Therapy taps into thought to fight fears

With January 24 looming – a date which psychologists say is the most depressing day of the year – and the aftermath of the winter blues, many will be looking for some way to banish negative thoughts for good.

One Cromer woman is advocating the use of Thought Field Therapy, or TFT, which it is claimed can relieve a wide variety of psychological issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, addiction, and phobia, through specialis ed 'tapping' with the fingers at certain points on the upper body and hands.

TFT was developed by an American psychologist, Roger Callahan in the 1980s and it has also been used by television star hypnotherapist, Paul McKenna.

Diane Purser, from Cromer, has been offering TFT sessions for the past seven years, after battling depression and breast cancer herself, and says she has seen it work miracles, including a woman she cured of a fear of boiled sweets.

Mrs Purser, 63, who originates from Bedfordshire, but moved to Norfolk 10 years ago, said: 'When I brought out a boiled sweet the woman was really panicked by it, I had to hide it.

'Quite often with a phobia or fear there is a trauma behind it. I asked the lady and she revealed that when she was just six year -old she had seen her father choke on a boiled sweet.

'By the end of the thought field therapy session, though, she was able to eat a boiled sweet without fear.'

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She also claims to have successfully treated people with panic attacks, depression, addiction to chocolates or cigarettes and eradicated problems from spiders to flying.

Mrs Purser was working as a PA at Cranfield University when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Her illness led her to consider alternative therapies and she took up teaching Seichem and Reiki, which aim to transfer healing energy, before moving on to TFT.

The idea is that TFT can get to the route cause of destructive emotions, by asking people to 'think' of their problem, then tap their fingers on their face and upper body in a certain sequence.

Mrs Purser said: 'You still hold that memory, but the difference is that emotion attached to it has been deactivated.'

So, how would the therapy hold up in curing this reporter of her fear of enclosed spaces?

In fact what the therapy does do is take you back to the time you first encountered a trauma – in my case getting shut inside a cramped spaceship ride, and get you to re-live it, but calm yourself down by tapping different parts of the body in sequence.

You also count down from one to 10, with 10 being the highest fear factor, until you eventually get down to 0.

And it does work, in making everything seem calmer and you more relaxed, but as to whether I am completely cured, I have yet to test it out, hopefully not by getting stuck in a lift anytime soon.

Mrs Purser will be holding a taster session of both Reiki and Seichem, and TFT, at Cloud 9 Beauty Clinic, 29 Grammar School Road, North Walsham, on Friday, January 28, from 9am to 1pm.

The taster session costs �5 and lasts about 15 minutes.

To book a place, contact Mrs Purser on 01263 516985 or 07748581743.