(by Suzanne Connolly, LCSW, LMFT)
Energy psychology is used in very different ways in different parts of the world. For instance, a Japanese medical doctor took a course in TFT from Roger Callahan many years ago. The physician reported that, after medical school, he decided to practice psychiatry. His medical colleagues thought that to be very strange, as people in Japan do not talk about or acknowledge mental health problems. However, after learning to use TFT, the physician again received respect from his colleagues. Because meridian-based therapies are highly respected in Japan, they told the doctor, “Now you are really doing something.”
Talking about problems isn’t popular in Japan and many places in the world. However, going to a medical doctor for stress is acceptable in Japan. So energy psychology is a perfect fit. In Japan, Ayame Morikawa, MD, PhD, the founder of JTFT, will only provide TFT to professionals, and a large number of them are medical doctors. Over forty of these professionals, many of them MD’s, also train other professionals in Japan in TFT. People who are not professionals can earn the designation of TFT Helper so they can treat themselves, family members and friends.
In Rwanda, like Japan, people do not like to talk about their problems. And helping professionals are in short supply. The TFT Foundation’s first trauma relief deployment in Rwanda occurred in 2006. Initially, TFT Foundation therapists treated Rwandans, including over 500 street children in a Kigali shelter. However they discovered that training local community leaders to treat others was more efficient and effective. This model has been improved and fine-tuned over time. As of today, the TFT Kigali team and the TFT Izere Center team have treated over 20,000 Rwandans. Almost none of the Rwandans who treat others, or even Rwandans who train others in TFT, are mental health professionals.
In Kuwait, where I have also treated many from other Middle Eastern countries, being a therapist is highly respected, and people do feel comfortable talking about their problems, unlike in Japan and Rwanda. There, in private sessions, people prefer to be treated by mental health therapists. People take TFT trainings, but mostly to help themselves with their own individual problems. In Israel, seeing a mental health therapist is quite acceptable and talking about problems is encouraged. Mental health professionals participate in TFT trainings and other energy psychology trainings and use these techniques with their clients. In my experience, they sometimes have difficulty getting to the tapping part, because they are so at ease talking about problems.
Whether people like to talk about their problems or prefer not to, whether people are treated by community leaders or professionals, whether people want to learn energy psychology to help themselves or to help others, there always seems to be a place, regardless of culture or economic limits, for energy psychology. We just need to always respect the culture that we are engaging in and work with grace where we find ourselves.
Suzanne Connolly, LCSW, LMFT, has trained over 2,000 people worldwide to use TFT and to integrate TFT in clinical settings. Her presentation venues include Rwanda, Israel and Kuwait. (www.tappingtft.com) She is on ACEP’s board of directors.
Would you like to get trained in helping communities heal after disaster? Would you like to learn more about energy psychology? Join us for the 18th International Energy Psychology Conference in Santa Clara, CA from June 2-5. Suzanne will be offering a full-day training just before the conference where you will learn a protocol for using energy psychology in communities after large-scale traumatic events. Learn more.
AND … on Friday evening, June 3, ACEP is hosting a public event – Together We Light Up the World. Funds raised from your ticket will support PTSD and trauma relief for U.S. veterans, Syrian refugees and Rwandan orphans. Learn more and help support these important projects.