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Investigating some possible explanations for the efficacy of TFT

By | Success Stories

Thought Field Therapy

Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to express my personal view of the benefits of Thought Field Therapy (TFT) a no-needle acupuncture treatment used to treat the effects of negative emotion and to investigate some possible explanations for its efficacy. The limited amount of literature on Thought Field Therapy essentially suggested looking outside the box for a viable explanation.

The points of view contained in this paper include opinions that support the curative effects of TFT and opinions of those who are skeptical that TFT is effective. These points of view primarily serve to make a point or a comparison.

This paper is not intended to be comprehensive of all points of view or to provide a scientific evidence based explanation. The literature and research regarding this topic is limited and evolving, but instead this paper presents a snapshot view of one person’s personal experience. A comprehensive case study would exceed the parameters of this paper, and in fact would overflow volumes of discourse and still not come to an amenable conclusion.

Problem

The effectiveness of TFT remains under the microscope and challenges the tenets of conventional therapy and the scientific world at-large. The non-invasive unconventional methods used to relieve negative emotional disturbances are in question, yet there are still positive results that leave practitioners and patients perplexed. The effects of TFT beg the question, are we willing to open our minds to alternative less invasive treatments for psychological problems?

How Does It Work

Thought Field Therapy: A personal experience

Depression, anxiety, fear, trauma, anger, frustration, and tremor among other negative emotions defined my existence until I met Dr. Caroline Sakai and TFT. In a few short months of treatment, I experienced a number of life changing benefits, but the most notable include: a sense of relief that escapes explanation, an increase in energy, and clarity of thought. Needless to say, I am amazed at the astonishing results from TFT.

Dr. Sakai allowed me to reveal as much of the problem as I wanted or as little as I needed to get to the root of the negative emotion. By using muscle testing, she identified where my body held the perturbation and which energy meridian(s) needed to be unblocked. I must admit, at first I felt a twinge of skepticism, but even Sigmund Freud dealt with the skeptics. Once Dr. Sakai found the blocked meridians, she wrote out the necessary tapping sequence much like a doctor writes a prescription but the beauty of this prescription is that there are no side effects.

After tapping on specific meridian points, the sense of relief I felt cannot be described in words. TFT gave me hope and a means to heal the years of “psychache” along with a kind of “joie de vivre” that escaped me for the better part of my 52 years of life.

When I first started with Dr. Sakai, suicidal ideations relentlessly invaded my thoughts. TFT turned my thoughts of suicide into an excitement for life that I have never known and offered me relief where six years of conventional therapy didn’t come close to achieving. After a TFT treatment, the memory may still remain but the overwhelming affect of the negative emotion diminishes or disappears. Feeling well takes getting used to but is a welcome change from playing Russian roulette with my emotions.

Moreover, conventional therapy required me to re-live the disturbances and traumatic experiences that caused my emotional instability. The processes of conventional therapy created painful memories and unpleasant physical responses. In fact, I gave up on therapy altogether because getting well seemed unattainable. Conversely, TFT focused on locating where the feeling resided physically and either eliminated or alleviated my problem. This result happened because of a desire for change and through clearing the thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations known as the “thought field”.

In addition, my energy level increased significantly. I no longer felt lethargic, unable to get out of bed to face the day or the overwhelming fatigue and depleted energy symptomatic of conditions like depression and anxiety. The abundance of energy allowed me to increase the intensity of my exercise workouts, the capability to complete tasks in a timely manner with focus and concentration, and to engage in activities I once avoided because of fatigue. It is a wonderful feeling to be productive again.

I believe that tapping to unblock the energy clearly contributed to my improved clarity of thought. I especially began to notice the improvement in my ability to receive and process information. I can only attribute the improvement to the flow of energy I felt. For most of my life, I felt dumb, unable to learn but worst of all, I believed it. Now, I can feel my brain processing thought. My brain’s ability to receive and process information never ceases to be less than amazing to me.

The great relief, increased energy, and clarity of thought from TFT left me wondering how this turnaround happened in less than three months of treatment. More importantly, it left me with a mystery I felt compelled to solve. At least for myself if not, for others.

– B.D.

Changing Perceptions

The curative properties of TFT incited my curiosity. Conventional science like conventional therapy did not provide a sensible explanation for this phenomenon. Perhaps this may suggest a need for a change in perception or a paradigm shift. Consequently, TFT left me with no other choice but to look for an answer that would help me make sense of what I felt. My quest for an explanation began on the internet, then, I saw two movies, What the Bleep: Down the Rabbit Hole and The Secret, and I read The Field by Lynne McTaggart. What follows represents my attempt to synthesize the information and my own conjectures based on my interpretation of the information.

The recurring theme in the films and the book centered around the theories of quantum physics. Quantum theory attempts to explain the relationship of matter and energy in the universe contrary to classical physics which tries to explain the physical nature of matter. After watching the movies and reading, I was convinced that somehow quantum physics offered a potential explanation as to how TFT works. I struggled to find a way to make the connection between quantum theory and TFT, to explain how quantum physics elucidated the benefits of TFT, so that, it made sense to me.

I realized that TFT represented the missing piece to the puzzle, that there appeared to be a direct correlation between quantum physics and TFT. Quantum physics claims that everything is energy including our thoughts. Canfield (2007) said ,
“Everything is energy. If we go to quantum physics we realize everything is energy and what controls the flow of energy is thought and feeling. It’s a vibration.” (The Oprah Winfrey Show, 2007).

Furthermore, they claimed that the energy of our thoughts directly affected our physical condition. McTaggart (2004) said,
“We now have science to backup what our thoughts do. Thoughts make our body weak. Scientists are studying this with behavioral kinesiology and other ways. Thoughts create your reality” (What the Bleep, 2004).

Therefore, if thoughts and feelings controlled the flow of energy and if thoughts can make our body weak, then it stands to reason that if we have negative thoughts we prevent the flow of energy in our body. Hence, TFT provides the solution to the blocked energy in our body from negative “thought fields” and completes the puzzle.

After further consideration, it hit me that TFT confirmed what I thought. We lost our energy because our “thought fields” caused us to be out of balance energetically; we needed to change our minds and unblock the flow of energy. How? TFT. If you are suffering physically and mentally from the effects of depression, anger, frustration, and other negative emotions, then you cannot think clearly until the symptoms are eliminated.

Picture in your mind a symphony orchestra. Each instrument must be in tune to create a harmonious sound. When the pianist taps on the piano key, the hammer strikes the string and sends a vibration that is in harmony with the rest of the orchestra. If the piano is out of tune, there is discord until the piano can be tuned to bring back its ability to be harmonious with the orchestra. Think of your body as the piano and the universe as the orchestra.

Science and spirituality find themselves moving closer toward one another in explaining the connection between mind, body, and spirit. Both are headed on a collision course toward connectedness. It is my belief that at the point of the merge they will be unified in finding new discoveries to provide new treatments for old ailments. It appears that the human race is reaching a higher level of thinking to keep up with the frequency of the universe.

Thought Field Therapy and The Skeptics

Thought Field Therapy faces the same problems that many other theorists in psychology have faced over the last century. Van Wagner (2007) wrote,
“Freud’s theories of psychosexual stages, the unconscious, and dream symbolism remain a popular topic among both psychologists and laypersons, despite the fact that his work is viewed with skepticism by many today. Many of Freud’s observations and theories were based on clinical cases and case studies, making his findings difficult to generalize to the larger population” (about.com, 2007).

Despite the skepticism that Freud faced, his theories influenced the development of psychology and inspired other theorists to develop more theories. Their work has laid the groundwork for new discoveries in treating the mind and body.

So, why should it be surprising that TFT’s Callahan has met with the same skepticism as Freud. Anything new causes fear and doubt until we see its effectiveness.

Thought Field Therapy vs. Conventional Therapy

In my opinion, there are significant differences between TFT and conventional therapy. TFT is non-invasive, provides relief at the point of treatment, and has a short treatment plan. Conventional therapy relies on procedures like, reframing, behavioral changes, and other techniques coupled with anti-depressant, anti-anxiety medications with side effects. These techniques can require a long and intense treatment plan.

Obviously the discussion deserves more than one paragraph, but the intention is not to be comprehensive in comparing the two modalities. Although conventional therapy currently enjoys the support of the American Psychological Association, it is just a matter of time before TFT becomes the norm.

Current Thinking

Both movies repeatedly said we needed to change our thinking in order to experience new potentials and possibilities by breaking the old thought patterns in our brain and to change the chemistry associated with our responses. We needed to be cognizant of the law of associative memory and its impacts on our thoughts and feelings of the present. They believe in order to change our reality we must base our future potential and possibilities on the unknown instead of allowing events of our past to shape our future. If the past shapes our future, then we only create more of the past.

Quantum physics and its scholars are paving the way to a new way of seeing the world we live in. Developing new theories to influence how we understand what we see or should I say, don’t see in the universe and attempting to understand the role and effects of energy. McTaggart (2001) says, “In the alternative community, words like ‘subtle energy’ were often bandied about, but the debunker in me was left dissatisfied. Where was this energy coming from? Where did it reside? What was so subtle about it? Were there such things as human energy fields? And did they account not only for these alternative forms of healing but also for many of life’s mysteries that couldn’t be explained? Was there an energy source that we really didn’t understand?” (The Field, 2001, p. VIII).

Summary

The questions have been asked and the answers will certainly include TFT. What the bleep we do know is that the secret is Thought Field Therapy and the field is the “thought field”. It’s time.

Research questions:

What is the relationship between quantum physics and Thought Field Therapy?
Are the effects the same for tapping physically or imaginally?
Are there differences in Heart Rate Variability when physically tapping and imagining tapping?
Could staying in the “thought field” without tapping serve as a placebo?

Conclusion

In closing, I would like to leave you with a few excerpts from What the Bleep: Down the Rabbit Hole. These excerpts helped me to see why Thought Field Therapy works. Give pause and make up your own mind.

Amit Goswami, Ph. D.

“We must reach this non-ordinary state of consciousness before we become the creator of our own reality.”

Candace Pert, Ph. D.

“The body wants to heal itself and the limits are in our own minds of what we believe is possible. So much more is possible than we appreciate”.

Lynne McTaggart

“We are all connected by an energy field”.

John Hagelin, Ph. D.
“There is only one consciousness, only one unified field. We individualize our consciousness through the filter of our own nervous system”.

Joseph Dispenza, D. C.

“When little things happen that are so unexplainable, I know they are a process or the result of my creation, and the more I do it, the more I break the neuronets in my brain to accept that it’s possible. Gives me the incentive to do it the next day.”

“Everybody secretly is an adventurer. Everybody loves the adventure. It’s just taking that first step and once they have the moment of insight, that moment of insight carries a frequency, it carries a message. The cells of the body are enlivened by possibility, they’re enlivened by unknown potentials, they’re enlivened by a future history of possibility or future possibility that may be down the rabbit hole a little further.

And if they allow themselves to experience the quandary and the mysticism and the possibility, that’s when they emerge from the rabbit hole, and they’re a different person and now, they go back into their world and, because they processed the information and left footprints in the mind and in the brain, their perception of the world will never be the same”.

“To ask the great questions, to begin to formulate possibilities means we have to stop the normal way in which we think. We begin to speculate potential and possibilities. The whole purpose in life is to change ourselves and modify our actions to have a new experience.

To ask the great question is to say, I’ve experienced everything I know. Now, I want to experience something else”.

References

McTaggart, L., (2002), The Field The quest for the secret force of the universe, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, N.Y.

The Oprah Winfrey Show, Harpo Studios, 2007 The Secret, Primetime Productions, DVD, 2006 Van Wagner, K., The Psychodynamic Approach, Retrieved from the internet Jan 28,2007

http://psychology.about.com/od/historyofpsychology/a/psychodynamic.htm What the Bleep & Down the Rabbit Hole, Captured Light and Lord of the Wind Films, LLS, DVD, 2004

Now I know how to get rid of my anger instead of getting mad

By | Success Stories

Dear Dr. Sakai

Aloha, my name is ( ). You might remember me from your first session at the Kamehameha Middle School Health day. I was one of the people who told you my anger level.

Thank you for teaching us all about thought-field therapy. Now I know how to get rid of my anger instead of getting mad. I hope you are able to come again next year. I know we would enjoy listening to you again.

Aloha & Mahalo,
(Male, teens)

I have not had the urge to bite chew or rip any skin of my fingers since TFT treatment

By | Success Stories

Dear Caroline E. Sakai PhD TFTdx, VT,

Subject: Testimony in reference to Thought Field Therapy

For about 30 years I struggle with biting the skin around my nails. From my internet research it is called Onychophagia or compulsive nail biting any amount of stress made me chew. It got to a point where I was ashamed of showing my hands to anyone. When my hands got wet or immersed in water for long periods of time the skin appearance was something I became very aware of. I will wear band aids, gloves or just walk around with my hands in fist. At some points I will bite so much of the skin of that my fingers will bleed.

After being your patient for some time and having had many treatments of TFT for various other problems I decided to talk to you about this problem. We had one treatment for it. I have not had the urge to bite chew or rip any skin of my fingers since. Even if I put my fingers near my mouth I do not feel like doing any of what would have been normal for me.

I still experience stress in my life and even under the most pressure I still don’t revert back to the behavior.

I will like to thank you for your assistance in helping me overcome this problem.

Best regards,
(Male, 30’s, 9 months post Tx)

Then I tried TFT – After only 1 treatment the pain was completely gone

By | Success Stories

I have had neck pain for about 6 years. In the last 2 years, it had become debilitating. At times I thought it was so bad that I should probably go to the hospital, but I never did. I didn’t have it all the time but when it came, it was unbearable. No over-the-counter medication even made a dent in the pain. I was miserable. When the pain came, it was so acute I could barely focus on anything else except the pain. When I didn’t have it, I was still thinking about it – anticipating when it would come. Simple things that other people take for granted I would have to think about before doing because it could exacerbate the pain. I wouldn’t be able to be on the computer for more than 5 to 10 minutes before I had to go lie down. I don’t think I realized how much energy it took away from my life. I had learned to live with the pain.

Then I tried TFT. It was amazing. After only 1 treatment, the pain was completely gone. I actually didn’t realize that I didn’t have the pain anymore until I got on the computer and was able to stay on and finish my project. I was on the computer for a couple of hours! Since then it has not returned and I can use my precious energy on what I want instead of it being eaten up by pain. I am still amazed.

(Female, 40’s 2+ months post Tx)

I would recommend evaluation of TFT for others with obsession, compulsion and depression

By | Success Stories

To Whom It May Concern,

This letter is a statement of my experience with Dr. Roger Callahan’s THOUGHT FIELD THERAPY (TFT).

HISTORY

A few months ago Dr. Dolly Langen referred me to Dr. Caroline Sakai. I have been a patien of Dr. Langen’s for about four years. During that time we tried a series of antidepressants to treat what appears to be drug resistant depression. Prior to seeing Dr. Langen, I had been under the care of a Seattle psychiatrist for 6 years. Drug therapy for my depression began in 1988 with consistently poor results: either intolerable anxiety, or a brief time of effective treatment followed by regression into a deeper depression than the last.

Prior to seeing Dr. Sakai I had been taking Luvox for almost a year. For several months the result was favorable but in the late summer and fall of 1998 I began to experience the familiar regression. This time the symptoms were crushing fatigue and anxiety along with severe depression. Dr. Langen prescribed Ritalin and made the referral to Dr. Sakai. I continue to take Luvox, Ritalin and Trazodone today. As an aside, tests for thyroid and glucose function are within normal ranges.

TFT

In our first session Dr. Sakai listened to the description of crushing fatigue that I experienced each morning after breakfast. She asked about my diet and I told her of my sugar craving. She suggested TFT for control. She spoke briefly of Dr. Callahan, relating how he based TFT on eastern medicine, had developed it years ago (only to be shunned) and how it was his success with patients that finally drew attention to his work. Dr. Sakai also spoke a little of her training in TFT and related a few success stories including her own, which involved conquering an ice cream craving. She did not state that TFT would work for me or make any promises about the therapy.

It impressed me that there was no requirement on my part to understand how the therapy worked. There was no mental preparation other than brief visualization in the course of diagnosis and initial training. Dr. Sakai made her diagnosis and produced a piece of candy. My craving for it diminished each time we ran through the therapy. The immediate result intrigued and motivated me.

At home I experienced a strong sugar craving and placed a cookie in front of me. I ran through the TFT sequence a few times until I no longer wanted it. Soon, I realized that visualization alone while doing TFT controlled the craving. Over time I realized I was doing the TFT less because my craving was diminished.

In subsequent sessions Dr. Sakai diagnosed and formulated specific TFT protocals for anxiety, depression and obsessive worries about what others think (in that order). Treatment sequences were given separately in sessions several weeks apart. For this reason I can state with certainty that reduction of sugar intake and diminished anxiety are not related. The effect of the (third) TFT (specific for depression) is more difficult to assess for two reasons; 1) I had already experienced some relief from taking Ritalin and, 2) Dr. Sakai cautioned that it could take some time before this TFT might be effective.

In looking back I feel that Dr. Sakai was wise to first address a problem such as sugar craving because of the immediate effect of TFT. Addressing anxiety in the next session was also helpful for the same reason. Such positive results are strong motivators to continue TFT for more resistant problems. My hope is that the routine practice of TFT for depression will work preventively against severe depressive episodes.

I believe that TFT has been of significant value to me. Based upon my experience, I would recommend evaluation for TFT to others who struggle with persistent or recurring mood disorders such as obsession, compulsion and depression.

Sincerely,
(Female, 50’s)

Since I have been using the tapping, I have dramatically decreased the need for asthma medication

By | Success Stories

Dear Caroline,

I wanted to write to thank you for teaching me the Thought Field Therapy tapping technique. Since I have been using the tapping, I have dramatically decreased the need for asthma medication to once a month (from 3-4x a day), I have lost weight, and I have eliminated caffeine altogether, which was once a daily 3-4 cans of soda consumption.

Caroline performed the muscle testing on January 9. 1999. It was discovered that the following foods were toxic to my system: grapes, corn, sweets, fried foods, tomatoes, cheese, chocolate, and caffeine. I was consuming all of those toxic foods on a daily basis. Furthermore, I was drinking 3-4 sodas a day to increase my energy which was also driving my appetite. At the first session I had a soda which I was craving. She taught me to do the tapping for caffeine. After 5-6 times the SUDs went to 0 and I was able to go back to the office and refrain from drinking the soda.

During the next session with Caroline we practiced the tapping for the fried foods and sweets cravings. I have used the tapping to decrease the cravings and lose weight. I have lost approximately 15 pounds. In the beginning I used the tapping more often and decreased the tappings and the cravings decreased.

It has been 3 months since the two sessions with Caroline and I am still caffeine free, 15 pounds lighter, and my asthma has reduced dramatically. I want to thank you again as I am convinced that the TFT is a highly effective form of therapy to reduce cravings, decrease food toxicity which lead to asthma, and eliminate caffeine cravings.

Sincerely,
(Female, 20’s)

After my recent visits with you I feel like a new person and finally have the control I have always yearned for

By | Success Stories

Dear Dr. Sakai

Since I was 18 years old Trichotillomania has run my life. I lived a life of self-hatred and shame and felt weak that I could not control this disease. After my recent visits with you I feel like a new person and finally have the control I have always yearned for. Working with you through Thought Field Therapy I have been able to relax and deal with the urges and anxiety when they occur. I just go through the TFT routine and the negative feelings start to subside. As a result of this therapy these feelings also occur much less frequently. With the help of TFT and along with the avoidance of the foods and beverages that were found to be toxic to my body, I have had a full set of eyelashes and nails for 3 months now. I cannot explain how good this feels, and the urge to pull or bite is so remote.

Here is an article I found on the Internet about Aspartame and its effects on our bodies. Yikes! I actually ate Aspartame by mistake the other day in a bag of candy and I could feel that urge and anxiousness soar to its former heights. I did control the urge, but realized how much avoiding those toxic things really is important for my well being. I thank you for all you have done for me.

Sincerely,
(Female, 30’s)

I never thought that just tapping a certain area on your hand, face, or chest will help you relax.

By | Success Stories

Dear Dr. Sakai

Thank you for coming to our health fair on Friday. I thought it was pretty cool how you taught us how to rate our stress and take care of it. I never thought that just tapping a certain area on your hand, face, or chest will help you relax. It really helped me.

Now that I know how to control or help stop my stress I can teach my parents how to take care of it and I already gave them that paper.

Sincerely,
(Middle School female)

Thanks to you I now know how to minimize and tolerate stress

By | Success Stories

Dear Dr. Caroline

Hi my name is (). I was a student in your thought field therapy class last Friday. Before going to your class I was having trouble dealing with stress but now can handle it better. So thank you very much for teaching me about it. Thanks to you I now know how to minimize and tolerate stress. I will remember this method whenever I am feeling overwhelmed with school, friends, and family. And I won’t forget how you taught me this.

I think that it will help me to improve my mind because it is allowing me to think clearly and concentrate better. It would also help my spirits because I would be in a better mood. And of course when I am feeling good with my mind and spirit it will reflect on the outside. Thank you so very much for your time and effort.

Sincerely,
(Middle School male)

I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank you for taking such good care of my husband

By | Success Stories

Dr. Sakai,

I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank you for taking such good care of my husband. We knew, several months before he was diagnosed with possible Parkinson’s disease, that something was wrong with him. He was depressed and stressed He tried very hard to hide the fact that he had growing concerns about his health so as not to worry me. My heart ached because I didn’t know how to help him. You gave him hope. Several weeks ago he came home very excited over a new therapy he learned during his session with you. He said it was called “Thought Field Therapy”.

He couldn’t wait to show me what he learned. I had my doubts but he said, “Just wait!”. When he began humming, I thought, “This new therapy is so bogus”. But, as he continued to follow your instructions, I noticed some subtle changes in his symptoms. He breathed deeper and was visibly more calm. The shaking in his hands decreased. He had tears in his eyes and so did I. As the days passed he didn’t need the paper he had been following. He did the exercises by memory.

I don’t presume to know how the therapy works. All I know is that it does! When ( ) gets stressed, he does your therapy. It seems to calm his troubled soul. By helping ( ), you have helped our family through some very difficult times. I would highly recommend this “Thought Field Therapy” to others. I have evidenced its results in a very personal way. I will always be grateful.

Sincerely,
Wife of patient (Male, 60’s)