The idea of torturing environments and the possibility of measuring them is a major shift in the contemporary conceptualization of torture. It provides a multifaceted and comprehensive way to face the problem of determining the existence of torture in general (and psychological torture in particular) and the conditions that promote it, based on a conceptual model that supports the construction and development of the TES.
Currently no tool exists to help visualize the combined effects of torturing methods. The TES meets this need. The model is based on defining which human function is under attack, and grouping torture methods accordingly using a teleological approach (that is, organizing methods according to a finite number of purposes—the intended impact they have on the person).