Dr. Francine Shapiro passed away June 16, 2019. You may have already heard the news, but some people have not. I don’t have a lot of words, so it has been difficult to put this post together and taken a year to do so.
Francine was always driven to put EMDR into the hands of as many clinicians as possible because of how it relieves suffering. It is like nothing else. I have seen so much relief in suffering resulting in dramatic personality changes for so many clients over the decades.
Francine pushed to get research done. Pushed to get EMDR therapy accepted by insurance companies. Pushed to get EMDR recognized by so many professional organizations worldwide. She was relentless and never tiring.
I am grateful she released the last update of her book in 2017. There have been so many ongoing changes over the years.
In 1991 a mentor of mine, who was trained by Carl Whitaker, MD, called me up and told me about a new weird treatment approach for trauma that seemed to be getting some good results. I trust Deb’s instincts, so I signed up. I was taking my first body centered psychotherapy training at the time and really lucked out. Everything they were teaching me in there applied to EMDR. Staying out of the client’s way and only using a word or two to contact and access the client’s core experience.
Francine had only been teaching EMDR for two years, it was in its infancy. My manual was only ¼ inch thick, if that. I was working in community mental health at the time and was getting mixed results. So, EMDR went by the wayside for me about a year later. Then I ran into a student of mine from a course I use to teach who told me a lot had changed. I took Part 2 (what it was called back then) of the training again. Then I applied to become a facilitator and started Facilitating for Francine in 1995. I have had the privilege to experience the ongoing evolution of EMDR from a technique to EMDR therapy, its own unique form of therapy.
Since all of our behavior and reactions to things is driven by our past experiences, Dr. Shapiro recognized what a profound contribution EMDR therapy can be to restoring peace, both individually and collectively. I have witnessed profound changes in perspectives with my clients once their traumatic history is no longer driving them. How they can see more options in their life. Very often I hear, “I can now see how that experience completely drove my view of the world.” Or, “I could not see anything else because I was stuck in that experience.” It is sooooo exciting to see options open up for my clients and more ease in their lives.
Thank you, Dr. Shapiro, for this profound contribution!