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

ByFrancine Shapiro

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
If you need to be convinced that your past is controlling your daily life then this is a great read with literally 300 pages of various cases where EMDR has healed past memories so the client can now live free from there present condition. However, it will be disappointing if you are looking to know how to do EMDR by reading the book. What is good though, is the detailed description of the techniques used to get in touch with your past. If you wondered if EMDR was an effective form of therapy then this will be interesting.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
linzi kelsey
For some this might be a great resource but for me, I don't understand how it can be helpful for a person with DID/MPD. A person with DID/MPD does not have control over their alters. Example: a guy gets frustrated and is unable to do pubic speaking. The reason was humiliation he suffered as a child. Once he works through that, he is able to do public speaking. That has nothing to do with DID/MPD. This may be a good resource for some people but not those for whom it is taunted to be for.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lauren harvey
"Others who have deep professional knowledge of psychotherapy have commented here on the extraordinary power of EMDR therapy. That is well established.

I know Francine to be a naturally compassionate person who truly cares about others. This book is her way of helping those who suffer. It is generous beyond measure, and I hope it sells a zillion copies!"
Hope and Help for Your Nerves :: How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair - A Compact Manual for the Unfaithful :: I Don't Need Help! How to Help Someone with Mental Illness Accept Treatment. 10th Anniversary Edition. :: The Thief of Always :: God Help the Child (Vintage International)
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
stella benezra
good resource, the service with the store was smooth, and the book arrived in days.
getting folks to get beyond their past is what goes on in many therapy sessions.
FS perspective and protocols are helpful.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
amanda baldwin
In her latest book, Getting Past Your Past, Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy, Francine Shapiro, PhD, brings the remarkable contributions of EMDR to clinicians and laypeople alike. The lives of many individuals have been transformed since Dr. Shapiro's historic walk in the park in Los Gatos, CA in the late 1980s. With compassion, caring, insight, and integrity, she presents some of their stories before and after EMDR. She generously shares self-healing techniques to assist readers in beginning their own healing journeys. This book can enlighten and strengthen individuals by encouraging them to explore past experiences in the present so they can be freer and more empowered in the future.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
josh hager
I hate to leave a negative review for this book - but it just didn't live up to my expectations. There are far, far, far too many case studies - which I found completely useless! I found myself wanting to get to the point and "meat" of the book and it just never happened. This book could be better but it's in serious need of a lot of editing.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
dawn trovato
Dr. Francine Shapiro once again has inspired us to "get past our past" and find freedom from the memories of hardship and adversity that continue to be the lenses through which we still see and interpret the present. This is an excellent volume that will be helpful to clinicians and people seeking healing. Dr. Shapiro has done an excellent job providing self-help strategies grounded in the principles and core of EMDR therapy while making it clear that it is not intended to replace the therapeutic work done with an EMDR trained practitioner. This is definitely a book to have, and a book to give to anyone we care about!
Ana M Gomez, MC, LPC
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
kristen northrup
This book is very intense and perhaps should be used as a study guide for those majoring in Counseling in college.....it is hard to read and very intense. But the book was in good condition and happy with business with seller.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
fatemeh tehrani
I have no idea why this book received so many positive reviews. For one, the description is very misleading, implying that this book will teach you how to use EMDR therapy. It does not. However, the author waits until page 148 to tell you that. It says clearly on page 148 that, "EMDR needs to be conducted with the care of a trained and licensed therapist." It teaches you other self-help techniques which, in my opinion, are pretty useless. If you are interested in psychotherapy that you actually can learn and use on your own, try Self-Therapy by Jay Earley. His techniques are highly effective and useful, and he provides a detailed outline for how to use this therapy process on your own, without the supervision of a therapist.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
bill rapp
I returned it after reading a few chapter, it seem NO way you do emdr on yourself.

The other thing I do not like it, for every reaction in the past, you have to dig out the early memory, you know we human are like to merge illusion with memory, how do you know the memory are true?

For those like to find DIY self help I recommend body-mind bridging technical, at least I can test myself and result is good.
The other good technical I found so far is behavior experiment, of CBT, you can DIY and get some results
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Highly recommend this book. Great Price for awesome product. Will definitely recommend this item to friends and family. And if I ever need another one for any reason, I'm glad it's available on the store at such a reasonable price. Thanks again. ** Two Thumbs Up **
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

"While EMDR therapy needs to be conducted with the help of a trained and licensed therapist, you can use on of its components for self-care. YOU CANNOT DO MEMORY PROCESSING [caps mine], which needs all of the EMDR therapy procedures."

Please read the sentence above carefully. What she is saying is that you CANNOT do EMDR on your own. At least she's honest about this, but what it amounts to is the following argument:

1. Your problems are caused by 'unprocessed' memories.
2. Your problems can be solved by 'processing' these memories.
3. The way to process these memories is by doing EMDR.
4. You cannot do EMDR alone.


5. You need a trained EMDR therapist.

Whether EMDR with a therapist works or not is not my point here. I have a had a few sessions with an EMDR therapist and found them valuable.

Further, the book is poorly written. She would have done well to follow the old advice of "Tell them what you're going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you just told them."

There is no overview or summary of the method, either at the beginning or at the end of the book. There are no chapter titles at the top of the pages, the font is uniform and monotonous. No use is made of visual aids such as boxes, diagrams and so forth to make the material more 'processable.'

The style and tone follow the hackneyed "Susan had tried one therapist after another with no success..." school of self-help book writing.

If you want an alternative book that is really about "Getting Past Your Past" try the classic "Reinventing Your Life" by Jeffrey Young, et al.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
katherine ellis
**Please note error in the EMDR BOOK - IT'S FOR THE TEACHERS. I RETURNED IT.

As for Getting Past Your Past -- Especially because I am an LCSW clinician, I expected more inclusive coverage of this debilitating bunch of disorder, and I wanted more thorough information in each chapter and in the book in general.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Did not deliver...very vague. She stated in the introduction how she became aware of this technique...EMDR. Never did explain specifics of the development or any practicle use? She gave plenty examples but very difficult to understand how it relates to this therapy.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
jim leftwich
opinionated and didactic, and a little kabalistic. she talks as if she has a magic bullet, and to my mind her examples are sensationalistic and misleading. It is also repetitive and therefore boring. My biggest complaint, though, due to the fact that I am familiar with this therapy, is that she makes up theories to explain why it works (it does work at least to some extent and for some period of time), when neither she nor anyone else knows why in terms of the mind and the brain. In short, too much baloney. Just try EMDR if a trauma is giving you much mental pain. That's all that has to be said.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
emily sacharow
This presents itself as a self-help book that will show you how to take control of your life. It does not do that. It provides a few simple basic techniques (tapping, butterfly hug) without going into any depth about them, and without discussing other techniques (like eye movement, for example; is it me, or is that not ironic? )
This book is more of a discussion of trauma and its effects. If you know nothing about trauma, it's a good introduction. If you're really looking for the kind of help this book purports to offer, it will leave you disappointed. Even its directions are lacking: for example, when discussing the tapping technique, it says 'tap each side 4 to 6 times." Does this mean tap one side one time and then the other one time, alternting back and forth 4-6 times, or does it mean tap one side 4-6 times and then tap the other 4-6 times, once? Shapiro is the originator of this technique; this is her lay-audience book. It has a lot of those mind-numbing psych-text anecdotes about Bob and Linda, etc, without getting down to something of real substance. A real let-down.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I first talked with Dr. Francine Shapiro about EMDR back in 2001 when her Humanitarian Assisstance Program was gearing up to work with emergency personnel and survivors of the 9/11 attacks. I found it a fascinating and important subject then, and was recently delighted to hear about this new book which explains in detail and in plain language, using real life examples, how EMDR works.

EMDR is best known for its effectiveness in treating people who have experienced major trauma--like natural disasters, war, rape or other crime, an abusive childhood and so on--quickly and hence inexpensively.

But what about the rest of us? Fortunately most of us are not combat veterans or rape victims. We may have made a few bad decisions in our lives, or occasionally have nagging thoughts about the past. Maybe a certain type of person always pushes our buttons, perhaps we find ourselves becoming anxious in situations that don't bother most people, or we may have trouble relaxing, concentrating or sleeping. Can EMDR work for us? This book shows how it can.

The book is enjoyable to read, and the exercises are easy to understand and to do. I have read a number of self-help books over the years, and this is certainly one of the best. I highly recommend it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I personally believe that EMDR finally gives us that "now what" for therapists and clients to actively work on the negative thoughts and feelings instead of just talking about them forever (not that talk therapy doesn't work, it does for some. It simply maintains a certain level for most IMO). It explains why a kid from a great home/environment may grow up to have major problems and why a kid from a difficult upbringing may grow up and be able to function well - traumatic event vs natural reprocessing. As a trainee in this technique, I'm considering being primarily an EMDR therapist even if there's a reason why a client can't actually work on reprocessing (not everyone can tolerate the process of reprocessing right off). That said, I thought this book was good, not great. As a book designed for the layperson, don't expect any real self help techniques using EMDR. Expect techniques for self calming and stress reduction and a lot of case studies which eventually feel like a big advertisement to go get EMDR therapy through a professional. The techniques in this book are pretty much preparation for the initial part of EMDR but not really anything for self treatment. I firmly believe that everyone should complete the full process of EMDR at least once if for nothing other than self growth. And as EMDR is a complex technique, that would have to be done with a trained professional. I really love the logic and process behind EMDR. But I had to take one star off because this book is misleading in that EMDR is not a self directed process. This book may lead a reader to think there are some self guided techniques to learn while it simply consists of self calming techniques and encouragement to see a professional to get EMDR therapy. But by all means, read it and decide if EMDR would help you to get past your past. Just don't think you're going to conduct EMDR therapy on yourself and others without the training this book does not provide.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jessie chapman
I really enjoyed the audio version of this book. I feel like it gave some very helpful tips and advice on how to deal with unprocessed memories. I first heard about EMDR from an intake with a therapist who believed I had PTSD from several sources throughout my life. However this therapist did not have hours that would work for me and I was unable to find an EMDR therapist in the area that does so I went seeking a way to handle it on my own. My only complaint about this book is that while it gives you a lot of information on how to pinpoint which memories are unprocessed, she never really tells you how to process them. Rather she says you can process them with a therapist. My therapist (who is a pHd level psychologist so more than qualified) is not trained in EMDR and like I said, I cannot find one in this area who is. So I'm still not sure what to do with the information now that I have it. But definitely a great read, nonetheless.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sky bray
It's not as if Francine Shapiro, the author of this important new book, hasn't already given more than a life's worth of gifts to us through the blessing of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). Now she shares with us this marvel of a jewel that is a virtual manual for removing the effects of past pain and abuse and finding a deep inner peace. It puts a powerful self-healing tool into the hands of everyone - even those who don't have or can't afford a qualified therapist.
Not long after I met Dr. Shapiro for the first time at a training I was teaching in hypnosis and age regression techniques back in the 1980s, she began stopping by my office to share her remarkable research. She showed me videos of Vietnam Vets who had been suffering the effects of PTSD (flashbacks, insomnia, social avoidance) for more than ten years. As they responded to her carefully structured questions about their inner experiences and memories, she moved a finger back and forth in front of their eyes. Within as few as two or three sessions their symptoms would disappear. Each time she visited there were even more amazing things happening.
Soon she had developed a protocol and was teaching classes in how to apply this tool in a therapy session. I hurried to become certified, and now, some 25 years later, I have used this tool thousands of times - nearly always successfully, and often remarkably so. The principles of EMDR Therapy have become important elements in my practice of mind-body medicine and psychotherapy, as it has in the practices of so many others. I have integrated EMDR therapy with my cognitive restructuring and guided imagery approaches with remarkable success.
Dr. Shapiro is one of the most caring, compassionate, and generous people I know, and the intimate look at her work and her thinking offered here in Getting Past Your Past, clearly reveals the heart and soul she brings to her work. She starts the reader from scratch, offering opportunities to experience the magic of this transformational approach at once! The multitude of fascinating stories she tells of how people with different issues apply these tools then show us how we can apply the wisdom of this wonderful set of perspectives and tools in our personal lives.
Gently, step by step, we are introduced to gradually increasing levels of self-awareness - with the result that soon it is quite possible to examine some of the upsetting issues from the past without undue stress, and then create balance in an incredibly simple and most non-threatening way - like tapping on your knees or giving yourself hug-taps for instance! For the nervous public speaker, battered wife, stressed out businessman or simply someone who wants to relieve the blocks to their creativity and happiness or hasten the resolution of their physical illness - here's how you can explore yourself and your past, using a most wise and kind set of self-applied skills.
Each of us is aware that whether we have conscious memories of them or not, we have had experiences that have limited us, made us ill or unhappy, and blocked our abilities to create and be happy. That is, as Dr. Shapiro explains, because these memories are unprocessed. The reader soon learns how these unprocessed memories exert their enormous control over our lives, filling us with rage, pain, hate, despair, or fear, and blind us to the incredible healing that is always just one decision away.
The clinician or student will be intrigued and enlightened by a multitude of examples drawn from her clinical experience that help to reveal the subtleties, beauty, power and wisdom of this approach and those suffering from wounds of the past will find freedom from applying them.
And as if that weren't enough, Dr. Shapiro is offering this soon-to-be-a-best-seller and classic as a benefit for the humanitarian nonprofit organization she founded, HAP. I recommend it highly: try this book on - you will feel better for it.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
jess waddell
This book was:
50% advertising for how wonderful EMDR is.

25% Random ramblings about general things with no specifics, written like a 7th grade report on psychology. For instance, if you are in a relationship, communication is important. Communication helps relationships. If you don't communicate enough, communicate more.

24% The message that if you are experiencing discomfort now, it probably reminds you of something bad that happened in the past. Told over and over again in different ways. Figure out what that is by thinking of your problem and thinking about what it reminds you of in the past. It’s not a technique really, more like common sense.

1 % techniques that are nothing new, mostly visualizations.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
michael dalton
Once I received the book, I was disappointed. I had been led to believe that it was a book that would allow the reader to learn to use EMDR technique. What it seemed to contain was case study after case study, but no real instruction on how to perform the technique.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
nicole williams
I am trained to do EMDR and it is among several other techniques a viable therapy tool. HOWEVER, to call this a self help book is more than deceiving. Of the 300 pages, approxiamately 30 related to self help and the 270 remaining pages were advertisements for EMDR. My only reason for giving it 3 stars is that it is very readable, it does relate strongly to the understanding of the importance of the past in the present. and it does give people hope for change. All of this is very important. However I do find it deceptive in that it calls itself a self help book and implies that you can use EMDR in your own bedroom. Possibly. However I can also see that people who are unable to access the techniques could end up feeling more a failure and more hopeless or even worse get retraumatized.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Right from the beginning In "Getting Past Your Past: Taking Control of Your Life With Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy" Dr. Francine Shapiro presents the reader with a completion experiment. She supplies us with the first three words of a nursery rhyme familiar to most North Americans: "Roses are red."

Chances are you'll automatically say "Violets are blue" and finish the rhyme: "Sugar is sweet / And so are you".
For people born in the United States, she says, it's basically the equivalent of a knee-jerk response. You probably first heard the rhyme many years ago, as a child. You respond automatically to something that's stored in your brain.

Of course, Shapiro says, your response wasn't a critical evaluation of the rhyme; you just said what comes to mind: "...your mind just moved along with a response as if it were true," she says. Of course, it's not true: Some roses are pink, some are yellow, etc. And violets ARE NOT blue! They're PURPLE! And many people -- especially those who uttered thoughtless things to you as a child, or ignored you when you were scared, or beat you or sexually abused you -- aren't so sweet. People are a lot more complicated than that.

The nursery rhyme didn't cause you any problems in later years, Shapiro says, but the same mind/brain processes that "allow us to recognize a rhyme, or sing along with a tune we haven't heard in 20 years are the ones that can drown us in the misery of anxiety, depression, heartache and at times physical pain."

These "unprocessed memories" can pop up anytime and can color our view of every situation we encounter. They can make us feel unattractive when we're not, Shapiro says: "Depressed when everyone around us is happy." They can cause physical pain. And they can make us do inappropriate things.

"Getting Past Your Past" explains how our personalities develop and why we become trapped into feeling, believing and acting in ways that don't serve us. Through dozens of case studies, accompanied by exercises that readers can perform themselves, Shapiro helps us learn to understand themselves, and why the people in their lives act the way they do. Most importantly, readers will also learn techniques to improve their relationships, break through emotional barriers, overcome limitations and excel in ways taught to Olympic athletes, successful executives and performers.

I've read a lot of self-help books -- and just as quickly forgotten most of them. I found "Getting Past Your Past" very much of a keeper in large part because of the case examples of people like Justine, Ben and Stacey -- at the very beginning of the book -- that Shapiro presents.

Shapiro describes Justine as "a beautiful, intelligent woman" who keeps picking the wrong men, and when they try to break up with her, she throws herself on the floor, clutching their legs, begging them not to leave.

Ben is described as a successful businessman. So why is he hit with anxiety whenever he has to make a presentation?

"Stacey has been trying one therapist after another for years to discover why she has an almost constant feeling of dread, fears of abandonment and an eating disorder" Shapiro tells us. "Strangest of all, she has repeated images of the color red and a candle. It makes no sense to her, but it has been going on for as long as she can remember."

Shapiro proceeds to explain what makes Justine, Ben and Stacey behave the way they do. Here's a hint (you must read the book for more!): Their present-day problems are triggered by unprocessed memories.

EMDR therapy has been widely accepted by the criminal justice system, proving that it passes the success test. In a comparison between EMDR and group therapy plus self-monitoring for sexual molesters (Page 240) EMDR has shown to be beneficial in nine out of 10 molesters, Shapiro says.

EMDR therapy is also successful in treating abusive spouses, 85 percent of whom are male, Shapiro writes (Pages 233-235) describing the case of Marie and Jacques.

In Appendix A Shapiro provides a glossary of EMDR therapy terms and a very extensive bibliography and a list of resources. EMDR is a worldwide phenomenon and foreign resources are included.

The book is a self-help guide, but in many cases a therapist is necessary: Shapiro writes that "therapists can be like coaches. They know how to help guide you so that the power of your own system can take over. Once it does, you can be off and running on your own. If unprocessed memories are blocking your ability to excel, then consider therapist assistance." Appendix B offers guidelines on choosing an EMDR clinician. She says in this section it's important to make sure the clinician has taken a course approved by the EMDR professional association in your area.

"Getting Past Your Past" is written in a very accessible style, making it the ideal lay person's user's guide from the creator of a scientifically proven form of psychotherapy that has successfully treated millions of people worldwide.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
harvin bedenbaugh
This book explains how the human emotional suffering comes in to existence and then explains how the reolve it. This will be a book for ages to come, and will be valid as long as mankind will be on earth. It explains how traumatic experiences that our brain could not properly process remain frozen as traumatic memories that will basicly run our lives.. This book explains how to find these memories and has useful exercises to prepare for the emdr-session, where one can resolve them.

BUY THIS BOOK NOW, YOU WONT REGRET IT, AND TELL EVERYONE ABOUT IT, and im saying this without self-interest, simply because it is THE self-help book for ages, decades, centuries to come. I cant express enough admiration for the lady that wrote this wonderful book and single handedly resolved the human emotional problem!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
heather truett
This is a great book. I had done EMDR therapy around the age of 18 for multiple traumas.Mostly violence and sexual. It changed my life immensely and has since been a reference and a tool for many people I encounter who decide to open up and discuss some of their pain with me. Reading this book will give a helpful insight into the world of EMDR, how it works, and a path for someone who is looking to get past their past. Highly recommend this book if not for their well written, interesting psychology alone aside from all of the wisdom nuggets and knowledge.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The human brain is the most astonishing organ when it comes to processing billions of bits of information a day, but as remarkable as it is, it can sustain injury, 'remember' pain, loss, fear, shame, and guilt....often from our earliest years. These wounds can resonate deeply as we develop, etching in beliefs about ourselves that feel true, even when they aren't really true, like "I'm not good enough". We do our best to avoid, deny, and resist these beliefs. We try to defend against them or quiet them in any way we can, often by using or overusing alcohol, drugs, and other addictive and compulsive behaviors. Sometimes we just slip into depression or hopelessness, anxiety or fear. In "Getting Past Your Past" Dr. Shapiro clearly illuminates how negative beliefs about ourselves can be laid down at an earlier time and then, outside of our awareness, determine our behavior patterns and affect our relationships in ways we never made a connection to. She then shows us through real-life accounts and a wide variety of personal transformations, how we can connect the dots between our past and our present, offering concrete tools to calm ourselves down, change our thinking, and energize our body state to show up as our best selves. These tools can either be used on our own or with the guidance of a properly trained EMDR therapist if a person's issues are in need of more extensive attention. A must-read for anyone who is curious about why we do what we do, even when we wish we wouldn't do it, or feel what we feel, even though it doesn't seem to make sense on the surface. The past does not have to continue to negatively influence your life....it is never too late to gain clarity, understanding, and relief...the brain is a miraculous organ indeed. Thank you, Dr. Shapiro, for this remarkable book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lisa alvarado
I recently started doing EMDR therapy after decades of doing EVERYTHING else that was available. It all fell short.
If NOBODY else ever gets it or appreciates what trauma sufferers suffer and have suffered, THANK YOU GOD for this GIFT!!! I am doing mine at a [...] and cannot recommend it too much or enough.
So many people have this "lone ranger" mentality about life but I wanna challenge EVERYONE to 1) get help if you need it 2) tell others about this book and EMDR therapy 3) Esp. think of all our "new" veterans coming home with the baggage from war.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
janet young
Seeing GPYP on a table in my office, several clients decided to buy the book. I believed it would be interesting to them but I have to admit they surprised me. They talked about themselves and their experiences prior to trying EMDR treatment in a new way. One man said (I believe, in jest) that you must have thought I read the book before I started treatment. He said, "She described me so well-- the high functioning, successful male, undone by anxiety that he couldn't comprehend. This client said I now really see how the childhood experiences which were built upon by the adolescent experiences kept escalating and so I couldn't understand why I could do so well and feel so terrified, so angry and so inadequate. This clearly wasn't the first conversation we had about this, but reading the book allowed him to "get it" in a way that he hadn't before. He also started using the safe place and other self soothing techniques more regularly and seemed to appreciate their benefits with new insight.
Presented in an articulate compassionate manner, Dr. Shapiro has given the reader a book that minimally will help them feel less undone by their own symptoms and more appreciative of the experiences they have had along the way. They have the opportunity to recognize that it is not "their fault" that they struggle with shame, anxiety, eating disorders; they are not crazy--there isn't something intrinsically wrong with them--they are simply products of their experiences. AND, there are ways that allow those experiences to be healed giving them the potential of a much greater quality of life.

Thank you, Dr. Shapiro--this is not a self-help book that will simply sit on people's shelves,--- it will be read, reread and utilized. I highly recommend this book for clinicians, for clients, for all who want to make greater sense of their own story.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
matthew ebert
Reading "Getting Past your Past" by Francine Shapiro a wonderfully empowering experience for me emotionally and intellectually. I have known about Shapiro's work first hand for a few years now. Even before I knew her name, I knew the power and the reach of her unique vision of the interplay of memory and mind. It was gratifying to finally hear her, in her own words, explain in such a clear way the possibilities her work has opened for all of us trudging down this challenging path of life.

As a survivor of childhood sexual trauma, I spent much of my adult life trying, unsuccessfully, to get past my own past. I attempted any number of routes to find peace and found myself in blind alleys and dead ends. Attempting to establish any semblance of control over forces within me that I did not understand, I bounced from crisis to crisis in my life. Relationships, career, my very survival, were all constantly at risk. Therapies, fellowships, religions, none offered a way through the roadblock that my own mind had created as a defense against the violence and damage done to me as a young boy. When I finally found EMDR, a new world of possibilities was opened. The approach worked. With the help of a therapist trained in EMDR, there was finally a way to heal. It was a blessing that saved my life then, and a new way of understanding that changes my life now - everyday.

In her book, "Getting Past Your Past," Francine Shapiro, the woman who discovered this breakthrough technique, brings the principles and possibilities of EMDR into an accessible forum where non-professionals - regular people like me - can understand and see all of the possibilities her insights offer.

We can all get "blocked" by seemingly minor or indisputably major events in our backstories. We find ourselves reacting irrationally, in ways we cannot understand. We spend our time stuck in patterns that we give up all hope of changing. Ms. Shapiro offers a way not only to finally be able to really see what power the past can have but what power we have here in the present to replace our old realities with a new vision. With this understanding, nearly anything is possible.

Shapiro's book offers all of us a chance to gain useful knowledge about her techniques and observations about how memories can imprison us or set us free. "Getting Past Your Past" is an invaluable resource for those of us who refuse to be entangled in the threads of our memories any longer. In this book, Francine Shapiro has given us all a new loom with which we can begin to reweave the fabric of our minds.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Dr. Shapiro is giving us not only a clear and concise explanation of some of the key concepts of EMDR but also illustrates them with real credible clinical examples. She clarifies important components including Adaptive Information Processing, Triggers, Floatback, and Negative Cognitions. This allows the clients and therapists unfamiliar with EMDR to get an in depth glimpse of its tenets and to understand how these components relate to emotional pain and how our past experiences are related to and how they impact on our present realities, thoughts, emotions, sensations and actions. It offers hope via the case illustrations and explanations. It also provides tools for the EMDR clinician to help explain to clients the power and process of EMDR. It offers several techniques for self-soothing which can be standalone tools for clients or preparation for EMDR processing. She has included in the appendices a Glossary and very useful information including how to find an EMDR trained Therapist, research evidence and references specific to different themes. I have recommended this book to many of my clients as well as to other EMDR trained and not colleagues.
We are eagerly awaiting a French translation for our French speaking population.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
cham parian
There are many positive reviews of this book by members of healing professions, but I would like to add my thoughts as a lay person.
This book is really a program to help those who find themselves quick to anger and impatience or who suffer from panic attacks. Author Francine Shapiro provides case histories and therapeutic techniques to help those who suffer from these debilitating and seemingly uncontrollable occurrences.
This is not your 70's self help book. It is aprofessional guide to discovering and processing past memories that affect present behavior, a guide that we can all use, whether we experience full blown traumatic stress, unreasonable fears or anything else that is holding us back in some way.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
brian garthwaite
I just finished Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy, by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. I found it to be stimulating and interesting because it informed me in detail about Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), offered fascinating stories about how the therapy has helped people suffering from mild to severe traumatic stress, and because Shapiro outlines self-help practices and techniques that really work. I've heard about EMDR for years, so I'm glad Shapiro has brought her revolutionary therapy to the general public, directly to people who are suffering--and these are difficult times, and many do not have mounds of cash for psychotherapy)--can feel some immediate relief. More, I feel it offers real hope for further development of therapies and practices clinicians and laypeople alike can use to reprocess the mental injuries life is bound to inflict.

I highly recommend this book.

Ida Rae Egli
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
perry hilyer
This is a wonderful book in helping people understand the depth and breath of EMDR Therapy. So many people have differing ideas of what EMDR Therapy is and what it can do. This book can help people and professionals understand the principles and practice of EMDR Therapy with real life examples as well how it can benefit and change lives. EMDR Therapy has changed so many of us. For those professionals who are trained and practicing EMDR Therapy, it has given us an opportunity to see and experience how an individual's brain organizes information, perceives, and makes meaning of an experience. For those who have experienced EMDR Therapy it has brought relief and change. For those people interested in seeking change, this book can be a resource for exploring and understanding what may be influencing the present and discover a way to effect a change. Dr. Shapiro outlines many self-help techniques that can be effective in helping a person with emotional issues as well as guidelines in helping a person make a decision about seeking professional help. With the real life examples, showing how a person can begin to understand his/her emotional state and/or behavior, and providing self-help techniques, this book can help guide a person in the path to change and help restore a life.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book is more than a self-help book; it brings awareness to the universality of human experience in a way that allows us to explore without shame where we get stuck in our lives. All too often, when we're stuck, the self-talk that many of us engage in is critical and shaming, talking to ourselves the way we were talked to, without realizing that's what we're doing. Shapiro's book invites the reader to begin to look inward with curiosity and an open mind, exploring connections between present difficulties and earlier experiences, giving us an opportunity to use that awareness to make better choices for ourselves than the choices we had available as children. Shapiro's book is insightful, empowering and inspiring to anyone who reads it. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to help themselves, with or without therapy!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
THIS BOOK IS A MUST READ!! And I don't usually tell people what to do! I experienced EMDR 3 years ago in anticipation of a meeting with my boss. I wasn't sleeping and worried every day. After 2 sessions, I was able to prepare for the meeting with the technique my therapist taught in our sessions. The meeting went better than expected! 3 yrs. later I continue to feel confident in my interactions with my boss. I work in a small jail and am bringing copies for the inmate's libraries. This is how to rehabilitate people!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Getting Past Your Past was given to me as a gift from a dear friend, who, after reading the book, was able to understand why she was having nightmares and panic attacks.
As a long time sufferer of chronic pain and depression, and having spent years in therapy with only minor relief, I was searching for answers and looking for guidance.
Dr Shapiro's simple to follow exercises and concise explanation of how past experiences can negatively affect my current wellbeing have been so helpful to me that now I can move forward in my life-I plan to find an EMDR trained therapist to continue the positive growth. I have ordered several books to give as holiday gifts to family and friends."
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
meg garner
I bought this book on audible, the narrator was not a good fit for the content. I also had issues with the examples used in the books. I feel the message was lost on me and was unable to continue to listen.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
alisia compton
Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy by Dr F Shapiro helped me to understand how past traumatic experiences were negatively impacting me, causing me to be anxious and make inappropriate choices. The book is well written with poignant case examples and step by step self-help techniques that are easy to implement. I have read many books about the body mind connection, however, this is the first book (I have read) that connects not only the mind and body, but also emphasizes the unresolved memories stored in the brain. I highly recommend this book to all readers as a means to achieve a more joyful and productive life.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
holly fincher
Dr. Shapiro has written a book that illustrates, through a large number of case histories, the effectiveness of EMDR Therapy. The subtitle of the book is, however, relevant to the content of the book only in the sense that a relatively tiny portion of the book describes self-help therapy. The self-help techniques and recommended self-help system are incidental to the book, rather than being its focus.

Readers should be aware of this problem, but not put off by it. The author typically is not responsible for the book cover design and other aspects that "sell" the book. The publisher usually is. And with the huge problems publishers face today (growing illiteracy, declining book sales, declining margins, etc.), they are trading some editorial integrity for increased sales. This problem is why book reviews are so important; you can't judge a book by its cover!

So, it's not a self-help book. However, I have read self-help books that have less actual self-help content in about the same number of pages. What Dr. Shapiro provides in this regard could, in itself, justify buying the book. But the book is really about EMDR.

My impression of EMDR is that it's a variation of traditional talk therapy. The underlying target of the therapy is the same; the patient is reacting with maladaptive responses to situations that usually are similar to ones that the patient, usually very early in life, responded to with the maladaptive behavior and got results. What's different is the approach to resolving the source of the conflict or pain. Talk therapy might take only a few months, if the patient who is especially self-aware and highly motivated to resolve the problem. But might take years, especially if the source is buried deep in the subconscious. And in talk therapy, there are often many barriers to actually facing and resolving an earlier event. Talk therapy also has a learning curve, as the patient usually must acquire certain skills of introspection and self-examination.

Where EMDR comes in, as I understand, is it provides a different, much shorter path, to accessing those memories. The learning curve gets erased. The speed of resolution also gets the patient past a natural resistance that arises in fear of prolonged confrontation with the source of the pain.

However, there's a downside to EMDR and it relates to the reason talk therapy has fallen out of favor in recent years. At first glance, the decline in talk therapy's prominence seems inexplicable. After all, if you can work out your problems and solve them, isn't that a good thing?

Well, yes. But the problem is that, in our ADD-inflicted "culture" few people can or will focus long enough for this kind of therapy to work efficiently. And it's also true that large, revenue-driven hospital systems run by Wall Street types can make far more money by dissing talk therapy and hooking patients on expensive prescription medications than they can make by providing talk therapy to patients. On that first point, EMDR seems to be the solution. Even people with short attention spans can engage in EMDR therapy. On that second point, well, there's a large cadre of Wall Street types seriously in need of therapy.

Early in the book, Dr. Shapiro states she is the originator of EMDR therapy and she relates how she made the breakthrough. The book jacket inside rear cover also describes her as its originator. Ah-ha! We have yet another wannabe peddling yet another new system that will go nowhere, right? Wrong. At the time of the writing, there were over 70,000 certified EMDR clinicians or therapists.

While I lack the professional credentials to pass judgment on EMDR therapy, I will say that Dr. Shapiro makes a convincing case for it. And not just in this book. She's the recipient of several prestigious professional awards. She also speaks at universities and psychological conferences throughout the world. The jacket notes she's been an "invited" speaker. As someone who used to do quite a bit of public speaking, I understand that distinction. When this wording is used correctly, it means someone heard you speak at an event and was so impressed that person invited you to speak before his/her organization. Or you get invited back.

From several cues in the book, I'm guessing that Dr. Shapiro is not the typical Powerpointlessness "speaker" who helps audiences take a refreshing nap in lieu of actually engaging with them. That's why she gets "invited."

This book consists of 11 chapters spanning 301 pages, three appendices spanning 14 pages, and a bibliography (Appendix D) spanning 17 pages.

The first chapter addresses the automatic response, as illustrated by asking you to say what pops into your mind when you hear "Roses are red..." Nearly everyone will say "Violets are blue," even though violets aren't actually blue.

Each of the next chapters takes a different theme, such as "What's running your show? (Chapter 4) and then looks at how EMDR addresses that. Sprinkled in through the text are examples of using certain self-help techniques, such as the butterfly hug. One technique Dr. Shapiro seems to find especially useful is a breathing technique. This is the same technique martial artists use to remain calm and in control.

Appendix A "Glossary and Self-Help Techniques, Audio Recordings, and Personal Table" is an excellent resource for someone who wants to get on an easy to maintain program of well-being.

Appendix B "Choosing a Clinician" provides information for the reader who wants to get started in EMDR therapy but doesn't know how to go about doing that. It also provides information on EMDR humanitarian assistance programs.

Appendix C "EMDR: Trauma Research Findings and Further Reading" is probably meant for the medical practitioner. An indication of this is the fact that many of the sources listed are professional journals.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
katey howes
Dr. Shapiro's new book, getting past your past is a wonderful self-help book that is useful for clinicians and clients alike. I am a therapist who has been using EMDR for over 20 years and I still learned some new tips from this book. The feedback from my clients has been very positive. It helps the individual who is going to receive EMDR to understand how it works and how to prepare to participate in EMDR therapy. The exercises are well written and concise. Clients can read the self control exercises for help in relaxation and decreasing stress. I strongly encourage people to read this book. It is excellent and a real gem!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mori bell
While Fr. Richare Rohr expounds, "If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it," Dr. Francine Shapiro has selflessly dedicated her career to literally helping millions of people transform their emotional pain. This transformation has the real potential to help prevent unanalyzed hurt from impacting its negative ripple effect throughout the lives of individuals, families, and society as a whole. "Getting Past Your Past" is a self-help gift to the world, from one of the most remarkable psychologists of our time.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
niall glynn
This book is easy to read and provides stories that give insight into the roots of our own stuck patterns. This book provides self-help ideas that will help the reader look at their past differently enabling them to make new decisions, take different actions. I am an EMDR clinician and use this therapeutic technique every day in my practice. This book enables people who do not have access or resource to an EMDR clinician the power to read and discover on their own! What a gift Francine has given to all....empowering one-self, with guidance from this book, to heal. Thank you Francine.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nitasha chaudhary
Most of us at some point have had problems with negative thinking or self-sabotaging behaviors and wondered, why in the world can't I stop this? This book will help you learn about yourself and find some great strategies for overcoming those stuck problems so you can move on once and for all. If you want to be emotionally healthy and whole, this book is a must read!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Dr. Francine Shapiro's latest book "Getting Past Your Past" represents the work of an recognized professional whose life-long work has assisted many persons move beyond pain and psychological wounds of the past while achieving personal healing and a higher quality of life. Every day I work with veterans, soldiers and families suffering with combat trauma problems. Dr. Shapiro's psychotherapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is the most effective treatment we use in assisting soldiers reclaim their lives. My clients, who suffer due to their honorable military service deserve the best care possible - EMDR allows us to provide effective treatment and care beyond the norm these days. Now, this recent book provides self-help techniques from EMDR as a very practical, effective means of helping people take control of their lives. Many people, from all walks of life, will benefit from the life enhancing techniques in this book. I highly recommend this book.

E. C. Hurley, DMin, Ph.D
Director, Soldier Center/Soldier Center Lodge
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
arsenii gavritskov
Plain and simple: EMDR is a powerful trauma-reprocessing technology. Shapiro's new book offers this essential psychological know-how in a self-help format. Quite likely, this might be the last self-help book you'll ever need.

{I've been offering EMDR as a clinician since 2001 and I am yet to see it not work.)

Pavel Somov, Ph.D., licensed psychologist, author of "Lotus Effect," "Present Perfect," and "Eating the Moment"
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
lucky vaunda
As many of the other one star reviews pointed out, the title is misleading. There are no specific EMDR techniques taught. What bothered me even more about this book were some of the ridiculous examples given for "traumatic events". The author would often connect back severe adulthood psychiatric issues (eating disorder, PTSD, depression, anxiety etc.) to trivial one time events such as being scared of a storm one night when 5 years old, or a classmate vomiting in class. Making silly connections like this is not only unscientific and give a bad reputation to counseling but is also profoundly insulting to those who have been through real trauma.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
may margarita
Dr.Shapiro makes this process very easy to understand and helpful. I suggest my clients read this if they are considering EMDR. Thanks to Dr.Shapiro for her wise, insightful research to aid in the healing of the mind.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
priscilla nightingale
I borrowed a friends copy and then ordered it myself. The tools in the book easy to use and the book helped me to understand
why I might feel stuck and how to get out of it. I am so glad this information is available.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
eileen kalbfus
In my opinion, this book is a must-read for the professional and/or trauma survivor! It provides specific strategies as to how to move forward with your life and let your past go. It's the help in self help.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is a very enlightening book, not just for understanding my trigger points and realizing I can chose a different reaction, but also for perhaps explaining my experiences with others and what may have triggered their behaviors, attitudes and reactions. I may not be able to control those situations, but I can control my reactions to them.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
I don't think anyone could deny that Francine Shapiro lacks credentials. Furthermore, EMDR has shown itself successful time and time again in research. Thus, this is no disparaging of EMDR as a therapeutic technique or Shapiro as a clinician.

Looking at this piece of writing as a book, however, there is immense cause for criticism. It begins with the writing, which is something akin to eating dry toast. Shapiro is not a novelist, but a psychologist. This is understood. One would still hope, though, that despite this, she or the editors would exert some effort in making the text readable and meaningful, rather than a bit patronizing and unhelpfully instructive.

Perhaps Shapiro rests too heavily on her laurels here, thinking that reputation alone can cover a poor collage of nothingness. The book is a barrage of case study after case study. Some are summarized, some "written" by the patients themselves, but none are very consequential. All are brief and left isolated without any significant analysis, yet they all manage to conclude with the extraction that EMDR is always successful and always superior. Each patient presented here is distilled down to an entirely two-dimensional, almost caricature-like, portrait of a case study. Was there a single case which evoked empathy? No. Was there any evidence of the rapport and bond between patient/therapist outside of the EMDR processing sessions (or even during)? It may not be the primary aim of the book, but the way therapy is described here left me feeling cold.

The transitions between cases are abrupt and often don't make much sense, and the organization of the book left me somewhat stymied, as well. There didn't seem to be much logic behind the sequence of the chapters; they are simply set ups for the next "self-help technique." The types of people in the book run the gamut, and I think this is one of the primary reasons the book suffers. There is too much content and no depth. EMDR for athletic performance or mild anxiety just can't be lumped into the same group as EMDR for abuse victims or veterans with severe PTSD. All cases are not created equal, despite what this book might have you believing by the end of it about the wonderful magic of EMDR.

Why not choose a single case study for each chapter? The reader could then get to know the client's case, see them as a three-dimensional human being, and then really understand how EMDR actually works. The transcription in the introductory chapter is helpful in some ways to see the connections that the memory can make, but that same attention is quickly lost.

In short: This book doesn't know what it wants to be. It is useful neither as a self help book nor as a general informational piece on EMDR/psychology. You'd be better served by delving into superior psych books that may not have such scope, but surely make up for that lack in their compassion and care for the internal world.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
carie w
There are so many glowing reviews on here, I have to comment because I feel like there is a strong tendency for people to want something to be true so badly that they can come to believe it, even when there really is not a sound basis for those beliefs. (And I also know I have irritated a lot of folks by saying that).

Yes there are a lot of anecdotal situations that have marvelous outcomes in this book. I would just ask that people do due diligence. Take a look at Quackwatch as just one of the more objective sources that reviews the range of data on EMDR and includes those that do and don't support it as being effective. If anything, it can be confidently said that it is no more effective than already existing exposure methods. And the eye movement part is not needed for any positive results that have been obtained. As a Harvard psychologist (his name is in the Quackwatch report) said, "What works here is not new, and what's new doesn't work." Check it out for yourself.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
wade biss
Doing these techniques without the use of a therapist who knows what he/she is doing and knows what you are ready to process can do more harm than good. If nothing else, it is a waste of time and hope to do so.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
sharon penny
From my experience, one is: overdiagnosis.

I am one to believe what I read.

But I have loving people to reassure and remind me the reason behind this crap.

Some professionals make things seem worse than they are or just try and get you to think about your experience (or make you worry about your loved one's medical condition) to make one think they need help in return for people's money.

Example 1: Banfield. They'll get you in for a free physical exam only to find something "else" your pet needs.

Example 2: Doctors also pay magazines to put post their name as #1 Doctor in I don't know, say, the store City.
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