The urge to write this guide followed me for years and it may not have happened without the prompting of a friend who saw the idea independently of my ever mentioning it. His saying it prompted me to get my ass in gear. Thanks for that, friend.
Some people want to write their stories, I want to share some of the process that has kept my story alive for so many years. It’s not a secret to friends and family that my journey through depression and anxiety has been a long one. At the same time, for some reason, I was gifted in this life with a desire to keep going, to seek answers that have led over and over to renewed energy. This is my gift back to the world, a guide to the healing modalities I have used and my experience of each. I am forever grateful for the amazing healers I have met who have opened my eyes to see myself as I really am.
This guide is arranged in the same way for each modality:
- Introduction of the modality’s definition and purpose
- The link to the official information
- A sharing of my experience of the modality
I do not claim to be an expert in regard to any of them nor do I claim to have information about every healing modality that exists.
The purpose of this guide is meant to raise awareness as to what I know exists in the hope that others may also be prompted to seek healing and transformation for themselves.
Whether you seek something written in this guide is not the point. The point is to engender you to seek beauty in this world from the inside out. May you find more and more beauty each day.
Chapter 1: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Definition per the EMDR Institute
EMDR is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.
Link to the EMDR Institute’s Definition: https://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/
I delved into EMDR a handful of times when I was deep in the midst of the pain after my divorce, I remember being surprised at what came up for me during those first few sessions. We started with a really young memory, when I was three or four, when I had a disease and spent a lot of time in the hospital. I had never considered this as something to work on, because it all ended well, meaning I was healed of the disease. The story I had was positive; I just hadn’t considered there were other ways I had related to it as a kid, that somewhere inside me I carried a different interpretation. The three-year-old was scared and, in her eyes, she was the cause of fear and pain in the family. I felt the weight of that little girl’s experience. I felt what had been stuck in me for so long. She now had a voice and was acknowledged. Being present to it all gave me the opportunity to complete that lingering story. The result was a shift out of the weight of that energy.
That experience was a small piece of a large, complex puzzle that made up the whole body of the intense pain I felt. I remember at the time being disappointed that we landed at that story because I wanted to fix all of the other pain, the “real” pain, as I saw it. I was impatient and, rightfully so, as I was barely surviving each day and desperately pursuing relief.
Chapter 2: Developmental Needs Meeting Strategy (DNMS)
Definition per the DNMS Institute*
The DNMS is a gentle, multidimensional, comprehensive, strengths-based, client-centered, ego-state therapy developed by Shirley Jean Schmidt, MA, LPC to treat both trauma and attachment wounds. It gives equal importance to repairing wounds inflicted because of bad things that happened (e.g. abuse) and good things that did not happen (e.g. loving attunement, nurturing, validation, encouragement, etc.). It’s based on the assumption that a child who repeatedly hears devaluing messages (like, “You’re worthless” or “You’re irrelevant”) from unkind people, will grow up with parts of self that are stuck in the past. In adulthood, those reactive parts can feel small and powerless – easily overwhelmed by stressful events. In addition, another type of wounded part can get stuck in the past – a maladaptive introject. Introjects hold recordings of others’ devaluing messages, and when triggered, play back those old messages to reactive parts. This evokes all the same painful emotions in adulthood that were experienced in the past. This constant internal re-wounding of reactive parts creates the illusion that the old wounding experiences are still happening and relevant right now.
Instead of focusing on reprocessing trauma, the DNMS focuses on meeting unmet emotional needs. This is accomplished as wounded parts make a loving, healing connection to a team of robust inner Resources. This approach can successfully heal any kind of wounding inflicted by a person – whether wounds are minor, moderate, or severe; intentional or unintentional; physical or emotional; from acts of omission or commission. And because the healing work is a love-fest focused on meeting needs, not processing trauma, it’s always gentle and nurturing, with minimal risk of emotional overwhelm or retraumatization.
Many therapy models emphasize the importance of the client-therapist therapeutic alliance in healing attachment wounds. They suggest a therapist can provide enough corrective emotional experiences over time, just by listening with compassion and empathy, and modeling unconditional acceptance and understanding. While this may work with some clients, it puts a big burden on the therapist. During the DNMS, a therapist’s attunement to a client is very important, but once a client has gotten past the rapport-building stage, the primary agent for change is not a therapeutic alliance with the therapist, but the loving, supportive, stabilizing relationship wounded parts have with the Resources. This shifts the responsibility of meeting unmet emotional needs from the therapist, to the client’s own inner Resources.
* Compiled from multiple pages of the DNMS website
Link to the DNMS Institute: https://dnmsinstitute.com/clients/
DNMS has played a VERY BIG ROLE in my moving past some very stuck places in my life. What I love about DNMS is that it empowers ME to be the one tapping into my source and resources to facilitate healing. The healing occurs through integration of wounded parts into my adult self who I find eagerly awaits the opportunity to welcome and love those parts. My being at the helm of this process builds inner trust that I have everything in me to move through the stuck places. As a recovering codependent, as one who has consistently given away my power and responsibility by looking to others for answers, this has been an important muscle for me to build.
My experience of DNMS is one of…
- Absolute shift
The actual process itself is very structured, although my therapist has been flexible in highlighting portions that will better serve me, depending on the day. The basis of the DNMS is the creation of an internal safe haven built with your own inner resources of compassion, nurture and spirit. Into that safe haven, all parts seeking healing can find refuge; it is the gateway to a part’s integration with your adult self.
While not a necessity, bringing a strong spiritual attunement and practice to the process is a benefit as it has supported me to quickly create that safe haven. It has also given me the ability to sit, listen and process for long periods. Sometimes I’ve been so deep in spirit that I’ve sat for an hour processing internally without one word passing between my therapist and me. Granted, this is unusual, but it has happened.
You may wonder what is going on inside of me during that time. I start by welcoming the wounded part into the safe haven I’ve created. I hear what it has to say, what it needs. Then I sit with it as it slowly absorbs the love available to it through the loving resources that already exist inside me. Imagine water slowly seeping into hard, dry ground. Once the wounded part enters into the safe haven, the healing waters slowly penetrate the hurting part and little-by-little, with continual inner allowance and guidance through the process by the therapist, the part is absorbed into the whole. Eventually, I am able to see the story the wounded part is telling me for what it truly is – a story. It no longer has its tentacles in me and I am now able to distinguish it in such a way that its power melts away. It is absorbed/integrated into my adult self.
I find it truly miraculous how absolutely I shift through this process. After some DNMS sessions, my mind is free, my body is free. A big weight is lifted. I don’t have to “work hard” anymore to fight thought patterns, because I am walking down new pathways. That is freedom to me!
I want to be clear that what I described above is not every DNMS session. Sometimes it takes multiple sessions to shift into freedom. Sometimes it takes the combination of multiple modalities (more on that later). Sometimes freedom comes in a less dramatic way. We are all so different and your experience will look like your experience.
- If you are willing to sit with the discomfort of allowing wounded parts to surface
- If you are open to trusting the process
- If you are willing to create a safe space of acceptance and love for those parts …you will find freedom.
And, in my experience, once you’ve experienced the freedom you want more. When I am freed up, I have more power to choose living from my best and highest self.
Definition per the Hoffman Process
The Hoffman Quadrinity Process®, founded by Bob Hoffman in 1967 is a week-long residential and personal growth retreat that helps participants identify negative behaviors, moods, and ways of thinking that developed unconsciously and were conditioned in childhood.
The Process will help you become conscious of and disconnected from negative patterns of thought and behaviors on an emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual level in order to make significant positive changes in your life. You will learn to remove habitual ways of thinking and behaving, align with your authentic self, and respond to situations in your life from a place of conscious choice.
Link to the Hoffman Institute: https://www.hoffmaninstitute.org/
Hoffman changed my life dramatically in one week. It was one of those “in the right place at the right time” experiences. Here’s the story.
In 2010 I started my own consulting business. When I look back on that time I really had no idea what I was doing and, yet at the time, I knew that I knew I was meant to take that leap. And so I did.
I started my first gig five months after I went full-time as an entrepreneur and it lasted nearly a year. Toward the end of our professional relationship, the company employing me stopped paying me. My money situation was suffering big time. At the same time, in a parallel universe, or so it seemed, I was trying for the fourth time in six years to make the same romantic relationship work. In one week in May, within days of one another, my consulting gig and my relationship ended. Boom! My life blew up.
I was an absolute mess. All I could do was cry and survive each day. I went to my therapist and said, “Why do I keep getting stuck in this relationship? What’s the hook? I need something drastic right now!” Consider that, at the time, I was six years out of my divorce and just entering the grief of being involuntarily childless. I did not even understand nor was I ready to absorb the gravity of the latter as I was so stuck in my desire for a relationship. My therapist told me about this thing called the Hoffman Process, said that some of her clients had done it and had seen results.
I looked it up the same day, registered, signed up for a scholarship, set up my flight to California and found a friend to pick me up at the airport and drive me to St. Helena . Amazing what you can accomplish when you’re clear on what you want and desperate to get it!
I put aside my money issues, which were many. I was deep in debt, I was battling with the company who owed me money, I could barely pay my mortgage. I didn’t care, because I knew what I needed and I wasn’t going to let anything get in the way. I was willing to take the risk and spend money I didn’t have to get the thing I needed – relief, peace, hope. At the end of the Process I found them all.
The Process itself is not something I can openly talk about, because then I would ruin it for you and I would be breaking the agreement to not share the inner workings. Revealing the abc’s of what goes on would take away from you receiving all you can receive as you might therefore develop preconceived ideas or expectations that could get in the way of your experience.
What I can say is that in the middle of an intense exercise I had my biggest shift. At the core of the shift was a negative pattern that I had attached to my mother. I remember the moment it happened. Bam – the light bulb went on and I intuitively knew that this was at the root of the hook with the boyfriend. Please don’t ask me to explain the details of the pattern or how it related to the guy, because I don’t remember. I do remember the moment it clicked and the lightness and freedom I felt right after. That is the power of Hoffman.
When I returned home, I never cried another tear for that person. I had truly moved on. It’s surreal to consider that, before Hoffman, I was certain that that relationship was supposed to work out. After Hoffman, it was so clear to me that it was exactly where it needed to be. That is the deceptiveness of our stuck places. They can convince us that someone or something is perfect for us when the perfection is really in the lesson we are meant to learn and the healing we are meant to receive.
Hoffman’s tagline is “when you’re serious about change.” That’s right. If you are, then this is for you. I personally believe that everyone should do the Process.
Watch this great video to learn more.
Consider that Hoffman is also a gift that keeps on giving. The experience of it does not have to end after the week. Here are some highlights of my post-Hoffman experience:
- I’ve created lifetime bonds with some of the people in my process.
- The tools I learned in Hoffman are at my disposal forever. Hoffman has an app containing all meditations and tools. They also present live daily Quadrinity checks on Instagram. (The Quadrinity represents four parts of self: emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical.)
- As a graduate, I have access to graduate groups happening around the world. Support is usually monthly.
- Hoffman also offers follow-up courses for graduates. I participated in their refresher called the Q2. You can check out a video about it with yours truly as the first sound bite.
More to Come!
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Family Systems Therapy
- Life Coaching
- Accomplishment Coaching’s Training Program
- Holistic Medicine & Acupuncture
- Healing Prayer
- Prayer & Meditation
- Crossfit (yes, I consider it a healing modality)
- Recovery Groups
- Thai Yoga Massage