a superb team of volunteers at the Cathechists Training Center to take care of logistics, housing, food, transportation, translation and of course, the thirty who became TFT Algorithm Therapists.

About 250 people from the community came to be treated in the study, as well as many others who received treatment outside of the study. Study participants have returned for their post tests in high numbers and are very grateful for the treatment they have received.

The training team is being led by Phyll Robson of the UK, with Roger Ludwig from USA, Celestin from Rwanda, Matts Uldal and Bitta Wiese from Norway and Dr. Howard Robson of the UK leading the research. Others, Fr. JMV and Deacon Augustin, and Celestin the director of the Rwandan Orphan’s Project, our other newly trained Rwandan trainers, as well as Adrienne, the psychologist from IZERE Center, came over from Rwanda to assist with the study. Jackson came over from Kampala to assist as well.

In addition to the study the team has conducted three more two-day algorithm trainings for 300 or more cathechists, they have appeared on the national TV news, a 30 minute radio interview program, and introduced TFT to 500 secondary school girls and their teachers. The team was received by and had lunch with the Bishop of the Kasese Diocese and were celebrated at a party in Fr. Peter’s home village. It has been a busy, rewarding and memorable time of successful treatment and rich relationships!
Uganda team TFT

Note: We will follow up with many more photos and details from each of our team members as they return home. Thank you to all of them for their hard work, dedication and willingness to give so much both of themselves, their time and their funds.

June 2012 Uganda: TFT Practitioners and Trainers Trip

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In June 2012, an international team of TFT practitioners/trainers went to Uganda to make a difference by training locals and treating people along the way. They visited 3 parishes and help relieve stress, trauma and pain for hundreds of people.

The TFT Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization’s mission is to spread the use of TFT and its profound healing throughout the world.

The TFT Foundation has developed and proven a model to bring TFT to any traumatized community, where leaders can be trained to help their fellow countrymen. In three random controlled studies in Rwanda and Uganda, results showed significant improvement and follow-ups have demonstrated the results last and even improve over time.
There are now over 100 Rwandan community leaders using TFT to help their countrymen, like Jean Pierre and Kamal.

2011 UK Team Haiti Trauma Relief Mission

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UK Team Discuss Haiti Trauma Relief Mission On ITV

In this video, Howard and Phyllis Robson talk about their recent mission in Haiti, and TFT (Though Field Therapy)

TFT Foundation: Helping to overcome severe trauma in places around the world.

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Enjoy the slide show below from Phyll Robson of the TFT Foundation UK, on her trip to Uganda:

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The TFT trauma relief technique is very different. Yes, it looks strange and seems just too simple to be able to do much of anything. And yet, 30 years of testimony from thousands of people around the world show it to be revolutionary in its ability to help people achieve emotional freedom and peace of mind. Simply put, its effectiveness feels like a miracle as its speed and power defy all expectations and previous experience.

On top of that, the algorithms, which were derived through diagnosis, are available to anyone, regardless of education, nationality, age, race or creed. And thanks to the internet–it is FREE!

Millions of people worldwide suffer from violence, natural disaster, illness, divorce, loss of job, home or loved ones, etc. Such trauma has a severely debilitating effect on one’s life as an individual, as a community member and as a world citizen. It is the goal of TFT Foundation to reduce suffering through the powerful tool of TFT. It is also our stand that relieving the effects of trauma—the fear, grief, guilt, stress, anger, hatred–frees the individual and opens the heart, facilitating peace within and among communities.

The story of TFT and the Rwandan elder is an example of this type of transformation. During the genocide, this gentleman had seen his family brutally murdered and was attacked and left for dead himself. For years he had endured severe emotional and mental torture, even dizziness and falling. In response to the profound relief he experienced from TFT, he offered to take three or four orphans into his modest home!

Using TFT to relieve the effects of trauma can open people to peace, compassion and community. It is the intention of the TFT Foundation–and this blog–to make trauma relief available on a global scale!

Just give it a try by following the written instructions and/or the video demonstration. It takes only a few minutes. If it doesn’t work for you, or it works only partially, ask questions by posting a comment. We promise to answer as soon as possible. You can also visit the TFT membership directory for a list of TFT practitioners for further consultation.

Our world-wide projects include PTSD research in Africa, humanitarian efforts in disaster areas, and education in areas of need from poverty, trauma, and disease.

CLICK HERE to find out about our current and upcoming projects.

CLICK HERE to read about our previous projects over the past few years.

IZERE Center Team From Rwanda Arrive in Honolulu

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I am happy to announce the first of our team of Rwandans from the IZERE Center in Rwanda are arriving in Honolulu tonight.  The others will arrive later this week.

We are so very excited about this project as not only will four Rwandan TFT practitioners become trainers, spreading TFT far and wide in Africa, but many underprivileged in Hawaii as well as the clinics that serve them will benefit from TFT training and treatment during the month of September.

Using TFT to relieve the effects of trauma can open people to peace, compassion and community. It is the intention of the TFT Foundation–to make trauma relief available on a global scale! You can learn more about he Foundation’s work by clicking here,

We would like to ask for your help to cover some of the expenses in this far reaching project. As the air tickets were more costly than expected, and we have over run our budget.

We are seeking donations toward their food and incidentals while in Hawaii. If anyone can assist us with this, we can accept donations of any size. If you would even assist with one meal, it would make a huge difference for our guests from Rwanda.

Donation form is found here.

Thank you all for your help with this sharing of TFT with those who need it.

TFT Relief for Haiti Earthquake Survivors

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In July, 2010, Carolle Jean-Murat, MD, facilitated an ATFT Foundation training and treatment project in her native Haiti, following the devastating earthquake in January. Dr. Carolle recently sent this heartfelt words of gratitude:

The ATFT Foundation (charitable arm of the Association for Thought Field Therapy) provided a generous grant and the gracious help of a husband and wife team Dr. Howard and Nurse Phyll Robson, both TFT trainers from England, we provided a 3-day training involving 30 Haitian teachers, nurses, community leaders, medical and nursing students, from as far as Port-au-Prince.

The training not only helped them personally but also gave them the opportunity to help relieve the trauma of as many earthquake survivors as possible. Even more importantly, trainees learned techniques on how to relieve pain, which would be beneficial in an area when medical personal and pain relief medications are scarcely available.

Many community leaders asked me to convey their heartfelt thanks to the TFT team. I have talked to some of the attendees in Haiti for these past few days. Here is what they had to say:

“In a culture where a mental illness is frowned upon, the TFT training gave us a new perspective on how we human work. This tool is a lifetime gift. Many of us now see our fellow human being in a different light.”

“After taking the training, it has helped me improve my communication with those I serve.”

“After losing everything including my home, family members, and everything I worked for, participating in the TFT training gave me a new lease on life. I am now a healthy citizen who is using the tools I have learned to help those who were suffering just like me.”

“It was such a great gift that we received from the Robsons – who taught from the heart.”

“As a teacher, I use these techniques with my students; their attention span in the classroom has greatly improved.”

Hawaii Training Project for ATFT Rwanda at Izere Center in Byumba

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BACKGROUND
Thought Field Therapy (TFT) is a self-treatment that combines tapping of acupuncture treatment points with mental focusing on the targeted symptoms or traumatic memories. It was developed by clinical psychologist Roger Callahan over 30 years ago and has had no reported negative side effects. It has been found to be effective in treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with adults and adolescents, including recently completed randomized controlled studies with genocide survivors in Rwanda. and helpful with anxiety, anger, phobia, rage, excessive guilt, grief, depression, addictive urges, and chronic pain management.

For the past five years, the Association of Thought Field Therapy Foundation has sent teams of TFT practitioners to Rwanda to treat and train Rwandan genocide survivors in using TFT. At the Izere Center in Byumba, a TFT treatment center office was recently opened. It treats about 30 people a day, two days a week.

There are still hundreds of thousands of yet untreated genocide survivors who suffer from PTSD in Rwanda. The Rwandans need to be trained as TFT trainers so they could train others to use TFT in their homeland.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT
In September 2011 four Rwandan TFT practitioners from Byumba and Kigali will come to Hawaii for a month of intense training. They will review TFT skills and learn to train others to use it. As part of their training, the Rwandans will train 8-12 trainees in Hawaii for 2 days and then supervise them in clinical practice.

With the help of the Coalition for a Drug-Free Hawaii, we are establishing free clinics for field training in areas of high need throughout Oahu for the newly trained local TFT practitioners and Rwandan trainers. We would like at least two days at each site. Ideally, each of the 8-12 trainees would treat 3 people in the morning, and 3 people in the afternoon under the supervision of the Rwandan trainers. For example, if there are 8 trainees, 24 people would be treated in the morning, and 24 people treated in the afternoon each day. Supervision of the Rwandan trainers would be provided by TFT practitioners in Hawaii who are also licensed psychotherapists. We will also provide training on recognizing and addressing high-risk situations (e.g., substance abuse, trauma, mood disorders, suicidal risks).

All of the trainings will be provided free of charge. The TFT training will be limited to 8-12 trainees, but the training on high-risk situations is open to other practitioners. We are asking all who would like to sponsor a free clinic to help provide water, lunch for the Rwandans and trainees, and water and light snacks for the clients.

BENEFITS
1) Rwandans moving to self-sufficiency in continuing to train, treat and follow-up on their TFT treatments of wide-scale trauma, and empowered to expand geometrically the benefits of TFT across Rwanda and to neighboring countries.

2) Free treatment for the homeless, veterans, people in recovery and many others who do not have access or the means to obtain treatment.

3) Locally trained TFT practitioners prepared to work with the people with high needs and limited resources in Hawai`i.

Explanatory presentation of the work with wide-scale trauma and the model for community treatment with TFT was given in September 2010, with a follow-up initial planning meeting of those interested in participating in this collaborative effort held in October 2010. Regular planning and subcommittee meetings will be held over the course of the next several months.
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Sakai, C., Paperny, D., Mathews, M., Tanida, G., Boyd, G., Simons, A., Yamamoto, C., Mau, C., & Nitter, L. (2001). Thought field therapy clinical applications: Utilization in an HMO in behavioral medicine and behavioral health services. J Clin Psychol, 57(10), pp. 1215-1227.

Sakai, C., Connolly, S.M., & Oas, P. (Winter 2010). Treatment of PTSD in Rwandan child genocide survivors using thought field therapy. Int J Emergency Mental Health, 12(1), ISSN: 1522-4821, pp 41-49.

IZERE Centre, Rwanda Follow-Up Training and Treatment

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IZERE Centre, NYINAWIMANA,  Rwanda – Trauma Relief Mission

We have received a request from Father John Mary Vianney, a priest of Byumba Catholic Diocese in the northern district of Rwanda.  He heard from a seminarian, KATANGA Raphael (salesian of Don Bosco) about our work with traumatized people.

Father Vianney has asked for us to come to his diocese as there are many cases of children and youth who suffer from HIV/AIDS, loss of family, disabilities, genocide survivors and other.  They have requested a team come in July 2009 to train and treat.  Dr. Caroline Sakai is willing to go in late July and stay two weeks.  They want to have us train about 30 people who can then assist others in their community.  The people of Byumba at NYINAWIMANA have built a center that they call the IZERE Center.  The word seems to mean peace and reconciliation.

Those who have been trained will treat others at the IZERE Centers in the other communities.  They  want us to also treat some cases of trauma at the IZERE Center. They have about 300 people that they would like treated but we may have to limit the amount of people treated during depending on how many ATFTF Trauma Relief therapists are deployed.

They propose to make a small ATFT group formed of the 30 newly trained therapists who will treat others at the IZERE  Center.  They want us to supervise the newly trained therapists as much as possible before our departure.
Goal: To improve on the lives of the people affected by genocide, war, poverty and physical handicaps.

Strategies:

1. Begin a program focused on treatment of the effects of trauma caused by genocide and psychological effects of poverty and being physically handicapped.

2. To identify people affected by genocide (trauma cases), poverty (orphans, widows, handicapped people, and traumatized people) and to group them according to their needs.

3. Sensitivity training and education aimed at creating peace, forgiveness, unity, reconciliation and confidence among neighbors, and to cultivate a spirit of collaboration and mutual help.

Activities in IZERE center.

-To provide physical and emotional treatment to all people
-To continue training; Members of the IZERE Centre will train and supervise others
-Counseling

Expected results

– Reduction in the cases of trauma
– Increased knowledge about trauma and how to
diagnosis it.
– Ease education of traumatized children
– Good relationships among people (peace, forgiveness, reconciliation).

Suzanne Connolly TFT-Adv

*Note: ATFT Foundation is an IRC Section 501(c)(3) public charity to which contributions are deductible for federal (USA) income tax purposes in accordance with the provisions of IRC Section 170.

 

ATFT Helps Flood Victims in Tabasco, Mexico

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By Ing. Alvaro Hernendez

Climatic changes are affecting many Countries, and some of these changes are causing a tragedy for many people, especially the poor and needy.

Tabasco is a rich state in natural resources; it has the largest rivers in Mexico, beautiful large forest and rich oil fields. Its population of about 2,200,000 people, is integrated with people from different social and economical levels, but most of them are poor. At the end of this year, an extraordinary rainy season, caused the big dams that hold the water from the mountains to produce electricity, overfilled. It was necessary, to release the dams, in such massive amounts of water, that not only the small communities downstream but also the City of Villahermosa (surrounded by the Greave and the Carrizal rivers) were flooded. The total affected people was about 1,200,000 persons, more than half of the population, both rich and poor people were affected. This time the flooding in Villahermosa was such that down town, the level of the water reached more than 3 meters.

People used to say: “one tragedy, does not come alone”.  Unfortunately this time, that was right, in the neighboring state, the State of Chiapas, the excessive rain, caused a big hill to collapse and fall down in to the Grijalva river that also feeds the Tabasco dams, clogging the flow of the river, and disappearing on the fall.

Small communities were covered with thousands of tons of soil and rocks. A large amount of work has to be done to move millions of cubic meters of rock and soil to allow the water flow again on the way to the sea. This second tragedy caused people to be afraid and many to panic, because once the river will be unclogged  it can overfill the dams again and cause new flooding.

The magnitude of this tragedy has required that National and  International people and institutions bring help to Tabasco and Chiapas.

Some of the affected people are already receiving assistance, however, as the access to small communities is still affected,  help has not been able to reach them.

As the water receded,  and health problems arose, a big campaign against  infections was implemented. Hepatitis, Dengue Fever, Malaria, Tetanus, Flu, stomach sickness and others are a real danger (again the problem is to reach the small populations in areas of difficult access).

In the city of Villahermosa, after people were allowed to leave the shelters, many of them, found all their property, and their schools and working places, destroyed. Many also could not find family members.

A new big and collective issue is showing up now, the people need psychological help to relieve their traumas, fears and panic.

REQUEST FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL HELP

Soon requests for psychological help began arriving at the ATFT Foundation. Jenny Edwards, Maria Eulalia Perez Porrea, Nora Baladerian, Suzanne Connolly, Roger and Joanne Callahan, and many others received these messages.

Shortly thereafter, the ATFT Foundation received a formal invitation from Caritas of Tabasco, to come and help. The original idea was to prepare a team to be able to go to Tabascoearly next year, but the situation there required immediate attention. Suzanne Connolly and Joanne Callahan started working on the possibility to form and finance the cost of a Trauma Relief Team of Spanish speaking TFT therapists able to go there.

A local TFT Dx trained practioner Raquel Lobo contacted by Maria Eulalia Perez Porrua offered to

provide local support and logistics in Villahermosa. The new deployment dates were Dec 10 to Dec 15, 2007.

A TEAM WAS FORMED

A team was formed with two engineers and therapists (TFT Dx trained) from Mexico City: Victor Manuel Eguiluz and myself, Alvaro Hernandez, and a group of local people from Tabasco: Raquel Lobo TFT Dx, Lia Cervantes, Lupita Canto TFT Dx, Lolita Camacho TFT Dx, Cecilia Garcia TFT Dx, Ofelia Hinojosa TFT Dx, Ma Reyna Suarez, Marilin Diaz, Rosita Romellon and 83 more local volunteers willing to be trained and help with TFT.

The first step after our arrival was to train the volunteers and actualize the trained ones.

With the help of Victor Manuel Eguiluz and the local TFT trained people I gave an official TFT Algorithm Level course to the 83 volunteers. Unfortunately Raquel Lobo had return to Monterrey because her father went to the hospital. Before leaving, she had to move all the furniture and accessories from the first floor to the second floor of her house to be prepared in case a new flooding happens (The red alarm is on ). The local support to our team was then supplied by Lia Cervantes.

THE ALGORITHM LEVEL TRAINING IN TABASCO

The course was given in a local church auditorium (Parroquia Del Espiritu Santo) kindly provided by Fr. Denis Ochoa.

The manuals, certificates and material in Spanish, financed by the ATFT Foundation, were prepared and the training started as usual, the group was enthusiastic.


At the end of the first day, something unusual happened, one of the trainees, a lady on her way back home was assaulted and robbed.

The next day when she arrived to the training she was crying and asking for help. This tragedy gave me the opportunity to treat her with TFT in front of the group and bring her SUD from 10 to 1, but a new aspect from this trauma arrived, the fear that her daughters would be affected because her pictures and address were in her stolen hand bag.

The problem this time required more than algorithms, I treated her in private using Diagnostic Level TFT, after correcting reversals, treating her for toxins and using collarbone breathing her SUD went from 10 to 1.

The training was a success, and the people were very happy, for the opportunity to learn TFT, the comments and evaluation were excellent and they were ready to start helping friends, families, neighbors and the affected people in Tabasco.

At the end of the training, Lia Cervantes organized small groups of people living near by in order to start providing help to the affected ones. One of the trainees, a physician, Dr Raymundo Cadena, was affected by the flooding and he lost all his medical tools and equipment. At the training he asked a lot of questions, he also had the opportunity to treat and be treated and by the end of the training he was totally convinced of TFT.

He has a radio program and invited us, Victor Manuel and myself, to his program to give help by radio in the local station XEVT. He explained to his audience that TFT is the most incredible therapy that he has ever known. Victor Manuel filmed and recorded the one hour radio program. After the program we had dinner together with him. It was a
nice experience to see how TFT is accepted by professional physicians and to give therapy to a radio audience of traumatized people.

HELPING TRAUMATIZED PEOPLE

The next activity was to help the traumatized people in the poor communities; the help was provided in local churches. This activity was planned and coordinated by Raquel Lobo and Lia Cervantes and in each community a responsible contact person was named.

Lia Cervantes and Sister Martina, were in charge of the first one “Comunidad Bosques de Saloya”. We gave group help to more than 60 people and then individual help to the special cases or to the ones that required it because their SUD did not come down.

After the help was provided, a sandwich was offered to everybody. Maria Reyna Suarez was in charge of the second community, but in the church another activity was help that arrived (food and water) we could not work at that time.  In the same place where the training was given, help was offered to affected people, and a small group came and were successfully helped.

Finally Marilin Diaz and Rosita Rosellon were in charge of one of the more affected areas, MANGA III in the Santa Teresita church and MANGA II in the Corpus Christy church in both cases we had many people that with the help of the new TFT algorithm trainees we were able to provide relief.  Special attention was given to the children. (See photos) In the Santa Teresita Church the priest suspended his mass to allow us to keep working, the people were so happy with the TFT that they give us a big applause before leaving 2 hours later than the time projected.


This was one of the most rewarding experiences.

A lot more work still needs to be done. We have not been to the shelters, where thousands of people are. New teams need to be sent to coordinate the help of the new trained volunteers and to be able to reach more traumatized people.

It was a pleasure for me to be part of the organization and the first team of the ATFT Foundation Trauma Relief Committee sent to Tabasco.

If you wish to help with this relief effort contact:
Joanne Callahan, joanne@TFTRX.com or Suzanne
Connolly, zanne@earthlink.net

ATFT Foundation Goes To Tanzania, Africa

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By Joanne Callahan, President, ATFT Foundation

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2004 TFT Algorithm course in Tanzania, Africa, led by Ing. Alvaro Hernandez, TFT-Dx

Africa and malaria have been in the media forefront lately.   From the Christmas Tree raising in Vatican City to the Bill Gates Foundation, and scientific groups worldwide, there is a great effort and focus on the need to reduce the spread of malaria and help the victims of this disease.  In light of the recent earthquake and tsunami tragedy, the control and treatment of malaria will continue to be an important and urgent need.

The ATFT Foundation’s first humanitarian project was in response to the extreme suffering caused by malaria.  This disease affects half the world’s population and kills a million children a year.   The ATFT Foundation’s focus will first be in Africa.

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2004 TFT Algorithm course in Tanzania, Africa, led by Ing. Alvaro Hernandez, TFT-Dx

Father Luis Jorge Gonzalez, Dr. Jenny Edwards, Dr. Miguel Vera and Mr. Alvaro Hernandez, Engineer, all TFT practitioners and teachers, have been traveling to Tanzania, Africa over the last few years to teach TFT to a local Carmelite Order of the Catholic Church and other local caregivers to help them relieve the suffering of these people.

Recently, the missionaries in Tanzania invited the ATFT Foundation to send a team of TFT teachers and researchers to explore the uses of TFT to reduce physical and emotional suffering associated with the deadly disease of malaria, and to set up a study to determine the effects of TFT on that population. Local personnel will continue the study once the team has left. It is anticipated that two to three follow-up visits by Foundation members will be required for supervision, further training, and monitoring purposes.

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2004 TFT Algorithm course in Tanzania, Africa, led by Ing. Alvaro Hernandez, TFT-Dx


If the study supports our previous anecdotal evidence that TFT is beneficial in relieving symptoms and effects of malaria, the ATFT Foundation will need to proceed with the second stage of the project, which is to determine the most effective methods for disseminating and teaching the appropriate TFT techniques and protocols to vulnerable populations. The third stage of the project will be to carry out what is developed in stage two.

The first team of four TFT practitioners and teachers went to Morogoro, Tanzania  June 9 thru June 30, 2005. This team of volunteers consisted of:  Dr. Mary Cowley and Dr. Cecily Resnick from San Diego, California and Mr. Chris Milbank from London, UK.  Mr. Alvaro Hernandez, Engineer, from Mexico City
returned with this group.  They worked with the local people to directly help the victims of malaria and their families as well as teach a large group of local missionaries and health care personnel.

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2004 TFT Algorithm course in Tanzania, Africa, led by Ing. Alvaro Hernandez, TFT-Dx


We are asking for help from all of our readers.  We can accept funds for travel, assessment tools, teaching aids and much more.  The mission is in need of laptop and/or notebook computers.  Donations of airline mileage would assist our teams with travel costs.  Please join us in this vital humanitarian effort!

Just think, if we could only help the related trauma and stress on these families and thereby strengthen their resistance to the spread of this disease, how many lives could we save and how much suffering can we relieve?  We won’t know until we try.

We can accept donations in the form of credit cards, Mastercard or Visa, or checks made payable to the ATFT Foundation, PO Box 1220, La Quinta, CA 92247.  If you have any questions about how to donate for this project, please e-mail me, Joanne@tftrx.com, or call me, 760 564-1925

This is an opportunity for all of us to participate in a project of worldwide importance.

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2004 TFT Algorithm course in Tanzania, Africa, led by Ing. Alvaro Hernandez, TFT-Dx


*Note: ATFT Foundation is an IRC Section 501(c)(3) public charity to which contributions are deductible for federal (USA) income tax purposes in accordance with the provisions of IRC Section 170.

ATFT Foundation Goes To New Orleans

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HURRICANE KATRINA & NEW ORLEANS & TRAUMA
By Nora J. Baladerian, Ph.D

THE DAY OUR LIVES CHANGED FOREVER
By Ecoee Rooney, R.N., S.A.N.E.


HURRICANE KATRINA & NEW ORLEANS & TRAUMA

Nora J. Baladerian, Ph.D.

Prepared for the APA Annual Convention August 2006, New Orleans, LA

August 29, 2005. In Los Angeles, California, I watched the news along with millions of others, as the hurricane warnings were aired.  It was ominous.  Less than a year prior, in December 2004, the terrible tsunami had hit Indonesia and  Sri Lanka, with tremendous impact upon those present, and those far away. This hurricane, however, was within the USA, so I was confident a proper, prompt help to survivors would be readily available.

But  then, the levees broke, flooding New Orleans!  In the beginning hours, I was not too surprised to see the need for emergency rescues.  But then, it continued through the night, the next day, the next night, and then for days on end.  What happened?  Why could we not get enough helicopters to those on rooftops?  Why were hospital patients not evacuated or supplies brought in?  Why were there delays?  Seven days, some waited, on their rooftops, for help.  Months later a landslide happened in the Philippines, and we were there within 18 hours. But we could not get help in to New Orleans.  Stunned would be a good word to describe my feelings, along with aghast, disbelief and disgust.

Slowly, ever so slowly, it seemed, help began to be made available. Various nonprofit and governmental relief agencies gained access to disaster victims.  One of my friends helped with the collection and attempted distribution of donated food, supplies, clothing, first aid, animal supplies, baby supplies, which in the end amounted to about 5 truckloads.  We were so excited at the response of folks to make the donations, and the truckers willing to drive to New Orleans to deliver the donations. But they never made it into the city because the government agents made them turn around.  No matter how they tried to get into New Orleans, they were kept away.  Later, I heard similar tales of donations made but government officials did not let the donations into the area.

Personally, I did not do anything. At that point, I didn’t know how to help.  I went on with my life. I felt conflicted. I really wanted to DO SOMETHING, but I wanted that something to make the intended difference, not have money never provide the help I wanted to send, or provisions never arrive or to get used by those not in need.  How could I do something and be sure that my help was help that was needed?

Ecoee Rooney of New Orleans had attended my June, 2005 presentation. She asked me for more information on forensic interviewing skills to use with crime victims who have cognitive or communication disabilities. I noticed her New Orleans return address, so I briefly answered her question and further asked how she was doing.  She responded politely with “thanks for the information” and said they were doing fine. This I couldn’t believe , so I wrote back asking, “how are you REALLY?

This resulted in 2 pages of information on the fact that her employer, a large public Hospital, the oldest continuously operating hospital in the nation, had been destroyed.  Ecoee, a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) who had attended the June International SART Conference (Sexual Assault Response Team), said that their operations had been decimated.

All future planning was tentative at best. She and her family had been evacuated from their home in late August.  They did not know if they would have a home when they returned.

I was shocked!  I immediately felt I could do something to help personally.  First, I put a request out on my listserv (www.cando@disability-abuse.com) to send any educational or supportive materials to Ecoee to give to her patients who had survived sexual assault.  Then, I asked if Ecoee would allow me to come to New Orleans, at an appropriate time, to do some trauma work with the hospital staff (wherever they might be).  She was ecstatic, amazed, appreciative, grateful, welcoming.  She asked exactly what type of trauma treatment I was suggesting. So I explained Thought Field Therapy to her as basically the application of acupuncture/acupressure therapy to psychological matters such as trauma, grief, bereavement, anxiety, among others, using tapping on the points rather than piercing or painful rubbing.

She forwarded my explanation to the “higher-ups” in  the medical administration who then requested additional information I answered them and they responded with an enthusiastic “Yes”.  I then let some of my TFT trained colleagues know  I planned a one week aid visit to New Orleans. I was hoping to provide as much TFT trauma therapy as possible to Ecoee’s hospital staff and the staff at Ecoee’s partner’s place of work, the Volunteers of America supported living program for individuals with disabilities. Her partner, Melody, helped evacuate the VOA clients and was now returning them to the community and they all needed trauma work.

I also received an email from a colleague in Louisiana tentatively asking if “while in New Orleans”, I could provide a free training to his APS (Adult Protective Services) staff on Forensic Interviewing and Assessment of Consent to Sex for forensic cases involving individuals with developmental disabilities.  “Sure, I’ll be there anyhow, and why not also add to the program trauma treatment for them?” I responded.

With the help of the ATFT Trauma Relief Committee chairperson, Norma Gairdner, DO, TFT Dx, in Toronto, Canada, twelve trauma therapists from 7 states (Hawaii, Washington, California (3), Arizona (2), Colorado, South Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana(3) were recruited to form our team.  We ended up calling ourselves a  “Dream Team” because we worked so well together.  We worked and lived together as if we had all known each other for years, without any conflict, or negatives whatsoever.  Each had her/his own gifts, approaches, styles, to be sure.  And each practitioner respected the other, learned from each other, and supported one another.  It was truly magical.

The January ATFT Trauma Relief deployment to New Orleans. We are standing in front of the New Orleans Convention Center where Charity Hospital was set up inside in MASH tents. A tent had been set aside for us to use to treat staff members. We gave 5 minute presentations on the hour followed by Thought Field Therapy® treatments.

Minnie O’Banner, MSSW (a local assistant volunteer), Nora Balderian, PhD., TFT-Dx  (our team leader on the ground in New Orleans and bilingual consultant), Herb Ayers, MA, LMHC, TFT-Dx (our TFT media man), John Detillier, Jr., TFT-Dx (local resident and volunteer), Suzanne Connolly, LCSW, LMFT, TFT-Dx (team trainer), Oneyda Maestas, TFT-Dx  (our second bilingual representative), Lois Sugarman, RN, PhD, TFT-Dx (our team nurse 24/7), Paul Oas, PhD, TFT-Dx (team Chaplin), Caroline Sakai, PhD, TFT-Dx (assistant trainer and lead therapist), Melody Pritchard (our hostess and our liaison with Volunteers of America and Adult Protective Services), Ecoee Rooney, RN, MSN (our other hostess and In-service Instructor at Charity Hospital), Dottie Webster, TFT-Dx (assistant trainer).   Also with our group Nikki Edwards, Nora Balderian’s and Bette Dee Mule who is John Detillier’s assistant.

We stayed in Ecoee and Melody’s house. They had only returned home one week prior to our arrival!  They moved out to the FEMA trailer that had been placed in their backyard for Melody’s Mom, and let 9 of us stay in the house (the other 3 were living locally in New Orleans).

In these circumstances, flexibility is a must. The team members arrived ahead of me because my luggage got lost and my flights got delayed so I chose to rent a car and drive from Atlanta, Georgia to New Orleans the next day. Tuesday had been planned for a “tour” of the city.  We all  brought our cameras.  We traveled in Ecoee’s SUV and a van loaned to Melody for the week by Volunteers of America, to support the trauma team.  What generosity.  We went on the tour.  We saw not blocks but miles of uninhabited and uninhabitable neighborhoods…houses that had slid off their foundations, floating away, but stopped by another house or a tree.  Lots of cars on top of houses.  Furniture halfway out of windows which the locals called “vomiting”.

Miles and miles and miles of complete destruction.  Sad. Desolate. Unbelievable.  Although we were seeing it, I noticed I was having trouble believing my eyes.  Each house had an X with information in each quadrant, the top noting the date that someone was there to inspect …dates like 9-10, 9-22…nearly a full month after the storm was the FIRST visit for emergency assistance.  The destruction of the homes was complete…this is now four full months after the storm, and it appeared that nothing had been done at each home. Nothing.  What could anyone do?  Little help was available.  No one could live in the area. Trash pick-up was just beginning.  It was hard to drive in the area.  We saw where the levee broke.  We saw tent-city, where folks had set up tents.  We even saw near the airport several hundred trailers not yet distributed.  Waiting. We then went to dinner together, and came home to plan our trauma intervention work at the hospital the next day.

Charity Hospital was housed in military tents at the Convention Center.  There was a dentistry tent, triage tent, SART tent, among others.  It was eerie.  It was strange.  We worked in the training tent, with a generator going for the air conditioning.  Hospital staff could only take one hour for participation, so we had planned 5 hours, 10,11,12,1 and 2pm.  The process was to provide a twenty minute informational talk on trauma and Thought Field Therapy, followed by forty minutes for participants to experience trauma treatment with a TFT practitioner.  The first hour included the hospital administrators as participants. They had approved our presence there in the first place. Highly meaningful was Dwayne Thomas, MD, Chief Executive Officer’s participation in both the training and the trauma relief session.  They were astounded, and pleasantly surprised at the fact that TFT made an actual difference in how they themselves felt.  Each of the individuals was asked to complete a post-treatment evaluation and they were given a copy of Stop The Nightmares Of Trauma, a book written and donated by Roger J. Callahan, Ph.D., TFT’s founder. We noticed that each hour, more and more people came.  At 3p.m., people kept wandering in.  Some curious; some hesitant, all wanting to feel better, or just wondering how this TFT works.  More came.  We did not leave until around 5:30 P.M..

Ecoee then took us all to a restaurant for dinner, where she read the evaluations and she received a phone call from one of the doctors, asking if we could possibly return on Saturday, since the residents he supervised missed the training and now were asking for an opportunity to try this trauma treatment!  We were ecstatic, principally because of the fabulous results we had already experienced, but also because there are times when our work is not recognized for the fantastic results it can produce, and here we had a request to return!  The evaluations were all we could have hoped for.  Many comments were essentially, “ I have been feeling hopeless, depressed, and now I am feeling that I’ve had a huge burden lifted…THANK YOU for this.  I am amazed that this simple procedure has such a profound effect.  And it has changed my friend as well, and this is so important to me”.  At the conclusion of dinner, Ecoee announced that the folks at the hospital had given her money to pay for our dinner.  Wow.

Because during the treatment, the clinician demonstrates to the client where to tap, we had been tapping upon ourselves all day, and we noticed that we were all feeling fine, unaffected by the traumas we had witnessed both directly and indirectly.

The following day we all went to the Volunteers of America program and worked with their staff, who all had a similar reaction.  So grateful to have relief from the traumatic symptoms they had been living with now for months.  So amazed that this simple procedure is so powerful.

Friday we worked with the APS folks, and Saturday we returned to the hospital.  We were all so excited to be able to DO SOMETHING OF VALUE in our own country, and those in New Orleans were SO GRATEFUL to have 12 people taking their own time and at their own expense to come to their city to help.  They were amazingly appreciative, and said that many feel forgotten, as there are no more headlines or even news articles about New Orleans.

By the end of the trip, our hosts, Ecoee and Melody had done quite a bit of TFT tapping for themselves, and were now avid endorsers of this trauma therapy.  The beauty of TFT had convinced them.  The following factors are the ones that tip the balance:

1.  It works

2.  The results last

3.  It works fast

4.  There is no emotional (or physical) pain induced during the treatment

5.  There are no side-effects

6.  Anyone can learn how to use TFT

7.  It has many applications

8.  It is voluntarily given!

These are all really excellent factors, and ones in which any healing practitioner would be interested.

Of the 187 evaluations,we had asked people to rate their level of distress pre- and post treatment.  The average pre-treatment rating (on a scale of 0-10, ten being the worst, 0 no distress), was 8.03, and the average post-treatment rating was 0.57.

Overall, this was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.  My TFT colleagues, the folks in New Orleans, our hosts Ecoee and Melody who are now members of my chosen family, all made this a wonderful experience.  I returned again in February, doing some TFT work in Baton Rouge and in New Orleans on my own, and returned with another team of 12 in March 2006, with another week of healing, and this time, teaching an enthusiastic class of individuals how to administer TFT themselves.  This is really a wonderful outcome, to empower folks to be able to learn TFT themselves, so they can continue the healing work as needed.

Because of the invitation to participate on a panel of speakers at the American Psychological Association’s Annual Conference in New Orleans on “Responding to Katrina: Personal Perspectives”, I brought another team in to New Orleans for the week.  The weekend before the APA conference, we held a TFT training at Ochsner Hospital, teaching 60 professionals from a variety of agencies from Louisiana and Mississippi.  Then, during the week, we again provided trauma treatment to many individuals at a variety of agencies and organizations throughout the city.  At this time, we are only selecting licensed mental health professionals to join our team who are Certified in Thought Field Therapy.  For those wanting to join us on a future trip, these are the criteria along with others that will be clarified for those who apply to join our team.

I would return to New Orleans and conduct Trauma Therapy again in a heartbeat.  And, all those who joined me there are of the same mind, and commitment, to return as needed. Thanks to those of you for sharing with me the excitement of being able to bring true healing to hundreds of individuals in trauma.

There are 2 sides to every story.  Here’s the other side:

THE DAY OUR LIVES CHANGED FOREVER

Ecoee Rooney, R.N., S.A.N.E.

New Orleans, LA

Coming home to New Orleans was not easy, but no one thought it would be.  What we had thought would be a long weekend visiting friends during a perfunctory evacuation to North Louisiana, we slowly realized, was the beginning of a long, and scary road home.  Nothing could have prepared me for the turns and twists, disappointments in who didn’t help and amazement at who did, and the level of commitment of so many life-long friends and family members who came forward with money, supplies, and all we needed to survive those first months after leaving all we knew as our lives behind.

No amount of sensationalized media coverage could have prepared me for what I saw as we drove into the city for the first time, even though the mayor still banned entrance to our part of the city. The vastness of the devastation began to truly sink in as we quietly drove down the interstate past a gray, abandoned landscape.  Occasionally, houses that appeared to have been blown apart by some violent force, their guts dangling out, damaged, sat waiting to be discovered by their owners.

I’m not sure if I even breathed as we drove into our neighborhood.  Neither of us spoke as tears streamed down my face.  This was truly ugly; ugly beyond what I had even imagined.  The desolation was shocking, the gray, cracked patina on everything, and the inescapable black or brown line clearly marking the levels to which the water had risen.  Flooded cars and abandoned boats were scattered about the caked mud and debris.   The orange lifejackets swinging in the breeze from my next door neighbor’s front railing sent a shudder through me as I imagined the terror of the rising waters.

Days later, after settling in at a friend’s house uptown, I started the work of moving in to my new office in a building across from my flood-ravaged workplace.  Where to start?  There was so much to do.  I reviewed my pre-Katrina “to do list” for any relevance to life now.  Strange how so many projects lost meaning after a disaster of this magnitude.  OK, here was something. I noticed I had wanted to request a free video from Dr. Nora Baladerian, a clinical forensic psychologist from Los Angeles, regarding forensic interviewing of people with disabilities.  I had seen her speak at several conferences, so I sent her an email, asking her about the video and when it would be ready.

Promptly, she emailed back, telling me the video was not yet out, but asking about how people were making out in New Orleans.  Too overwhelmed to give more than a “we’re plugging along” type of response, I quickly sent off a cursory reply.  Soon, I was surprised by her open-ended response, “How are you REALLY?”  I hesitated, but then decided to give this stranger across the continent an honest reply.  I sat and typed for 15 minutes, describing to her my sadness at the loss of our hospital, our community, our lives, so many people who were left jobless, homeless, grieving.  It was very cathartic to spill my guts to someone who was not going through the exact same situation and who was so far away.

What came next really surprised me.  She emailed back an offer to come with a team of volunteers that she would put a call out for to bring a trauma relief therapy to our organization.  At that time, my organization was still operating out of military tents in part of a large convention hall, but I asked our administrators and they approved her bringing a group to share this therapy with our staff.

Nora and I corresponded back and forth, with increasing familiarity through each email as we worked out housing and other such details.  We moved back into the upstairs of our house that last week of December, and the 12 volunteers arrived the first week of January, staying upstairs on cots, blowup mattresses and couches while we took residence with my senior citizen mother-in-law in her F.E.M.A. trailer for the week.

As they arrived, all with incredibly impressive credentials in psychology, some authors, some counselors, arrived by plane (and Nora, who arrived by car the following day from Atlanta due to air travel problems), their commitment and love was like a breath of fresh air in the stale, dankness of post-Katrina New Orleans.

All strangers to each other, several of our friends and these volunteer therapists visited together in our home that first night, enjoying red beans and rice, crawfish pasta, and conversation.   After a while, one therapist asked me, “Would you like to try the therapy?”  “Sure,” I answered.  She motioned me to sit in front of her and bring to mind something troubling or distressful, and then rate my level of distress about this issue on a scale of 0 to 10. Quick to tears in those days, I immediately thought of one sad situation that always brought me to tears.  “OK, I’ve got it,” I said, a bit embarrassed for the tears in front of all these strangers and friends.  “Now,” the therapist said, “I’d like you to tap here,” and began to lead me through a series of tapping on different places on my face and hands and chest.

I became awash in skepticism and concern for my credibility at work, feeling foolish as I followed her strange directions yet, gradually, I began to notice a much stronger sensation than the skepticism.  I was overcome by a tremendous sense of relaxation and peace.  It was very physical, as my neck loosened, and a smile welled up from inside and appeared on my lips.  The tears were gone, and the sad feelings I had before were replaced with a tremendous sense of peace.  As all of the therapists around the room smiled and nodded, in knowing recognition of my response, I sat stunned, smiling and shaking my head.  “Amazing.  Oh my god.  This is amazing!  Why doesn’t everyone know about this?”

I was so hopeful bringing the therapists to the hospital to work with the traumatized staff.  Little by little, staff members joined the thought field therapy sessions and out of close to 100 people seen and treated only 1 person responded that they felt no response from the therapy – all but one.  Our CEO came, our administrators, doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, clerical workers, human resource workers, family members of staff, all came and had very positive reactions.

I began to doubt my reaction to this therapy, questioning it, wondering what the trick was.  However, no matter how hard I tried to conjure up the same sadness I had about the distressful issue I had worked on, I could not, and have not been able to since!

Nora and the therapists all explained that Thought Field Therapy (TFT), a treatment discovered by Roger Callahan has been used world-wide to treat traumatized populations – genocide survivors in Rwanda, people after the bombings in the London underground, after the shootings at Columbine, and in Kosovo.  The treatment is based in Eastern medicine and energy meridians, and the linking of the traumatic thought to an energy field, that can be modified and smoothed over through this treatment.

Nora has been back six times, has organized 2 other teams, supported two TFT trainings by Dr. Caroline Sakai of Hawaii and Suzanne Connolly of Arizona, so that people in the region would be able to use and share this therapy (70 + people were trained), and 2 other times she has come independently, visiting many different organizations around the city and state to share this trauma relief treatment. No one is paying her to do this.  She is absolutely driven to continue bringing help.   There is no way she will ever know the relief, healing and peace she has brought to so many people in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region.  Many people in my organization, and around the region continue to use TFT to help with stress, anxiety, grief and trauma.  I never knew help would come through our email exchanges.  I thought I was asking for her video – I got so much more – help for myself, my family and my community, and a life-long friend.

How can one ever adequately thank someone for a kindness like this? Thank you, Nora, for taking the time out of your life to commit yourself to us.  We didn’t know we needed you – thank you for coming to our rescue.

ATFT Foundation Goes to Uganda, Africa

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