RIP Roger J. Callahan: 1925-2013
On November 4, 2013, Roger Callahan, the Founder of Thought Field Therapy and someone with whom I shared quite a history, passed away. It has been nearly 10 years since I had spoken with him and even longer since I had seen him, since we parted ways in February, 2004. There was only one brief obituary I could find in his local paper (Palm Springs, CA), but there was an outpouring of love and support from therapists and others who had trained with him over the years.
Others who saw his high fees and grandiose claims for his novel unsupported therapy thought he was a con man, but I have to say that having known him quite well I don’t believe that to be the case. As a human being, he had many strengths. He was a genuinely caring person who sincerely believed he was helping people with the therapy he developed that he believed to be the most effective therapy on the planet. Although in his last video posted on the Callahan website he said evidence for TFT was strong, this was far from being the case by any recognized scientific standards. In spite of the fact that there have been studies published on TFT, the only two that actually tested its mechanism of action showed null results. It doesn’t matter if you tap on meridian points and the sequence, upon which he based his most expensive advanced forms of TFT, does not matter.
Nevertheless, Roger to the very end of his life, sincerely believed otherwise. He seemed to exemplify the saying that the strongest form of deception is self-deception. As I reflect on my time with him I remember our conflicts, but on a personal level, I also remember good times with Roger as a friend and a colleague. I remember his generosity with his time and always being willing to speak with people who he didn’t even know who called him and wanted to understand more about TFT.
I remember witnessing the genuine love Roger Callahan displayed for his wife, children and grandchildren and his concern that his family be cared for. His wife, Joanne, also took very good care of him. They were married for nearly 25 years. On his website, one of his daughters wrote that it was thanks to Joanne, that he was able to live as long as he did. For the past 30 years or so, he had survived cancer and heart disease, and while he attributed this to TFT, I think his daughter’s attribution to Joanne for taking care of him for the past 20+ years is probably more accurate. Roger also had a genuine love for animals. I recall him shedding tears when I was visiting him in 1998 for one of his dogs who had recently died and I also recall having dinner with him years later at a fish restaurant in San Francisco, as we brought food to the alley cats at the back of the restaurant. In spite of the fact that Roger was very opinionated and could judge people harshly, he was a kind man who treated people with gentleness and respect. He was uncomfortable with direct conflict to the point where he would not engage in it and walk away if someone became contentious. I recently learned that he declined to even read my TFT: A Former Insiders Experience. I suppose to him, I have been dead for many years now. That being said, as a fellow flawed human being, I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family and I wish that he rest in peace. Whatever else may be said about him, Roger Callahan lived long, prospered and died a happy man.
A memorial website has been put up by his family for him.