I met Dr Jill Trenholm in Bukavu in eastern Congo in 2011. We both stayed at what is called the Swedish Mission, a haven in the midst of a kind of chaotic city. It used to be the Swedish Consulate but has since long been managed by Swedish and Norwegian missionaries as a guest house. It is a great meeting place. Many connections have been established there. So with jill Trenholm.
Jill is by now “Doctor” but by then she was still doing her research for what now is an approved thesis. She is a nurse by profession and her research is about the very complex phenomena of war rape and its consequences in eastern Congo.
Since her theme for the research goes hand in hand with the work of Peaceful Heart Network we exchanged a lot of thoughts and experiences. I also introduced her to some of the people and organizations we have been working with giving trainings in how to relieve symptoms of trauma caused by acts of war.
During her research Jill recognized the importance of finding tools for dealing with mass traumatization, and finding TTT as one possible way. She mentions therefore the work of Peaceful Heart Network in her thesis “Women Survivors, Lost Children and Traumatized Masculinities- The Phenomena of rape and War in Eastern Republic of Congo” (Uppsala University, 2013):
“I would lastly like to recount observations made while accompanying a Swedish therapist /Gunilla Hamne/ of alternative therapy using a technique called Trauma Tapping Technique (TTT) (www.peacefulheart.se), whom I met in Bukavu. She travels around Africa, teaching, free of charge, TTT which is very similar to what is known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) (Ruden , 2011).
She first introduced this technique in Rwanda with genocide survivors. The technique consists of a series of tapping using the fingertips on certain parts of the face and body or so called meridians accompanied by deep breathing while thinking about the traumatic event. It is believed that it disarms the body´s stress response originating from the amygdala thereby relieving symptoms of post traumatic stress (Ruden 2011).
It is unique in that it requires no equipment or medications, is easy to learn with minimum verbal communication and can be self administered as well as be performed on another person making it always accessible, once learnt. I accompanied her and several local people trained to teach TTT to several of their teaching sessions amongst diverse groups.
I witnessed the ease at which the technique was learnt. I also returned to some of the groups to see, for example, the boy ex-child soldiers´use of the technique independently. Women affected by violence claimed they slept well for the first time following a tapping treatment. There are other variables that could have influenced their relief notwithstanding human attention and touch. However with increasing anecdotal evidence of its positive effects on wellbeing, it seemed to be something worth further investigation in settings suffering from mass traumatization.” (p 32-33 )
If you want to read more about Jill Trenhom´s research on women survivors of sexual abuse, child soldiers and traumatized masculinities in the conflict area of eastern Congo pls check these links: