You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want. ~ Zig Zeglar

I’ve been thinking back on EMDR events I’ve hosted over the years. Organizing events is something I started doing with spiritual events from The Power of Now days, and then with EMDR. The first two EMDR trainings I organized in Dallas were Greg Smith on using EMDR with peak performance and children, and Roy Keissling, when he was doing a workshop on resourcing. That was in probably 2005 or 2006. They weren’t well attended which made it not feasible to continue doing.

I picked it back up again three years ago, hosting Uri Bergman and his workshop on The Neurobiology of EMDR. That event was successful thanks to the help of Sylvia Hubbard and her marketing prowess. Attendance was good, about 60 people, and she also brought in some addiction treatment centers to help defray the costs. Since then I’ve hosted Carol Forgash on working with complex trauma and most recently the prodigious AJ Popky on the DeTUR model. The next events on the horizon are Mary Rixford, “EMDR Meets Narrative Therapy,” in the Fall and Roger Solomon on EMDR and Attunement, and EMDR with Grief, next Spring.

Truly, the best part of organizing these events is meeting the teachers. They are accomplished people who are really into what they do and so they are always interesting and fun to talk to. The other best part is meeting and getting to know the attendees. As I think about this, I’m realizing that “Interest” is the key word here. I invite people to present on topics I’m personally interested in –  in this case EMDR and related topics – and the people who attend are also ‘interested’ in the topic which is why they’re attending. So, we’re generating a field of interest for the mind to enjoy, in the pursuit of helping others.

The most stressful part of doing an event is the lead up to when the teacher begins talking. The more attendees, the more stress. Attendees need to see and attendees need to hear. That means sound needs to be clear, and loud enough for all to hear, and slides need to show up on the screen.  That may be obvious and easy but I don’t take it for granted when it’s my job to make it happen. (The thing that drives me the most nuts, by the way, is when I’m asked, “Where is the bathroom?” when I’m setting up.  It’s as if, all public places don’t have bathrooms with plenty of signs directing patrons to their less than hidden locations.)

The next step, for me, is finding ways to make the events better “than just EMDR workshops” – by adding value to the knowledge, training and CEs that are already expected as part of the package.  Here are some ideas:

Facilitating people connecting by doing things like pass around a “Networking Contact List” which is then sent to all attendees.  (I’ve been to several events where a list was passed around, but I never got it emailed to me later.)

Making the event friendly by offering a brief networking moment, and/or providing a table for business cards and information about their practice. Announcing this in emails that lead up to the event so that people can know to bring their materials with them would be important. We can also facilitate lunch groups, so that people who don’t know each other can easily meet and gather for a networking lunch and get to know each other, in that way. Helping facilitate practicum groups in a way to mix things up so that people who don’t know each other can meet up but also being sensitive to the idea that some people have colleagues they want to work with and honor that.

Offering personal take home videos about having attended the training for therapist attendees to put on their websites is a recent addition.  Videos where they say, “Hey, I took this training, this is what I learned and here is how I can use it to help us in our therapy.” Including the teachers in those videos will be the next step. My concern is that people don’t how to do this, that is, post the videos on their websites, nor do they see the value in it. The weird part about this is that while I think it’s a great idea, and I see the value in it, I don’t have one with me on my website.  (I guess it’s like going on vacation and taking pictures of everyone else and none of me.)

Offering and providing a link to the attendees’ therapy practice on CompassionWorks is also offered. This is an idea that is developing.  I still have 90 people to enter from the last workshop because it’s a tedious task to check the data. I need to make it so it becomes an automatic part of registration, so if people want to be on the CompassionWorks resource list, it can happen automatically.  (Actually, any EMDR therapist reading this who wants to be listed on CompassionWorks, follow the link above and “Submit A Listing.”)


I found this blog post, Screening for DID and more… by Bonnie Mikelson helpful in understanding how EMDR and dissociation are related.

This list from the article, especially numbers 8 and 9,  seems particularly useful in what I’m dealing with in my own work and self-education and also in doing EMDR trainings with other therapists:

1) It has been established that one shouldn’t do EMDR with any client without first ruling out the presence of a dissociative disorder, but,

2) Many EMDR clinicians continue to have the erroneous belief that they can tell who is and isn’t dissociative as if dissociative disorders are floridly manifest. They only use the DES-II on clients whom they already suspect are dissociative, missing a great many of the non-florid dissociative diagnoses, plus,

3) The instrument most recommended in EMDR training, the DES-II, has false negatives and does not purport to be a diagnostic instrument but only a screening device. However,

4) The SCID-D, the diagnostic device put forward to be the gold standard for assessment of the dissociative disorders, is not intuitively graspable and requires that a clinician be trained in its administration and scoring, and moreover, be educated somewhat in dissociative disorders, but,

5) Most EMDR clinicians are not at all trained and experienced with dissociative disorders, and have been taught in graduate school that their occurrence is rare or non-existent. Those clinicians often only have a paradigm shift regarding the presence of dissociation the hard way, such as…

6) Since many EMDR clinicians use EMDR a great deal in their practices, they run the risk of uncovering numerous dissociative clients in the middle of an EMDR that is either eruptive or looping, which risks…

7) The client may have a suicidal crisis requiring hospitalization, stop therapy, experience a therapeutic rupture, or refuse trauma work of any kind.

8) At this juncture many EMDR clinicians turn ashen, shrivel up, and abandon EMDR altogether for the safer and tamer tools. This happens without their ever having had the needed paradigm shift about dissociation and avoidance being the bedrock of many disorders, and association being a good part of their cure, to oversimplify a complicated story. Moreover,

9) Most new EMDR clinicians are slugging their way through the Adaptive Information Processing paradigm shift already, undertaking extensive and expensive training and consultation required for safe and effective EMDR use. Training in dissociation is competing with that for hypnosis, somatic, or other therapies. In that case,

10) If dissociation seems like the caboose of the train, not its engine, training in the treatment of dissociation a low priority on a scarce training budget. THE SCID-D vs. MID Some time ago Rick Kluft opined that Marlene Steinberg’s SCID-D is the gold standard for the diagnosis of dissociative disorders rather than Paul Dell’s MID. I agree with Dr Kluft that the SCID-D has a relatively longer and certainly a distinguished history in the dissociation field, whereas the MID is a recent comer. However, the SCID-D is a lengthy diagnostic interview, involving exploring for some hours the particular symptoms that represent the DSM criteria for diagnosing each of the dissociative disorders. In contrast, the MID is a questionnaire.

Screening for DID and More…

IMG_3661This is a very large friendly group. AJ is teaching his DeTUR Protocol.

For me, I had to see it to ‘get’ it, and I think that’s true for others, as well.  But seeing him do the DeTUR protocol makes it come to life.

Seeing him work is great.  He made five client videos yesterday and did another demo today. He is consistent in a flexible manner. I think very Ericksonian but he would say a combination of a lot of things.

Day 1 of a two day workshop,  May 13, 2016, in Plano, Texas.  “Using EMDR with Addictions: The DeTUR Protocol,” taught by A.J. Popky.

At recent talk I was giving, I started to explain how Francine Shapiro founded EMDR, with the “Walk in the Park” story.  Immediately one of the participants exclaimed, “Oh, I’ve heard that story.”  Facilitator that I am, I invited her to tell us what she knew and maybe fill some the gaps that I didn’t know about. What followed was, to me, new, interesting and amazing.

In her version, in 1987, Francine Shapiro was walking through a park and she saw some squirrels above, up in the trees playing and running.  As she looked at one, it started running back and forth across one of the branches, and then as her eyes followed the squirrel as it went back and forth across the branch, a disturbing thought she was having became less disturbing, and hence the beginning of eye-movements and the miracle of EMDR.

I was amazed and said I hadn’t hear that before, but I’d have to look into it.  (Actually, later Angel, my training assistant, told me someone told the same story in an EMDR training but I guess I was so amazed that my vagal parasympathetic freeze response kicked in and I blocked it out, now sure).

So, in the subsequent investigation (aka google search) about what really happened, I came across this article, “In the Spotlight: Francine Shapiro Interviewed by Marilyn Luber Ph.D.”.

In the interview, Francine tells the story in her own words, and alas, no squirrel.

Here is the quote:

“EMDR is based on a chance observation I made in May 1987. While walking through the park one day, I noticed that some disturbing thoughts I was having suddenly disappeared. I also noticed that when I brought these thoughts back to mind, they were not as upsetting or as valid as before. Previous experience had taught me that disturbing thoughts generally have a certain “loop” to them; that is, they tend to play themselves over and over until you consciously do something to stop or change them. What caught my attention that day was that my disturbing thoughts were disappearing and changing without any conscious effort. Fascinated, I started paying very close attention to what was going on. I noticed that when disturbing thoughts came into my mind, my eyes spontaneously started moving very rapidly back and forth in an upward diagonal. Again the thoughts disappeared, and when I brought them back to mind, their negative charge was greatly reduced. At that point I started making the eye movements deliberately while concentrating on a variety of disturbing thoughts and memories, and I found that these thoughts also disappeared and lost their charge. My excitement grew as I began to see the potential benefits of this effect” (Shapiro, 1995).

Here is the entire article:  EMDR, Walk in the Park,  It’s a really well done article, very interesting and engaging.

More Park Stuff

While I’m at it on the Park Theme, for some reason I often think about Eckhart Tolle, when in “The Power of Now” he talks about sitting in Stanly Park in Vancouver, watching ducks get in a fight in then “shaking it off” as they parted.  This is a good example of shaking off trauma or anger, and I think Peter Levine refers to bears, or other animals that do that same type of thing.

That isn’t what interests me, however.  What I wonder about is what was Eckhart wearing?  I mean did he have proper rain gear?  You gotta know that sitting in Stanly park, hour after hour, no matter what time of year, would mean lots of rain.  Shower after shower.

I’m just keep wondering that maybe if you’re enlightened you don’t get wet.