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                    Acacia Counseling
           Gene Douglas, M.Ed. LPC LMFT


To treat a problem using TAT, follow these instructions:
1.) Rate the strength of your feeling you are experiencing right now, on a scale of 1-10, when you think of the problem.
That number is the SUD (Subjective Units of Discomfort.)
2.) Put your thumb against the inside corner of one eye. Place the ring finger against the inside corner of the other eye.
3.) Place the middle two fingers against your forehead, about a quarter inch above a line between the eyebrows so the
two fingers are lined up with the upper part of the eyebrow.
4.) Cup the other hand, and place it behind your head, with the thumb against your neck, right where it meets the base of the skull.
The little finger will be pressed against your head where it rests. Don't lay your hand flat against your head.
5.) Close your eyes and think of the feeling or event or person that bothers you. Continue for one minute, or until you feel a "shift"
in your body before that. This may be a reflexive sigh.
6.) Keep your pose, and repeat a statement reminding you of the problem in your mind. It may be a person's name,
a phrase about what happened, or the name of the feeling. Continue repeating for one minute, or until you feel a shift.
7.) Keep the pose, and repeat in your mind a statement which is opposite of the problem -- even if you don't believe it.
This might be "I will feel comfortable when I do that," or "I will feel calm and relaxed," whatever is opposite to what has been the case.
Continue repeating for one minute, or until a shift occurs.
8.) Keep the pose, and concentrate your attention on the part of your body where you feel your feelings. That will be different for different people.
Continue for one minute, or until a shift occurs.
9.) Rate your SUD again.

TAT Links:
Learning and Using TAT
How To Do TAT

Recommended Reading

The Unseen Therapist Within You

There is a process that you already possess, residing in yourself.  This can heal your distress and its symptoms more rapidly and easily than anything you have seen.

To see exactly what this is, go to the following website:

Unseen Therapist

This is a free 94-page book.  You can reduce the number of pages to read by fast-forwarding through the testimonials.  For the "How To" part, start at page 75.

You may want to view the personifying of this resource as just a metaphor.  Rather than viewing the Unseen Therapist as "she," you can also view it as a process, which can rapidly wipe away ill feeling, resulting from memories of hurtful events.

Where the medical aspects are concerned, please note the part that says there are no guarantees, and you should consider this experimental.  If you believe a medical condition has improved, consult with your doctor (M.D., D.O., etc.) before you do anything different than before.

Here is a part of the free book (mentioned above.)  I would suggest a short-hand version, involving fewer steps, found at my name, Gene Douglas, near the bottom of this page, or just starting at Phase 3, "Enter a Loving Moment," seen below.

Step by Step Through the Personal Peace 


(...) Paragraphs omitted

The Personal Peace Procedure

Our fundamental process for personal healing couldn’t be simpler. Here are the steps:

  1. Identify a bothersome specific event from your past.
  2. Be quiet, loving and invite The Unseen Therapist to resolve it.

This two-step method is the basic routine that permeates our sessions with The Unseen Therapist and, fortunately, anyone can do it.

You will notice that physical issues seem to be missing from the process. That’s consistent with our teachings as we are aiming at the emotional issues underlying the true cause of all our ailments, including the physical ones. Alleviating the true cause is like pulling a weed out by the roots, rather than merely cutting off the top. To the extent you can get to the emotional roots, physical issues are likely to diminish or leave.

For best results, though, each step needs further explanation. Let’s start with what we really mean by step 1, “Identify a bothersome specific event from your past.”

Step 1. Identify a Bothersome Specific Event from your Past

You might wonder why we use the term “specific event” in the above step instead of the term “issue.” Let me explain this important distinction.

At first it might seem obvious that statements like “my anger problem” or “my back pain” would suffice for identifying the problem. After all, those words describe your experience and those feelings are what you would like eliminated.

However, those descriptions and thousands of others, ranging from pains and diseases to anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), are symptoms that come from deeper, emotional causes. Thus, we need to define the problem in terms of the actual emotional causes. Otherwise, we are aiming at a target that is much too general.

There is an occasional exception to this, however. Sometimes we can aim The Personal Peace Procedure directly at physical symptoms and, to our surprise, the problem vanishes in moments. This can be the case when nothing has been hidden about this issue, i.e. when enough is on the table for The Unseen Therapist to address.

Over the years, we have given such astonishing results a name. We call them, “one minute wonders.” Please note, however, that many of these “successes” are either temporary or partial. This is because related emotional causes, or pieces thereof, are still “under the table” and hidden from view. Since the resolution is incomplete, the corresponding physical symptoms eventually reappear.

Nonetheless, aiming at physical symptoms can be worth a try and I sometimes start a session this way. I do this because, when it works, even temporarily, it shows the client right away that The Unseen Therapist has unmistakable power.

As stated, longer term results usually require that we aim at underlying emotional causes and thus we need to dig into specifics. That leads us to “specific events,” the difficult experiences of our pasts that contain our negative emotional causes.

Specific Events

So, let’s define a specific event.

It is like a short, emotionally charged, very specific movie from your past lasting a few seconds to a minute or two. It has characters, a beginning, an end, and an emotional peak or crescendo. If there is more than one crescendo, shorten the movie to contain only one.

Incorrect example: My father often abused me. (Way too general. Very little specificity. No emotional crescendo involved. Not a Specific Event.)

Correct example: The time when my father hit me in front of my friends at my age eight birthday party and I felt so angry. (Very specific. An actual event with an emotional crescendo).

To help assure that you are aiming at a true specific event, it is useful to house the wording within a sentence of this form…

“The time when [who did what] and I felt [emotion]. “

This will lead you right into a specific event with the emotional crescendo attached.


“The time when my third grade teacher told me I was stupid and I felt so embarrassed.”
“The time when I cheated on that math test and I felt so guilty.”
“The time when I fell off the roof and I felt so scared.”
“The time when I was molested by X and felt so confused.”
“The time when I saw Uncle John in his funeral casket and felt so sad.”
“The time when I was left home alone and felt so unlovable.”

As you gain experience with this process, you will see that just about every emotional issue can be reduced to one or more specific events from your past. Fortunately, it is these specific events that help prepare our issues for The Unseen Therapist. Properly done, their detailed nature serves to bring more out of hiding and thus puts more on the table for resolution.

We will be making a list of your specific events soon so it would benefit you to read and re-read the above discussion.

Now we turn to the second step in The Personal Peace Procedure. Once we have identified a bothersome specific event we need to…

Step 2. Be Quiet, Loving and Invite The Unseen Therapist to Resolve It.

Please read and practice this segment several times on one or more specific events. It is so important that I have broken it down into 5 phases, each of which deserves your attention. Eventually, these phases will automatically merge into one seamless routine that you can use for every specific event.

The process may seem strange — even awkward — at first but, once you have achieved even the smallest results, you will have launched your journey across the bridge. After that, your benefits will expand as far as your motivation takes you.

Phase 1:

Assume an expectation of success: This phase becomes automatic once you have achieved results. At first, though, we must address our previously stated lack of trust about The Unseen Therapist’s abilities to resolve our issues. We may be hopeful about this but, until we experience results, complete trust may be a bit beyond our grasp.

Fortunately, as a beginner, you do not need an unshakable belief. Just a simple expectation of success will do. No routine is necessary and you can adopt this attitude in an instant. If you need assistance in this you might want to say to yourself, “Okay, Unseen Therapist, do your thing” or “Bring it on” or “I need your help” or anything else that suggests you are at least open to Her assistance.

As I said early on, The Unseen Therapist is really your “spiritual healer within” and it is this capacity you are trying to coax out of yourself. That’s why you want to assume an expectation of success and avoid obstructive thoughts like, “This can’t possibly work.”

Phase 2:

Achieving quietness: Being quiet takes the most practice because of the constant chatter that tends to occupy our minds. The quieter the better and, happily, it doesn’t need to be perfect to achieve beginner’s benefits.

At first, I had a difficult time getting quiet and needed to be in a silent room, away from the telephone and distracting noises. Now, I can do this in a noisy restaurant. It’s just practice. Meditators are quite familiar with the process.

So, sit comfortably in a quiet space and take one or more deep breaths. You might want to count backwards from 10 to 0 to help remove the interference from the ricocheting thoughts in your mind. Don’t expect perfection on your first tries. Consider them your first attempts at learning a new, vitally important skill.

Phase 3:

Entering a loving moment: Then recall a loving moment and immerse yourself in that feeling. This focused form of thought not only sets up the healing power of love but it’s focus can also assist you in getting rid of the competing chatter.

The loving moment does not need to be dramatic and worthy of a Hollywood movie. It need only be something personal to you. Perhaps it is a family moment or a moment while breast feeding a child. It could be with a pet or a lover or a simple kindness in which you were involved. It could even be a loving moment from a novel or a gentle touch from someone else. There are thousands of possibilities. If you cannot find one, then make one up or imagine enjoying nature.

From experience, I can tell you that The Unseen Therapist is ever present and instantly recognizes what you are doing. Thus, the mere effort of getting quiet and adopting a loving moment, even if it is not done “perfectly,” is seen by Her as an invitation. Some beginners stress needlessly about this because they need to “do it right.” Don’t be one of them.

Phase 4:

Run your specific event movie and offer it to The Unseen Therapist for resolution: Your next phase is to mentally shift to your specific event. This tells The Unseen Therapist what you want resolved. Run this movie in your mind and focus on the emotional crescendo.

But take it easy. No need to cause yourself pain by running through it in dramatic fashion. If focusing on the emotional crescendo causes you discomfort, then back off the focus a bit so that it is tolerable. She is listening and can still bring clarity, resolution and peace to it.

As you perform this procedure, it may help to imagine The Unseen Therapist at work through one or more metaphors. For example, I sometimes envision an emotional issue as a red, throbbing ball or as a persistent vibration within my body (I refer to this as the “jitters”). 

Then I imagine The Unseen Therapist as a gentle waterfall or cool breeze that cools the red ball or calms down the vibration. You could also imagine flooding the crescendo with love or having it float off into the heavens. Many examples are possible. You might start with the ones above and then develop others that customize more fittingly to your specific event(s).

You may also receive images or messages as this process proceeds. If so, make note of them. They are often pointers to important related issues and/or items that are hidden or otherwise “under the table.” You can resolve them in future sessions with The Unseen Therapist.

Other experiences are possible. Perhaps you will notice a softening of your reaction to the offending people that may be in your specific event. Or maybe physical discomforts will subside — now or later. Then again, you may not notice anything on your first tries. That’s okay. Remember, you are a beginner. People’s circumstances differ widely and thus there is no precise way these results manifest for everyone.

The time involved will vary from person to person but, for newcomers, it typically ranges from two to ten minutes. I am very experienced at it and take far less time, usually less than a minute. Just stay with it until you feel you have reached a plateau or end. If in doubt, err on the longer side but, again, do not become overly concerned about “doing it right.” Just give it a reasonable effort. You have more practicing to do and things will eventually fall into place.

Phase 5:

Test your result: Once you are done with a specific event, a simple way to test the effectiveness of this effort is to run the movie in your mind again and focus on the emotional crescendo. Has it changed? Is it less intense? Is it there at all? Has the emotion changed? I mean, if it was originally anger, is it now sadness or guilt? Are you having difficulty even finding the specific event? Is a different or related specific event coming up instead?

TIP: If a different or related specific event shows up, consider it to be a new candidate for The Personal Peace Procedure.

Any of these results is a positive sign of success because you got movement on your issue in a matter of minutes.

If there was no improvement or if your result was partial or temporary, don’t despair.  Repeating the process may bring you results.  Again, you are a beginner at this process and you likely need more practice. Also, even though you are using specific events, that doesn’t mean you have taken everything out of hiding and put it on the table. There may be related specific events or hidden pieces that still need to be addressed.

Happily, there is a helpful solution to this problem of related specific events and/or hidden pieces. As it turns out, you likely have many bothersome specific events in your life and, whether you realize it or not, they tend to have many things in common. For example: similar settings, similar people, similar themes, similar emotions AND similar hidden pieces.

Thus, if you use The Personal Peace Procedure on several of your bothersome specific events, you will be interfacing with the hidden pieces from several different angles. This will bring more out of hiding and symphonically blend your results into a larger set of benefits. With persistence, this can bring longer term, spectacular gains.


Gene Douglas  12-18-18 -- If you treat a memory successfully and the feelings return later, that just means that there are unconscious memories involved that you haven't treated yet.  In addition to the conscious memory that you recall and realize you are remembering it, there are other memories that are called up, and all you are aware of is the feelings in them.  Your first encounter disconnected a set of unconscious memories from the pain center in your brain, but they had also conneted with another set.  There may be a half dozen or a dozen such sets of memories to treat, before the symptom is permanently removed.

Gene Douglas  12-13-17 --  I have been experimenting with this, and as of now it seems I can skip most of the steps.  I don't regard the unseen therapist as a personality or spirit, but just as a process.  I can think of a problem, and then I imagine myself petting a particular dog I once had.  If I do that, thinking about the "loving experience," I get through the process in 1 or 2 minutes, the fastest I have ever seen.

This morning I thought of a time in my 20's (I'm now in my 70's) in which I did some public speaking, halfway froze up, and did it poorly.  I thought of that, judged the pain to be at about 8, then closed my eyes and imagined petting my dog, and a minute later I thought of the experience, and it hardly seemed important.  I was not trying to treat the regret at publicly failing (though that may have happened also) but the unconscious memories that made me freeze up.  Their content was not known, though their emotional effect was.  

That means their presence was assumed.  Learning their number and their intensity of pain would be easy, but unnecessary.

If you think of a symptom, don't just think of the general symptom  Think of an occasion when you were having the symptom.  That makes the unconscious memories behind it available for treatment.  (If you are having the symptom now, you can treat that even if you do not remember an event connected with it.) 

Examples of "loving experiences" can be real or fictional, and might be petting a dog or cat, holding a baby, sitting a child on your lap, hugging, kissing or cuddling somebody.  It is also useful to estimate the strength of a negative feeling on a scale of ten, with a ten being as strong as possible and a five being half as much.  If you then estimate it after treatment, you will have an idea of how much the feeling has gone down.  

For one client, his loving experience was seeing a certain person, and seeing how happy she was to see him again.  That was successful for him.  Another client thought of having dinner with her family, and it didn't work at all.  It may have intellectually seemed like a loving experience, but it was not the kind that would amplify the correct brain waves.  A client said she was unable to think of petting a dog, because her dog was dead, which was irrelevant.  If I can think of a dog that died 60 years ago, she can think of when she petted her dog, too.

See  "Your Unconscious Mind" on this website.  Some people have a problem understanding, or at least believing what some of this is talking about.  Also, on the EFT page, notice the chain of events discussion.  

Aspects of a problem:  Nightmares as an original complaint for one person may be followed the following week by complaint of a recurring memory of having been in an automobile crash.  The next week it may be followed by recurring thoughts of having lost a leg in the crash, then later of his wife divorcing him, then of getting on drugs, then losing his business, then being arrested and so forth.  The problem isn't "cured" until all aspects are cured.

Note:  When you imagine a loving situation, that causes three brain wave frequencies to become stronger.  One is Delta, or 3 hz (pulses per second) one is Low Theta (5 hz) and the other is Alpha, or 10 hz.

The following is an unnecessary, but seemingly more complicated method of doing the same thing:

If you do mantra meditation, that causes alpha and delta to become strong.  The only one of the three that is not affected is low theta.  If you have experience with EEG neurofeedback, your inner mind will know which ones those are.  In that case, you could hypnotize yourself, and give yourself a suggestion that when you close your eyes and repeatedly think the name of a frequency, that frequency will get stronger.

If you don't, and you want to progress in this direction, never fear.  You can teach your inner mind to recognize low theta by looking at the second hand of a clock and tapping on your hand 5 times per second while 
thinking "low theta, low theta."  In order to do that and count at the same time, think "Low theta, 3,4,5, Low theta 3, 4, 5," and so on.

After that, if you know mantra meditation, you can just hypnotize yourself,  give yourself the suggestion that when you think "low theta," that frequency will become stronger.   Then, close your eyes and repeat your mantra (which could be shahm, shahm, etc.) and then say "low theta."  So you would be thinking "shahm, low theta, shahm, low theta, etc. 

You could also teach your inner mind to recognize Delta and Alpha the same way.  Alpha can be produced by holding two fingers in a V, and moving a finger between them 5 times per second while thinking "alpha, alpha."  It will strike the two of them totaling 10 times per second.

Once all this teaching of your inner mind is done, you could instantly hypnotize yourself (as discussed under hypnotism) thinking "relax, three, two, one," and then think "alpha, low theta, delta. alpha, low theta, delta."

Or, if you don't want to bother with all that, just think of the loving experience.  If you are trained in eeg neurofeedback, and your inner mind can recognize its beta frequency (15 Hz) then you can hypnotize yourself with a suggestion that when you think "beta" your beta wave will be stronger.  That has the effect of removing the pain from memories in half the time.  However, if using the "loving feeling" does the job in 2 minutes, that just reduces it to one minute, a minor convenience.