As some of you may recall, I sent out early last year, via Internet and other media, nominations from clinicians about approaches that appeared to offer a "cure" for PTSD. I had become frustrated that, although we knew a great deal about the etiology, incidence and prevalence of PTSD, there was no known cure. My intention was to find a cure. and if one could not be found, build upon those offering the best hope for providing one.
Thanks to the help of colleagues all over the world, we were able to find four approaches that appeared to hold great promise for reaching our goal. We were so impressed with them that we invited the innovators of these approaches to our clinical laboratory for a week to participate in our systematic clinical demonstration study. The primary purpose of their visit was to treat our clients, while meeting with our Tallahassee clinical practitioner colleagues prior to and following their work here. The Four approaches we studied were: Traumatic Incident Reduction, Visual Kinesthetic Dissociation, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, and Thought Field Therapy (TFT).
Here I would like to tell you about one of the four approaches. I do this not because we are suggesting that it is better than any other approach. All four of the approaches we investigated generated impressive results. But TFT stood out from all other approaches of which I am aware because of five reasons:
In this brief space I would like to describe how it works in sufficient detail to permit you to try it yourself. By doing so, my hope is that the necessary work of clinical research will begin in as many laboratories as possible. It is only after the difficult work of science in testing the utility of the approach and an explanation for its effectiveness will it be sanctioned by our fields and utilized extensively. And, then, will we have a chance of realizing the full potential of this important discovery.
For brevity sake, I will suggest that the presenting problem is anxiety, since it is the root of many problems. Let us assume that you, yourself, feel anxiety and that the cause of the anxiety can be identified and the intensity of the anxiety quantified.
1. Think of the cause of your anxiety (we all have them from time to time), including the cause (e.g., a traumatic experience) and work up as much disomfort as you can. However, do not spend more than a few moments on this phase.
2. At a point where your anxiety is feel is at its peak, choose a number between 1 and 10 that best represents the intensity of your discomfort, with 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. Thus, circle a number below:
3. After you have circled a number, using your two finger tips, tap solidly five times while thinking about the anxiety, (but not too hard to cause a bruise) just above the bridge of your nose, approximately where either eyebrow begins.
4. Then tap five times approximately one inch below either eye (again, not too hard).
5. Next, tap five times under either arm, approximately 4 inches below the pit of the arm.
6. Then tap five times on your chest just below the collarbone, approximately one inch on either side of the center of your chest.
7. Now take a deep breath and measure your anxiety again: Choose a number between 1 and 10 that best represents the intensity of your anxiety right now. Thus, circle a number below:
8. If the intensity of your anxiety is now at least 2 numbers lower that it was initially, go to step #9. However, if it is not, follow this procedure:
Join your fingers together (either hand) and tap the little finger side of the other hand (We Americans call it the part we use for a "Karate chop."), while saying the following: "I accept myself, even though I still have this kind of anxiety." Repeat this statement three times while continuing to tap. Then, repeat steps 3 through 7.
9. Next is a sequences of activities that are done while tapping at a spot on the back of either hand. The spot is just below and between the knuckle of the little finger and the knuckle of the next finger. With the hand flat, tap this spot continually while doing the following activities (about 5 taps for each of the 9 activities):
10. Follow procedures #3 through #6.
11. As you did before, take a deep breath and measure your anxiety again: Choose a number between 1 and 10 that best represents the intensity of your anxiety right now. Thus, circle a number below:
12. Follow the above procedure at least four times to give the procedure a fair test. You might also try it at a time when your anxiety is higher and the cause is very clear to you. You may come up with all kinds of explanations for why your anxiety level came down. Experiment with your explanations.
We have several studies underway that investigate Thought Field Therapy. We hope that others will join us as collaborative investigators. My hope is that the typical time between discovery and practice can be greatly reduced, given the number of people who suffer from stress-related problems.
At the very least, please let me know how you experienced the above procedure. My Email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. My fax number is 904-644-4804.
Charles R. Figley, Ph.D.
Professor and Director
Charles R. Figley, Ph.D., Florida State University Psychosocial Stress
Research Program and Clinical Lab: 904-644-1588(fax: 644-4804)
E-mail address: email@example.com