It has been a difficult time for the region of Central Java, Indonesia as the recent earthquake, which registered 5.9 on the Richter scale, struck recently on May 27, 2006. Thousands lost their lives, many more are injured and so many people lost their homes as well as their loved ones.

My friend, a Yoga Teacher in Central Java, was not injured in the earthquake but was quite traumatized. Not only had she not been able to sleep (the whole family now sleeps in the outside terrace of their home, fearing that another earthquake may strike), but she had also been showing many signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She felt heaviness and pain in her chest almost constantly, and whenever she felt any vibration, whether it was from the smaller scale earthquakes that are still happening or from the vibration of moving vehicles, she would break into a sudden panic with cold sweats and her head spinning and aching. In addition, she was physically exhausted from many sleepless nights and from helping others get food, which is difficult to do in these times.

Well, yesterday I sent her the document that we’ve been working on about Healing Traumas & Fears from Natural Disasters using TAT. Since I live in Jakarta, which is in the West Java area, I insisted she read those 5 pages and do TAT for herself based on the document. Since she had never learned TAT before, it would also be a good test of how clear the instructions were for people to do TAT on themselves. I promised her that I would facilitate a TAT phone session with her the next day.

What a sweet and beautiful surprise it was when after about 20 minutes she sent me a text message on my mobile phone. She told me that most of her fears and physical pain were gone after doing TAT on herself. Furthermore, she told me the next day that she had had the best sleep she had had since the disaster occurred. Her chest pain was mostly gone and she felt a sense of peace and surrender. She felt that most of her fear about the disaster’s reoccurring had also vanished as well as her strong reaction to vibration, including the panic attacks, headaches and cold sweats. Overall, she felt about 70% of her PTSD symptoms were healed by doing TAT on herself.

Tonight I called her and we did a phone-guided TAT session using the same process she had used before. Afterwards, she felt completely relieved of all remaining discomfort and I suggested that she offer this TAT process to a person sometime tomorrow. As we are planning to conduct a 1-day training on TAT for Disaster Relief next week for the volunteers, it would be helpful if she has more time to practice before that.

Thank you, Tapas, for sharing your blessing with us.

A Report on the TAT for Disaster Relief Training

This is the beginning of day 4 of my trip to Yogya. I just wanted to share with you how our work together has been fruitful in helping the people here.

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On my second day, I gave a full day training to about 50 relief volunteers. About 80 percent of them were already doing TAT based on Lina’s study group. They were doing TAT correctly, so we spent most of the day “emptying the cup”, since many of them are hypnotherapists. Same tendencies as I described in my previous email.

I am happy to train TAT here, because Lina has been feeling a bit worried that she may have been giving incorrect instructions in doing TAT, as she had only very limited TAT experience. From my observation, she has been doing everything very well.

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The 3rd day was the most exciting day. From 10 am till about 8 pm, we went to different locations and did group TAT for more than 300 people in one day. About 120 of them were young children, and I introduced TAT as the Magic Hat. After only about 2 or 3 rounds, most of them raised their hands to show that they felt better about what happened. We did about 6/7 rounds in total for the children, short rounds of less than 1 minute. Then everyone sang together. One boy was responding so strongly that his jaw was shaking during his first round, but it completely stopped after the 2nd round and it did not happen again.

In the adults group, which was one month from when the earthquake happened, participants showed definite signs of PTSD. I observed that perhaps because they have passed the shocked stage, nearly all of them were very friendly and welcoming and responded happily when we started introducing ourselves, showing no signs of unhappiness or suffering. But when we started the TAT process, our volunteers had to move around passing tissues since most of them shifted from the usual happy mode into a big emotional release. Afterwards, everyone looked like they were glowing, relieved and happy. In the pictures I sent, you can see kids as well as 70 year old grandmothers doing TAT. It was just simply magical!

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One interesting case was a village leader who did TAT in a group last night. During round 2, when they were asked to have a conversation with those who passed away as a result of the disaster, his body was shaking and he was crying quite intensely. After the whole process, the man felt such relief that he became a strong believer in the healing power of TAT and stayed to ask questions because he wanted to share TAT with his village people. This village was severely damaged from the disaster and had minimal electricity. There were moments when the lights went off and we had to continue TAT in total darkness.

Today is the last day. We will be driving shortly to the worst area within the city to do more TAT. I am confident now of the ability of Lina’s team to continue helping others with TAT. I am getting requests nearly every day to teach the complete application of TAT. I feel so blessed to be doing this work.

Love,

Reza

UPDATE:

It has been more than 1 year since Indonesia had its massive earthquake in Yogyakarta (May 2006). I would like to tell you an interesting story that happened just a month ago.

One night, around midnight I was having a phone call with a friend of mine. I was in Jakarta, and she was in another town about 300 kilometres. Suddenly during the phonecall, we felt quite a strong earthquake that lasted for about a minute. Shortly it settled down, and the next day I learned

that it was quite strong one, but because the center of the earthquake was so deep beneath the sea, there was not much damage done physically. Even the news reported almost no casualty at the cities that felt the earthquake.

The aftermath of feeling an earthquake in Jakarta, as the capital city of Indonesia, with the tall buildings and infrastructures, was predictable. People started to arrange crisis handling procedures, including building evacuation drills for offices.

Here’s where the interesting part comes in. One evening my father came to see me and he told me that he was just watching the National news channel on TV. One news coverage was about an office building in Jakarta, conducting evacuation drills for natural disasters. They showed on TV, how people in the drill rushed out of the building, get to a safe area, and altogether did something. Guess what? They did the TAT pose!

I was so surprised to hear that, considering that we haven’t continued our local efforts to socialize TAT for Healing Disaster Trauma since August 2006, although I know that the short document that explains TAT was always available on your website and mine as well. So just as yourself, I pray that TAT is learned in such a way that it becomes part of daily life. Maybe this little interesting incident is a small step towards this. Hope you enjoy the story!

Reza Gunawan

TAT Professional and Trainer (click here for Reza’s contact and practice information)