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Моделируем EMDR (17) Francine Shapiro. Interviewed by Bill O’Hanlon
metanymous wrote in metapractice

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Francine Shapiro Interviewed by Bill O’Hanlon

Francine Shapiro, PhD, is the originator and developer of EMDR, which has been designated as an effective trauma treatment by a wide range of organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization. She is a Senior Research Fellow Emeritus at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, California, Director of the EMDR Institute, and founder of the non-profit EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Programs (HAP), which provides pro bonotraining and treatment to underserved populations worldwide. HAP is now an international NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and has received an award for Clinical Excellence from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. Dr. Shapiro is a recipient of the International Sigmund Freud Award for Psychotherapy, presented by the City of Vienna in conjunction with the World Council for Psychotherapy and the American Psychological Association Trauma Psychology Division Award for Outstanding Contributions to Practice in Trauma Psychology. Her books include, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: Basic Principles, Protocols and Procedures; Handbook of EMDR and Family Therapy Processes; EMDR as an Integrative Psychotherapy Approach; and Getting Past Your Past.

Edited at 2015-01-15 08:41 am (UTC)

--Bill O’Hanlon: You had a health crisis that led to you becoming a psychologist. Is that right?

--Francine Shapiro: I was about 30 years old. I was finishing up a PhD in English literature and then I got cancer. Norman Cousins’ work was coming out at that time on the effect of stress on the immune system. It made sense. The principles seemed valid but there weren’t techniques widely available to help. I remember thinking: ‘If we’re putting men on the moon, how come we weren’t able to deal with our minds and bodies?’ I had been out to California previously and it seemed cutting-edge approaches were available.

So I left my PhD program and went to California to look for answers. I attended workshops on body work and applied kinesiology, hypnosis, and meditation - a whole slew of things. Then I decided to look at the formal field of psychology and entered a PhD program. I had no intention of becoming a psychologist. I just wanted to see what the principles might be. My goal was to find out what works and get it out to the general public.

One day, I took a walk in the parkand noticed the effect of eye movements on myself. I wasn’t looking at anything, just walking, and I noticed that disturbing thoughts were disappearing. When I brought them back, they didn’t have the same charge. So I started paying close attention because I had been using my own mind and body as a laboratory for the past seven years. I noticed that when a disturbing thought came to mind, my eyes started moving y rapidly in a certain way, and I noticed the thought shifting.

Again, when I brought it back, it didn’t bother me anymore. I wondered if I could do it deliberately. So I brought up something that bothered me, moved my eyes in the same way, and I got the same results.

When I established that I could do it for myself, I wanted to see if it could work with anyone else. I gathered every warm body I could lay my hands on - people at school, folks I knew, and asked, “Do you have anything you want to work on that’s bothering you?” Not surprisingly, everyone did. I showed them how my eyes had moved, asked them to think of the disturbance and move their eyes, but found out most people didn’t have the muscle control to do it.

So I said, “Follow my fingers with your eyes.” I started guiding them, and I found that the eye movements began to take away anxiety, but it would often stop. So I started developing procedures to make the eye movements more effective.

--BOH: Initially you named this EMD, and then as you worked on these protocols you added another element. Why the R?

--FS: Because at first, coming from a behavioral therapy vantage point, I was thinking in terms of decreasing anxiety. I thought I was doing the equivalent of systematic desensitization while using the brain’s own mechanism for it. It seemed like it might be linked with REM sleep, which is when those kinds of rapid saccadic eye movements would often spontaneously go back to a past event, and there we are in psychodynamic territory. I discovered that it was easier and more efficient if I started with the past. If I cleaned that out, generally the present didn’t bother them any longer.

--BOH: Is there a place where people can go if they want to check out the research?
--FS: The EMDR HAP website: www.emdrhap.org/content/what-is-emdr/research-findings/
--BOH: Because I’ve known you for years and followed your work, it’s surprising to me that people have dismissed your work and attacked not only the work but sometimes you. Let’s talk about some of those dismissals and how you responded and overcame them.

--FS: The problems started early on because they were doing research that used EMD or EMDR procedures with and without the eye movement. However, they often did it badly. Those earlier studies were evaluated in 2000 by the task force of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and were deemed inadequate because they used inappropriate populations and not enough treatment, such as multiple traumatized combat veterans, and they only gave them two sessions. Instead of using the 35 clients in each condition that was supposed to be done, they’d use only seven or eight. The researchers weren’t doing it with appropriate fidelity checks. There was a ream of stuff going on, because back then, there was no gold standard to define how you’re supposed to do research.

For instance, when an intern who had never done therapy did a study with multiple traumatized combat veterans, the supervisor told him he wasn’t doing EMDR correctly, but it got published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy with negative results. So I asked a researcher I knew in the VA, “How is it possible that something gets published with a negative fidelity check?” He said, “Oh, well, we never use them.” That taught me that all the previous decades of psychological research really weren’t telling us anything, because no one had checked to make sure that the researcher had done the therapy the way it’s supposed to be done in clinical practice.

--BOH: This leads me to the last question. One afternoon when we were both teaching at a conference, I said, “You’ve traveled around the world, you’ve written these books, and you’ve done all this work… why?” And you said, “I want to help create world peace.” And I said, “World peace, from waving your fingers in somebody’s eyes? How does that happen?” Can you talk about that?
--FS: If you’re trying to bring people together around a conference table when they’ve been exposed to the ethno-political damage from all these wars, they can’t connect because the unprocessed memories from those traumas keep getting triggered. The anger, the “You’re an Other” is there automatically. If we can process that, then they can make connections and reconciliations.

For instance, one of the trainings we did in Northern Ireland included Catholic and Protestant clinicians learning the procedures together. By the end of it, we managed to defuse an IRA death threat because the folks could see the connections being made. When you do EMDR therapy training, people are working on their own experiences, so they understand what’s happened. They can see what’s been driving some of their automatic responses. They develop more compassion for themselves and for others.

Although the results have been quite wonderful, there’s clearly a lot more that needs to be done. There are many more populations in need and a huge amount of negative psychological and physical effects that many clinicians misdiagnose.

--BOH: You started out with your own crisis of health and stress. Then you came up with EMDR, explored both the scientific and practical routes, and wanted to put it out in the world to help relieve suffering. Now we’ve got the organization built up so that it can respond to global situations. If we can make a big enough splash that we can create these ripples of connection and peace…
--FS: Yes. And part of the work is educating the public about what’s running them. My most recent book, Getting Past Your Past, is for laypeople to understand from the EMDR therapy perspective how so much of the pain and guilt and shame that they’re feeling is the result of unprocessed memories.

It’s a physical problem. It’s not like, “You should have snapped out of it,” or “Why can’t you adjust?” Everyone has an information processing system that’s supposed to take things to resolution, but if it gets overwhelmed because of a high level of disturbance, the memory of the event gets locked in the brain.

Those negative emotions and sensations and beliefs that occurred
when they were children, are still locked in because the memory simply can’t link up with anything more adaptive.

There is no shame in going to aphysician if you break your leg. Like wise, there should be no stigma in going to get therapy in order to make sure that you can achieve full mental health.

The book describes a variety of different problems, so that people can understand the dynamics and kinds of experiences that cause them. I lead readers through the EMDR therapy self-help techniques that people can use on their own, as well as certain processing that can be safely done at home.

Lots of people don’t have thereapists available or don’t believe in thereapy, but this allows them to have their own positive experiences and insights so that they can understand with more compassion for themselves and others.

The royalties for the book are going to the HAP and to the EMDR Research Foundation. It feels good that readers are both helping themselves and people all over the world.

Bill O’Hanlon, MS, has written more than 30 books, appeared on Oprah with his book Do One Thing Different, and has been a top-rated
presenter at psychotherapy conferences all over the world. He was a student of the late Milton H. Erickson, MD, and created Solution-Oriented
Therapy and Possibility Therapy. Find
him at http://billohanlon.com/.

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