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Treatments Newsletter
THOUGHT FIELD THERAPY (TFT)
A revolutionary breakthrough in the treatment of psychological problems.
By Geoffrey Pickworth, Consulting Psychologist MAPS, TFTdx


Norma is a 65 year old woman who has been suffering from dysthymia (chronic, low grade depression) on and off for the past 35 years.   She has been on anti-depressant medication and has tried many types of psychotherapy without much success.   A 30-minute telephone consultation and her depression lifts.  Her psychiatrist is surprised and is puzzled as to why she is better.   Six months later, her depression is still gone.  A miracle? No.  Not an unusual result for a revolutionary new type of psychological treatment which is rapidly growing in popularity in North America, Australia and Europe.

Thought Field Therapy (TFT), is a recent breakthrough in psychological treatment that will eventually have a tremendous impact on the future of how we understand and treat psychological problems. This is mainly due to the fact that TFT addresses a previously unknown causal domain and is the only psychotherapy that has a causal diagnosis which leads directly to psychological treatment. TFT represents and evolutionary leap forward in our understanding of psychological and physical healing and the elimination much needless suffering. TFT is commonly known as one of the "Power Therapies".

In 1979, American psychologist, Dr Roger Callahan, (a pioneer of cognitive behaviour therapy and a personal friend of the renowned psychologist, Dr Albert Ellis), after working briefly working with the Australian Psychiatrist, Dr John Diamond, made a series of discoveries while treating a female patient named Mary, who had a severe life long water phobia. Mary was unresponsive to conventional treatments such as cognitive behaviour therapy and hypnosis. However, after two minutes of trying a new psychological treatment, Mary's life long water phobia vanished and has remained ever so since. Callaban was astounded. Alas, most of his patients did not respond as quickly as Mary. However, he continued to make further discoveries and was able to effect positive outcomes and even cures in over 85% of his patients. These positive treatment results often occurred very quickly - amazingly fast compared to any other type of psychological treatment.

Dr Callahan began to discover the existence of certain structures he called "perturbations" in the bio-energy thought field that showed a precise, causal relationship to psychological disorders. By recognising and addressing this energy field (similar to the bio-electrical energy field in acupuncture) of a problem, therapy is so effective and rapid that it is startling. Dramatic changes often occur within minutes after a person is treated with TFT- in many cases the patient can treat themselves with the therapy. TFT has been called the psychologists version of acupuncture. Cognitive restructuring appears to occur automatically after treatment without the therapist consciously attempting to change underlying belief systems.

TFT combines elements of acupuncture, Chinese medicine, applied Kinesiology, Cognitive 'Therapy and psychoanalysis. It is effective for a wide range of" psychological problems including anxiety disorders, phobias, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, addictions, anger, jealousy and guilt, etc. It has also proven very effective in the treatment of physical conditions such as headaches and back pain.

Until recently, the efficacy of TFT rested mainly on tens of thousands of clinical study reports around the world. However, there are now scientific studies being conducted on the potential of TFT. Charles Figley (a world authority on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) at Florida State university, has conducted studies into TFT and has concluded that TFT is the most effective treatment for PTSD. At the time of this writing there are several controlled studies being conducted in the USA, Sweden, UK and Australia. Because of the lack of face validity for this new therapy, controlled scientific studies of TFT have been slow to eventuate. Controlled scientific studies will provide the necessary support that TFT requires before it becomes part of mainstream therapy. "TFT is one of the most effective and most powerful for quick clinical relief and help… and the idea of psychological reversal is one of the major discoveries in psychology" (Gary Emery, PhD, co-author, "Anxiety Disorders and Phobias: A Cognitive Perspective")

TFT is young and the full implications of this therapy are yet to be realised. As with any other revolutionary (or evolutionary theory), TFT alters previous basic reference points that can be unsettling and cause reactivity resulting in premature conclusions. TFT challenges very basic assumptions such as materiality (vs. energy) of being, of what a negative emotion really is, the role of suffering in our live, what constitutes treatment in healing, and the time required for meaningful change.

The results of TFT cannot he explained in terms of distraction, hypnosis or placebo effects. This strange treatment does not initially engender confidence in the patient and no belief is required for the treatment to work. It works anyway. The word "cure" can often be confidently used when describing the successful outcome of TFT treatment. Overall success rates appear to be in the order of 85-90% and with no negative side effects. My experience with TFT over the past 7 years suggests that it is more effective than any other type of therapy I have used. TFT can be successfully integrated with other types of psychotherapies.

Suggested Reading:
"The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life: By Robert O Becker, MD, and Selden G Becker, MD, Morrow, NY, 1987.

"Thought Field Therapy and Trauma: Treatment and Theory" By Dr Roger Callahan, Indian Wells, Thought Field Training Centre, 1996.

Energy Psychology – Explorations at the Interface of Energy, Cognition, Behaviour and Health" By Dr Fred Gallo, CRC Press 1999.


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