What Professionals say about our work is important to us. We are proud that professionals acknowledge the work we do and trust us with their clients.
Professional insights from
Professor Gordon Turnbull, Consultant Psychiatrist Wg Cdr RAF Retd. World Leading PTSD expert
Author of “From Lockerbie to 7/7: How Trauma Affects Our Minds and How We Fight Back”
My introduction to psychiatry from physical medicine coincided with the initial appearance of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) in 1980 in the psychiatric classification manual DSM-III. Because I served in the military at the time (Royal Air Force), PTSD and trauma reactions became a prominent focus in our work.
The search for tools to treat PTSD initially depended on using established treatment methods. Many psychotropic medications used to treat anxiety states, depression, cognitive, and other psychological therapies were used in the new field.
PTSD became a prominent focus in research and provided a platform for developing new treatment strategies, both pharmacological and psychological. Over the intervening years, I have remained intensely interested in trauma work and have witnessed the most interesting development of body-focused psychological methods.
This is very relevant to trauma reactions that involve both mind and body. Exposure to trauma excites survival energy, which has a transient, necessary, and beneficial effect in short-term acute stress reactions. However, if that survival energy becomes trapped in the mind and body, it creates ongoing strain. This we recognize as hyperarousal, flashbacks, and other intrusive images of the trauma. As well as a host of ways to avoid reminders, we call avoidance. These are the core features of PTSD, fuelled by trapped energy from the trauma's original impact, which has never been released.
The Total Release Experience is a method of releasing that energy from the mind and the body and eliminating the symptoms of PTSD. In my experience it is very effective…..and….we didn’t invent it…..we observed it in other species who use it in the natural world to prevent the development of their PTSD. ‘
GP Alison Graham is someone very special who really puts patients first. Her dedication to keep exploring new ways of healing that in particular would benefit children for their future well-being shares in this interview her thoughts. Having discovered the Total Release Experience® – a unique no talking – 5 Step programme to Heal Yourself and Build Resilience.
Dr. Graham, how long have you been a GP?
I am a GP with 25 years’ experience.
Is there a particular focus Dr. Graham, in health that interests you in particular?
Throughout my whole career, I have had an interest in how the brain and body influence each other in both sickness and health. I am Chair and trustee for a Charity called YPCS (Young People’sCounselling Service) whose patrons are the well-known actors Warwick and Annabelle Davis. One of our ambitions is to teach young people early to manage their own mental health so they don’t end up requiring our services for counseling.
Dr. Graham, How did you connect with TRE UK®?
A chance suggestion via a colleague led me to the TRE UK® website. I was impressed by its stories of success but as a clinician, I have to be more analytical than that and so enrolled with a psychotherapist friend for one of their workshops. After all, I thought if Professor Gordon Turnbull is enthusiastic about it, then it is certainly worth learning more.
So how did you find it?
The results were unexpected and to be honest, I am not interested if we cannot fully explain the process. Caroline and her team have created a very professional, well organised training and support programme that shows her educational background and I was pleased to see that there is good governance in place.
What else did you learn from the experience that day?
I often tell patients that I don’t know how my phone works but yet we accept that unconditionally and use it none the less. There seem to be no serious adverse effects from the Total Release Experience®, though some of the ‘detoxing’ can be unexpected and briefly unsettling. This is why good training is essential. This is not a technique to ‘have a go at on your own’ just because you read an interesting newspaper article. It is simple but powerful.
So what has it done for you, Dr. Graham?
The relaxation it brings is immediate after a ‘practice’ as we call each session. So much so that I slept for 2 hours afterward on a couple of occasions! I think it has helped me to stay calm when facing the usual stresses of work and family life with 3 teenagers. Slowly however other changes became apparent-I started that diet I had been avoiding for 3 years and have lost 11 lb. I am much more energised, focused, and creative than I have been for years which is really great.
Anything else Dr. Graham?
I was so impressed that I organised a workshop for patients (and some relatives of mine) and have started a clinical trial with the hope that this will provide enough data to get funding for a more scientifically robust study. With my charity hat on we are exploring how we can teach the Total Release Experience® in our local schools to empower kids to manage their own health and therein lies another research opportunity.
Dr. Graham, it sounds like you have really connected with this?
It is rare in medicine to come across something that is potentially so cost-effective, that is safe and that teaches the patient to be self-reliant. It was also refreshing to see a local Pain Consultant recommending it as it ‘ fits very well with our bio-psycho-social model of pain management’. If it shows in trials what Caroline has seen many times over in her clients who have fibromyalgia, PTSD, anxiety for example, then I hope this will convince others to offer this as part of their treatment package. As doctors, we desperately need something other than medication they may not need or counseling that is more expensive. The future looks very exciting!
Dr. Graham, thank you for your time.
Professional insight from Dr. Tina Henshall –Consultant in General Adult and Liaison Psychiatry
I am a Consultant in General Adult and Liaison Psychiatry and have worked with individuals in the community and hospitals with a range of conditions for 23 years. Treatment approaches have become ever more varied. But they essentially aim to address the biological, psychological, and social dimensions of the disorder. And my view is that they all complement and ‘dovetail’ together. The emergence of therapies that consider the body as the key to both the expression of mental disorder and also its route to healing have included, for example, ‘sensorimotor psychotherapy.’
I have attended two TRE UK® workshops and engaged in my personal practice for the last 18 months. From my own reflection on this process, I see the modality of the TRE as re-activating pre-existing natural healing mechanisms that we have mostly suppressed. They still exist in animals not held in captivity. As such, it could be a valuable part of a multidisciplinary approach for a range of conditions. I would be fascinated to see future research on this release mechanism from a psychological and neurophysiological perspective.
Professional insight from Dr. Eli Babajiya Mama – Kent
I had been having nightmares after experiencing trauma in 2000 when our home in Nigeria was attacked and torched with us inside. Cognitive therapy sessions had not been totally successful.
I have felt the difference after learning the TRE UK programme and will definitely continue. My awful nightmares are less and have changed in the pattern. From a negative victim being pursued to a more positive creative nature-however bizarre some of them are. My sleep at night (and occasional afternoons) is more restful.
I would definitely recommend TRE UK to my friends or anyone with stress or post-traumatic disorder.