Treatment of PTSD in Rwandan child genocide survivors using thought field therapy

Int J Emerg Ment Health. 2010 Winter;12(1):41-9.


Thought Field Therapy (TFT), which utilizes the self-tapping of specific acupuncture points while recalling a traumatic event or cue, was applied with 50 orphaned adolescents who had been suffering with symptoms of PTSD since the Rwandan genocide 12 years earlier. Following a single TFT session, scores on a PTSD checklist completed by caretakers and on a self-rated PTSD checklist had significantly decreased (p < .0001 on both measures). The number of participants exceeding the PTSD cutoffs decreased from 100% to 6% on the caregiver ratings and from 72% to 18% on the self-ratings. The findings were corroborated by informal interviews with the adolescents and the caregivers, which indicated dramatic reductions of PTSD symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, bedwetting, depression, isolation, difficulty concentrating, jumpiness, and aggression. Following the study, the use of TFT on a self-applied and peer-utilized basis became part of the culture at the orphanage, and on one-year follow-up the initial improvements had been maintained as shown on both checklists.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Homicide / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Rwanda
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Warfare