TBT: an effective and uniquely gentle trauma technique for your practice

TBT's roots lie in the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), an acu-point tapping technique on which much research has been done in recent years. More than one hundred studies conducted by as many as sixty researchers from over ten countries worldwide have demonstrated the effectiveness of EFT in a wide variety of disorders and complaints. Many of these studies have been published in renowned scientific journals.


As an example, I would like to point out the study done by Sebastian B. and Nelms J. in 2016The Effectiveness of Emotional Freedom Techniques in the Treatment on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. This meta-study evaluated seven previous studies on EFT, all of which met the strict criteria of the American Psychological Society (APA).  


The following result was published: After four to ten sessions with EFT, a large treatment effect was found with regard to symptoms of PTSD.  


But TBT is much more than tapping on acupuncture points. An important second element consists of a series of intervention steps borrowed from Neurolinguistic Programming (so called NLP Formats). In order to interrupt post-traumatic reactions to specific life experiences, TBT uses a variety of multi-sensory stimuli besides the haptic-kinaesthetic tapping: visual (figurative imagination in black-and-white/coloured), auditory (modulation of one's own voice/music) and motoric (movement) stimuli.


In the course of the TBT process, the most stressful part of a memory is accessed at least twenty times and exposed to a variety of stimuli. This interferes with the neural encoding of the memory, making it mallable and open to change. TBT deliberately and elegantly puts into use the brain's ability to slightly change the information comprised in a memory each time it is recalled, reprocessed and stored away in the long-term memory. At the end of the TBT Steps, the previously emotionally-coded information has a new coding and is no longer able to trigger a stress response when activated consciously or unconsciously. We don't know for a fact how TBT works, but based on the latest findings in neurobiological research, the above is currently – at least for me – a plausible effect hypothesis for the great results we get with this technique. 

These "before and after" pictures were made during one of Rehana Webster's workshops in Pakistan.


In the top picture the dissociated state of the man on the left hand side is clearly visible. He suffered from the consequences of shock and feelings of guilt in connection with his mother's violent death.


The picture below shows his condition immediately after he had been guided through the TBT Steps by his friend, the man next to him. As an interesting aside: both of them are lay men who don't have any training in psychology or medicine.