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TFT Relief for Haiti Earthquake Survivors


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


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.

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.

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.
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


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.


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

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


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.


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 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 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.


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


By Joanne Callahan, President, ATFT Foundation

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.

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.

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.

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.

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


By Nora J. Baladerian, Ph.D

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


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:


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


Please send your Donations to: 
ATFT Foundation, PO Box 1220, La Quinta, CA 92247

*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 Rwanda, Africa


CASE NOTES from the 2009 Rwanda Trauma Relief Mission

By Suzanne Connolly, LCSW, LMFT, TFT-Adv

During these two days we treated over 60 people from the district of Byumba, the young and old, all of them poor people of the countryside who live by sustenance farming. These were persons who wanted to participate in the study but due to the fact we had prepared materials for 200 only, they had to be excluded. Father Jean Marie Vianney reported that there was some upset because they couldn’t participate and so we decided to treat them ourselves over a period of two days.

Suzanne Connolly says, “My first client on the 16th lost her only parent and her beloved fiance in the genocide of 1994. She was given shelter in a refugee camp in the Congo, and while there married and had children. When she was able to return to Rwanda she and her husband had to be tested for the HIV virus. Unfortunately her
husband tested positive. She lost several children, likely to AIDS, and she now practices safe sex. Her husband is very sick and cannot work. Her life is very sad because of these losses and because she alone must work very hard to support the family. She wants to have more peace about her losses and difficult circumstances. In a very short time, by using TFT, this woman was able to feel peace around her present circumstances. Her SUD level went from a ten to a one and the change in her facial expression was remarkable.

Another young woman, only twenty-two years old with a young baby has a husband who drinks too much, and insults her. He sometimes tells her to sleep outside with the chickens. She reported that she gets so angry she cries. She loses her voice and cannot even speak. We talked about not arguing with him or defending herself verbally when he’s drinking as it does no good, but at the same time, not agreeing with him. She could say things like, “That’s your opinion, I don’t think this, but we can agree to disagree”, and she can still keep her dignity. But more importantly, she cannot be assertive in this way if she is so anxious and upset that she cannot even find her voice and literally cannot speak.

Using TFT we worked on her sadness and her fear and anger around her husbands “bad behavior” and she could no longer work up the upset she previously experienced. She could now picture herself being positive in the face of her husband’s bad behavior. Her throat was not constricted and she felt like she had a voice even under these circumstances.

The last person I treated on August 16th lost her husband and all seven of her children in the genocide of 1994. She understandably reported much sadness. She couldn’t even imagine feeling peace after this tragedy in her life. She reported that she has flashbacks during the day and flashbacks that wake her up at night. She has had very bad dreams consistently and was afraid at night. She suffered from painful feelings of loneliness. We used TFT to address her symptoms of trauma. Her face, which was very sad when she arrived, began to brighten and eventually her frown grew into a huge smile. Her worn but beautiful face glowed and she was full of hugs and gratitude. She now could not bring up any sadness. Her only concern was that these good feelings might not last. I assured her, as I had assured the others, that likely the good feelings would last, the bad feelings they worked on almost never return.

I told her that the Rwandan therapists will now be working at the Center and would be able to help her should any of these fears and other negative feelings return.

One man reported only physical symptoms. He suffered from headaches, back-aches stomach-aches and chest pains. He often couldn’t work and felt very sad and reported feeling like ‘half a man’.

He had been to several clinics and nothing seemed physically wrong with him. He said that he is not bothered by the trauma of the past. He ran from the perpetrators who were chasing him with guns and escaped by hiding.

However, most of his family was killed. At the same time, he reported no anger, fear, feelings of guilt or sadness. However as we conversed he mentioned flashbacks and bad dreams. His flashbacks were so severe that when he experienced them his neighbors accused him of being crazy. When he thought about the events that came back to him as flashbacks and bad dreams he reported a SUD of 8. We worked with the memories that come up during his bad dreams and flashbacks and he soon felt only feelings of peace. He was not experiencing pain at the time of his treatment because he was taking pain medication for his symptoms. We are hoping that by addressing his symptoms of trauma his physical symptoms of pain will also be reduced as these symptoms appeared for the first time soon after the genocide.

One woman whose husband was killed during the genocide spoke of the double pain she experienced because he was a person of a certain ethnic group and was mistaken for a person of another ethnic group and killed. Because of their relationship to him, she and her children were pursued but she was able to hide herself and her children. One of the children was killed a week later by a bomb and another has been missing and presumed dead since 1994. She has one child in secondary school that did very well but she could not afford school fees so the girl now lives at home and cannot go on with her studies. She is not entitled to genocide survivor benefits because of her ethnic identity. Her daughter’s having to drop out of school was the woman’s greatest concern and greatest cause of anxiety. TFT successfully addressed her feelings of despair and after about an hour and forty five minutes of treatment to address her past trauma and her current anxieties she reported a feeling of peace in her heart when remembering her losses and in thinking about her current unfortunate circumstances.

Another woman was eleven years old in April of 1994. Whenever she sees soldiers she has intense fear although Rwanda is not at war and the soldiers now work as peace keepers. It is unclear what she witnessed or experienced concerning soldiers in 1994, however her fear of soldiers seemed crippling, as soldiers are everywhere in Rwanda. At one point, while she was concentrating on her fear she opened her eyes and looked at our interpreter and said, ‘You are a soldier’. This young woman’s fears were successfully alleviated to the point where she could think about seeing them along the road and be able to pass by them and even greet them.

During these two days I treated fourteen persons all with similar problems to the ones above. Others included alcoholism, loneliness and three women who had intense fears of the loved ones they lost coming back as ghosts during the night.

Between us we successfully treated 58 of the sixty persons who had not been admitted into the study due to the 200 study slots allotted already having been filled.

ATFT Foundation Goes to Rwanda, Africa


By Paul Oas, M.Div., PhD., TFT Dx


The “Street
Children” of the El Shaddai
Orphanage in
Kigali, Rwanda

In April of 2006, a 10 member Mission Team traveled under the sponsorship of the ATFT (Association for Thought Field Therapy) Foundation, www.TFT.org., to Rwanda and the Congo to do research and provide trauma therapy and training. They used and taught the revolutionary process of trauma relief developed by Dr. Roger Callahan, author of “Stopping the Nightmares of Trauma.” (For a brief synopsis of the TFT process, see www.TFTrx.com.)

Below see the heart-opening experience of the ATFT team being welcomed by 400 singing orphans.  You can also see other ATFT videos on YouTube.

The ATFT Trauma Relief Team being welcomed by 400 singing orphans.

Their focus was primarily on the 400 “Street Children” of the El Shaddai Orphanage in Kigali, Rwanda, “home” for those orphaned by the 1994 genocide and subsequent AIDS and poverty.

El Shaddai Orphanage, “home” for those orphaned by the 1994 genocide and subsequent AIDS and poverty.

The Team was co-sponsored by Christ Lutheran Church in San Diego, who has raised $35,000 of the $48,000 pledged to feed and bed the 400 orphans for a year. Five of the Team were from CLC. (www.Christpb.org).

This team’s mission statement was: “To help create healing and stability in Rwanda by using Thought Field Therapy to heal the wounds of trauma and by training Rwandans and the Congolese to use TFT to help their fellow citizens heal the wounds of the past and move forward to create a strong, peaceful and healthy nation.”

The goals of the 2006 mission team included the following:

  1. Trauma relief and training by 7 TFT therapists from various corners of the US: Beth Bates, Suzanne Connolly, Carol Dall, Carl Johnson, Paul Oas, Caroline Sakai and Dottie Webster.
  2. A needs assessment cadre to ascertain food, shelter, medical and education needs – and to develop a sustainable program to meet these needs.
  3. Tim Botsko and Stephen Seper, volunteers from San Diego, worked with local architects and builders to provide electricity, classrooms, hand craft tools and skills to assist the boys in building beds to replace mats placed strategically on rain soaked floors.
  4. Jo Ann Longerbone, an accountant and a seamstress as a hobby, also from San Diego, taught sewing skills on the 5 donated treadle sewing machines for the children to sew clothes for themselves and possible marketing.
  5. Ascertain the feasibility of permaculture – a program of self-sustaining local food production.<
  6. Teaching the local teachers and children to sew.
  7. Additions to daily protein and nutrition were welcomed.
  8. Collecting data for a research study on the effectiveness of this program, hoping to pave the way for a comprehensive sustainable approach to meet the needs of orphans around the world.>
Our travel-weary volunteers, captivated by the singing orphans.

What motivates 10 Americans from the ages of 29-75 to leave jobs, practices, spouses, children and the comforts of home to travel thousands of miles to the heart of Africa – a country replete with war, genocide, corruption, disease, poverty and seeming hopelessness?

You will have to ask them!

I can only share some observations.

In selecting the team, these were the qualities I initially looked for and found:

  1. A sense of adventure into the unknown.
  2. People who wanted meaning coupled with the adventure. (I was reminded of my professor, Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.”)
  3. People with compassion for suffering humanity.
  4. People with skills appropriate to this mission, i.e, TFT competence in training and therapy, photographic and computer skills, and craft and building skills.
  5. Team players – including the ability to accept and function with leadership and the ability to spontaneously come to the assistance of team needs.
  6. Passion for the team mission coupled with what they do well individually.
  7. Would they be able to put together all the “chores” of preparation, i.e.,a. Orient family and friends to the “unknown” aspects of the mission and allay their fears.b. Arrange time off from work, loss of income, arrange sitters for children and other care giver responsibilities, medical exams and shots, medications and supplements.c. Produce and collate training manuals, research materials, supplies and translators.d. Five of the team elected at their own expense to take the Green Cross training in Dallas to be certified as “Field Traumatologists” and “Compassion Fatigue Educators” as part of their deployment preparation.
  8. Could they prepare for and accept serendipity.Much of the above did not “grow” legs until the mission began.
Flowers, smiles, song and dance greeted our tired team upon their arrival.

On the road, April 10:

Smiling faces and inquiring eyes, filled with hope for what we may be able to do.

Toss in 2 sleepless nights on crowded airlines by team members attempting to bivouac in Nairobi from Hawaii, LA, Phoenix, DC and Kuait, a flight cancellation from Nairobi, Kenya to Kigali, Rwanda, and arriving “shower less” and disheveled 4 hours behind schedule.

Reluctantly we honored the insistence of Pastor Peter Ilungalutum, the Director of the El Shaddai Orphanage, to “stop by” and be welcomed by 400 children orphaned by the 1994 genocide, AIDS and poverty.

We were bounced and whisked to an abandoned warehouse where these hundreds of former “street children” had been waiting 4 hours to welcome our arrival.

Genocide victims, both young and old, working hard to fill out their PTSD questionnaires.

What we experienced then was impossible to describe without tears welling up again. It was for me the signature experience of our mission. As 10 weary travelers descended from packed Land Rovers into a cave like entrance to the warehouse, voices of 400 orphans singing at the top of their lungs was overwhelming in its stark contrast to what we anticipated.

We saw faces beaming with joy and animation, eyes wide with excitement. For over an hour they mesmerized us with singing and dancing. Like Ravel’s “Bolero,” the beat and dance escalated until our “Raggedy Ann” travelers were “seduced” onto their feet – joining hearts and feet in a crescendo of connection.

Dottie Webster sharing Easter Sunday with the orphans.

We were there to “heal” them? This experience alone was worth the “price of admission.”

With but an hour to travel to our lodging, splash water on our faces, run a brush through hair – most were on time for our 4:00 p.m. staff meeting with our local hosts and Embassy volunteers.

The Presbyterian Guest House was our domicile for the next two weeks. There were clean rooms, mosquito net draped beds, showers and bath. (Electricity and hot showers were sporadic, but “shower sharing” rescued us.)

Caroline Sakai explaining about the TFT therapy and study.

Tasks at hand:

Due to typical African communications, Suzanne Connolly’s training of 35 psychologists, pastors and teachers was postponed for 10 days.

This allowed time for Caroline Sakai to rally the team to the task of therapy and research. Having recently returned from two deployments to New Orleans and Green Cross Certification, Caroline launched into the formidable details involved in adequately translating our PTSD approved testing instruments into Kinyarwandan and receiving approval by its author. This became an amazing team effort requiring many trips to the Internet Café until appropriate and adequate translations were acceptable and in place.

The team worked till late at night assembling research and training materials. Days were spent in testing and treating as many children and staff as possible.

Additions to daily protein and nutrition were welcomed.

Meanwhile, 3 of the team, Carl Johnson, Beth Bates and Paul Oas left for the Congo and Northern Rwanda to provide training and follow up continuing education for last year’s trainees in Goma and Ruhengeri.

Now, time for a weekend break!

Six of our team journeyed to the mountains separating Rwanda from Uganda and the Congo to track down the elusive Silverback Gorillas of “Gorilla’s in the Mist” fame.

Their mountain climbing trek through thick jungle rewarded them by a literal “brush” with the gorillas and left them rain soaked and mud caked as ecstatic reincarnations of “Diane Fossey.”

We taught the children to “sew” with the donated machines.

Our final week was no less exciting and rewarding. 35 students arrived from the Congo and various parts of Rwanda for the two-day training in TFT. (Due to the extreme poverty in Africa, it was necessary to subsidize students for travel, food, lodging and training.)

The training was led by Suzanne Connolly, a seasoned tutor and traveler. Since January, she already had two training deployments prior to Rwanda: New Orleans and Kuwait.

With 6 assistants and a translator, the students not only learned the basics, they also experienced relief from their own pent up traumas, which helped solidify their education and experience.

Suzanne Connolly leading the TFT Algorithm Level training for the local community.

The remainder of our time was spent in treating as many of the orphans and staff as possible and to ensure that protocols for research follow up were in place.

Farewells were heart wrenching, as affection-starved children were once again being “abandoned.” Clothes were drenched with intermingled tears as orphans clung to new friends and “surrogates” from America.

It was now impossible to determine — who had healed whom?

The sad good-byes.

Kigali, Rwanda


“We Appreciate Your Services.”
Purpose: to make as meaningful as possible this life that has been bestowed upon us, to
live in such a way that we may be proud of ourselves, to act in such a way that some part
of us lives on.
Oswald Spengler, German Philosopher

Kigali is a city set among gently rolling hills that bask in the equatorial sun by day and
sparkle with a generous scattering of electric lights by night. Women in traditional
brightly colored dress carry baskets of bananas and other fruits and vegetables gracefully
balanced on their heads. Men balance heavy sacks of beans, potatoes, refuse and wood
upon their heads and shoulders as they nimbly make their way through traffic and up and
down hills. Horns honk as skilled drivers somehow avoid hitting pedestrians, taxis,
buses, motorcycle taxis and each other.

Outwardly peace reigns in a land just thirteen years ago devastated by a genocide in
which over eight hundred thousand men, women and children lost their lives within a
four month time span. Inwardly there continues to be much suffering. Those who can
remember the genocide horrors of 1996 and the genocides of years- prior cannot easily
forget. There is no one in Rwanda whose life has not been touched and forever changed
by these events. It’s difficult to imagine.

It is difficult to imagine because we have been sheltered from such tragedies and
although we hear the stories it seems surreal. We try our best to imagine what it would be
like and try to put ourselves in their place. It is difficult to imagine because there is an
aura of peace and people of all ethnic groups are mingling once again despite the
memories that haunt them from within.

We have come as much to drink in the sights and sounds and beauty that is Rwanda as to
help alleviate the unspoken inner sorrows of those whose lives we may be graced to
touch. As for some of us, Paul Oas, Dottie Webster, Caroline Sakai and myself and our
all-around man Tim Botsko from Paul’s Church, this is not our first trip to this part of
Africa and we already know what the other nine members of the team will soon find out.
What we five already know is that Rwanda will give us back more than we will ever be
able to give.

It is time to leave Rwanda and I leave the guesthouse that has been my home for over two
weeks in the early morning darkness. Caroline and Dottie have left earlier in the week
and the rest of the group will leave later this morning. I am driven to the airport in a taxi
and accompanied by a man known as Safari whose name is Jean Damascene. He has been
an invaluable friend and coordinator for us all and we hug good-bye.

As I go through the security gate, the guard asks the purpose of my trip. I have been
trained to say “tourist” but I have filled out a departure card and list my occupation as
Social Worker. I can’t resist the temptation to say “ And I’ve done a little volunteer
social work while I’m here also.” He looks me in the eye and quietly says, “We
appreciate your services.” It’s nice to hear and I feel good inside. Mother Theresa once
said, “I know that what I do is only a small drop in the ocean but it is a drop.” We hope
we have added a few drops to the good work that is occurring throughout Rwanda.
We have accomplished a lot for the short time we’ve been here. Jim Hall, a Dentist
accompanying our team from San Diego, has examined the teeth of 400 orphans and
taken those most in need to a local dentist who will continue to follow up with the
children of El Shadai. Paul’s Church, Christ Lutheran in San Diego, CA has agreed to
pick up the continuing expenses. Jim has taught the children the importance of brushing
their teeth. He has let them know how important their teeth are and how important they
are. Jim wonders what place the children who sleep four and six to a bed will find to
keep their toothbrushes.

But the children will have a place to brush their teeth and to wash their hands. Our
wonderful health team has paid a carpenter to build a washstand and they have placed a
jerry- can with a spicket on it. Now hands can be washed after using the latrine and
before eating.

The really good news, as if all that wasn’t enough, is that the children now have, for the
first time, safe water. Paul Oas and Jim Hall were able to arrange for an up- to- date
water purification system to be installed where none has been before. This will
undoubtedly cut down on the diseases that plague the children. Miraculously, this water
system was donated and installed free of charge.

Whitney Woodruff, a Nurse Practitioner and her two fellow nurses, Joanna Ransier and
Kelli Barber have done the impossible. They stayed up to the wee hours of the night
creating medical charts for all of the children and took those most in need to see a local
doctor. The kindly local 7th Day Adventist Doctor will be following up with the
children’s medical needs and even visiting the children at the orphanage on a weekly

The Nurses identified cases of Typhoid and Malaria and, most dramatically, saved the
sight in one young boy’s eye. The boy, J., had been poked in the eye with a stick a month
before our arrival. He had received no medical attention and one eye was oozing pus and
the other in immediate danger. Antibiotics were able to stop the infection and prevent
blindness in the one eye although it was too late to save the other.

Boys quilting

The self-help quilting project first conceived by Dottie Webster and myself was off to an
impressive start. A quilting instructor, Daisy Gale from Utah, accompanied our team and
I brought six sample quilts created by the Red Rock Quilters of Sedona. The Sedona
women are fabulous quilters and the stunning quilts they provided were created entirely
of African fabric brought back to the States last year by Dottie and myself. The sample
quilts were a hit with everyone and the children, with Daisy’s help, created their first
quilted wall hanging. Dottie and I have been able to sell the first quilted wall hanging for
$400.00 proceeds which have been sent back to the orphanage.

The proceeds from the sale of the quilt will go back to the school quilters, older boys who
need a way to make a living once they leave the orphanage, and one half of the proceeds
will go to the orphanage itself. Dottie and David Webster have hired and are paying the
salary of a business manager for the quilting project and a local sewing teacher has been
hired to teach quilting. My husband and I have agreed to pay the salary of the quilting

Dottie Webster worked day and night before our arrival in Kigali, doing the necessary
paperwork to submit a grant application for this self-help project to the American
Embassy. Paul, Dottie and I met with the United States of America Ambassador to
Rwanda, Michael R. Arietti, for about an hour and had a nice chat and plugged the selfhelp
quilting project. We look forward to the project growing to eventually include more

Caroline Sakai led our team in the one-year follow up to the TFT research that was begun
one year ago. We also offered to treat the children for any problems, which hadn’t been
resolved during their prior treatments a year ago, or for any new problems that had arisen
since we had last been there. Alas, most children had only health problems that needed to
be addressed by our medical team. When it came to emotion problems they collectively
reported no more “bad dreams during the day”(AKA flash Backs), no more nightmares,
fewer bed wetting incidents, less anger, fewer headaches, increased ability to concentrate,
improved ability and confidence to mingle with others, less shyness and more self
esteem. Many said they had no problems at the moment but when problems did come up
they did the tapping. Thanks to Roger for this gift and thanks to The ATFT Foundation
for making this trip possible.

We were also able to treat several new children who hadn’t received the benefits of TFT
during last year’s visit to El Shaddai.

American TFT’ers with teachers also trained in TFT

Left to right middle row: Suzanne, John, Dottie, Sandrine, Rose, and Caroline. Back row:
Interpreters, Billie and Marcelle. Front row: Head teacher Julienne and Sylvestre

Caroline and Dottie, two outstanding trainers and therapists, and three interpreters
assisted me, as we trained 52 people in our first two-day algorithm training during this
mission. Meeting Rooms, supplies, transportation and lodging were all paid for with
contributions from the ATFT Foundation.

Class of April 2007, Kigali Rwanda St. Paul’s Training

Several of our new trainees held government positions relative to the treatment of trauma.
ABATONI Jane GATETE, the executive Secretary of Association Rwandaise des
Consiillers en Traumatisme with the Ministry of Health, had us over to their new
counseling facility following the training. She expressed interest in us training even more
therapists in Rwanda next year, perhaps at their impressive and expansive new facility.
The day after the algorithm training we facilitated a review training, attended by 20 of
last years 33 trainees. Attendees came for the review training from throughout Rwanda
and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They were an enthusiastic group and shared
success stories of using TFT with others and themselves. This group also attended
compliments of the ATFT Foundation.

The next week was lonely without Dottie and Caroline. I did an impromptu one-day
introduction to TFT training for a group of Christian Women Counselors, Women’s
foundation Ministries that constitute the most utilized therapy group in Rwanda. They
were an impressive group of women with a strong women’s rights agenda. Their goals
according their brochure included, “…to be good leaders for the Nation and not be
leaders in the “Kitchen.” Their motto is Faith in Action and the leader of the group and
some other women present had recently returned from Darfur where a group of Protestant
women and a group of Catholic Women had gone to treat Muslim women for war related

The women were impressed with the dramatic results achieved in such a short time and
want to find a way to have more training. Their own life stories were often heart
wrenching but it was a privilege to have been a part of their healing through Thought
Field Therapy.

The next day was a two-day training sponsored jointly by US Aide, Catholic Relief
Services (CRS) and ATFT. US Aide is working with established groups such as CRS,
CARE, and World Relief that have proven over time to be effective and efficient in
delivering social services in Third World Countries. This training was attended by 29
social workers, Nuns, Brothers and lay persons who work with street children. The head
of CRS in Rwanda, Sean T. Gallagher, gave an opening speech and Pascasie
MUSABYEMUNGU, safety net coordinator gave a warm welcome.

Gabriel Constans assisted me in this training and was especially valuable with his help
during the small group practices. This group provided a meeting room, audiovisual
equipment, meals, transportation and even lodging for those who came from far away.
ATFT paid for the manuals and the interpreters. The twenty- nine attendees all work
with the 24 CRS safety net centers for street children located throughout Rwanda. I
adopted this training and the others to include new information on what children who
have been traumatized need in order to recover from trauma.

The day after the CRS training I was picked up by Pascasie and we visited two
orphanages that also take in street children. The first orphanage I visited was an
orphanage financed and run by a family in London and dedicated to the care of Muslim
orphans. It was well run and staffed by a combination of Muslim and CRS workers.
There was a young man that was of special concern due to his unique traumatic
experiences and I had been brought there to treat him. I exchanged a few friendly words
in Arabic, the only ones I know, and the effort seemed to ease the tension in the room. I
treated the young man, a street boy, for three traumas and he seemed much better. The
young man had endured great suffering and I was so pleased that TFT was able to help

The next orphanage we visited was a well-run Catholic orphanage that took in children of
all faiths. They had cows for milk and chickens and turkeys and a garden and a fishpond
that farmed tilapia. But they had a limit to the number of children they could care for full
time. I was asked to treat two street children that were given school uniforms to wear and
hot meals whenever they could make it to the Center. However these children have no
means to attend school. Locally, my hair stylist and friend, Jeff Nigelski, who doesn’t
accept tips, had his clients donate money to a fund for these two older children. The
money already collected will send both children to school for one year.

Gabriel Constans and his wife Audrey and their son Shona were trip documentarians par
excellence. They took lots of pictures, video, and audio and helped the medical team.
Besides assisting me with the CRS training Gabrielle spent a day treating formerly
untreated orphans who had been identified by the medical team as needing psychological

Tim Botsko and his wife Paula helped with everything and I mean everything! We could
not have coordinated our many activities without their help. Tim ran certificates for the
first algorithm training, got training materials printed in French and English in
unbelievably difficult circumstances and brought training attendees bottled water. Tim
also met with a local Kigali architect and began plans for the new orphanage building
planned for next year and funded by Christ Lutheran Church.

There are many more stories and adventures to tell but I hope this gives everyone who is
interested a bit of feedback about what this jointly sponsored ATFT Foundation/ Christ
Lutheran Church mission was all about.

Upon reflection, our team accomplished a good deal of good during our short stay in
Rwanda. I am reminded of a quote from Helen Keller that I use in my trainings. “Life is
full of suffering but it is full also of the overcoming of it.” The purpose of TFT, at one
level, may be to eliminate perturbations in the thought field but at an even deeper level, I
believe this quote even better reflects what TFT is really all about.

On the way back home I read William Easterly’s book, The White Man’s Burden, chosen
as Best Book of the Year by the Economist, Financial Times and Washington Post.
Easterly, an economist details why foreign aide with some notable exceptions doesn’t
work. He supports a bottom up model of foreign aid rather than the usual top down
where the aid dollars don’t usually filter down to the people who need it most. It was
satisfying to know, after reading his book, that our team is utilizing the foreign aide
model that research demonstrates to be most effective.

We have tried to be a catalyst for change but the Rwandan people will be the ones that in
the long run will make a difference. In the preface to the book Rwanda: Towards
Reconciliation, Good Government and Development, it is explained that Rwandan
President, Paul Kagame “believes that development can only be indigenous; it cannot be
imposed even by well wishers.” The work we began with the help of our Rwandan
friends has been left in the capable hands of the many Rwandans we met along the way.
The hills of Rwanda will beckon us all back again to be sure, and will stay in our hearts
forever more. There is a Rwandan saying “God roams the world by day but comes home
to Rwanda to sleep at night.”

As I boarded the plane and headed for home, the guard words continued to ring in my
ears “Thank you for your services.” His words hold true for all who had a part in making
this trip possible. The Medical Team, the Training Team, the Treatment Team, the
Research Team and those of you who contributed financially and/ or with your good
wishes and prayers.


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