The reason of being and purpose of a clinician is to reduce human suffering and, in that ongoing battle, to look continually for innovative tools and new tactics. All dogmas, theories, schools, styles, lines of thought, beliefs, systems and their assumptions collapse in the face of an alternative intervention when the patient relaxes and says with a smile, “I feel much better! I can do things now that I couldn't´t do before!”
Because none of the available therapeutic tools is perfect, the clinician is a perpetual seeker. Attention must be divided between the practice of healing and the non-stop search for tools that may have the possibility of producing results which were not possible before. The clinician wants tools that work faster, simpler, and are longer lasting, less complicated, and free of side effects.
This was the sense of mission that led me, as a young doctor, some thirty plus years ago, to take my first trip to China. I studied acupuncture at its original and most genuine source. Since that time, Traditional Chinese Medicine has been one of the tools that has helped my colleagues and me to achieve some of the goals mentioned above.
Throughout my extended career, I was never satisfied with the results I was getting in the treatment of anxiety disorders. The usual combination of drugs that are often prescribed with Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) was not as effective for my patients as it was claimed to be in the literature. Most notably, it didn't’t produce the results we sought when treating panic disorders, agoraphobia's, performance anxieties, and other phobias. Treatment with CBT required many sessions, and often psychoactive drugs had to be taken constantly to avoid relapses.
Then, in 1989, a dear colleague whose sister-in-law had been recently treated for her phobia with what was then called ”Callahan Techniques,” was very impressed by the results. He said few treatments were necessary and the results were quick and complete.
It was then that he taught me his version of a phobia tapping protocol. At the time, we mistakenly assumed that the phobia protocol was the complete system! I started using the protocol on patients with a range of disorders: phobic's, panic disorders, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, test anxieties, and so forth. The results were overwhelming! We were so impressed with getting fast treatment responses that we decided to study, learn, and verify the treatment in depth with all our medical resources.
For fourteen years, with slightly fewer than 50,000 patients, we conducted clinical trials in several centers in two countries. We had a distinguished team of MD's, clinical psychologists, neuroscientists, RN's, and professional researchers. We wanted to measure, within the boundaries of our clinical practice, the efficacy of those brief techniques which required activating traumatic memories while at the same time causing simultaneous multisensory overload of subcortical structures.
Our work resulted in what has been called the first large-scale clinical trials that compared the new Brief MultiSensory Activation techniques (BMSA) to the conventional “CBT with drugs.” For reasons that we elaborate in our book on BMSA (Andrade, Aalberse, Sutherland & Ruden, 2006), we prefer to describe this work as BMSA rather than “tapping” or “energy psychology.”
My good friend, David Feinstein, Ph.D., former researcher on psychotherapeutic innovations at the Department of Psychiatry of the Johns Hopkins University Medical School, author of the Energy Psychology Interactive CD (Feinstein, 2004), which was favorably reviewed recently by the American Psychological Association, has co-authored the resulting report of these trials, comparing BMSA and CBT with medication (Andrade & Feinstein, 2003). The findings show that BMSA works better in fewer sessions and lasts longer than other types of therapy.
But, as good as those techniques were, we still had our share of failures, even though our techniques dramatically improved the percentage of positive clinical outcomes. Dissociation, in particular, Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), was one of the disorders that we found difficult to treat with tapping alone.
Then, one day while searching an internet list for persons who treated by tapping, we read a post from Dr Flint about dissociation. He mentioned The Process Healing Method (PH). I was curious and went to his web site, downloaded his instructions and immediately began to apply a basic version of Process Healing in our clinical work.
In just a few weeks, after having treated about three dozen patients, we found Process Healing extremely effective. We began applying it on patients for whom BMSA had failed. To our delight, a huge percentage of those resistant patients started to show results. So, following a previous pattern which had been used successfully for other disciplines, we decided that PH could be similarly tested on a larger patient population.
At the moment of this writing, I have applied Process Healing to 600 patients. I am amazed at this incredible tool. I wrote to Dr Flint, telling him that I thought he had discovered something very powerful and that its full potential was still to be developed.
Bear in mind that I learned Process Healing by reading Dr Flint’s instructions and that I practice what could be considered a beginner’s version of Process Healing. However, the results I am getting with PH on all kinds of PTSD, DID, anxiety disorders and every sort of somatization resistant to BMSA are very impressive! To our astonishment, even some kinds of purely physical disorders and complaints respond to Process Healing far better than can be expected from other therapies. If we are able to get such excellent results after studying only basic written instructions, just imagine what the reader of this complete text can expect!
I taught my simple version of Process Healing to about a dozen certified therapists in our group. We are all getting similar results. Namely, Process Healing yields positive clinical responses with 60% of the cases that failed to respond to every other therapy available to us!
Our present strategy is to continue using BMSA techniques with simple cases, and to apply Process Healing to BMSA-resistant patients. At the same time, we are beginning to explore Process Healing in other pathologies such as somatizations, headaches, sexual disorders, other primarily somatic disorders, and so forth.
From a theoretical point of view, the learning model that Dr Flint uses to explain the Process Healing mechanism makes much sense to me. The process by which parts are invited to join the ”Treatment Team” is full of analogies to the teaching process in which parts of the personality with self-limiting information are offered self-empowering information. No doubt all parts change during the process, and a new and healthier context results.
This text is the founder’s handbook of The Process Healing Method. The book is by no means exhaustive and my guess is that future books will complete and expand it. Dr Flint has so much to teach that it is impossible to reduce it to a single book.
Based on my experience with Process Healing, I suggest the reader digest this book with curiosity and immediately begin to practice and apply PH with a passion. As my own experience and that of my colleagues has documented, PH produces extraordinary results which are impossible to achieve by any other means of psychotherapeutic treatment. I invite the reader to thoroughly investigate this most fascinating therapeutic technique in the pages ahead.
Joaquín Andrade, MD
Medical Director, JA&A
Argentina, South America