The Words of the Lowen Family

EMDR: An Approach to Body-mind Unity

Sandra Lowen
January 2007

‘You’ve got cancer. We don’t know what the outcome will be." Around the world, those words daily lead people spiraling into depression and despair. One woman, however, discovered a very different path.

Then-graduate psychology student, Francine Shapiro stumbled out of her doctor’s office in 1987, head reeling. She sat on a nearby park bench to gather her thoughts and consider the impact of what she had just heard. She was young, bright, and just getting ready to take on the world. Now a few words from a doctor had revealed that her future might hold only pain and death.

She sat, her mind blank, watching the wind blow the uncut grass back and forth -- back and forth -- About half an hour later she stood up to go. It was then that it occurred to her. Yes, she still had cancer, but -- but that fact wasn’t obsessing over her mind as it had been just minutes before. There might be solutions, alternatives to dying. What had changed? She could think only that she had been watching the grass blow for the past half hour. And so a gardener’s negligence led to the birth of a new and innovating psychological and physical therapy.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (‘EMDR’) has been heralded around the world as the premier modality for treatment of chronic pain, as well as physical, emotional, and sexual trauma. It has been used successfully in the treatment of survivors, families, and caregivers of events such as 9/11, the 2006 Tsunami, Katrina and Rita hurricanes and the Iraq and Afghan Wars.

The young cancer victim’s discovery provides relief for amputees experiencing phantom pain, speakers approaching the podium for the first time, writers and musicians facing performance anxiety or writer’s block, and students approaching quizzes. Individuals who have been in therapy for many years find themselves able to overcome their issues after a handful of sessions.

What Is EMDR? At night when we sleep our bodies clean and repair themselves, which is why we may wake up with ‘eye goo’ and in need of a shower. Our minds also review the issues of the day and deal with any leftover material, which is why we sometimes wake up with solutions to problems we grappled with unsuccessfully the day before.

Scientists have associated the rapid eye movement (REM) of deep sleep with this cleansing process. When problems overwhelm us, however, or when we find ourselves in emergency situations, sleep usually eludes us. As night after night brings only marginal rest, REM sleep may be insufficient to help us process our thoughts adequately, our resistance may break down, leading to physical illness as well as mental exhaustion.

Their ability to deal with the problem declines, and other problems may well build up around the original issue. When something disagreeable happens, the human tendency is to avoid anything that reminds them of the problem, to bury the memory of the thing in some dark closet of the mind. However, most memories are not one-dimensional.

Because people have five senses, each sense records what is happening at any moment of our lives. For instance, as you sit reading this article, there may be music playing in another room, or the smell of oranges from a fruit you just opened. Perhaps you are wearing a textured sweater or the room you are reading in is a little chilly.

You may be getting a cold and sipping a cup of lemon tea. Now let us say that something really bad happens, or you hear that a disaster such as 9/11 has just occurred. You may know intellectually that the event took place. You also will probably remember precisely where you were, what you were doing, how you found out, and who you called first to talk about it with.

The reason is that when deep emotions come, the mind ‘photographs’ the moment and embeds the memory as visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory and gustatory senses, It may also catalogue the event with other events similar to it that you have experienced but not yet processed. Therefore, one may undergo verbal therapy, but not get over the trauma, because the other senses still ‘remember’ the event and it remains stored in the memory along with other unprocessed memories that may seem at first glance, only marginally related to it.

EMDR and Divine Principle

EMDR, which has appeared at the point in time at which the collective sludge of history blocks so much of humanity, manifesting as anxiety, pain, trauma, fear, inadequacy, and conflict, seems to be proof that God hears the cry of an overwhelmed humanity. During this period of Cheon Il Guk, God is working in many ways both in and outside of the religious community to assist all people in creating a foundation to receive the Messiah.

While most of us can fulfill the Foundation of Faith on the individual level, Foundation of Substance is difficult for many to achieve, particularly on the family and tribal levels. For instance, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart created some of the world’s most beautiful music -- and suffered a tragic life, riddled with frustrations, poor interaction with others, alcoholic and sexual excesses. His life ended when he was only 35 years old.

Like Mozart, concerns from our childhoods, our sense of deprivation and entitlement, and other issues may well interfere with our quest for fulfillment, purification, and happiness.

EMDR notes the principle of give and take. Most movements within the body reflect polarity; that is, walking alternates left and right feet. Muscle movement requires a shift between expansion and contraction. Body systems turn on or off. Utilizing these, the EMDR practitioner guides the client in bringing issues to the surface, reviewing them dispassionately, finding a solution for them, and discarding them.

Far from being a parlor trick, a pop-psychology fad, or some form of hypnosis, EMDR is currently hailed as the psychological modality of choice by the American Psychology Association. The typical session takes sixty to ninety minutes and requires minimal effort on the part of the client. It may have a positive effect even on issues the client consciously to masks.

Sandra Lowen, Ph.D., LCSW, (1800 couple) is certified as an EMDR practitioner. With her husband, John Lowen, MS, LCSW, also a clinical therapist, she maintains a practice in Clifton Park, NY, treating individuals, couples, and families. For further information about individual, couples, or family therapy, contact the Lowens. For further information on EMDR, consult

Table of Contents

Tparents Home

Moon Family Page

Unification Library