Johns Hopkins researchers who last week announced they are laying the groundwork for a drug that erases traumatic memories have created a storm of controversy over whether the drug will involuntarily erase other useful memories or even alter a person’s life experience. Rather than wait for a controversial drug in the future, today’s trauma victims will find a simpler solution to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in “tapping”—a therapeutic treatment developed 30 years ago by Dr. Roger Callahan.
With Thought Field Therapy, tapping removes the negative emotions tied to the memory—but not the memory itself.
By tapping on various body touch-points in a specific sequence—under the eye and on the collarbone, for instance—TFT stimulates the body’s energy pathways similar to acupuncture, releasing stress, anxiety and emotions that are “stored” in the brain’s “thought field.”
Thousands of years ago, the Chinese mapped the body’s energy pathways and developed ways to eliminate pain and promote physical healing by using acupuncture to manipulate energy flows along these meridians. In the same way, TFT shows that these pathways can be accessed in order to heal emotional distress.
When using TFT for post-traumatic stress disorder, patients really don’t know how they have changed. They only know they are no longer bothered by the memory.
In other words, a patient’s life experience remains intact—but gone is the emotional wound, sometimes undetected, that causes lasting psychological and physical aftereffects such as anxiety, depression, a continual feeling of illness, even nightmares and hallucinations. In layman’s terms, TFT affects how the brain compiles information about the traumatic event by changing the coding system the brain uses to store the negative emotions.
Most importantly, TFT does no harm—while the idea of a “memory erasing drug” gave mental health professionals and ethics specialists pause. Quoted on their opinion of the Johns Hopkins research in The Baltimore Sun, some said loss of other memories—which can be called dementia when someone loses too much of their past—could occur if scientists produce a drug designed to selectively eliminate a single traumatic memory.
“Pills aren’t necessary to remove the negative effects of trauma,” says Dr. Roger Callahan, “and could even be dangerous if they accidentally erase other memories that are needed to function.”
Rape victims, war refugees, victims of traumatic surgeries, Haitian earthquake survivors—even soldiers returning from Afghanistan—have used TFT to get relief after all other methods have failed.
The International Journal of Emergency Mental Health reported on a 2006 study by PhD psychologist Caroline Sakai who used the tapping treatment with orphans of the 1994 Rwanda genocide. The outcomes of Sakai’s study, summarized in the Journal, exceed those of any previous peer-reviewed study of PTSD treatment in terms of speed, degree of effectiveness, and percentage of subjects who were helped.
And Guy Marriott, who trains British Special Forces in the Congo and provides security for international aid organizations in places like the Sudan, Zimbabwe and Haiti, trains his entire force in TFT as a fast, effective, cross-cultural technique for hostile environments.
The technique is also used by professional practitioners around the world who recognize it as an ethically sound, long-term solution to PTSD. Not only that but the technique is inexpensive and does not require patients to spend weeks in a therapist’s office.
If you would like to explore how TFT can help you please visit our home page and start with our free guide on beating stress and anxiety.
photo credit: centralasian