Research

The techniques we present for Emotional First Aid are sometimes also called self-regulation or grounding techniques.

What is grounding?

Any technique or ritual that brings a person to the present, aware of now and themselves and in touch with their senses (association).

When is grounding used?

For any arousal of the nervous system such as anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares and stress.

What are principals of grounding?

Using senses and cognition to create a "now" that is safe. This includes counting, humming, jumping, splashing cold water in face.

What are things that can make grounding techniques more efficient?
Everything that relates to inherent mechanisms of the nervous system, for example controlling breathing, letting out carbondioxide, cross-relaxation, sensory consciousness, cognitive tasks such as counting, spelling or humming. Safety being provided by another person. Touch by another person.

Trauma Tapping Technique for grounding

The Trauma Tapping Technique (TTT) is a simple self-help grounding method that takes less than 5 minutes to apply and involves the following elements of grounding:

  • Sensory stimulation
  • Tactile body awareness
  • Breathing control
  • Muscle Relaxation
  • Bi-hemispherical activation

Alternatives

The most common systematic grounding technique are breathing in a bag and counting to ten. TTT will have no danger of under-oxygenation compared to breathing in a bag, and does not require an effort to count with language challenges. Long term methods that are recommended include meditation, mindfulness, yoga and exercise. The TTT method has a lower learning curve and immediate effect. Also unique to TTT is that it can be applied to somebody.

LINKS ON GROUNDING

Stress management techniques: evidence-based procedures that reduce stress and promote health

Tapping and Veterans with PTSD

Mind-Body Practices for PTSD

LINKS ON THESE TECHNIQUES

TTT is derived from a field called Energy Psychology where Thought Field Therapy (TFT)  by Roger Callahan was a first technique that emerged, followed by Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) by Gary Craig. Today there are a large number of modalities, or versions. They all share the aspect of stimulating the skin in specific point of the upper part of the body to create a state of calm that allows the Relaxation Response or Healing Zone to be activated.

Why Tapping Works - Ronald A. Ruden

The Science Behind Energy Psychology - Quick Facts

ENERGY PSYCHOLOGY - A Hierarchy of Evidence

Stress management techniques: evidence-based procedures that reduce stress and promote health

Tapping and Veterans with PTSD

Mind-Body Practices for PTSD

PTSD Treated Successfully in 10 Sessions or Less

About the research

When asked about research and evidence around TTT and related sensory exposure therapies like EFT we like to quote the foreword of H-P Söndergaard, one of Scandinavias foremost experts in trauma (Kris & Traumacentrum) in the book EFT vid PTSD (2012):

"If you consider that a method is this efficient, why is it there not more documentation? One possible reason is that it has been developed by "folk healers" without a scientific background. Another possibility is that it is free. There is no way to patent it. If so it will stray like a child without parents unless it attracts academic researchers who are willing to tie it to their career. 

It is not hard to imagine reasons for the efficiency of these methods. If you should think in terms of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) there are key components that are included in the later versions of CBT, such as acceptancy and exposure coupled with motoric activity, with minimal spoken interventions and short time span. 

In the future more studies are needed. Studies that can contribute to our understanding of what it is that happens physiologically during the EFT-procedure that can raise acceptance of these methods in the same way that research around EMDR has contributed to our understanding of specific, yet unknown, mechanisms in play between eye movements and memory reconsolidation. 

Meanwhile we can all make our own observations by testing the method and see if we are helped with some small every day problem, for example a phobia that limits our reality, guaranteed without side effects."

Empirically Supported Psychological Treatments: The Challenge of Evaluating Clinical Innovations