Health & Fitness Magazine
This month we try thought field therapy. Margaret Bartlett discovers a rapid, painless way to cure fears and phobias.
'IT WORKED FOR ME'
Interior designer Lisa McGuire, 36, went to see Jill Schmitt after the break-up of her marriage. "I'd been married for eight years and my husband was quite dominating. We had a company together and when he left I wanted to carry on the business but I was really nervous and shy and wouldn't say boo to a goose. I used to have mild panic attacks when I knew I had to go out and meet someone new. I really needed confidence to meet new clients and also in my person life.
"The one treatment with Jill totally worked, but some effects didn't really hit me until a month afterwards when I just realised I could do things I was terrified of before like drive on the motorway. I even took a holiday in the US and drove on motorways there! Now I can go into a room and start chatting to strangers, whereas before I would have hidden in a corner. Jill's also helped me like myself more. My business is now doing really well."
Thought Field Therapy (TFT) is a form of non-invasive meridian therapy that claims to eliminate the cause of negative emotions through tapping specific energy meridian points on your own body. This is done in a precise and defined sequence, following a practitioner's lead, while concentrating and immersing yourself in the problematic situation or emotion at the same time. It is claimed most people receive complete relief from their problem within minutes of treatment.
TFT works like opening a combination lock - the correct code or sequence of energy points will unlock the negative emotions. TFT's founder, Dr Roger Callahan, believes when we think of a particular problem or fear we generate an individual 'thought field', like an electrical field around a computer. His theory is that emotional problems are caused by interference patterns in these thought fields.
I went to Surrey-based practitioner Jill Schmitt to see if my life-long fear of waves and putting my head under water could be finally dissolved. Strong fragrances and other toxins in or on the body, including badly-tolerated vitamins, are said to interfere with the treatment, says Jill Schmitt, so she asked me to arrive perfume free.
After asking a few questions about the possible source of my anxiety, Schmitt showed me a series of short tapping sequences starting above my eyebrows, to my cheekbones, below my collarbone, then below my armpit and on the side of my right hand, and I followed her lead. We repeated it several times, while, at the same time I was visualising and putting myself in the middle of my most feared water nightmare - being pounded in huge crashing surf and being swept further out to sea. My anxiety mounted as I could almost feel the power of the water on my body.
At the end of four or five sequences and then others using different water scenarios, Schmitt asked me how I would feel about going into the surf now. Then, oddly, when I again visualised the pounding waves, no lump came to my throat and no panic was rising. I felt as if I could just dive right into the middle of them and it wasn't a worry. The real test will be my next seaside holiday!
TFT, also called the Callahan Technique, was discovered and developed by Californian clinical psychologist Dr Callahan in the Eighties. When learning Applied Kinesiology, he decided to apply its diagnostic procedures (using muscle testing) to a problematic client with intense hydrophobia. He found her stomach meridien point was affected, and energy point that begins below the eye. He asked her to think about her fear while he tapped under her eye, after which she felt immediate relief from fear. Callahan refined his discovery further to uncover the code of the body's emotional control and healing systems and the role environmental toxins play in the recurrence of symptoms.
Callahan and other psychologist have completed many clinical studies into TFT and publish a quarterly journal The Thought Field, containing papers on the latest studies. Clinical evidence has shown it helps to rebalance the autonomic nervous system.
WHO WOULD BENEFIT
Any form of irrational fear or phobia can be treated with TFT, including agoraphobia, fear of flying, fear of public speaking, as well as mental block to achievement. Addictions, overeating, grief, post-traumatic stress, depress and anxiety, relief from long-term pain, and any life-limiting behaviours can be treated. It is also suitable for children.
Thought Field Therapy is safe for everyone but as an ability to focus is important, it may not be suitable for those unable to concentrate.
Jill firmly believes in a holistic approach, and will discuss client needs on an individual basis to decide upon the most appropriate treatment to pursue. Sometimes a combination of approaches is the most effective - Thought Field Therapy overcomes fears, NLP creates excellence, and Reiki promotes a sense of peace and well-being.
Consultations are personal and confidential, and are conducted face to face in Oxshott, Surrey or over the telephone. Consultants can also be held at the client’s premises, if necessary.
Initial consultations will be for 2 hours. Many people will require only one or two sessions.