S3, E7: Overcoming Emotional Baggage: A Guide to EMDR Therapy

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Season Three, Episode Seven of The Crazy Ex-Wives Club Podcast: Overcoming Emotional Baggage, A guide to EMDR therapy

In this cathartic episode of The Crazy Ex-Wives Club, host Erica Bennett and EMDR specialist Jennifer Shapiro delve into the transformative power of EMDR therapy. As they share personal and professional insights, we're guided through the process of letting go of deeply rooted traumas and fears, highlighting the impact of emotional baggage on our everyday lives. Whether you're navigating the aftermath of a divorce or seeking new approaches to healing past wounds, tune in to discover how EMDR can offer a path to reclaiming your sense of worth and freedom. Don't miss out on this heartfelt conversation about stepping beyond traditional talk therapy, moving through emotions, and learning to embrace life's possibilities.

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Learn More About This Week's Guest: Jennifer Shapiro-Lee
Jennifer Shapiro-Lee, MSW, LCSW-R is the Founder & CEO of JSL Mental Health Wellness, a private psychotherapy practice that helps people grow through life’s challenges by taking a holistic approach to trauma and mental health wellness. Jennifer is also a Psychotherapist, Certified Mindfulness & Meditation Instructor, and Mindfulness in the Workplace Trainer. Jennifer specializes in trauma and is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. In addition, Jennifer leads meditation classes, therapeutic retreats, corporate wellness events, and is a motivational speaker.


Overcoming Emotional Baggage: A Guide to EMDR Therapy FULL TRANSCRIPTS

Erica Bennett [00:00:00]:
One of the things that really helped me along the way was when I started to practice EMDR with my therapist. I had been doing talk therapy for a while. Right? We're talking through the issues. But this was a tool that truly changed my healing journey. I'm so passionate about making sure that people understand it's for more than just PTSD, that it really is such a valuable tool. And I'm super excited to have today's guest on because her specialty is trauma and EMDR. And we're going to dive deep into this amazing tool that you can use to help support your healing. Welcome to the Crazy Ex Wife's Club, a podcast dedicated to helping women navigate the emotional journey that is divorce.

Erica Bennett [00:00:45]:
I'm your host, Erica. And if you're trying to figure out life after the big d, welcome to the club. Whether you're contemplating divorce or dealing with the aftermath or any of the many phases in between, the club has got you covered. Each week you'll hear stories from women who have been in your shoes. This isn't about spilling tea on divorce details. This is about giving you the tools to take control of your own healing journey. Listen in weekly for advice, tips, and tools to help you move through each stage of the process.

Erica Bennett [00:01:18]:
Hey, guys. Welcome to another episode of The Crazy Ex Wives Club. It's your host, Erica, and today I have Jennifer Shapiro Lee with me. Jennifer is a therapist who specializes in trauma and EMDR. She runs her own practice where they have a group practice and corporate mental wellness. She is all about helping people understand how to heal from trauma and is an expert in one of the tools that I loved that absolutely helped me really create one of the biggest breakthroughs in my own healing journey. So welcome, Jennifer. Super excited to have you.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:01:50]:
Oh, thank you for having me here.

Erica Bennett [00:01:52]:
Yeah, absolutely. So tell us a little bit, like, how did you get started in really focusing on trauma and EMDR? What led you to kind of narrow down into that specialty? Because to be honest, in the practice where I was at, in the group of therapists that were part of the clinic that I went to, there was only one who offered EMDR. So there were not a lot of choices of people who had taken on this extra. I believe it's an extra certification. Correct? That it's an additional area of study to be able to offer it. So what got you honed in on trauma?

Jennifer Shapiro [00:02:25]:
Yeah, so I was trained in all different types of therapy for about ten years, and then I did different specialties where I dealt with trauma, and I just felt like I could never get to where, obviously, these helped in different ways with therapy, but I couldn't get to where I really needed to go with the client as far as really the internal healing, because people always have blocks. For example, whether it's like I'm not worthy or I'm not good enough or I'm stuck. So sometimes people have different blocks their entire life, which they really can't. They keep trying, they go to talk therapy, and they just can't get through it. For example, beliefs like, I'm not good enough, I'm stuck, I'm not worthy, I'm a failure. These are things that sometimes people hold on to their entire life based on trauma, and it really is a barrier and blocks them from really reaching their truest potential and their best self. And I found that when I was doing all different, I was trained in mindfulness and meditation. I was trained in something called dialectical behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, all these different therapies. And I just felt like they were all really helpful in their own ways.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:03:26]:
But it just felt like there was, like some point where you reached where you couldn't get further with the client. So I had heard about EMDR, and then I kept hearing more and more about it from colleagues who did it and felt like it was a different form of therapy, a therapy that really, I heard you could get to the results you wanted much quicker. And I also heard that it just really could be actually life changing. So what happened was I ended up in EMDR myself, dealing with my own trauma that I had been through. And I found it to be one of the most life changing experiences I've had, to be honest with my own self growth and healing. So then from there, I had the research which showed it was amazing. I had dealt with so many patients who've been through trauma. I had the past, the background of dealing with trauma, and then between all those things together, I decided to go get certified.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:04:12]:
And it was a really intensive training program. I think it was like ten months of doing tests and work at home and all these different things. And then I did a 40 hours weekend of getting trained in EMDR, and I got EMDR approved. And after that, I went and got credentialed, which means I had to work with about 30 different clients doing EMDR, get supervised, get different hours. And there's just so much you can do with EMDR recently. There's all different protocols in the EMDR, too. I did a recent traumatic protocol. People have just been through a recent trauma in order for it not to really affect us in the long term, and there's group EMDR.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:04:46]:
There's so much happening with EMDR out there, I can't say enough about it, right.

Erica Bennett [00:04:50]:
And I think that totally resonates with me as well, because there was only so far talk therapy could get me right. And we talk about it, and logically, I could talk myself into something that felt like a solution and didn't feel like it. Logically, I understood the solution. Logically, I knew that I was safe, or I knew that this was part of the process, or I knew that I could let it go. But then it was the illogical part that something would get triggered and didn't have any control over it. So it didn't matter how many times we talked through it. I've shared that the big thing that happened, that is why my then therapist referred me to somebody else, is I was at a work event and it was out of state, in completely different state. I'm sitting in this work event, and I see somebody who I think maybe looks like the current guy I'm dating's ex wife.

Erica Bennett [00:05:38]:
Like, we're talking, like, how many seven degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon can we have at this point? And I couldn't think. I started, like, tunnel vision, right? All of a sudden, I couldn't breathe. I'm in a hotel. I'm peeling off layers because now I'm sweating to death, even though I'm always freezing in the hotel. I keep logically trying to talk myself through all the reasons why it's not hurt. This is a different state. This is a different type of event.

Erica Bennett [00:06:05]:
Why would this person be here? Why does it even matter? It's just a dude you're dating. What? Logically, I could line up all of the things, but it didn't override the physical reaction that was happening. And I had to excuse myself and leave and go to the bathroom, right? And try and getting up, walking there, going to the bathroom, washing my hands, right? Like, moving. And all of a sudden, a little thought broke through, and it was like, oh, a woman you saw didn't have fake boobs. You know, that the boyfriend's ex wife had fake boobs. Okay. It's not her. It's safe now.

Erica Bennett [00:06:37]:
Logically, that is the craziest story ever. Yeah.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:06:40]:
No, I mean, it makes sense. A lot of people go through that. And what EMDR helps with is exactly what you're saying. It's when what you feel versus what you know are not lining up so your feelings can take over and dysregulate you and make you so upset and it feels so real. They actually say when people have anxiety about things that aren't happening, our body actually portrays it the same as if it was happening. Right. So you really are feeling exactly like it's happening in that moment because your mind is telling you it is. But logically, your logical side, your intellectual side, just, they're not meeting, they're not aligning there.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:07:14]:
And that's what triggers are. Triggers come up for all of us at times.

Erica Bennett [00:07:19]:
Yeah. And it just hit all those ones of, it was the same physical sensations of finding out that my husband had been cheating. That there was lies going on, that somebody else was in the picture. Right. And I'm like, well, it's totally different situations, but it felt so real.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:07:37]:
Right, exactly. Yeah and that keeps happening to people.

Erica Bennett [00:07:39]:

Jennifer Shapiro [00:07:39]:
I'm sure you've had other triggers or other times where these things come up, and EMDR is really helpful with that, where it desensitizes us a bit from those type of things where you eventually, I do some preparation work before we do. I'll talk kind of about the process of EMDR. But one of the things I ask people at EMDR is I say, what are all your trigger? We talk about the triggers before we do EMdR, because triggers are so for all of us come up.

Erica Bennett [00:08:06]:
And the reality is, it's funny because it just happened last week, and now I can laugh about it, but some of those subconscious, the reactive behaviors, they still show up, but now they're so much softer, right? There was gloves laying on the front steps at my partner's house, right? And I pull out and I look in that and I'm like, oh, those are woman's gloves. Right. And instantly the brain, like, high alert, right? But then I'm sitting there like, okay, well, you know, this is not true. Right? Now I can regain control. Right now, my nervous system, while it still might create an initial spike that it's going, oh, do we have to react to this? Is this a thing we need to protect you from? But I can be like, oh, no, we're good. And it really, truly is only because I used EMDR to line up those two, the logical and the emotional bodies, and get those two systems firing together. And I still use it on myself every time something gets too emotional. When you're just crying about something and you don't understand why, I totally start applying the same sort of right left tapping to help my brain create a right left processing to be able to let it go instead of, I always talk about it like, a little Tasmanian devil.

Erica Bennett [00:09:24]:
So I think about it as that thing is Tasmanian devil in the corner of my mind. And until I can ping pong or pinball machine it out, it has control over me versus me having control over it. So why don't you talk a little bit about what does EMDR actually look like? Because I had no idea. I thought it was really just for PTSD survivors. That's about all we ever hear from it. Now we're hearing more that it's used for other things. But what does the actual process of it look like? If somebody were to be in your office with you?

Jennifer Shapiro [00:09:54]:
Yeah. So, like you said, it can be used for a variety of things. Someone going through anxiety, like you said, changing the way we think about things, of fear, all sorts of things. Now, India can really help anything I believe that people are struggling with. So first people come in and I find out their history about what's going on, what's getting in their way, what belief systems. Each therapist can do it a bit different. But what I do is I ask them. I call it "I am" statements, almost like, what are your logical.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:10:24]:
I am statements that are getting in the way. Like, for example, like I mentioned before, and people can come up with all sorts of stuff, like, I'm not good enough, I am a failure. Like I mentioned, I have no self esteem. And we really work through those things. And so much of therapy, in a good way, too, is about the external world. How do we self care? Do we go to the gym? Do we eat? Well, that is all so important. But really, EMDR gets to the internal healing. And that is something I find that's so different about EMDR than other therapy.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:10:55]:
So we talk about the traumatic incidences, because if someone comes in for one trauma that they're experiencing now, usually what happens is it always happens that their past traumas will come up as well, because our brains associate different memories and neural networks together. So, for example, if someone convinced me what they want to fix is I am not worthy, that belief system, we look at what traumas in their life are associated with "I'm not worthy." And it could be like, recently I got cheated on by someone I was with. And when I was five, I was rejected by a parent. And literally, you can go from the first memory all the way till the present. And it's amazing how the brain associates these things based on what we've been through. And that's why we all have different perceptions and different interpretations, because we all have such different life events.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:11:44]:
So what I'm looking at is, I'm looking at how many traumas have been gone on. What's like someone's been through, what are the negative belief systems about themselves? What triggers someone? I also look at someone's dissociation, and that means where we can be in life and we're just kind of numb or checked out. I don't know. I'm sure you've all been stressed in a room, and you really are not registering what's going on around you or someone's talking to you in your own head. And we do that a lot when we're overwhelmed or dealing with problem or stress. Where we do this more than we think, where we zone out, everyone dissociates in their own way, and we find a way to do that. And the more you heal from trauma, the more you can be present in your current life and not dissociative and not checked out. We all have different coping mechanisms, functions that help us at one point and are no longer helping us.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:12:34]:
So someone like, I know for me, for example, mine would be like, okay, let me run, let me be busy. Let me travel from stress. And now maybe I do less of that because I'm more here, I'm more in the present moment. So we all have our different coping mechanisms that help us, but at some point we realize maybe we don't need them anymore as we heal. And they're not always all negative as well. We all have different ways of coping. Obviously, some ways are not good negative behaviors as opposed to others. But I look at ways of coping, and then I also look at attachment stuff.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:13:07]:
When I talk to a client about EMDR. I look at your attachment with your primary people, figures, who raise you, whether it's parents, a relative, and what that looks like. If there was a lot of trauma as a kid, if you were securely attached, or if your caregiver was there for you as a child, because this all affects who we are in the current moment. So I probably do a little more prep work than some therapists do with EMDR. I spend a few weeks really going through all this, so I really have a good picture of what's going on with a client. And then from there, we target what they want to work on. So then from there we go into what I call EMDR reprocessing, which is like what you were talking about with the whole tapping thing, where I will say, I'm going to give an example. Someone's trauma right now is I'm not worthy, something happened. So I will roll them back sometimes to the first event they remember as a child, not feeling worthy, and I'll have them think of it.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:14:02]:
And there's different ways of doing it where you can either be, like, tapping, or while you're thinking of a memory, or looking at something called a light bar, where lights go back and forth, or holding on to sensors. There's different ways of doing this. So someone is thinking of a memory while doing one of these things at the same time. I stop them pretty soon into it and say what came up, and our minds will associate different things with that same belief system. For example, the belief systems, I'm not worthy. I might have started them at the first memory as a kid, but they might have bounced to ten different things. Like I said, those associated networks in our brain which associate that belief system. And we talk about it.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:14:43]:
And then I have them keep going back into the reprocessing, which is where they do, like, the tapping or things. And the research shows they don't really know exactly why it works. They know that what happens is when someone is in the present moment. Meaning, like, you're tapping. If you're tapping, going like, this is an example, tapping, it keeps you in the present moment because you're feeling it, but at the same time you're in the memory. So the research has shown that if you're doing in the present, back in the memory, our neural pathways can reprocess that differently. So, basically, what happens is almost, we get this blockage at certain point where the trauma happens, and now it's making ways to shift these type of blockages, and it's almost like peeling back an onion. There's lots of layers to get through.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:15:27]:
The more trauma someone has been through, the much longer it takes. I've worked with children. It can take very quickly because they have less years of life and they have less trauma and things like that. But the incredible thing I think I find about what I find about EMDR, which is why I love it so much. And I always kind of had different trainings, and now I'm like, this is my specialty going forward for good, because I just love it so much, because it really shifts things. I mean, imagine that, like, someone who literally their whole life functioned on a belief system that they weren't worthy. That really intrudes a lot in everything about they do. And then imagine them being like, oh, my God,

Jennifer Shapiro [00:16:05]:
for the first time in 45 years, if you're 45 years old, I feel worthy. It is such a rewarding thing to help someone with, and just amazing that they can shift their life like that. And the EMDR is really the main therapy I've ever seen be able to do that.

Erica Bennett [00:16:20]:
Yeah, I agree, too, because not a therapist, but a passionate therapy. Try or outer, always like, ooh, there's a new one. Can I get this one? Can I check it out? But, yeah, I found the same thing because to be able to reprocess differently was really important because a lot of the memories that I had a sift and sort through or that popped up. Yeah, we pick the feeling we're going to work on, find the earliest memory. And then for me, it's like little flashes of a movie, right? It's almost like I jump scene to scene to scene, just like they do in movies where you're doing flashbacks. But it was places that I had never really fully processed in the moment when they happened because either I wasn't ready or it was too painful or it was bigger than I could handle at that moment. And so it's just like locked it up in a little box, put it somewhere else. And I'm not one that sweeps things under the rug.

Erica Bennett [00:17:14]:
Like, I really do not have a poker face. I cannot fake it until a later time. But these moments were so big and so painful that my brain, my body was like, not now, and locked it up. And that was what EMdR was, that key that opened that box in a safe space to say, hey, it's time. It's time to process through the feelings and cry it out and move. I just needed a lot of movement in mind, too. Like a lot of cat cow rolling my spine, moving like a snake. There was something about, like, I needed to move this energy up and out while yawning and crying and breathing and feeling all the feels.

Erica Bennett [00:17:51]:
So it really is quite the experience.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:17:55]:
I think something you said is really important where you mentioned the flash of kind of like different memories, almost as if like little clips from a movie. Because I want people to know that it doesn't mean they have to go through this really traumatic memory and every single solitary detail from that memory. I mean, you're looking at things, but it's not in a way that feels too overwhelming. That's people's biggest fear. When they come in, they think they're going to be looking at this horrible memory, and to an extent they will, at what they can handle and what they want to look at. But it doesn't have to be like you're sitting there for an hour going through this one memory that was just so traumatic. It is kind of like these little flashes. And sometimes people even go off of just a body sensation or an emotion or a feeling.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:18:37]:
And sometimes that's even enough in that moment. They might say, from this memory, I remember feeling that my stomach was really queasy. Our emotions, our body sensations, our feelings, our behaviors, they're all really connected. So these are all things that we look at through EMDR.

Erica Bennett [00:18:55]:
Yeah. Hey, fabulous ladies. Are you ready to join the club where understanding and transformation collide? Erica here. And I am extending a golden ticket to you, the crazy ex wives club cohort. Imagine a place where understanding, shared goals, and unwavering support come together. You guys, this isn't just a club. It's a badge of honor. This is a community that grows and learns together.

Erica Bennett [00:19:24]:
Join us Weekly on Zoom calls where we unite, share, and uplift. And this is your chance to ask questions, to explore, and to learn the secrets about moving forward from your divorce. I'm telling you, you guys, this is the handbook to post divorce healing. Visit thecrazyxwiseclub.com to learn more. Because, honestly, the best place to be is where you're understood. Embrace your journey, wear your club with pride, and sign up for the crazy ex wives club cohort. It's not just a club. It's a sisterhood.

Erica Bennett [00:19:56]:
So I think it's really important, too, that we talk about, because we've used the word trauma quite a few times. And so I'm sure people are sitting there and they're kind of like, okay, well, this sounds cool, but is this for me? Right? We've talked a lot about that. It's used for trauma now. For me, there was a rewiring myself on what the definition of trauma was, right. It wasn't being a vet from a war, right. It wasn't having that life and death experience. It wasn't sexual assault. That was not part of my history either.

Erica Bennett [00:20:26]:
Right? Those big ones that we all are like, oh, yeah, that's trauma, right? And that's what took me a little bit of time to be able to be like, but is this right for me? Well, yeah, I did have trauma. And for me, it became that definition of trauma is any of those moments where you really, truly believe that your life is over the way that it was. In my divorce, when he said he was done, I honestly thought my whole life was over. I didn't know how to go on. I didn't know what else had to happen. And my story is I held on to that for two years. Building it, right? Letting it build in my body. But what would you say, too, for somebody who's listening, like, what is trauma? What constitutes trauma of something that maybe they want to look into, getting some more help with?

Jennifer Shapiro [00:21:09]:
Trauma could be anything that really impacts our life. And there's all different types of trauma. And like you had mentioned, and there's the ones you think of as far as war or assault or death and things like that, losing someone. But there's also people who were in a car accident and have a fear of driving now, or someone who doesn't like to be in elevators, or someone who felt betrayed by someone else or feels like that people let them down and they can't trust them, or someone can't trust in themselves. I mean, there's so many different things. It could be someone was bullied or felt like they were left out all the time as a kid. I mean, whatever it is, there's so many different things. I mean, I've had people come to me for really significant.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:21:59]:
They call big T. Little t. Big trauma is like, big t. I have people come to me for multiple traumas, very severe, in very abusive situations, things like that. And then I worked with someone who had a fear of dogs, and we totally free them from their fear of dogs. I worked with someone who was in 911, flew that day and wouldn't fly, and then she would go on planes all the time after we did EMDR. Or people have social anxiety and then could go in social situations. I worked with everything.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:22:29]:
I worked with very severe traumas, and I worked with people who've had many traumas, which is called complex, can be complex trauma. And I've worked with people who've just been through some hard life events who want help and want to feel better. And EMDR was really able to help with that.

Erica Bennett [00:22:43]:
Yeah. And I am such a big proponent that fear doesn't have to own your life. Fear owned my life for a lot of years. And it happens little by little by thing. You start to shut your world down, your world gets smaller. I don't want to go to a new restaurant because every time I ate somewhere new, I didn't know if I was going to get sick because I was having a lot of digestive issues. So then just the stress of trying somewhere new, right? So all of a sudden, now we're only going to the same places, and all of a sudden, well, I don't want to try this thing. Fear had completely taken a hold of everything in my life.

Erica Bennett [00:23:16]:
And it showed up, though, as, like, I was angry, I was judgmental, it was a protective mechanism but at the root of it was fear. Fear that I wasn't liked, fear that I wasn't accepted. Fear that I didn't know what I was doing right. And it was being able to work in the body to get to those places, to be able to see, like, oh, that's not so true. That fear story that we've created. It's just a story. I can write a new one. I don't have to live in it.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:23:44]:
Yeah. I mean, fear, I think, owns so many people in their life. I think, actually, more people, I would say than not, are ruled by fear a bit, which is actually pretty sad. I feel like we miss out on so much in life when we're ruled by different fears. And the opposite of fear, I say, is faith. And not even from a religious perspective, just from anyone having faith, that almost you have to fight against fears, because once you fight against fears, you realize we can do it. Right. We have different fears of things.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:24:15]:
And actually, I do, like, exposure work with people on the opposite. And I actually place them in their fears, mainly because in order to get over it, you have to know you can. And we're all resilient, and we can. And I actually think fear is one of the things that holds. Some people live with fear their whole life and really don't get to live the life to be their authentic, true self or who they want to be. And it's really important for us not to let fear get in the way of that.

Erica Bennett [00:24:39]:
Yeah. And it's so interesting because when I first started my business, that was really, like, what I introduced. I help you get over the fear. And so many people will be like, well, I'm not afraid of anything. And I'm like, well, you are, but you don't realize you are because it's so sneaky. It's so sneaky. It shows up every time we judge somebody else, and we're critical against somebody else. If you really peel back the layers, it's a fear at the basis of it.

Erica Bennett [00:25:06]:
And look at our marketing, look at our world, look at the news, right? How do you keep people small? You make them afraid. You make them afraid that life could get even worse if they stepped out of line or did something that they aren't supposed to.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:25:20]:
Exactly. I actually am a huge proponent of going forward in situations that provide fear, because I think when you step out of your comfort zone, you grow the most. And I think that's where we really see true change and growth. And I think people who go against what they think, they're supposed to do and really do what they want to do and step into fear really end up much more fulfilled. I think it's definitely, like, a big topic that I'm sure both of us could talk a while about fear, right?

Erica Bennett [00:25:46]:
I know. I was like, oh, my gosh. Well, now we need to just keep talking about fear. Yeah, I do love fear because I did a lot of things that I was afraid, like snowboarding. I have a terrible fear of heights. Terrible fear of heights. And it's because of a trauma experience. My sister fell out of a second story and landed on concrete and was 30 days in the ICU and flight for life.

Erica Bennett [00:26:07]:
And I left the door open and she stepped through it. And you're talking about all the childhood trauma and fear and guilt and shame that got associated with it. And I could no longer even be on a ladder. I still struggle, like driving across a bridge. I can't be on the outside lanes driving across a bridge because I don't want to look down. So this one decides she's going to actually snowboard until she gets to the top of a tiny hill in Minnesota. A tiny hill. And I literally just sat down and I was like, I am so afraid that I am just going to go off the side of the hill into a thing.

Erica Bennett [00:26:39]:
And that fear had me. And so then I had to learn how to take it one step at a time because I didn't want it to let it hold me back. But the groundwork I did in EMDR, in being able to reprocess and having control over my thoughts, enabled me to finally work through one of those really big fears because I'm sure I would not have been able to do it I would have quit if I hadn't been doing the work prior.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:27:05]:
I agree, and it's really important what you said about all the steps. I actually used to have a fear of highway driving because of trauma I went through. And I did that in EMDR. And I actually did, like, small steps where I actually got, like, my neighbors would joke around me because I was an adult, and I got, like, this highway driving instructor. I moved out of Manhattan after 16 years and had to drive again. And I would go, like, one exit at a time. Right? Like, it's exposing yourself. I'd be like, okay, and now I can drive because I put in that work.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:27:30]:
And it's so empowering. And I think when we get through our fears, and also, like you said, it's a story you tell yourself. If I kept telling myself, which I did for years, I was like, I'm never going to drive. And then when you are able to confront a fear and get through it, it's just so empowering and rewarding.

Erica Bennett [00:27:46]:
It makes you realize you really can do it, you guys. Like, you can. So if you're sitting in a place in your divorce where you're like, I don't know, Erica. I don't know how to restart this. I don't know how to get this back on track. And it feels so incredibly hopeless. It's one tiny baby step at a time. I mean, if you got up and showered today, that's a win.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:28:08]:
Totally. Exactly. And we always go to bed at night, like, beating ourselves up or thinking about what we didn't do or could do. And I always tell people, when you go to bed at night, think of your three wins for the day. We always have one. Like you said, you got up, or it's like you gave yourself a meal, whatever it is.

Erica Bennett [00:28:22]:
Yeah, it was definitely one of my favorite practices. Similar to that, as I had my gratitude stone, which, you guys, you can buy my gratitude stone in the Etsy shop. But anyways. And I'd hold it two hands because it felt good. Right? This is a tactile thing. Again, I'm grounding into the present moment, and I'd review my day and I'd think through all the good things that happened until I could find the best. And it doesn't take that long. Just like you think through the day and find three things that you loved about the day that were really great.

Erica Bennett [00:28:50]:
They don't have to be huge. It doesn't have to be. I won the lottery today.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:28:54]:
It could be like, it didn't rain today and it was nice out. Yeah, right?

Erica Bennett [00:28:58]:
It can be like, you know what? I liked how my clothes fit today. Okay, that's a win. But that time, it's like, seriously, one or two minutes. But it transforms how you sleep, it transforms the next day, and it totally compounds. So I love that you guys. So pick three things, reflect on what those are. Because we do naturally, our brain is wired right to protect us. That's its job.

Erica Bennett [00:29:20]:
And so it's going to look at all the things that went wrong that it's trying to get you to work on to protect it from getting hurt or from something happening or all those things. So love that. I love that practice for everybody. All right, so obviously, if somebody is interested, you want to find a therapist who offers EMDR, because it is something I think back, even though I'm all love doing my own work, and as I mentioned, I do the tapping on myself. Now, when I started, I would not have known the process or how to guide through the process or what was normal and not normal. Right. Because a lot of time and each person, it's different. So it's not like we can even tell you this is the normal list and the not normal list, but having a therapist who can guide you through the process until you get to a place where maybe I was still going in, but I started incorporating it when I was journaling or had like a really big emotion come up and I was like, you know what? I'm going to tap this out, too, on the side of my knees and see if it helps me release what's stuck in there.

Erica Bennett [00:30:24]:
So finding a therapist and finding one that works for you. Right. Like, there's lots of therapists that maybe aren't the right fit for you. Yeah. And if they're upset about it, that's their own problem. But you need to find the therapist that's the right fit to be able to move through the process. Are there any other tips? Like, what else do you think people need to know or understand if this is something that's interested them, what else do they need to know about it?

Jennifer Shapiro [00:30:49]:
I was going to say there's a site called, it's Emdria, and that's really like the site to find an EMDR therapist. It's really recognized. So that is a good site for people to go on if they want to find an EMDR therapist and then look in their area and their zip code. I would start there. That's just a good resource. And when people go for a therapist, it's really important for you to also interview the therapist. People don't always know that they call and it does have to be the right fit. So ask if you have certain needs, like, say what you're looking for and what you're hopeful for and see if the therapist, it feels like the right fit for you.

Erica Bennett [00:31:26]:
Yeah, because, I mean, I've had a ton of therapists, and every single one, I mean, I can think of one who, we just weren't the right fit. But every other therapist I have, I really, really liked them. And when our chapter was done, our chapter was done. I didn't leave because I didn't like them much. Like a personal trainer, I've had lots of personal trainers. I didn't leave because I didn't like them. I left because I needed something different or maybe I felt strong enough to stand on my own and do it on my own for a bit. So just having that little tool belt of who can you call on?

Jennifer Shapiro [00:31:55]:
Yeah. And EMDR is a little bit different than therapy. And sometimes people will stay with their therapist and do EMDR in conjunction with their therapist. That is one of the treatments. It's not always recommended, but sometimes it is. The therapist and the EMDR therapists have to decide if that's right or not. But if you have a current therapist and you feel like maybe you're really not getting exactly where you need to go, and there is a trauma that maybe your therapist doesn't specialize in, then maybe you could see an or go to EMDR therapy for a few months and then go back to your therapist. So it doesn't have to be like years and forever. With an EMDR therapist, it can be, like you said, a more like, go.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:32:31]:
And sometimes we get retriggered, and then you might want to go back and have a little refresher, things like that. But it really helps. People just feel the severity, the intensity, the frequency of what the triggers are becomes so much less.

Erica Bennett [00:32:45]:
Yeah. And I know after I started EMDR, I finally read the body keeps the score, which really helps. It was a textbook. My friend and I bought it at the same time. She's like, oh, my God, how far into it are you? And I'm like, literally like, page five. I have a five year old running around and it would read a paragraph and let it sink in, but it was a great resource. And you guys, I'll put the link for the EMDR, how to find an EMDR therapist in the episode description. And I'll also put a link to the body keeps the score, if you're interested in learning more, because this connection between our physical self and our mental self, we've really always kind of looked at them separately, but they're so intertwined.

Erica Bennett [00:33:24]:
And it's really cool to start to see these practices that bring the two together. Right. Talk therapy. It is very helpful. We're not saying it's not. And there's more. There's more that you can get into.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:33:36]:
Exactly. And the physical, it's so related. Like, most people have been through things, trauma, everyone holds it differently, but we don't even realize sometimes, like, that lump in your throat could be a trauma where you felt like you didn't have a voice, like that queasiness in your stomach could be like anxiety. Our body really tells us things. If we listen, our body is reactive to things. So there is such a connection between all that. So it's really good to sometimes don't even have the awareness and you can't change, I tell people you can't change anything without an awareness. So to just almost start having the awareness, like, what is my body telling me right now?

Erica Bennett [00:34:08]:
Yeah. And that's such a huge part. And that would be my other takeaway for you guys. If you're noticing that there is a topic that constantly irks you, right. There's maybe a fight you're always stepping into with a partner. There's a feeling that you repeatedly have at different situations. Look for that theme, right? And then that's when now I can use EMDR backwards. I'm not going in with a specific problem, but I'm going in and I'm like, there's something here that I'm not finding logically that I want to free up in my body because my body will lead me towards it.

Erica Bennett [00:34:43]:
Right. And so then journaling, logically journaling. And as the feelings start to feel tapping it. Right. All of a sudden I was like, oh, I'd had a flashback to a way long ago emotion from when my ex and I had separated that I didn't even realize was still stuck in there. And the only way I got to it was because I leveraged EMDR again to be like, hey, I'm ready to clear this out. Something is stuck in there. Logically, I can't find it.

Erica Bennett [00:35:08]:
Emotionally I can. So then physically, my body will guide me to it. Exactly.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:35:13]:
And it's like you said, we repeat a lot in the same dynamics until we heal them. So it could be like, why am I getting in the same dynamic with different men in my life or with a parent or a family member? And once we do this type of work, it shifts.

Erica Bennett [00:35:27]:
Yeah, it's super cool, you guys, I'm a huge fan. I definitely recommend you at least try it out if you're a person, too, who maybe you feel like you've kind of reached the end of where you can get to in talk therapy, or maybe you haven't tried anything, or maybe you're seeing these repetitive patterns. It's always worth a try. You never know when it's going to be the thing that really helps you change. So thank you, Jennifer, for joining us today to shed some light on EMDR.

Jennifer Shapiro [00:35:53]:
Thank you for having me. I appreciate it. Yeah.

Erica Bennett [00:35:55]:
So you guys, again, all the links that we talked about will be in the episode description. You can also find it on the crazyxwivesclub.com under episodes where the full transcripts and all the details are make sure you're subscribed to the podcast so you know when the next episode is out. And until then, we'll talk soon. Take care of yourself. Do a little research and see if EmDR might be the tool to help unlock your next level of healing. And that's it. Another great episode of the Crazy Ex Wives Club, a podcast for women learning how to heal from their divorce. Tune in next week for more advice and tips to help you figure out life after divorce.

Erica Bennett [00:36:38]:
And until then, give yourself grace. Do the best you can and know that this is all part of the process.


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