Phil Mollon Ph.D. DCEP
'Energy toxins' and toxic traumatic experience
Many years ago I worked with a client who reported extreme and repeated abuse trauma during her childhood. She also appeared to suffer from a remarkable degree of chemical sensitivity, reacting adversely to various additives and perfumes in laundry, grooming, and cleaning products. Her life was severely restricted as a result. She was not given to exaggerated or histrionic presentation and I had no reason to doubt her claims. I did, however, find the extent of her sensitivity puzzling. At the time, my ability to help her was very limited.
Since then I have gradually become more aware of what may be a common link between chemical sensitivity and trauma - although I do not mean to imply that all cases of sensitivity are rooted in trauma.This link has become clearer to me as I have worked with energy psychological methods.
When I first began to learn about Dr Callahan's TFT and its derivatives, his notion of 'individual energy toxins' seemed particularly strange. However, as Dr Callahan argues, it is only when an efficient and effective treatment is used that certain factors that block resolution of a problem may become apparent. If we do not expect rapid, substantial, and precise shifts in subjective experience in response to an intervention, then we are not in a position to notice when these are blocked. Now that the concept of individual energy toxins has become familiar to me, it is hard to recall how odd it used to seem. The idea that chemical and electromagnetic pollutants can cause havoc with a sensitive person's energy system now seems fairly obvious - and certainly I have frequently found this to be the case. When an energy toxin is present and active, the person will not be able to benefit from a TFT intervention - but when this is identified and rapidly neutralised by Dr Callahan's '7 second' treatment, then the person will respond normally to the procedure. The process of identifying and neutralising the energy toxin is precise, clear, and replicable - and a routine feature of the experienced energy psychologist's procedure*.
The terrible effects of energy toxins, and allergy-like responses, were demonstrated some years ago by Dr Doris Rapp MD, Professor of Pediatrics, who showed how the behaviour and mental state of susceptible children were dramatically altered by exposure to milk, wheat, and other common substances. Her examples show certain children, initially calm, who are rapidly transformed into screaming, enraged, and violent states on exposure to the substance to which they are sensitive. Multiple symptoms can be involved. Her website is www.drrapp.com [click] . Once Dr Rapp's videos have been viewed, it is relatively easy to appreciate that food and chemical sensitivities may play an under-recognised role in mental and behavioural problems.
Dr Callahan's contribution was to discover the more subtle effects of individual energy toxins, whereby a person's energy system is thrown into a reversed or disorganised or (as I have come to think of it) a 'locked' state. In these dysfunctional conditions, the person's mind-body-energy system is unable to release stress properly, negative and distorted emotional reactions are enhanced, and the system is self-sabotaging. Fortunately, Dr Callahan eventually found ways of easily identifying and correcting these problems.
Why do sensitivities to energy toxins (chemical sensitivities) and trauma often seem interconnected? My impression is that the mind-body-energy system does not essentially distinguish between emotional experiences that are beyond its capacity to metabolise, and chemical substances that are toxic. Both of these are in the same category of input that overloads the system's coping capacities - and are thus registered as toxic.
A common analogy used in explaining the vicissitudes of chemical sensitivity is that of the 'rain barrel'. When a person has been exposed to a manageable level of toxins, the 'barrel' is not full - but if the barrel is full, then even a small additional exposure will be too much. The same considerations apply to the accumulation of stress. We can understand the link between traumatic stress and chemical sensitivities if we assume that the system treats these as identical - they are both 'toxic'. Indeed the notion of 'toxic experience' is often meaningful and evocative for people.
A further factor, favoured by some energy specialists, such as Sandra Radomski [click] and Tapas Fleming [click], is that substances that a person was in contact with at the time of a trauma may become conditioned stimuli, thereafter evoking the same trauma response. Almost certainly, this too will play a part.
As in so many other areas, the link between energy toxins and traumatic experience shows the delicate interplay between psyche and soma, both being different expressions of the one system.
* Of course there can be a danger of resorting to the hypothesis of an energy toxin, when the more important reason for an incomplete treatment or relapse is the presence of further emotional aspects or related traumatic experience that have not yet been addressed.