This year we celebrate the 30 year anniversary of the discovery of a revolutionary form of healing, originally called Callahan Techniques and now commonly known as Thought Field Therapy (TFT). TFT was discovered and developed by California clinical psychologist, Dr. Roger Callahan.
The first person Dr. Roger Callahan treated with this method was Mary, a woman in her 40s who had a severe phobia of water. According to Mary and her relatives, she had had this phobia ever since she was an infant.
Water was so terrifying to Mary that she could not take baths in a full tub of water and was terrified every time it rained. She often had nightmares of water getting her. And, although she lived in California, she could not go to the beach, because the very sight of water caused her unbearable anxiety.
Dr. Callahan had been working with Mary using a wide variety of conventional psychotherapy techniques for a year and a half with very little progress. Even though he had tried every technique available at the time, all he had been able to do for her was get her to the point where she could sit on the edge of his swimming pool and reluctantly dangle her legs in the water. Even this filled her with anxiety.
When she sat by the pool, she couldn’t bear to look at the water. She left each session with a splitting headache due to the extreme stress of the treatment and being exposed to water for the whole session.
During one of these tortuous sessions with poor Mary, he decided to try an experiment. She had repeatedly mentioned that every time she thought of water she got an awful feeling in the pit of her stomach. Throughout his career, Dr. Callahan was never satisfied with the usual psychological treatments and was continually looking for better procedures. He had been studying energy meridian points on the body (the same ones used in acupuncture), and had learned the location of the end point to the stomach meridian, which was directly under the eyes.
Not expecting much of anything to happen, he asked Mary to tap under her eyes. After doing so, much to his astonishment, she exclaimed, “It’s gone! That horrible feeling I get in the pit of my stomach when I think about water is completely gone!” At first he didn’t believe her. She then leapt up out of her chair and ran towards his swimming pool. Concerned that she couldn’t swim and might jump in the pool, he ran after her. Mary responded, “Don’t worry, Dr. Callahan, I know I can’t swim”, which was an indication that although the treatment completely removed her fear, it did not make her stupid. Mary went to the pool, free of all traces of her fear of water.
Mary has remained free of all traces of her life-long phobia of water since her very brief treatment nearly thirty years ago. The nightmares also vanished, never to return.
After the astonishing results with Mary, Dr. Callahan went on to try this technique on other patients. As he made additional discoveries, he began to have success with other phobics. He also found that not only could he quickly eliminate irrational fears (phobias), modifications and further development of these techniques allowed him to be able to help people who had upsets and trauma that had a basis in reality. The phobic person knows that their fears are irrational, yet cannot help feeling afraid. By contrast, someone who has suffered from a catastrophic event, such as being raped or robbed, has good reason to be upset. He found that TFT can also heal the effects of trauma, loss and grief.
How TFT Has Evolved
Throughout the 1980s, Dr. Callahan made refinements that increased the success rate. At the time, he called the procedures the Callahan Techniques. By the 1990s, he had developed very rapid, highly effective techniques for a large variety of problems. He participated in a research project at Florida State University in a search for the cure for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and due to that study renamed the procedures Thought Field Therapy (TFT). The study resulted in an article stating:
“If it had been a horse race, which the investigators as well as the innovators were all at pains to deny, the TFT contingent would have won, hands down. Requiring virtually nothing in the way of personal interaction, TFT can bypass all that tedious therapeutic business of joining, empathy, history taking, reprocessing and the like, and zero in on the problem immediately at hand. With 10-minute treatments not at all unusual?”…Mary Sykes Wylie, Ph.D., Senior Editor, “The Family Therapy Networker, July/Aug, 1996.”
Where TFT Is Today
TFT is now in its thirtieth year of development and has simple, non-invasive, drug-free, procedures that are equally effective across gender, age, cultures and species. It has evolved from helping simple psychological problems thru two decades of helping to heal physical problems and a decade of raising consciousness and opening channels to spirituality. TFT truly addresses nature’s healing system, working with our mind, body and spirit to launch natural healing processes.
It has been successfully used to help solve many of the problems we are all faced with on a daily basis:
- Stress, fears and phobias
- General anxiety and panic disorders
- Anger and guilt
- Trauma and PTSD
- Love pain and grief
- Physical pain
- Negativity, self sabotage
- Compulsion behaviors
- Addictive urges
- Weight loss
- Eating disorders
Most importantly, TFT has been used to heal the traumas of war in Kosovo, the traumas of natural disasters such as hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the horrors of genocide in Rwanda.
We believe that if we can provide fast, effective relief for trauma, we have made a step toward breaking the cycle of violence triggered by past trauma.
Dr. Callahan and Joanne Callahan, as President of the ATFT Foundation, are currently leading a program to help our returning soldiers with a Freedom R & R’s program with Timeshares for Vets. For more information about this program or to learn about the previous trauma relief programs visit the foundations web site at www.ATFTFoundation.org .
Dr. Callahan offers free copies of his newsletter and Free Trauma help on here on our web site