Posts Tagged ‘Francine Shapiro’

EMDR Week in Denver, Colorado

Posted on: September 16th, 2014 by Maiberger Institute No Comments


In honor of the 2014 EMDRIA Conference in Denver, Colorado, and to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of EMDR, Mayor Michael B. Hancock has officially proclaimed September 15-21, 2014 as “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Week” in Denver, Colorado

Francine Shapiro, PhD — the founder of EMDR and the author of “Getting Past Your Past” — will be moderating the EMDRIA Conference’s Opening Address on Thursday, September 18th from 4:00pm-5:00pm, and will be available for media interviews and questions directly following.

Please contact EMDR International Association Executive Director, Mark G. Doherty, CAE, at [email protected] or 512.451.5200, to reserve your time with Dr. Shapiro.

Visit the EMDRIA Conference website for more details about conference and “EMDR Week” and use the hashtag #EMDRweek during the conference on Twitter.


Books Written by Francine Shapiro, PhD

Original Press Release:

Image Source: “Denver skyline” by Larry Johnson (Wiki CC)

Registration Open for 2014 EMDRIA Conference (Denver, CO)

Posted on: May 13th, 2014 by Maiberger Institute No Comments

2014 EMDRIA Conference

Registration for the 2014 EMDRIA Conference is officially open! The 2014 EMDRIA Conference will include a dynamic and remarkable line-up of educational sessions and networking events. Experience cutting edge sessions dealing with EMDR practice, research and education.

EMDR has grown and developed so much in these first 25 years. It is now known and integrated into clinician’s practices around the world. The Conference will highlight the broad applications of EMDR across cultures, diagnostic categories and throughout the lifespan.

The main Conference kicks off with an exciting plenary session featuring Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., the originator and developer of EMDR:

Barb Maiberger, MA, LPC and Dr. Arielle Schwartz, PhD will also be presenting at this year’s EMDRIA Conference:

Do not miss the chance to help the EMDR community celebrate 25 years of healing trauma!


Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center
650 15th Street
Denver, Colorado, 80202


​When: September 18-21, 2014


CEU’s Available: 22 Credits


Event Details:

  • View Registration Fees
  • View Workshop Schedule
  • View Hotel & Travel Information


Early Bird Rates:
Register by August 1st to receive the special Early Bird Discount!



EMDR International Association
5806 Mesa Drive, Suite 360
Austin, Texas 78731

Review of “EMDR” Documentary

Posted on: July 11th, 2012 by Maiberger Institute No Comments

In 2011, Michael Burns directed a documentary entitled “EMDR: A Documentary Film.” This documentary tells the story of how EMDR was discovered, how it works, and who it helps, through interviews with the founder of EMDR, therapists, researchers, and clients.

We are introduced to the founder of EMDR and her unique story of how she discovered EMDR. In the late 70’s Francine Shapiro was diagnosed with cancer, which influenced her to change her major in school from English Literature to exploring the mind/body connection in psychology. As she states in the movie, she began observing herself of what was happening in her thoughts, feelings, and body. In 1987, Francine Shapiro was walking in a park and noticed that she had a disturbing thought. Then noticed that when her eyes moved back and forth rapidly that the disturbing thought would go away. She would consciously try to bring the thought back up but found that it didn’t bother her as much. So she decided to duplicate this with her friends. She discovered that people had trouble moving their eyes back and forth on their own, so she started using her fingers to guide people’s eyes with this movement. From this experiment, she created a protocol that could be duplicated over and over that could help people feel better from traumatic events. She explains that people learn what they need to learn and let go of what isn’t useful to them anymore through this process.

Burns also interviewed Bessel van der Kolk, MD, Professor of Boston University and Medical School, author of “Traumatic Stress“. When van der Kolk first heard of EMDR, he though it sounded “silly” and then didn’t even consider it a viable therapy. One of his patients, who happened to be a therapist learning EMDR, had a session of EMDR in her training. She worked on an issue that he had worked with her on for four years in therapy. She found that session so helpful that van der Kolk had to start considering the usefulness of EMDR. Since that time his work of performing SPECT scans before and after EMDR are a huge contribution to the field of research that change occurs in the brain from the process.

Uri Bergmann, PhD, the author of “Neurobiological Foundations for EMDR Practice” also didn’t give EMDR much credence when he first heard of it. A colleague had brought him a paper on EMDR and he thought it was “crazy”. He was a trained hypnotist and behavioral medicine therapist. One of his clients had experienced a horrific trauma of being robbed and beaten severely. He was using hypnosis on her and he instructed her to notice what the odds were of this happening again. Unfortunately, it did happen again and he felt horrible. So he decided that he had to change his therapy with her and decided to try EMDR with her. The EMDR helped her to become symptom free by the end of her session, which surprised him and made him a believer in the power of EMDR. He is now a very important figure in the world of EMDR, looking at what happens in the brain during bilateral movement.

The movie also shares two stories from clients about the healing power of EMDR. One man lost his best friend, who felt like a brother to him, in a horrible event in New York. He was stuck with blaming himself for his friend’s death and became severely depressed. Since experiencing EMDR sessions, he knows this was a horrible event in his life, but that he wasn’t responsible for his friend’s death and that he can move on with his life knowing this truth.

Another heart wrenching story tells of two little boys who experienced extreme neglect and abuse in their early childhood years. They were put with a new family who understood they needed help healing from the horrors that they experienced. They were taken to a therapist for EMDR. The boys displayed lots of trauma responses such as fear of being in a basement, fear of noises, easily scared and not able to trust. Through the EMDR, they now know that the horror was in their past and not in their present situation. They are functioning at a much higher level then their other siblings who haven’t received any treatment.

Another topic covered in the movie is looking at war veterans. In 2008 the RAND Corporation released a study that 20% of military returning to home report symptoms of PTSD. There are a quarter of a million soldiers. That is a staggering number of people needing treatment. Maxine Trent, Coordinator for the “Home Front Project,” states that the military do well at training the soldiers how to stay alive while in war, but what they aren’t doing well at his helping them stay alive when they return home. There is a high suicide rate, high divorce rate, domestic violence increases, substance abuse and more. EMDR is critical for the soldiers to receive when returning to help them recover from the horrors of war.

The movie also has explanations of what happens in the brain when trauma occurs, why people become traumatized and how EMDR can help heal and repair this for people.

Over the years, Dr. Shapiro has been met with lots of resistance in the field of psychology, and she wanted to understand why. When she asked she was told, “The clinicians are too enthusiastic… nothing can work that well”. This was quite surprising that this would be a bad thing.

From my own experience teaching EMDR, the excitement that therapists gain from learning EMDR is priceless. It gives them a way of working that they feel good about, and that when they see change in their clients. It is very rewarding and satisfying.

One of my favorite quotes in the movie was from Helen Keller – “All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.”

I feel that EMDR is a catalyst for people overcoming their suffering. Allowing people’s own brain to do the healing through the process of EMDR. For more information on the making of the movie or to purchase it go to

If you have seen this documentary, we would love to hear your feedback in the comment section below.


2012 EMDRIA Conference Registration is Now OPEN

Posted on: May 30th, 2012 by Maiberger Institute 1 Comment

The 2012 EMDRIA Conference is open for registration and the theme will be “EMDR & Attachment: Healing Developmental Trauma”. It will be held Oct. 4 – 7, 2012 in Washington, D.C. It is a great opportunity to learn more about EMDR and network with fellow EMDR therapists from around the world. Over 800 therapists come to participate and the event will be held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott.

One of the speakers will be Dr. Stephen Porges. His work describes the importance of the polyvagal theory. This autonomic part of the nervous system contraols the heart and the face influencing emotions, gestures and communication. Dr. Rachel Yehuda will be speaking on who develops PTSD after trauma and who recovers from trauma-related symptoms but remain at risk for more symptoms. Dr Colin Ross, MD, will be presenting material on the links between trauma, dissociation and attachment. Dr. Francine Shapiro will be speaking on the AIP model of EMDR and the latest research, in addition to clinical cases. This is just a small sampling of who will be presenting this year.

Click HERE for the complete conference schedule.

If you register before August 1, 2012 you will receive an early bird discount. Fees will increase after that date. So don’t forget to register now. There are multiple ways to register!  You can Register Online or download the Printable Registration Form and send back to EMDRIA via FAX at 512.451.5256 or MAIL to EMDRIA, 5806 Mesa Drive, Suite 360, Austin, TX 78731.  You can view the conference schedule online or wait for your conference brochure to come in the mail at the end of the month.

For more information or questions regarding Conference Registration, please contact Lynn Simpson at [email protected].


Help the EMDR Research Foundation

Posted on: May 2nd, 2012 by Maiberger Institute No Comments

The EMDR Research Foundation is asking all EMDR therapists to spread the news about Dr. Francine Shapiro’s new book, “Getting Past Your Past.” This book has inspiring stories for the general public to understand EMDR. It also includes tools for people to use to help them feel more in control of their lives. They are suggesting that every EMDR therapist get the word out to everyone and start talking about this book.

The best part is, 50% of the royalties from the book are going to be donated to the EMDR Research Foundation. So any purchase of the book is going to help with funding new research for EMDR.

In these hard economic times, research funding is harder to find. This project will help keep EMDR vital and alive through research studies. Those who already believe in EMDR understand the importance of using EMDR with their clients. But there are still people out there who don’t know about the benefits of EMDR, and want more research on EMDR. Help today by purchasing this book.

You can also support the EMDR Research Foundation directly by donate to the EMDR Research Foundation:

EMDR Research Foundation
5806 Mesa Drive, Suite 360
Austin, TX 78731


Click HERE to read the Maiberger Institute’s review of this Francine Shapiro’s book, “Getting Past Your Past.”

Click HERE to purchase your copy of “Getting Past Your Past” and to help fund EMDR research.


Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy

Dr. Francine Shapiro’s  new book, “Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy,” is written in an easy to read format that brings life to many people’s stories of suffering and pain and how they relieved the pain with the use of EMDR. The book covers how to take care of yourself on a daily basis, some self-soothing tools, discusses how today’s problems may be linked to your past, and when you might want to reach out and get some EMDR therapy with a trained EMDR therapist.

Some of the stories covered in the book included people experiencing relief from:

  • Attachment issues
  • Phobias
  • Panic Disorder
  • Childhood Asthma
  • Phantom Limb
  • Body Image
  • ADHD
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Substance Abuse
  • War
  • Child Sexual abuse
  • Trauma in prison

Through these stories, she shares how an earlier childhood traumatic event set up a template in the brain for suffering and impacts your present day life. Dr. Shapiro teaches people how to find this earlier memory so that understanding of the origins can begin to bring the person some relief.

I think what she is emphasizing in this book is that EMDR can help people with many issues, and not just the big traumas that we are all familiar with; events that can happen in our childhood that don’t seem like big traumas, but are actually held in the brain/body as a trauma. It’s about learning that when something happens to us that we can’t process or digest, it will get stuck in the brain and keep us blocked and not feeling at peace.

Throughout the book, Dr. Shapiro explains the concept of the Adaptive Information Processing System (AIP), which is hardwired in our brain. It is a mechanism in the brain that takes something disturbing and processes it to become useful information to learn from. Through this process it also lets go of what isn’t useful to you. This learning process is what helps guide you in the future to make good decisions.

When we can’t process something it gets stuck in the brain as an unprocessed memory, which is held as a trauma in the brain. It gets stored with the images, emotions, beliefs, and body sensations that were occurring at the time. EMDR is used to help unlock the trauma so that it can be processed. EMDR utilizes bilateral stimulation (BLS) to help the brain do what it already knows how to do for healing. The Adaptive Information Processing System gets activated and healing can occur.

The brain is very efficient and will link similar stimuli together, creating a web of memories. The stimuli that can get linked are emotions, behaviors, beliefs and body sensations, events, similar people, etc. In EMDR therapy, this web of memories is explored so that true healing may occur.

In this book she takes people through the steps to find what she calls “Touchstone” memories: the blueprint for what is causing a disturbance today. What is important in this process, she states, is not to blame everyone for our pain, but to discover what couldn’t be processed then that can be processed now. Understanding is the beginning of figuring out what makes a person “tick” as she says.

Once you understand how to find the Touchstone memory you can make a log to keep track of the memories and events through a chart she calls TICES log.

You will note any current triggers with the disturbing images, beliefs, emotions, and rate it with how disturbing it is. Once you have this understanding you must then use one of the self-care techniques she describes to let go of that memory. Release it using tools that she describes in the book. It would be helpful to take this information in to an EMDR trained therapist to help you work on reprocessing this trauma. Awareness is great, but really working through it helps alleviate the suffering.

In terms of this being a self-help book, Dr. Shapiro includes exercises that are meant to calm the nervous system, relieve depression and anxiety. Examples of how these exercises were used are included. She also includes a way of tracking your self care plan. She recommends keeping a journal to make sure you are staying on track. She emphasizes what is important to do on a daily basis:

  • meditate
  • exercise
  • use your Safe Place
  • keep a log of triggers
  • do something positive, fun and relaxing
  • sleep
  • eat with awareness

Dr. Shapiro’s new book has some wonderful ideas on self-care as well as instructing people how to discover where their current suffering began. Through many stories of EMDR successes, people can get a sense of the power of EMDR therapy. It is important to note that reprocessing trauma is done with a trained and qualified therapist in EMDR.

If you find after reading this book, that you think EMDR would help you, go to “Find a Therapist” in this website for a referral.

If you are wondering if you might be suffering from trauma,and whether EMDR is right for you, we recommend taking our self-assessment test in our Learning Center.

If you read the book, we would love to hear your comments about the book on our blog.

You can purchase a copy of the book at our Store or at Amazon, and is available as a book and on Kindle.



EMDR Therapy Featured in New York Times

Posted on: March 14th, 2012 by Maiberger Institute No Comments

"A Stack of Newspapers" by DBduo Photography

The  March 2, 2012 edition of the New York Times featured a Q&A session with Dr. Francine Shapiro, the originator of EMDR, on the evidence on EMDR, one of the most highly researched therapies out there. She stated that the American Psychiatric Association (2004), Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense (2010), and other worldwide organizations recommend EMDR as an effective treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There have been 20 randomized controlled studies supporting the efficacy of EMDR.

Shapiro noted that the therapeutic relationship is important in therapy, but that EMDR really relies on the client’s own ability to heal which impacts the effectiveness of the treatment.  There were questions raised on the efficacy of EMDR, and whether the placebo effect – of just being with a supportive therapist – could be the reason EMDR has been effective.  Shapiro presented a study that was specifically designed to test the placebo effect, and demonstrated that the protocol is effective, and not because of the placebo effect. She also stated that client’s expectations of positive results did not impact the study either.

There were questions about the effectiveness of the bilateral stimulation and whether it is the exposure to the fear that allows the person to heal. This brought up an interesting discussion on the difference between exposure therapy and EMDR.

During reprocessing in EMDR, the client brings up something disturbing, and bilateral stimulation is added to a brief process. New material will keep emerging and the therapist guides the client through this process until all the material is no longer disturbing. Some exposure therapists believe that this brief exposure should make the client feel worse.

Unlike exposure therapy, an EMDR client does not have to tell the details of the event, and does not have “homework” of reviewing the traumatic event. In prolonged exposure therapy the client describes in detail the event as if reliving it. The story is repeated several times, and sometimes the client listens to the recording of the session at home as homework. This allows for habituation over time

A study (Ironson et al, 2002) found that 70% of the EMDR had good outcomes after 3 sessions compared to Exposure therapy where 17% of those in prolonged exposure group had good outcomes. Both have been found to be effective, but EMDR allowed the client to have less exposure to the traumatic event and no homework of listening to the event over and over.

The big question that always comes up when talking about EMDR, are the eye movements really are as effective as EMDR reports. This is still a controversial area.  Some say that the eye movements interfere with the working memory processes (van den Hout et el, 2011) and another study links the same processes that occur during REM sleep (Stickgold, 2002).  These reports show that the eye movements lessen the emotion and vividness of memories and help the client relax more. They also found the clients felt they had a better understanding of the truth of the event once they finished processing.

EMDR has been around for 20 years now, and there is some good research to support its use with the healing of trauma. The importance of more research being done will help answer the unknowns, and help more people to accept EMDR as a researched based therapy.

As I teach more around the country, I still here stories of therapists believing that there is no research to back up the efficacy of EMDR. I hope Dr. Shapiro will have more press time to spread the word to help solidify EMDR as solid trauma therapy. I am lucky to live in a city that embraces EMDR, and that therapists and clients ask for more all the time.

For those of you who have never heard Dr. Shapiro speak, she will be presenting at the 2012 EMDRIA Conference in Washington DC this year. It is a wonderful chance to hear from the originator of what she thinks is important in the development of this work.


Click HERE for information about the 2012 EMDRIA Conference.

Click HERE to read the New York Times article.


Dr. Francine Shapiro was a keynote speaker at the 2011 EMDRIA Conference. She emphasized that Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) is still the working hypothesis in why EMDR works. The wonderful part of EMDR therapy is that the client’s brain has inherent wisdom of how to heal. The bilateral stimulation used in EMDR therapy helps activate this inherent wisdom of the brain, so that the client can heal from traumatic events. Dysfunctional symptoms decrease and clients feel more positive about themselves.

EMDR therapy works on three levels:

  1. working on the past traumatic event
  2. any present day triggers, issues or symptoms
  3. future fears

When traumatic material is worked on in each of these levels, the memory integrates fully so that the client feels at peace with the past, empowered in the present, and able to make choices for the future. This is done in 8 Phases of treatment so that client feels ready, safe, and resourced to be able to do this work.

Important in this process is the rapport between the client and therapist. This connection allows clients to feel support enabling them to trust that they are capable of moving through past traumas.

Dr. Shapiro shared a story of what a client said about EMDR: “My therapist is the banister of the stairs that I climb.” This is a beautiful metaphor of how the therapist is there to support the client as the client is navigating traumatic material. The lasting effects of EMDR can change one’s life profoundly. Clients report that they relate to others in new ways, see new possibilities in their lives, feel stronger about themselves, and find a deeper appreciation for life

The last thing that Dr. Shapiro emphasized was the continued need for research in the field of EMDR, and that funding is necessary because of cutbacks. Anyone who can dedicate money for research should contact the EMDR Research Foundation ( Also, any research that can be done in your practice can benefit the support of EMDR throughout the world. The research foundation can help guide you on how to set-up case studies in your own practice.

I encourage those of you who have never attended an EMDRIA conference to check it out in 2012 in Washington DC. And those of you who did attend this year, to share the knowledge your learned with your fellow colleagues through networking events and consultation groups. Or you can comment on this blog.

Together we can support each other to make a difference in the world.


Click HERE if you like to make a donation to the EMDR Research Foundation:

Click HERE if you would like to attend the 2012 EMDRIA Conference:


Recap of 2011 EMDRIA Conference

Posted on: September 7th, 2011 by Maiberger Institute 1 Comment

I recently attended the 2011 EMDRIA Conference: “Healing the Many Faces of Trauma” in Orange County, California where nearly 900 EMDR therapists came together to learn more about EMDR. There were many wonderful topics and incredible speakers in this four-day event.

Some of the highlights were hearing Dr. Francine Shapiro speak on the updates in research in EMDR. She showed some powerful videos of therapists around the world helping people move through trauma with EMDR. Another important speaker was Daniel Siegel, author of “Mindsight,” helping therapists understand the science of healing and the power of meditation.

I also heard topics on:

  • “Breaking Impulse-Control Disorders” presented by Dr. Robert Miller
  • “Targeting Oppression, Presented” by Uri Bergmann, Diane DesPlantes, Sharon Enjady, Joseph Fitzgerald, K. Olivia Janis, Alicia Avila Outcalt
  • “EMDR and the ICONN Protocol for Schizophrenia” presented by Dr. Paul Miller
  • “Repairing the Attachment System Through the Use of EMDR, Play and Creativity” presented by Ana Gomez
  • “Sex Addiction Treatment” presented by Dr. Melissa Perrin

There were many presenters to choose from and I always am torn of which ones to attend since I want to hear everything!

Along with some great information, I got to network with some of my favorite EMDR mentors such as Laurel Parnell, author of “Tapping In,” and “A Therapist’s Guide to EMDR,” and Robin Shapiro, editor of “EMDR Solutions” and “EMDR Solutions II“.  Both women have made powerful contributions to the field of EMDR, and helping therapists advance their skills. I always enjoy catching up with what they are now doing!

As you can see it was a full four days of networking with other EMDR trainers and finding out what is new in EMDR. I highly recommend that if you are an EMDR therapist that you attend next year’s event in Washington DC, Oct. 4 – 7, 2012.

Go to for more information.