When Super Typhoon Yolanda struck the Philippines in early November 2013, it left in its wake the kind of devastation that remains for years in the lives of its victims. And though countless of individuals and organizations have already contributed billions to rehabilitate central Visayas, recovery from the psychological trauma caused by a natural disaster of Yolanda’s magnitude will need more than just cash and relief goods.
As such, the Human Capital Development (HCD), a training, coaching and consulting firm based in Manila and Singapore, is working closely with US-based therapist and coaching expert Chris Balsley and a team of five others to the Philippines to administer the “Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises” (TRE) directly to the victims as well as equip first responders and other frontline aid workers with the science healing wonders of TRE.
The visit kicked off on January 27 and will run until February 15. The program covers the TRE Train-the-Trainor 3-Day Series at sessions at the Meralco Multi-Purpose Hall in Ortigas on February 4 to 6; Remedious T. Romualdez Memorial Hospital in Tacloban on February 4 to 6; GSK Training Center in Makati on February 10 to 12; and Bahay Kahayag in Bohol on February 10 to 12. All days are scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Founded by David Berceli, Ph.D. more than two decades ago, Bercelli shares, “TRE helps individuals release stress or tension as a result of difficult life circumstances, immediate or prolonged stressful situations and traumatic life experiences. It consists of six simple exercises that help individuals release tension from the muscles, which in turn relaxes the anxiety of our minds, by evoking a muscular shaking process in the body.” These revolutionary exercises have been taught to over a million people all over the world. TRE has effectively helped victims of calamities, wars and crime in the United States, China, Thailand, Japan, and Haiti to name a few.
“In the aftermath of Yolanda, HCD Manila felt the terrible fatigue of relief workers and, the sadness and grief by those who lost their homes and loved ones. We want to bring TRE to the Philippines because we want to contribute to the Filipino’s ability to recover their natural sense of optimism and joy by enabling them to address their own trauma and tension through a simple set of exercises,” said HCD Asia Pacific Chair Beth MacDonald.
To demonstrate the simplicity and efficacy of TRE in treating PTSD, Balsley facilitated a TRE session via Skype with the HCD team to Trell Songalia and Sandra Morallos who were both living in Tanauan, Leyte when super typhoon Yolanda hit the country.
Before the session, Songalia and Morallos were crying as they shared that they continue to have nightmares and traumas months after the typhoon. After the TRE experience, both Songalia and Morallos expressed that they felt lighter and happier, and constantly calling Balsley “Dr. Happy”. Morallos, who had constant nightmares from Yolanda even went on Twitter to say, “Doing TRE helped me a lot today. It made me feel lighter and more relaxed than before. I don’t have nightmares anymore.” Songalia on the other hand, said that she is now able to detach herself from the catastrophe and move on with her life.
“What makes TRE ideal for people who’ve undergone trauma is that it doesn’t require them to revisit their nightmares while still giving them an opportunity to let go of stress and tension,” said Balsley. “Whatever
I can teach to the Yolanda aid workers and survivors about TRE is something that will stay with them forever and also something that they can share with others. We invite Filipinos to get involved in this initiative—as volunteers, sponsors and participants as we conduct free training sessions in Manila and around the Philippines.”
Balsley is joined by 17 other volunteer TRE experts from the U.S., India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.
To learn more, participate in, or support HCD’s TRE, visit www.hcdgives.tumblr.com or www.facebook.com/TREPhilippines2014; or log on to www.thehcdgroup.com.