|Thought Field Therapy
What is TFT? Thought Field Therapy (TFT) was developed by Roger Callahan, PhD. He found a way to
apply the ancient science of energy meridians (as in pressure points in acupuncture) to the alleviation of
emotional distress. Simply, it involves tapping acupressure points on your body in a specific sequence. There
is also a segment which balances the right and left brain.
How did it start?All new practices start with a good story. Here is Dr. Callahan's. He had been working
with a patient called Mary, who suffered with a longstanding phobia of water. She minimised all forms of
contact with water and after 18 months Callahan had managed to help her only marginally using cognitive
behavioral methods; she could force herself to sit on the side of his swimming pool (where he had his California
home office), but she would still feel very uncomfortable in doing so. One day Callahan performed a muscle test
and ascertained that a problem registered in her stomach meridian. Acting on a whim, he asked her to tap on
one end of this meridian (which may have been either under the eye or on the end of the second toe). Within a
few seconds, Mary leapt up in delight, declaring ‘it's gone!’ and ran exuberantly to the swimming pool. Callahan
worried for her safety and called after her to remember that she could not swim, but Mary reassured him and
explained that she was just so happy that the anxiety she had always experienced in her stomach had gone.
Mary’s severe and longstanding phobia was eliminated in that moment and never returned, even decades
Dr. Callahan was likely more surprised that his patient, Mary. He continued researching how Mary had been
able to find relief so quickly. He had been studying energy-related techniques.
What is it used for? Initially it was applied mainly to anxiety and phobic states – and Dr. Callahan’s first
book on the subject was called The Five Minute Phobia Cure (1985) – but later was found to be helpful with
PTSD (Callahan 1995; Bray 2006) and many other emotional problems (Callahan 2001). The list is long now
for conditions that can be treated with TFT. They are: anxiety, stress, fear, most simple phobias, addictive
urges, claustrophobia, air plane turbulence, anger, rage, guilt, shame, embarrassment, trauma, sadness, grief,
obsessions, depression, physical pain, panic attacks, jet lag, and achieving peak performance.
What should I expect in a TFT treatment session? Your practitioner will take a history of you and
the problem that you want to work on. She will help you develop a brief statement of the problem being
treated. (I'm afraid to live alone.) You will be asked to think about the problem and to rate the level of
distress that you feel when you think about the problem on a scale of 0-10 (Subjective units of distress or
SUD). Ten is the highest level of distress and zero is the complete absence of any distress. Your therapist will
show you the specific sequence of tapping that you should use for your particular problem. She will also teach
how to do the segment that activates right and left brain functions (the so called 9 Gamut series). This
involves tapping a particular pressure point while doing 9 different activities: looking in different directions,
counting out loud, and humming. All of these activities originate in different parts of the brain so, in essence,
you are "bringing on line" more areas of your brain.
Your therapist will ask you again for the distress level as you think of the problem. You will likely be directed
to go through another round of tappings and perhaps a 3rd or 4th time. The specific procedures are
dependent on the particular person and their particular problem.
Can I be cured in one session? The one session described above may not have eliminated all of the
problem. If symptoms return, it usually means another aspect or layer of the problem is emerging. Other
related memories or emotions may surface and need to be addressed. It does not mean that the TFT
treatment was a failure. It just means the problem still has more layers than you initially thought.
Will I have to do anything outside of the session? You will be asked to monitor your experiences
to notice if symptoms recur and in what circumstances. You should also watch for those situations when you
would have experienced symptoms previously but now do not have symptoms. Your therapist will give you a
handout explaining how to use TFT on your own.
How can I get this treatment? Call Pam Lipe at 651-414-9793 or 651-470-5174 to schedule an
appointment. Here are directions to her office.
My practice serves the following communities: Maplewood, Woodbury, North St. Paul, Saint Paul, Oakdale, Roseville,
Stillwater, Hudson, Afton, Lakeville, as well as other Eastern Suburbs of the Twin Cities, Minnesota and Western Wisconsin.
Pamela Lipe, MS, Licensed Psychologist Relationship Therapy St. Paul
413 Wacouta Street, Suite 550,
Saint Paul, MN 55101 651-470-5174
Read about my experience when I learned how to do TFT. See what affect it had on me.