(2000, revised 2007)
In February, 1996, during one of my first EMDR practice sessions with a client, I witnessed the true meaning of the term “client flooding.” Confronted with a massive dark force that manifested before my eyes in my office, I realized this mass of energy was being released from my client. Thus began my first introduction to energy awareness and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). This particular energy chilled me with the realization of its power, and the impact of EMDR. Provoking, stimulating, enhancing the healing process, EMDR delves deep into the recesses of the unconscious—what Shamans call “the Great Void.”
“Fran,” a woman in her late thirties, came to me shortly after her husband’s suicide. She was the first to find his body. He left her with children to care for who were also traumatized by his death. Her life history provided information of prior stresses that complicated her trauma. Feeling she had to be strong for everyone around her, she came to me because she was losing her resolve. She could no longer function in her career. She could no longer be the responsible, professional businesswoman everyone expected—that she expected of herself. When she broke down and called in sick for work the first time in her life, she called me for help.
Fran’s life-long beliefs were identified from her life’s story. She swallowed a lot of “hot air” from her early caregivers, and it manifested in stomach problems. Anger was identified as the core energy of disturbance, and she felt it in her solar plexus—the chakra relating to personal power and self-esteem. After her preparation for EMDR and creating a safe place to heal, her third session proved to be memorable for both of us!
As she concentrated on the anger in her body, and the thought “he deserted me,” a tremendous force of energy began to move inside her. She imaged concentric rings of darkness, resembling the winds of a tornado. It seemed to spring from a chasm, deep inside, spinning upward, pushing outward, and seemed to have a mind of its own! After validating its presence, she demanded it leave her body.
As Fran described how her tornado “turned and whirled” her voice growled in a deeper tone than normal, and I noticed her eyes darken and glisten. The hairs on my arms began to bristle, and my mind flashed to scenes of The Exorcist. Feeling my own heart pound, I asked if she wanted to slow down and breathe, maybe stop for a moment. She moaned a loud “NO!” and her eyes widened and darkened. “It has to come out, it has to come out!” she stated emphatically. I forced myself to center, keeping vigil over her inhaling and exhaling. I observed her cheeks redden as she puffed breath out of her mouth in short bursts, blowing harder and harder with each exhalation. I watched her sweat and heard her cry, groan and even growl at times. I knew I had to support the process—and had to stay as calm as possible.
As I looked on in awe, she began releasing a foggy dark air out of her body. I saw the room darken, and felt goose-bumps while I watched her continue to blow away the remaining energy. Helping her image it going out the window, I offered, “Let the winds take it away, let it recycle into something good, somewhere else—” I wondered where this energy was going, and it concerned me. It was the beginning of my realization that a conscious transformation of energy is essential to the healing process—an element of Pranic healing that is now used in Shiome Therapy.
When it was over, she slumped in the chair and took a few minutes to find her balance. The room had brightened. “I don’t know what just happened,” she remarked, “but this EMDR stuff is wild!” Her face and eyes were softer, coming back to normal. In our eye contact was an unspoken, special bond of a shared intimacy. Fran smiled and felt lighter and brighter when she left. When I called her in 1999, for permission to tell her story, she told me she was presently in a loving relationship, her business was going great, and her children’s lives were filled with positive experiences. (I had seen each child briefly for an EMDR session after her treatment.) I visualized her grinning smile as she laughingly said, “I’ll never forget that tornado!” How polar opposite to the look on her face when it was released!
I learned a great lesson with Fran’s session. Its impact remains to this day. It reminds me to tell you to be cautious in your desire to experience EMDR. There is significant reason to understand the advice: “Make sure you are in the hands of the well-trained and certified, licensed practitioner.” In the hands of the untrained, it can be frightening. In the hands of an experienced clinician, you may receive a profound transformation, from darkness to light.
It could have gone either way that day. Had I not been trained to “expect the unexpected,” and had I not been an experienced clinician, who knows what could have happened? Since Fran, I have not encountered the extreme intensity of the dark tornado, yet I find that each person has a profoundly interesting, different, divine session–from mild to intense. With Fran, I learned a great lesson quickly, and gratefully, in the beginning of my practice of EMDR.
It is over a decade, and thousands of session hours of practice, since my introduction to EMDR and the dark tornado session. I find EMDR and bi-lateral brain stimulation to be a technique that can bring us to the deepest roots of our most traumatic moments quickly, and I’m fortunate to have been guided to learn spiritual techniques and scientific technological advances—from Yoga to Energy Psychology—to assist in keeping my clients safe in the process. I’ve been blessed to serve in so many cases, and I believe Fran’s session gave me the deepest and most humbling respect for EMDR and Energy Awareness.
Since Fran, I’ve learned tornados can be transformed to tulips, and the Light is always more powerful than the dark when one desires to heal. I’ve learned that our Spirit is willing and able to transform any disturbing energy, and if we do not learn from our pain, it can return in other forms and hide in other places—often fooling us in the process. I’ve learned that Awareness is the key to healing, and healing is the key to inner peace. I’ve learned that profound advances in energy psychology and body/mind/spirit energy techniques can help us heal more quickly and have less disturbing side-effects than practicing EMDR alone.
We have choices now regarding how we want to experience EMDR and any other healing modality. Educate yourself and trust your intuition. Choose experienced healers and clinicians who care. The greatest healer of all is your very own Self. Please don’t let a little tornado prevent you from experiencing the peace that arises after the storm. The fun in the sun is so much worth the journey through the dark!