When I first “met” EMDR, it was the mid 1990’s. This was long before I was a therapist. My mom was going to school to become a psychologist. I was in my 20’s and would indulge her in being one of her guinea pigs for her classes. She gave me the Rorschach test, the TAT (Thematic Apperception Test) and the Wechsler IQ test. There’s nothing more embarrassing than telling your mother that an inkblot looks like a penis. During her doctoral program, my mom learned about EMDR – eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy. Back then, it was not well respected. People in the psychological community laughed at it. They said it was “voodoo” and just plain silly. My mother, for some reason, thought it was great. She fought to use it as her doctoral dissertation (they almost wouldn’t let her). I was, of course, one of her guinea pigs once again. We picked something “easy” as a test. I always had problems swallowing pills – ever since I was young. I was afraid I was going to choke. We used this as my “target” memory – so I thought about a time that I needed to swallow pills. She asked me to picture what the worst part about the memory was. “The pills are in my mouth and I’m about to swallow and then I start choking on them.” Then she asked me what my negative thought about myself was. “I can’t do it.” “I’m going to choke.” What positive thought about yourself would you like to believe instead? “I can do this.” How true do those words feel on a scale of 1 to 7 with 7 being completely true and 1 being completely false? “1” What are the emotions? “Fear.” How strong are they on a scale of 0 to 10 with 10 being the highest? “8” Where do you notice that in your body? “In my throat.” Then she said “go with that and follow my fingers” and she waved her fingers in front of my face. I, of course, started laughing. I couldn’t help it! (After all these years, I have finally figured out why I laughed every time she did that with me – it’s one of my defense mechanisms). Well, I had my doubts that anything would change. I mean, here’s my mom waving her fingers in front of my face! I still laugh at the image – who would believe that it actually worked? And yes, it worked. To this day, I do not have problems swallowing pills. I do not have a feeling of choking in my body. I do not have a negative thought that I can’t do it. All of that – gone. About 10 years later, I met EMDR again. This time with my own therapist and not my mother. By this time, I was in school to become a therapist. I knew I was going to run into problems if I didn’t clean out my emotional closet, per se. I had done talk therapy and while it was helpful in the beginning, there came a point where it wasn’t really helping. I still felt depressed and lacked motivation and self-esteem. I was not a happy person. I wasn’t getting any closer to getting out of my rut. EMDR was a game changer. Using EMDR in therapy allowed me the time and space to really learn about myself. A therapist wasn’t telling me who I was – I got to figure that out. Plus, some things can’t be learned in a classroom type way. Some things are learned by experiencing. What I learned would have never been possible if I was just staying up in my head and thinking (and believe me, I was up there a lot). Then I learned EMDR as a practitioner. Again, game changer. This time, it transformed the work I do as a therapist. I would go so far as to say that without EMDR in my life, I would not be the person I am today. Not even close. What have been game changers in your life? Are you ready for a change? If you’re wondering if EMDR is for you, check out these questions on the Resources Page. If you feel like you could use some EMDR in your life and you are interested in talking to me about it, click the button below to set up a free 20 minute consultation. I’d be happy to talk to you about it!