Why The New Training?
When we recorded the last edition of the TPM Basic Training in Orlando, Florida in 2007, we assumed that this was the final edition. We were ready to move on to the next project that God might have for us. People were ordering the training DVD set and reading the Basic Training Manual and based upon the many very positive reports received, we assumed that all was going well. It appeared that the Lord was blessing the ministry and many lives were being changed by God’s good and faithful work.
Seven Years Later
However in 2013-14, we decided to travel across the country to see in real time what this training was actually accomplishing. To do this, we offered specialized training events for groups of 12-16 TPM facilitators. We called this training the Facilitator Evaluation Training. We spent several days observing the participants as they facilitated live ministry sessions to see how people were applying TPM, evaluate their skills, and offer adjustment where needed.
We first sent out a personal profile to each person who registered so that they could perform a self evaluation of their ministry. It allowed them to rate their personal effectiveness using TPM in their setting. We were pleased to see that most people rated themselves with very high scores, largely because they were having good success in helping people find genuine freedom from the lies they believed. The self-evaluation did not include questions on method or any difficulties they may have been encountering, however.
After a year of observing nearly 200 people administer TPM in actual ministry sessions, we concluded that there were indeed good results occurring around the world; but the way TPM was applied varied widely. Although most of what we witnessed looked somewhat like TPM, only a few were doing what we would describe as true TPM. And in more cases than we had anticipated, facilitators were using practices that were clearly not TPM and yet still calling it that. Much that was being done were practices from earlier years of training –that is no longer taught– and missing the upgrades.
Our conclusion was that the training had not produced the consistent outcome we had expected and hoped for. Overall, what we discovered was a TPM hybrid with much variation. Though good things were happening even with all of the variations, there was a confusion about the authentic TPM method. This suggested it was time to re-evaluate the current training and revise it accordingly.
Areas of Concern and Room for Improvement
One issue that was prevalent in every group was the absence of focused direction. Most people seemed lost at different places in a session and did not know what to do. The training needed to help people know where they were at all times during a session. They needed a “map.”
Another common problem was an inability to know which question to ask, when to ask it, and why they were asking it. Also clearly the older training had provided entirely too many questions to choose from. It lacked clarity about the purpose of each question and the appropriate time each should be asked, resulting in considerable confusion. Some of the previous questions were even guiding or leading the session, which is a BIG “No-No” in TPM. Because of this shortfall in the older material, some people came up with their own questions, many of which were less than helpful.
A common behavior observed was the tendency to just do “something” when the facilitator did not know what to do during the ministry session. The “something” was often random and directionless. Some used questions like hand grenades, tossing them with the hope of a result. The problem with hand grenades is that they always cause something to happen!
It was obvious that we needed to develop a set of well defined, pertinent questions which were in turn clearly explained to the facilitators in terms of purpose and location on the session ‘map’. Each should only be asked when the session arrived at that particular location. Thus the new training has been designed in such a way that if the facilitator knows where they on the “map” they always know the exact question to ask. There are some questions that can be asked anywhere in the process, but these are few.
At first some of the questions in the new training may seem redundant and monotonous –especially the MEMORY Box questions. However, when the facilitator understands the purpose of each question and when to ask it, they make very good sense and produce good results. Until fully understood, however, some may be tempted to “spice” things up and become creative by asking other questions which is not necessary or recommended. The fact is, there are many people having great success with the process as is. Again, as long as people call what they do something other than Transformation Prayer Ministry, they can do anything that they want to.
Another concern was that the facilitator was not able to identify what the new training calls “solutions.” There was a similar concept in the earlier training called “Guardian Lie,” but the training did not provide a consistent and efficient way to address this issue.
A solution is anything that a person might do in order to keep from moving forward. For example, when a person suppresses what he is feeling, blocks a memory, feels angry, or if demons manifest; all of these constitute the person’s solution to a perceived problem. The new training has a feature called the De-Solution Tool that helps the person move past these unhealthy solutions as they arise. The De-Solution Tool actually replaces the entire seminar, “Dealing with Difficult Cases,” that was taught under the older curriculum.
The New Training is Born
It was never our intention to observe people from all across the country administering TPM and then return to completely redo the program. But this is exactly what we did. After watching a random sampling of the TPM community we saw what needed to be revised and improved. We also knew that these changes were not going to be easy for everyone to embrace. However, we believed that the changes made sense and improved the process.
A Need for a Consistent and Authentic Model
We have received tens of thousands of emails over the years from people from around the world, and the primary question they ask is where can they receive authentic TPM. We want to be able to refer people to those who practice TPM according to the guidelines. This is why we needed a training that produced consistent methods and results. In order to provide a model that is easily duplicated and evaluated, many changes needed to be made to that edition of TPM.
Letting Go – Not Always Easy
It has been said that one cannot teach an old dog new tricks. There is probably some truth to this. However, an old dog is also wiser and can therefore can make the adjustment when a new trick reduces the number of steps, smooths out the path, and clears away obstructions. Because he is a wise dog, he appreciates the benefits. I (Ed Smith) am one of those old dogs, and I have made the transition.
An example of one of my favorite questions that was a part of the former training that I had to let go of is , “What does “that” say about you?” I personally liked this question and believed that it was helpful in identifying a “Self-Identity” lie. In the right situation when you are in fact correct that the person was holding a Self-identity lie, it might prove helpful. However, as my son Joshua lovingly pointed out to me, in order to use it, I had to violate a core TPM principle: never lead or direct. I could not say with any real certainty that the person harbored a Self-Identity lie when I was asking this question; it was based upon a hunch. It was a shot into the dark hoping that I would hit something. If in fact the person was not harboring a “self-identity” belief and I ask this question, I was inadvertently pushing the person in the direction I thought the session should move. This was leading and guiding the session. Not acceptable.
This question, since it was leading, inadvertently pushed the person in a direction that I believed he should go, influencing him to take a path that he did not come up with on his own. As I have often said, “If the facilitator does anything that causes a person to move in any direction that he thinks it should go, then he is no longer doing TPM.” When I realized this about this particular question, I chose to let it go, despite having seen some benefit when my assumptions proved accurate. However, there were times that my guessing was not correct, and I unknowingly led the person in a wrong direction. Questions such as this are not included in the new TPM protocol.
If this question is asked, the person is being directed by the facilitator. This is not TPM. It is no different in principle than asking, “Do you think you were ever abused?” or “Did anyone ever hurt you in some manner?” “Does what happened to you make you feel worthless, defective, used, shameful, etc?” These are all leading questions and taboo in TPM.
In reality, we cannot know what a person believes unless they reveal it to us. The three questions in the MEMORY Box included in the revised training, are all that we need to work through the memory with the person to identify the core belief.
Remember, if we ask a question like, “What does that say about you?” we are making an assumption they believe that there is something about them that needs to be revealed. Because we asked, they may start looking for what we have suggested as opposed to uncovering what is actually there. This is a “hand grenade” question, and is not needed.
The End Does Not Always Justify the Means
This begs the inquiry, “What is so bad about asking a question that points a person in a particular direction if in fact it proves helpful?” First, let me acknowledge that this is common practice in many ministry models. It is common for a minister to make suggestions, give an opinion, cite Scripture, and even “speak for God” in other contexts besides a TPM session. However, if these are brought into a TPM session what is being done ceases to be TPM as this ministry model affirms that the ministry session is the person’s own journey with God.
There is no need for external input in order for the person to find freedom when using TPM. The facilitator is the follower in the process, not the leader. The facilitator’s insight, opinion, discernment, words of knowledge should all be kept in check and not brought into the room. This is not to say that in a different context they might not prove helpful. However, when they are introduced into a TPM session they run headlong into the principles and concepts that govern this ministry approach. When a facilitator feels a need to “help out” the person in any given moment in a ministry session it is usually because the facilitator “feels” uncomfortable or is lacking knowledge as to TPM protocol and application.
Asking leading questions assumes that the facilitator knows better about the direction to take than the person himself. It also assumes that the person is a victim of ignorance and needs to be rescued by the facilitator’s superior knowledge and insight. The fact is, the person already possesses everything that he needs to know in order to get where he needs to go. I have been doing TPM for over twenty years and have consistently found that when people are willing to feel and then follow their negative emotions to the lies they believe, God will always grant them truth and freedom. He does this consistently without our insight, direction, or personal opinions.
We never have to suggest what we think they should do, “speak for God,” guide or direct in any fashion. The person NEVER needs outside information from the facilitator or even from God concerning about where he needs to go, remember or expose. He simply needs to decide to go to the place harboring the negative emotions. The only thing hindering his progress is his own belief and the choices he is willfully making. Secondly, asking leading or suggestive questions is in essence an attempt to override the person’s free will since the person is where he is because of his own belief and willful choice.
Suggestive Questions as “Work-a-Rounds”
In the earlier training, we had a suggestive type of question –that we no longer use– that we believed provided a “short cut” around some of the hindrances encountered during a ministry session. These hindrances were caused by what we labeled “Guardian lies.” A guardian lie was understood to be a belief that the person had established as a way of protecting himself (a guard) or providing himself a way of escape from a perceived problem. A guardian lie thwarts forward motion from occurring in a ministry session.
For example, a person might believe that going to a particular memory would be overwhelming and destroy him. Therefore, he needed to come up with a solution that would help him to not remember. He might solve this problem (of being overwhelmed) by erecting an inner wall that he would then claim he was incapable of getting past. This wall was held in place because the person believed a guardian lie such as; “As long as there is a wall, I do not have to remember.” Or “The wall keeps me from being overwhelmed.” This is why an inner wall is not a problem to overcome, but rather is the person’s solution for a perceived problem concerning moving forward.
Back then we did not yet have the De-Solution Tool available to us, but nonetheless, we were fairly successful in identifying the belief behind the “solution” and receiving truth from the Lord in these places. However, we later discovered that in some cases we could ask a suggestive question and the person was occasionally able to choose to “walk around” the “wall” without having to identify the lie supporting it. We might ask the person something like, “Would you like Jesus to go with you past this wall?” To our initial surprise there were cases in which the person would choose to walk around the wall (in spite of the lie-based belief that supported the “solution”) and proceeded to identify core belief. We even found this to happen in some cases where we would ask people to “walk around” their anger by asking leading questions such as, “Would you look behind the anger and see if there are any more vulnerable emotions?” People could sometimes do this without too much problem. However, walking around the anger failed to address the reason (lie-belief) they were holding onto their anger. In essence, this is no different than behavior modification. We asked the person to change what he or she was doing without addressing the lie-based beliefs that functioned as the motivation behind the behavior. And, in some cases, people would choose to “move forward” towards their lie-based core beliefs without addressing these other lie-based beliefs.
Since, the “guardian lie” is not a core belief, but rather an intellectual conclusion that the person came to, it could be –in some cases– willfully acted against. Even though there are occasional “successes” achieved by “pushing through” to the other side, we have discontinued teaching this practice because of several important concerns.
First, this method only “works” (as in, moves the person in the direction of lie-based core beliefs) sometimes, and when it doesn’t, it can easily confuse and bewilder the person. Also, anytime a person is having to try to make something happen, it is because there is a lie-based belief creating the resistance. When the person is not being hindered by a lie, the session will move along almost effortlessly.
Second, when it does “work,” the person is simply consciously choosing to change his or her behavior without actually addressing the lie-based belief that had them “stuck.” The lie remains in place and will continue to show up over and over in later sessions. The lie supports the person’s solutions (such as the inner wall, anger, suppression, blocking memories, wandering around “lost” inside, confusion, becoming invisible, frozen, dead, etc.) Even if he chooses to act in opposition to the lie that he believes, that lie-based belief will remain and will likely show up again and again. It makes much more sense to deal with each lie as they present themselves. Remembering that addressing belief (not behavior) is the goal.
We concluded that any lies that present themselves in a session should be addressed. There is no hurry to rush past them just to identify a core belief. We believe that dealing with the “Guardian Lie” is as important as getting to the core belief. Today, the term “Guardian Lie,” as well as the 2007 application and process for dealing with it, are not a part of the new training. It has been replaced with the De-Solution Tool. We now encourage that all lies, whether core belief or solution beliefs (guardian lies), be dealt with as they are encountered. Priority is not given to either.
Using Jesus’ Name in Your Question Does Not Make it More Effective
One more point, placing the name of Jesus in the question mentioned above was a form of suggestive visualization and guided imagery. Adding Jesus’ name to what we are doing is a misuse of it. I fully understand that we are to do all that we do in the name of Jesus, however, it is a misuse to try to use His name to maneuver through a ministry session.
First, using the name of Jesus in this fashion is to suggest a visual image in the person’s imagination that the person did not come up with on his own. It also presupposes that this imagery (Jesus leading him around the wall) lined up with what Jesus had desired for him. It also views the wall as an obstacle that is keeping the person from moving forward, as opposed to the person’s solution to their not wanting to move forward.
Asking if the person wanted to go with Jesus, assumed that Jesus was wanting him to bypass dealing with the belief that the wall represented. The problem here is, the wall was the person’s own creation coming from his belief that caused him to resist moving forward. If we ask this type of question we are implying that we know what God wants for the person in the moment. More likely, God desired that they deal with the lie that is laying in their path as opposed to walking around it.
Why Did It Work?
The reason that this question may sometimes “work” is because some people can muster up enough determination to push through such resistance and override their own self-created defenses. Nevertheless, walking around the belief that is causing the resistance leaves the lie in place. The person may indeed walk around his wall, but the lie remains, ready to surface at “… a more opportune time.” The new TPM training has a much better option with the De-Solution Tool. It can quickly identify the lie that is producing the inner wall or any other solution and displace it so that it is not a problem later on.
We encourage people not to create new questions or augment or trim down the TPM process. We also encourage facilitators to take stock of why they may be having a difficult time implementing this process. TPM is successfully being used by untold numbers of people all around the world. It has passed through over twenty years of refinement and has been continually revised and improved. If you find yourself struggling with application, you are encouraged to seek out additional training, review the materials available and always feel free to post comments and ask your questions here.