Releasing with EMDR

Ever the optimist, I hold a vision of the future where children are taught the healing arts at the elementary school level and everyone on this beautiful planet has access to the tools required for human growth, development, and evolution.

One of the tools accessible to all today, is a type of therapy called EMDR.  EMDR was discovered in the 1980s by a psychologist (Dr. Francine Shapiro) who was going through a crisis in her life.  She decided to take a hike in the woods and discovered that while she moved her eyes back and forth across her path, she was able to make sense of life events.  She continued to develop the process, studied it, and out of the ethers, EMDR was birthed.

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.  There are a ton of fabulous books published on the subject.  My favorite is Dr. Shapiro’s Getting Past Your Past.  This type of therapy is structured by nature, which helps a client feel safe (because it’s rhythmic, patterned, repetitive, and predictable).  It directly targets trauma which is locked in the brain (keeping one in the “freeze mode” creating intrusive thoughts, memories, and flashbacks).  Along with traumatic thoughts and memories, we store negative thoughts about ourselves and those thoughts elicit emotions, and those emotions find a place to embed within the body, ultimately leading to “dis-ease”.  EMDR activates the body’s own innate healing mechanism and allows for the creation of new neural networks, more adaptive in nature.

Today, I’d like to share with you, one person’s journey.  Let’s call this person Mo.  Mo sought out EMDR therapy to deal with a high level of stress, anxiety, and overwhelm.  Mo’s partner is a recovering addict and continues to play out some dysfunctional thought and behavioral patterns.  Mo’s partner is also experiencing some health concerns and Mo’s role in the relationship has shifted to some-time caregiver.

Mo has co-dependency traits and finds it difficult to stand up for herself when on the receiving end of aggressive, verbally abusive behavior.  Mo wants to change this pattern as it is weighing heavily and feelings of anger and resentment are building.

Mo decides to embark on a journey with EMDR.  Mo reads the book Getting Past Your Past and while reading it, notices memories surfacing from the past.  Mo reaches out and finds a therapist who can help guide her (me).  Together with the therapist, Mo targets one of the most pervasive memories which surfaced while reading the book.  The memory involves her being in a place with a lot of people, but feeling utterly alone.  Mo notices a feeling of dread anytime she had to (in the past) or has to (in the present), leave the house.

We target the memory and new memories revolving around the same notion of being surrounded by people and feeling alone and/or disconnected.  The initial memory is a 7 (out of 10 on a scale of disturbance).  We continue to target the memory until it’s down to 0 (which is neutral).  Here are some nuggets of wisdom that came from Mo’s sessions/experiences:

-I’ve always accepted I am what other people thought of me
-I don’t have to be under the curtain of who people think I am
-I don’t have to prove anything to anyone
-In my life, whenever someone of authority said something to me, I just accepted that was who I was
-I would rise or lower myself to what the other person thought of me; that’s bullshit
-Subconsciously, I was accepting a version of myself that [my partner] created
-Intelligence, like math, is available to all

Mo had successfully desensitized herself to the negative programming.  now, it was time for the reprocessing stage.  Initially, Mo had some difficulty believing in herself.  With a few more rounds of tapping, she was able to believe she is bright and catches on easily.

Lastly, she scans her body to check for disturbances in the physical body.  She notices a pain in her back.  Mo describes that the pain “has always been there.”  I asked her to try sending a message to that pain in her back, “I am wanted.  I am needed, ” which had come up right before in the session.  Here are some additional nuggets of Truth and wisdom that surface from Mo:

-I was afraid to show who I was because I accepted what other people thought of me
-I am a perfect child of God
-I can be an equal partner now

I should mention here that as Mo is speaking these inner truths, gas/air is coming up from her abdomen, causing her to belch.  The belching goes on for about 15 minutes.  Mo abruptly stops the belching and says, “It’s gone.”  She adds that she feels free and states, “It’s always been me, without the cloud. That’s it.”  We do the body scan again, and there is no sensation, which tells us the target is clear.  The past issue quite literally left her body via the eruption of gas from her abdomen and the root cause of the physical disturbance (back pain) was completely evaporated.

This is the power of the human body/brain/spirit.  We can quite literally change the state of our Be-ingness.  With some work, dedication, and openness, Mo was successfully able to release an old wound which caused physical pain and emotional distress in her body.  Now, Mo reports being able to handle the behaviors and responsibilities of her relationship with grace and ease.

May this story inspire you to use one of the tens of thousands of tools available for inner healing and release!

Photo credit- Ion Fet, Unsplash

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