TAT Stories - Traumatic Stress
To share your TAT story, click here
Watch as combat veterans talk about their life-changing experience using TAT.
Harold McRae is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has been in Private Practice in Columbus, GA for 34 years. Click here for Harold’s contact and practice information.
"I have recently completed a two week workshop for the military with a wonderful team consisting of Tapas, Sarah Bird, Dick Morrill, and Sara Arey. I initially had some hesitancy because I had some beliefs about the effectiveness of TAT mixed with some uncertainty. This was the first time I had presented TAT to the public in my home community, and I was putting my reputation on the line.
Night after night during the workshop I saw trauma and pain simply dissipate and dissolve. I was as excited and overwhelmed as the participants were because of the absolute, unprecedented beauty of the healings I witnessed.
In addition to being overwhelmed at all the changes, I now have no doubt TAT is the most effective treatment to resolve trauma of any nature. It’s not something I think or believe works - I know it works. After 25 years of working with veterans and being trained in various techniques, I’ve finally found something that truly works, and it makes my work more worthwhile. I now have an effective process to heal the pains of combat" Harold McRae
"My whole life has turned around."
Listen as a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and his wife tell what doing TAT has done for them, their relationship, and their family.
"I thought I was going to die."
Dick Morrill was pinned under a helicopter for hours in Vietnam. Listen to how TAT helped him truly leave it behind.
During a TAT seminar, I closed my eyes and was back in Vietnam in the back seat of a helicopter on a training flight. Several B-52's had dropped hundreds of 500 pound bombs in the distance. I took a deep breath as I remembered the helicopter slowly tilting back as it began to skid into a simulated emergency landing with an engine failure, but this time we were very tilted back. My knees were above my head, and the "stinger" - the tube that sticks out the back of the helicopter to keep the tail rotor from hitting the ground and that has never even touched the ground in my entire two years of flying - was bumping along as if over plowed rows in a cornfield. Then the tail rotor blades hit the ground and next the tail boom hit. When the helicopter finally skidded to a stop, it was upside down, and I was face down with my arms flung out in front of me. The frame of my seat pressing on the back of my helmet forcing my face into the dirt and solidly pinning both my arms and my face into the ground. I was trapped! Everyone else was dead or unconscious. With the engine still running we were sure to burn or explode. I was going to die. Eventually, another helicopter that had seen the crash came to the rescue.
Whenever I remember this, my chest gets tight, my arms feel tingly and heavy, my palms sweat, and if I am telling the story to someone, I hear my voice change as my throat tightens, but as I did TAT, all of a sudden I was aware that I had survived that crash! In the years following the crash I had shared, cried, rebirthed, workshopped and catharted this into exhaustion, but this level of awareness of the fact that I SURVIVED was much stronger than any sense of survival I ever had before. It was the truth and I was suddenly aware of something new: there was NO HELICOPTER on top of me. Even as I had that thought, it seemed silly. Of course there wasn't a helicopter on top of me, but I sat there amazed by my new awareness of that reality. For a brief moment I saw the crash scene from above. Although it was just a flash, I noticed that it looked different. It was lighter. I closed my eyes. It WAS lighter. It had always been kind of dark in my memory, as if there were a giant shaded plexiglass dome covering the site.
I then became aware that as I was thinking about the crash, my chest, arms, throat and hands were relaxed. All I was having was a memory of an event that had taken place over twenty-eight years ago. Nothing more. The next thought I had was that I wanted the tension back. I had lived with it for so long that it had seemed a part of me. I closed my eyes again, but it
I am an ex-Special Forces, and Army Ranger Sniper soldier, who has seen combat in several locations around the world. I have known for years that I looked at the world different after coming back from combat. I did not know how to deal with the nightmares, flashbacks, etc. until I met Tapas Fleming. Using her very simple steps, I have changed from being an emotionally cut off soldier, father and husband. I 'had' several incidents that caused these reactions, all were related to the combat I saw over all the years I was active. I joined a workshop that was being held in Columbus, Ga. right outside the gates of Fort Benning GA to prove that this technique that Tapas developed would not work. After the first session I did, I could not believe how different I felt. I no longer felt the guilt that I had lived with all these years. I have worked on a different memory every night for 4 days now and have not had a recurrence of anything I have worked on with Tapas. I finally have been able to sleep at night without waking up in combat. I can still recall the memories, just without all the guilt, shame and fear. I finally have my life back and can become the father, son and husband that I once was.
SSG Brian Davis
"I told Tapas that I wish I had found that process 35 years ago because for the first time it allowed me to put that behind me." Col (Ret) Biff Haden
During the period from Sunday, August 3, 2008, through Thursday, August 14, 2008, I attended and participated in daily TAT sessions from approximately 6pm ˆ 9pm on ten of those days.
I am 65 years in age, and a retired 31-year veteran of the U.S. Army, having spent a major portion of my career in Infantry, Airborne, and Special Forces assignments. I spent two years in combat in South Vietnam, from December 1966 - December 1967, and again from early June 1969 - end of May 1970, serving in Special Forces. We were a special operations unit that conducted long range reconnaissance missions deep behind enemy lines. Our mission was to collect information/intelligence about the enemy and his intentions, to harass the enemy, to capture prisoners, and to take some fight to their rear areas with the clear understanding that we might never return. Each mission could be our last and during my second year as the S-3 Operations Officer it was my objective not to lose a soldier regardless of what it took. I also served in Grenada, during operation Urgent Fury, as the J-3, Director of Operations. In addition I had the opportunity to travel extensively during my career in Honduras, Egypt, and throughout Europe and parts of Asia.
When I began this TAT work, I knew I still harbored sights, images, sounds, feelings, and emotions from my two years in combat in Vietnam. I have always, since returning from combat, had some difficulties communicating with my wife, and with developing close friendships. My senses have been super sensitive, I have been a light sleeper, and am always assessing my surroundings, as if I face an immediate security threat.
During the initial TAT session, I worked on the images that I encountered in mid-1967 during a difficult body recovery mission where the body had been badly mutilated. I have always had periodic images of this scene and always felt like there should have been something that I could have done to prevent this from happening, even though I know I could not have actually influenced the outcome. Following the session, I am able recall the situation in greater detail but without all of the tightness and emotions filling my body.
During the second session I worked on a heavy combat situation that occurred in the A Shau Valley, along the border with Laos, where we encountered a base camp in a small valley and had to fight our way through clearing the bunkers, thatched one room houses, and other facilities of the enemy, and taking some wounded. Then a heavy firefight broke out and we called an air strike in our position. At that time I dove to the ground, falling partially into a punji trap and getting wounded in the neck. I had to be medically evacuated by helicopter, and always felt like I let my unit down. To me it was a form of harboring some level of guilt. At the end of this session I no longer felt the sense of guilt that I had carried.
During the next three sessions I thought of three other vivid situations while engaged in combat. These caused a heightened sense of inner turmoil whenever I was reminded of them. Through the workshop session, these were diminished to the point where I no longer thought of them. I can recall details in clearer images but without any of the past normal emotions of withdrawing within myself.
During the sixth session, because a year of combat has so many images, sights, sounds, smells, and other emotions that can be triggered, I focused on the entire year, everything that led up to the year, and everything that I encountered when the year was completed, and this included a return to no fanfare, and actual feelings of disgust. Over the next weekend I found that everything about that first year was calmed, and while I can trace the entire year in my mind, it is more like reading a book than anything else and no sense of reliving any portion of that time in combat.
When the sessions resumed the following Monday, August 11, I thought of my entire second year in combat. During this year I was flying every helicopter mission for multiple combat operations on a daily basis. The helicopters were constantly hit by enemy fire, a soldier next to me who was a door gunner was hit and killed and I had to take over this machinegun to suppress the enemy. In this session I took my entire second year in combat, and everything that led up to the situation and everything I encountered when I returned back to the United States. This was very important to me since some of the images and experiences of the first year seemed to cross over into the second year. Since I spent both years with the same unit and some of the same people, this was a normal occurrence for me. I find that I can now recount details much more clearly, look at photos and not get tightened up, and see both years of combat like chapters in a book. I can now recall all of this without the emotions that I have harbored inside over the years.
During the next session I took on a larger personal challenge, and I considered my entire military experience. This included anything from the two years of combat, time in Grenada, time in Honduras, and time doing all sorts of other high-risk training and assignments. This complimented what I had done before and put my entire stretch of military service behind me. This included training deaths, training casualties, perceptions of failed efforts, incomplete actions, and other lingering doubts about the success or failure of an entire career.
During the ninth session I started with my divorce that is nearly over, and all of the anguish that I have been carrying. The feelings of failure associated with ending a long marriage, even though it had to end. During this process, my body brought up from deep inside feelings that I can’t describe but I would attribute to base instinct survival feelings left over from my military service and time in combat. It was like they wanted to be free. Following the session I could not describe the different level of feelings, but I feel like a huge weight has been lifted and I have been given a fresh start. My only regret is that I was not able to go through this many years ago, as it has given me a fresh look at life and one that I have not had since 1966 when I was preparing to go to war in Vietnam and all of the years since.
During the final session I put my fear of making close friends out there as well as all of those elements within me which have been causing stress.
I have been under a doctor’s care for growing high blood pressure, and was supposed to begin a regimen of medium strength blood pressure medicine. Last week I had a follow up appointment and my blood pressure is back to normal, and at the low range of normal. My doctor asked how the medication was making me feel for me to achieve such a return to the healthy normal level recorded. I hadn’t started the medication yet, so I explained that I had been going through a trauma healing process and a stress reduction process, and that is the only way I can explain my blood pressure measurement.
Since going through this workshop, I sleep deeper than I have for years and wake up more rested. I feel significantly less stressed and more at ease than I can ever remember. It is my intent to go through this TAT process at least once a week for the rest of my life.
My work with people is primarily spiritually-oriented, but because it is energy-based, healing birth trauma and childhood abuse is a continual theme that arises because traumas seem to want to get cleared the most. Milder forms of these traumas usually heal spontaneously as they emerge during sessions, but for those with whom it "opens up a can of worms," TAT is always my intervention of choice.
A good example is someone who reported experiencing heaviness in her chest, anxiety and helplessness, a choking sensation and then she began spontaneously verbalizing "AUUURGH!" while she was in a generic spiritual healing and cleansing trance. She had no idea why she experienced this, but was pretty uncomfortable about it, and some of those feelings remained with her when the session finished.
I got a sense of a baby being born with the umbilical cord wrapped around its neck. So I had her work through the TAT for birth trauma. The emotional hangover disappeared, and the next session was a wonderful experience for her. But the neatest part was that she found herself speaking up for herself, "speaking my truth" for the first time in her life. Wow! We hadn't even identified this as an issue for her yet, and it was already healed!
This birth trauma phenomenon has presented itself often enough in my practice that now I just have my clients go to the website to learn TAT and then I guide them to do TAT for birth trauma for their first session. TAT remains my primary treatment for trauma of any kind and clearing away negative beliefs, and it works like a charm! What a blessing to be able to dissolve a profound event unconsciously influencing so many people nearly instantly! Thanks for letting me share this story!
My story is about a 19 years old girl who used to live on the 5th floor of an apartment building. At 11:30 at night, she tried to take something off of her outside clothesline. She leaned out too far and fell one floor down onto her neighbor's clothesline. She had her back against the building and her body got to be so stiff. All she could do was scream. The lady from that apartment got so scared that she closed the window... the girl screamed stronger and a man from the building across the way called the lady and told her that he could see the girl and she should open the window and pull her in. The lady did that and saved the girl.
The next morning the girl went home but she was in a bad condition: she was shaking, she couldn't talk.
Her mom called me and I came to her house. I was a new practitioner and with lots of prayers I started.
Step 1: We called all the story by the name "fall" and we did step 1 on "all the traumas I have out of this fall."
After that we did more TAT Steps 1 and 2 alternately about all the thoughts and feelings she had up there at night and when we felt she is done we continued to all the other steps. It took us 25 minutes. I asked her how she is feeling and she smiled and hugged me.
The next day she came to me and said, "I had a big sleep and now I can talk about it." We did more work about her fear and a new look on her life: "I had a miracle - I got my life back". We worked about her new goals and before she went she said to me: "I feel like doing 2 things: learning TAT and going back to that apartment to see how high it is. "
Her mom told me that that girl did so many great changes in her life.
For help healing traumas, we recommend you begin with the TAT card deck. If you're interested in more information, the TAT Basics - Portland DVD or MP4 download and the specialty DVD "Healing Traumas and Allergies" and wonderful resources. You can also take a workshop with Tapas or a certified TAT Trainer.
For more individualized help, work with a certified TAT Professional in person or over the phone.
To share your TAT story, click here.