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01.01.1970 01:0000    Comments: 0    Categories: You Asked (Text Files)      Tags:

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Ed Smith: I was recently asked by a person about how effective I thought TPM was with helping PTSD with servicemen and women.  Here is an edited/augmented copy of the letter that I sent to her.


Dear friend,

"I personally have worked with many servicemen over the last ten years using TPM and have had remarkable results helping these people find what appeared to be lasting resolution of their PTSD.  The beauty of this approach is that it is a short-term approach when working with PTSD and has lasting outcomes.  (This is not to say that dealing with all the lie-based thinking a person may have would take a lifetime.)  TPM does not require a professional degree to administer the process and appears to be highly effective in the hands of the lay minister.   I am presently working with a Viet Nam veteran who is reporting  resolution from his PTSD using TPM.  The core theory is simple.  What follows is a VERY truncated and simplified overview of TPM.  For a beater understanding one can read the introductory book "Healing Life's Hurts" at www.theophostic.com.  The first three chapters can be downloaded at no cost.


First, it is acknowledged that the trauma the person experienced in battle was real and did justify the emotional duress that it caused in the moment.  However, after the trauma is over the person "should" know that he or she is no longer there, they are safe now and that the crisis is over.  It would make sense to assume that if a person knew the truth that he or she was no longer there, the crisis was over, etc.; that he or she could "shake it off" and move forward.  However, this is not the case and thus we have PTSD that follows.  


Even though others have assumed that PSTD is the outcome of the trauma that occurred, TPM does not assume that the reason a person has PTSD is because of what happened him or her.   PTSD is not a result of what happened, but rather what the person has brought forward in his or her belief system about what happened to him or her.  If PTSD was about what happened to the person, then theoretically he or she could never be free of the PTSD since the event would always be present in his or her memory.  What happened is the truth and cannot be changed.  However, the emotional duress that has been carried forward is no longer about the actual event but rather the interpretation and belief that is being held to concerning the event. The interpretation can be changed and the person can be at peace with it even though the memory remains intact.  


TPM refers to this as lie-based thinking (LBT).  LBT is that which I hold to be true concerning the experience that in fact is not true or no longer true.  The problem with believing a lie (LBT) is that it has the same consequence as though it were true.  If I believe that "I am going to die" in my memory, I will feel the same emotional duress/fear every time this memory is triggered.  When I say triggered I am referring to the person being reminded of the traumatic event by something happening in the present.  (Such as a car back firing and the person suddenly feeling panic.) This is the emotional symptomatology of PTSD.  I am governed emotionally my lie-based thinking.  My emotional state will match whatever I believe in any given moment.  For example, the lie in a serviceman's thinking might be "I should have done something to stop it from happening" therefore it was my fault.  If I believe this, then I will feel guilty.  If I believe that "something bad is going to happen" then I will feel a continual presence of impending doom.  Another example might be, "I am going to die!"  And in fact, at the time of the event this may have been a real possibility. However, "I am going to die" is not true since the person is alive.  Cognitive approaches have tried to convince the soldier of the truth by telling him the facts, "You are Okay now"  "It was not your fault",  "You are safe now", etc.  Another approaches have tried to find release through catharsis and "screaming it out" beating on chairs etc. The problem with this approach is that it has very little effect since they do not address the root of the emotional duress, which is the false belief.  What the person needs is the truth in the experience.  I discovered that very little ever occurred when I told the person the truth I thought that they needed.  I had no success talking a person out of what he believed in his traumatic memory. 


However, others and myself have had what appears to be great results when applying the principles of TPM to PTSD. TPM allows the person to make the choice to revisit the experience where the lie was embraced and then in the experience asks God himself to reveal to the person the truth.  When this occurs, the person finds COMPLETE resolution of ALL emotional duress in the memory experience and the PTSD symptoms dissipate.  (Note: There are many factors that have to be in place for this to have this outcome in an actual session which are taught in detail in the Basic Training Seminar).  This glorious outcome may sound like an over statement but none the less appears to be true.


TPM is a faith-based approach and requires that the facilitator have such predisposition himself.  However, the recipient is not required to have any particular faith just a willingness to revisit the traumatic place and a willingness to identify and expose the lie-based thinking that he or she is holding.


I would like the opportunity to talk with whoever is in a decision making position with the military in this area about how TPM can benefit those who are willing to receive this approach to care. 


I used TPM with an undercover police officer that was abducted, severely beaten, tortured and severely abused by a group of drug runners.  When he came to me he was suffering from acute PTSD and non-functioning in his life and work.  After his TPM session he reports having been freed of all of the PTSD.  He says that he is still free of all PTSD symptoms after four years since the session. His web site details this journey http://geocities.com/fullerj49/page1.html 


TPM has been around for ten years now and though it is yet to be tested with empirical research it has shown very positive outcomes from the thousands of people who are now using it.  Over 1000 people a month are taking the Basic Training in this approach.  A survey was taken from 1340 people using or acquainted with TPM.  The psychologist that completed the survey study was Dr. Fernando Garzon.  Here is a report summation of his findings.  He said,


The survey was "...sent to anyone who had asked for basic training-related materials (whether they had used it or not) means that there was no attempt to bias the survey to include only those with a favorable opinion of Theophostic. We wanted to hear from anyone who had enough knowledge and experience to give an informed assessment...


...Satisfaction ratings were very high, with over half of them saying that TPM was the most beneficial method they had ever experienced and another 39% saying that it was very helpful. When you consider that the survey included anyone with any experience with TPM (whether it was properly administered or not), these are very good numbers.


...We asked TPM practitioners to rate TPM's efficacy compared to other techniques they had tried with the following conditions: Depression, general anxiety, anger issues, phobias, panic attacks, sexual abuse, physical abuse, Dissociative Identity Disorder, sexual addiction, and eating disorders. The comparative ratings of TPM were very high, with 70 to 85% of respondents in each category rating TPM as more effective than other techniques they'd used...


...Of course, limitations to the survey do exist...perception does not necessarily mean reality. One needs to give psychological testing to people who are actually receiving Theophostic Ministry (case studies) in order to start building confidence in the opinions of TPM practitioners. If both the client and the practitioner agree that something good is happening, then the results are more meaningful.


Later in a following report he said,


"...I reported what we had learned from a major survey of Theophostic practitioners: who was using the Theophostic method, what types of conditions were being treated, and how effective the practitioners using Theophostic believed it to be in comparison to the other techniques they were using. The results were very encouraging, but there was a catch. How could we know whether the recipients of Theophostic Ministry would report the same positive findings as the practitioners unless we tested their experiences? Practitioners answering a survey can say they think the approach is great, but unless the clients themselves are tested and the findings support the practitioners' assertions, the survey may mean little. Hence the client research that is now underway.

To date, we have completed 13 outcomes-based case studies of people who were suffering from anxiety, depression, and adjustment problems and were treated with Theophostic Ministry. In 10 of the cases, the practitioners were licensed mental health professionals; in three, they were lay counselors ministering under the supervision of mental health professionals.

Our approach was to test the clients:


  •  prior to treatment.
  •  after every 10 hours of ministry.
  •  at the conclusion of treatment.
  •  three months following treatment.


The tests we administered included the following:


  • Symptom Checklist 90R, a psychological test.
  • Spiritual Well-Being Scale, a measure of spiritual well-being.
  • Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, a rating scale completed by the therapists administering the method.
  • Dysfunctional Attitude Scale, a measure that examines the number of depression-causing beliefs a person has.


At the conclusion of treatment, we also asked the clients to complete a satisfaction inventory. And in addition, since clients can sometimes think they've improved just because they've been a part of a research project, we took the extra precaution of having a licensed professional who does not use Theophostic Ministry assess their progress by interviewing each client for half an hour and examining his or her clinical record. These professionals also did not know the type of treatment (TPM) that had been received. Doing such ensured an objective evaluation of each case.


The findings were very positive. Below you will see a graph of a summary scale of the Symptom Checklist 90R. The lowered scores indicate reduced psychological distress.

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