I have become part of the team at Wondery podcast network, appearing as a guest on Safe For Work with hosts Liz Dolan and Matt Ritter. We discuss the impact of personal grief, loss and trauma on the workplace and on the individual within the workplace. I have been recording more episodes and am looking forward to continued collaboration with the show and the network.
The latest issue of the EMDRIA Journal, a peer reviewed publication for EMDR Research and Practice, includes a very positive review of our book EMDR Therapy and Mindfulness for Trauma-Focused Care. Jamie and I are thrilled that the reviewer seemed to resonate with all the aspects of the book that we were hoping would be meaningful for the reader. The informal feedback we are getting along with reviews like this one has only strengthened me and Jamie in our resolve to have clinicians turn toward the implicit and explicit mindfulness elements of EMDR therapy in order to make the shift from trauma-informed to Trauma-Focused care.
Last August I conducted a half day retreat at Seattle's own Rebel Saints Meditation Society. The talks were recorded and three of them are available on their website, iTunes and GooglePlay. It was the first retreat where I began talking about that which I now seem to land on consistently, the availability of practice in every moment, in every situation, in every thought, every feeling state. Reading the biography of Dipa Ma profoundly touched me, and linked in with my years of Zen training to remind me in the deepest of ways that this practice is not just about sitting on a cushion. This is a way of life. And so, in the face of adversity, in the face of dukkha, in the face of nibbana, we practice.
VoyageLA.com has a series called LA's Most Inspiring Stories. They display them by neighborhood, as the focus is on people's work lives and the services they offer around the city. Being that my main office location is now in Larchmont, I was profiled as an inspiring story from Hollywood. The interview made me aware of something... I have now been here more than 15 years, and it is very much my home. So as I described my work life and my hopes and plans for the future, it made me feel good to think of how I have worked across this city now much like I did in NYC. It has been harder to navigate, literally, with the many miles I put on my car as opposed to the thousands of subway rides during my New York life. But the moral of the story in the end is that I have been able to be of service to a great many people in the greater Los Angeles area, and I look forward to many more opportunities to come -- on the East side from my home office, to Larchmont with my private practice, to Venice as Refuge Recovery Centers moves to the West Side. And of course, more will be revealed...
Dr. Tamer and Dr. Simon invited me to spend over an hour on a show called White Coat by satellite network Al Karma talking about PTSD and EMDR therapy. It was a wonderful opportunity to share my passionate belief that healing is possible through mindfully applied EMDR psychotherapy. In a sense the show allowed me to provide some of the Phase 1 and Phase 2 work of psychoeducation about PTSD and trauma focused treatment, as well as discussing some of the Phase 2 resourcing that can help people to heal and to prepare for trauma resolution. The video is cued up here to where I begin talking specifically about EMDR therapy, and I am most grateful to Dr. Tamer for providing in vivo translation into Arabic for his mostly Arabic speaking audience... Al Karma is a satellite network that reaches over 14 million people worldwide... one wonderful bit of synchronicity was that my coauthor Jamie Marich was in Dubai providing EMDR training in Arabic (courtesy of co-trainer Layla Asamarai) at the very same time I was on this program...
Its been a few years since we talked with microphones on, but Marc Maron and I have never stopped talking to each other. Recently, we spent some time actually practicing mindfulness and working on his trauma, and then we sat down to have a conversation for a new episode of WTF. We talked about my new book, EMDR Therapy and Mindfulness for Trauma-Focused Care, trauma, recovery, Buddhism, the new world order and everything in between. I really enjoy talking with Marc in general, but with microphones on is a special treat for me. So glad to share some of the dharma, some of the trauma resolution and some of the ongoing banter that has been my life with Marc...
Back in August I gave a talk at Against the Stream that just came out on the ATS podcast. I utilized the koan of the Wind and the Flag to establish a foundation for practice, and then went to my notes from my unrecorded November 9, 2016 talk to see what was still in play since then. I was being honest when I said that I don't remember much of that Wednesday talk after the discombobulating events of the night before... so the talk was finally given in the context of time having passed, and in the context of - is it the wind, is it the flag, or is it your mind that is moving. As the world continues to stay volatile, it seems that practice becomes more and more crucial every day if we are to end or transform suffering at all. Hope maybe this talk helps ease some suffering...
Read EMDR Therapy and Mindfulness for Trauma-Focused Care and Earn 12 EMDRIA Credits and 12 APA Home Study CEs!
In partnership with TableMesa, Jamie Marich and I are offering an Online Course where all of you who read EMDR Therapy and Mindfulness for Trauma-Focused Care can read the book and a study guide and take a test for 12 EMDRIA Credits and 12 APA Home Study CEs. This is a great opportunity for EMDR therapists going for certification to get their EMDRIA credits for the whole year taken care of, and APA CEs are nationally recognized across a variety of state licensures.
At $65, these are valuable CEs at a good price. Jamie and I hope that many of you will choose to read the book, take this course, and apply the lessons of the book in your mindful EMDR therapy practice... and for those of you reading this book before becoming trained, we hope it provides that inspiration and guidance to lead you to become an EMDR therapist.
I had the opportunity to write about the work of EMDR and Mindfulness for Keys To Recovery Newspaper, a free newspaper that has a good circulation throughout the recovery community and at conferences. I am enjoying both reporting on what is happening at Refuge Recovery Centers and writing through what I see as happening next. Now that the book EMDR Therapy and Mindfulness for Trauma Focused Care is out, I feel more able to give context to the work we are doing to try to redefine therapy and redefine treatment.
Jamie and I were texting the other night, and we were both feeling grateful and elated. At one point she wrote, "WE WROTE A BOOK!" and I laughed at the child-like excitement we share about the launch of this particular volume. Both of us are so passionate about everything in the title and everything in these pages. The whole process of deciding to write it, outlining it together at my home office in LA, writing diligently before knowing if we had a publisher, signing with Springer, receiving the wonderful endorsements, finishing the book through all its edits... all of it seemed organic and clear. And now here we are, able to share our passion with people.
The writing of EMDR Therapy and Mindfulness for Trauma Focused Care coincided with the growth and further implementation of the MET(T)A Method and MET(T)A Protocol at Refuge Recovery Centers. Jamie and I feel like we are on the cusp of a new phase of treatment, a new era of increased ability to treat trauma... in our private practice offices, in our agencies, in our communities.
Dharma practice changed my life almost 30 years ago. Before sitting down to write this post (actually, I wrote morning pages in the tradition of The Artist's Way and some in my daily planner before these words), I sat meditation for 30 minutes. It is still dark outside this morning. In the quiet, I can sense the pulse of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, I can feel the energy building within me in preparation for a day of EMDR therapy and consultation, mindfully delivered in the interest of easing some suffering. This integration of Buddhist practice and EMDR therapy feels just like breathing to me, and my hope is that this level of ease and flow will translate and resonate for those who read our book.
May all beings be free and peaceful...
I made a return to The Trauma Therapist Podcast, this time together with my coauthor Jamie Marich to discuss our new book EMDR Therapy and Mindfulness for Trauma Focused Care which comes out Tuesday, November 28! This podcast is such an amazing resource for new trauma therapists, and for those who have practiced for awhile. Guy asks all the right questions to help demystify the world of therapy and trauma therapy in particular. Guy was really moved by our effort to change the way treatment is delivered. Doing the podcast in tandem with Jamie this time made it that much more fun and engaging. You can check out previous episodes featuring me and Jamie here... and definitely subscribe if you want support for your practice!
Springer Publications, the publisher of EMDR Therapy and Mindfulness for Trauma Focused Care, the new book I coauthored with Jamie Marich, asked me to blog about my personal journey that led me to this place, personally and professionally. I am so happy and honored to have an EMDR book in this catalogue that includes so many important books on EMDR therapy. And I am so grateful that Jamie and I followed through on this book which in many ways is a culmination of all that I have worked toward ever since I sobered up back in 1989...
You can read my guest post on the Springer Blog here.
My colleague and co-author Jamie Marich does a monthly free teleconference where she interviews those who might be helpful to others in the field. Most recently it was Jamie and I talking about our new book EMDR Therapy and Mindfulness for Trauma Focused Care. I always look forward to this and other opportunities to tag team with Jamie on the project of transforming suffering for those that we can with mindfulness and EMDR therapy, I address the Buddhist aspects of our work, and we both get an opportunity to practice during the interview... the "elevator music glitch" that happens about halfway through the recording. It was a problem with the interface and we had no control over it. The playback is only 55 minutes. In another glitch they tacked on another hour plus of elevator music!
Muzak aside, it was a great beginning to what will be an ongoing dialogue between me and Jamie... it started with writing the book, and now it expands as we bring it out into the world...
Click to download the interview.
When Jamie Marich and I started talking about writing EMDR Therapy and Mindfulness for Trauma-Focused Care, we were surprised in advance that something on this subject hadn't already been written. At the same time, I have felt a strong kinship with Jamie based on our common interests that, while not out of the mainstream of clinical work, are still thought of by some as outside the box. So in some ways, I can't think of anyone who could have written this particular book. Both of us have, on our own journeys, found that the integration of these systems is not only natural, but already organically true and simply in need of a book length description and some guidance as to how to use them together.
This little film that Jamie made really captures our relationship and the origins and construction of the book... always in good humor, always with an earnest desire to find new ways to be helpful, always on a path of mindfulness that is not just a couple of handy techniques, but a full bodied system of healing that includes wisdom, ethics and meditation practices. I still remember our first conversations about it, and I remember starting the writing process before we had any interest from a publisher. We just knew we had to write the book. How exciting to see it come to fruition...
The debut of the day long version of the MET(T)A Method workshop was a success and gives me a lot of hope for the future of agency treatment... over 40 EMDR trained clinicians came to hear about what we are doing at Refuge Recovery Centers with EMDR therapy as the primary clinical practice and Buddhist mindfulness as the theoretical orientation and driving force of treatment. Rajani and Kimbo with the SF Bay Area EMDR Regional Network did an amazing job of finding their new location at the College of San Mateo which was a room with a view, and setting up and putting out there to the community the possible value of this workshop.
There is still much more work to be done on the MET(T)A Method including a video series of case studies of both clinicians and clients, and a fleshing out of the experiential aspects of the workshop, but the feedback was primarily positive and I believe there is a thirst for more of this kind of material. As the addictions world struggles to stay on an ethical path, and as the trauma world seeks to find ways to fold trauma treatment successfully into addiction treatment, it seems that this method grounded in Mindfulness and EMDR therapy provides an ethical compass and a path to liberation that may provide an end or transformation of suffering to many. As we get closer to the release of the book EMDR Therapy and Mindfulness for Trauma Focused Care, the resources for therapists and other professionals is growing, and the desire for integrative treatment that brings long term recovery is possibly more available.
It took me a minute, but here are a few words about the wonderful half day retreat I led at The Vajra on Tenth in Seattle at the end of August after the EMDRIA Conference. I say wonderful not to give myself a pat on the back, but because 25 practitioners stayed indoors on what might have been one of the last sunny days of a Pacific Northwest summer to sit, walk, listen and look within.
We focused together on the Dharma of Adverse Life Events, borrowing from the language of trauma therapy to describe all of those below-the-threshold of trauma instances and beliefs in our lives that can drive us to unskillful intention and action. A different option proposed on our retreat was to deeply investigate the nature of these events and beliefs and see their emptiness, allowing us to utilize that wisdom to set new intentions for our thinking, our speech, our day to day lives. "Right now it's like this" becomes the mantra, and from that acknowledgement, new potential unfolds.
Rachel and the rest of the sangha are doing a superb job of building a dharma community for their area. Many of the ATS teachers are coming through town, and there is a great energy and excitement about practice. I look forward to getting back up there sooner than later to spend more time with my Seattle spiritual friends...
I have a new talk up on the Against the Stream podcast. I took the opportunity to look at all the opportunities we have for Dharma practice. Dipa Ma, a wonderful teacher from the Insight lineage, instructed that there is not one moment where practice is not possible. I am doing blog writing practice right now. I just concluded my listening to the Erev Rosh Hashanah service from ourjewishcommunity.org practice. I will soon move into my getting my daughter ready for school practice. In the midst of it all, I will do my formal sitting practice.
Mindfulness and concentration are engaged through setting of intention and then effort. Over and over again, we can reset that intention, and from a wise place, know what effort is called for at this moment. In these turbulent times, our effort to cultivate mindfulness and the lovingkindness and compassion that it engenders seems less like a choice and more like an absolute necessity. In that spirit, I set my intention this morning. And now, breakfast practice...
MET(T)A Method training for Orange County Therapists: The County Series on Topics in Spirituality and Therapy
I had the opportunity to present the MET(T)A Method to a group of over 80 therapists who work for Orange County. I was presenting at the invitation of the Therapy and Spirituality Committee that allows the County to invite a variety of speakers on subjects related to spiritual interventions. I was told that I was the first Buddhist, as well as the first mindfulness based presentation of the series.
My observation continues to be that there is quite the hunger, quite the thirst for this information. I mean this to include Buddhist based interventions like Refuge Recovery and the MET(T)A Method, and an integration with EMDR therapy with a focus on trauma resolution. My hope is that not only will people find their way to utilizing these modalities in their office, but also through MET(T)A will find ways to reimagine treatment centers and improve the delivery of services.
Some of the comments after the training reaffirmed my deep desire to find a way to bring MET(T)A Method to underserved communities. It may be that this type of structured approach could end up providing the best trauma treatment at a reduced cost and with an added benefit of having a long range plan for aftercare that is not just trauma informed, but trauma resolution focused. More and more theoreticians and practitioners are calling for this, and so why wait another minute?
I am looking forward to more opportunities to be of any assistance I can be to the therapists of Orange County, and my hope is to meet them again sooner than later.
Josh and I have known each other a very long time... we have seen each other go through a number of iterations, and we have had many touchstone moments... playing as a rhythm section, our entries into recovery, officiating at his wedding 16 years ago, our individual journeys into the Dharma. I am liking this now yearly co-teaching at Dharma Punx NYC, so much so that maybe we will make it even more often... this time we address trauma from the Dharma perspective... I am loving that both our books are coming out in the same month, November 2017... his first book entitled Unsubscribe that I am in the middle of reading and loving it, and then my book with Jamie Marich, EMDR Therapy and Mindfulness for Trauma Focused Care... our long and winding road together continues...
I have been truly having a ball talking with other professionals, magazines, and random strangers about only my favorite topics... I love talking about sobriety, Buddhist psychology in all its manifestations, Refuge Recovery, EMDR therapy and trauma therapy in general, and the interconnectedness of all of it. Tom Valentino wanted to hear about all of it, particularly the connections between the 8 Fold Path and recovery. He went to my good friend and coauthor Jamie Marich as well, and to Kevin Griffin to round out his exploration of Buddhism and recovery. I appreciate the thoroughness of his article.