Treating Crisis In First Nations Communities

Beads and bristles
TFT Sucess Stories by Bruce Ramsey, CTS,TFT DX

I have been promising you for too long that I would share some of the success stories in my use of TFT.

Let me begin with how I got to learning TFT.

I am a retired fire fighter and suffered some major traumas in my career including a fire that occurred in a previous place of employment. I attended as a fire fighter and was witness to fire deaths of nine of my friends. As a result of that I became interested in Critical Incident Stress Management.

I began teaching that and over a period of about five years became an authorized trauma trainer and a Certified Traumatologist from Florida State University. I was asked in the mid 90’s if I thought that the training was applicable for fire fighters in a unique cultural setting- that being First Nations’ communities in Canada. Of course in the USA the terminology would be native American or Indian.

I began teaching CISM for these small and often remote communities. What I learned very quickly was that all the trauma of our society happens in small communities too-car accidents, sudden death, drowning etc. The greatest difference is that most of the communities I traveled to had a severe shortage of psychological support.

In addition, as a result of acculturation, there is also a restricted level of traditional and ritual healing.

The levels of trauma are severe to say the least. I found that the CISM training was most useful but the problem was that as we taught, individuals would be triggered to past experience and become most distressed. Some were overwhelmed, abreactive in fact.

As an ethical person I found it unacceptable to go in to a community, teach, trigger trauma and then have nothing to assist in returning someone to their previous level of functioning or better. I decided to quit teaching the CISM in native communities.

Then, serendipity.

I was in San Diego at a trauma conference and by chance sat next to Dr. Bob Bray. He asked me what I did and I told him the above story. He said why don’t you do TFT? I did not know of it so he explained. He convinced me to attend training he was doing in Montreal. I went and learned the Algorithm Level and of course was astounded. I now had a tool that I could use to help people through.

Subsequently, Dr. Callahan convinced me to take the Dx training as he said the native community also needs someone to teach TFT to them to have as a new tool in their toolboxes.

I have been using TFT regularly since. I have seen and experienced some of the most amazing results. I have hundreds of stories.

I will give you just a couple.


As a crisis responder, I was asked to put together a team to assist a remote village with a horrible loss. Two young men had gone out in the winter and gotten lost. The community organized a search and spent days combing the territory looking for the two teens. Unfortunately without success. In fact to this date they have not found any trace of the two children. The community of four hundred was devastated.

We went in to do CISM. In the process, I was asked if I could please spend some time one on one with Gloria. She had been the search master, who stayed back in the village and coordinated the search.

She came in escorted by her uncle. She explained to me that she was diabetic and that she had major vision loss as a result. She was practically blind in one eye and had only 40% vision in the other. We began with the search.

Her SUD was 10. Within minutes it was 0.

Fantastic, but we were peeling an onion. She then recalled that another uncle had suffered a similar experience to the boys when Gloria was 10. He fell overboard from a fishing boat and was never found. SUD again was a 10 and we were able to bring that down to 0.

Next layer was a memory of her being raped at the age of 13. As we solved each old trauma, another surfaced. She had the most extensive trauma history you can imagine and each event seemed to be covered and blocked by another.

Next she told me that her father had murdered her brother when she was nine and then completed suicide. He left a note saying he had killed both his children. Gloria was late home from school and that was what saved her.

Unfortunately she came home to discover the deaths.

In every case the SUD was 10 and in every case we got it to 0 using the complex trauma algorithm.

We did several other events including the trauma of having her daughter also suffer a rape. We worked together for almost two hours. At that point we were both exhausted and we agreed to come back together the next day for follow up. I told her I would go out and get her uncle to help her home. She said “I don’t need him, I can see just fine now”. I asked her to explain and she said that her eyesight prior to the search for the boys had been double what it was at the start of our session. 40% in the blind eye and close to 80% in the other.

She had been to the diabetes specialist and to an opthamologist who both told her the problem was not physical but most likely stress and there was nothing they could do. Well, TFT did it.

The next day she was still doing just fine with all the trauma issues and at a 0. Her vision had stayed up as well and following up with her months later all was still good. One of my most gratifying experiences.

Pain from fibromyalgia

I teach Algorithm classes all the time in American Indian communities. I was asked to do an awareness session at a Tribal Health conference. I went and did a ninety minute presentation on what TFT is and how it works.

Of course I mentioned the various areas that I have seen success in including trauma, phobia, anger, physical pain, guilt etc. At the end of the session, two ladies approached me and asked if I would spend some time with them and answer some questions. I agreed and we found an empty classroom to use. The two were sisters.

Mavis was suffering from overall body pain. She asked me if TFT would take away her pain. I explained that it works for many but there are no guarantees and since I knew nothing about fibromyalgia, I could make no promises. She wanted to go ahead upon hearing that the worst that could happen was nothing. I asked her about the pain and she rated it a 10 on SUDS. She also talked about the anxiety she had thinking about the constancy and permanency of it.

The SUD for anxiety was 10. I coupled the pain algorithm with the complex anxiety algorithm and we went to work.

After the first sequence, she reported the pain at a 10. We did the 9G and completed the algorithm and she was a 5. I asked if she wanted to continue and she was definite about her yes. We went through another complete algorithm and she was at 2. Correction for PR and another holon and she was at a 0.

As I said, I knew nothing about fibromyalgia and so my naivete showed through. I asked when the last time she was at a 0 and she said, eleven years ago. She wanted to know how long it would last and I told her I had no idea, minutes perhaps but possibly longer. I explained that I was as surprised as her that it had worked. Her sister was crying with joy at seeing Mavis pain free.

Mavis said how much do I owe you. I do not accept payment for TFT. Never have. That is because Dr. Callahan scholarshipped me for the Dx because he cared so much to get TFT into this cultural group.

Mavis really wanted to pay me so I said, “I’ll take a hug”. She hugged me and began to cry. I asked if the pain had returned.

She smiled and said “You don’t understand, I have eight grandchildren at home that I have never hugged because of my pain. I also have not been able to hug my husband for eleven years. I ‘m going home and hug them all”.

It was very emotional for me. And the two sisters.

The conference was three days and we had done the TFT on day one. Throughout the next two days Mavis would seek me out and ask how long it would last. I kept telling her I was astounded that it was holding.

On day three she asked me if she could go off her pain meds as they were making her feel goofy. I said no, no and no. You will have to see your doctor to do that.

I did not tell you that I had met Mavis previously in her home village at a training I did in CISM.

I was back there a year following the TFT session and Mavis showed up in my class. I asked why she was there as she had already had the class. She said she came to say thanks. Since the conference she was basically pain free.

She had seen her doctor and had been completely off medications for eight months. She told me she occasionally had some pain, but she just did the TFT algorithms that we had used and I had left with her, and it went away again.


I have taught TFT algorithms to over two hundred people in native communities. They range from psychologists to elders, social workers, addiction counselors, nurses, fire fighters, tribal police officers and community members and leaders. It is very well accepted and the requests keep coming for more training.

I was recently back in a community where I had done the training previously and again a lady showed up who had had the Algorithm course. She said she came back to refresh and practice. She told a wonderful story of a suicidal young man who she had done TFT with. He had come in depressed and traumatized and since they had no mental health facility the intake person had called for transport from the closest facility.

My student heard about him, went and did TFT and by the time the transport arrived he was calm, reasoned and eating a meal with some elders. The transport team had a mental health person and she examined the young man and declined to take him saying she could find no distress in him at all.

He is doing fine and now volunteers at the elder center and is back in school. Says he wants to be a social worker.

Thank you again Dr. Callahan.

TFT is amazing. It amazes me almost weekly. I will continue teaching it as long as I am able.

Your vision at giving me this opportunity has been realized in many native communities and the word spreads.

Your gift to all of us is truly wonderful. As a result of your scholarship, I have never accepted a single payment for TFT. I do get paid for teaching but I have made the commitment that since you gave it to me, it really is my privilege to pay it forward. I have used it thousands of times to help others. All that is due to you.

So the hug from Mavis belongs to you.

Thank you!

Be well in health and spirit
Bruce Ramsay, TFT-dx

Creative Commons License photo credit: Unhindered by Talent

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