Unfortunately, many of the 5-8 million Americans who suffer from PTSD each year go untreated; others receive substandard care. To make matters worse, recent research suggests the trauma methods highly recommended by the American Psychological Association are only marginally successful. Multichannel Eye Movement Integration is a remarkably straightforward, easy-to-learn PTSD therapy and a breakthrough alternative to conventional approaches—as effective as EMDR, but without a confusing theory or procedural complexities.
Over the years, Dr. Mike has worked with hundreds of survivors of all types and stripes, using MEMI as an essential part of treatment. What follows are commentaries from clients in their own words about what they experienced before and after MEMI therapy. Many were diagnosed with PTSD, although a few suffered from phobias or other mental health issues. Following the client commentaries are testimonials from professionals who have attended seminars led by Dr. Mike.
When I first met Dr. Mike, I was struggling with ongoing issues related to childhood trauma. It was disrupting my sleep. I . . . would actually be afraid to go to sleep at night because of the frequent nightmares that would wake me up and leave me just panicked and staring in a dark room. I was often bothered by recurring memories during the day as well, and I found myself . . . um being hypervigilant in social settings. I . . . I would unsuccessfully try to ignore the problems, as if that would make them go away. And I felt this tremendous amount of fear and shame that was leading me to put up walls that pushed other people away. I had been meeting with Dr. Mike for a while when he decided to incorporate MEMI into my therapy. At the time, I recall feeling significantly activated by memories of the trauma, kind of like this panicked tension. I would feel my heart race, and my breathing speed up and my muscles would tighten, but as Dr. Mike worked with me, and . . . as I would hold a memory in my thought and listen to Dr. Mike’s voice and follow the movement of his finger with my eyes, I felt that tension quickly diminishing. In the days that followed, though I could recall the memory, it was no longer intrusive. It wouldn’t just pop up into my mind, and the nightmares pretty much stopped. Instead, when I thought about what had happened to me, the memory began to feel far away—for lack of a better term. It felt diminished. It felt less powerful. And today, I enjoy a sense of freedom from the power of those memories. Though the events of the trauma have still had a significant impact on my life, I don’t feel like the trauma has any real hold on me. And I am hugely grateful for Dr. Mike’s work with me.
My work with Dr. Mike has been profound, and I would highly recommend working with him! I reached out to him because I experienced trauma years ago. I noticed there were some situations in which I was ‘freezing’ when I needed to be present, and that was interfering with my personal, educational, and professional growth. Each session focused on a different event in my life. Following his guidance, I addressed the loss of my father with MEMI, something I never thought I would have to do. I felt comfortable and safe working with him, and he helped me see a set of thought patterns that have been so pervasive in my life that I never thought twice about them. That awareness has given me a sense of freedom I didn’t think was possible. I realized that those patterns were created to help me feel safe, and that I am no longer in any danger. That understanding gave me the space I needed to start the healing process. Working with him was eye-opening and healing. My PTSD symptoms have been dramatically reduced and are barely noticeable, my thoughts surrounding my traumas are more positive and accepting, and they are no longer interrupting my day, affecting my mood, or my productivity. This work has been life-changing for me, and I look forward to continuing to notice big and small changes that have occurred as a result of our work together.
I had a traumatic health experience which brought long term distress to my life. (It resulted in a lost late-term pregnancy in a foreign country. The experience was multi-layered, affecting my health, marriage, and parenthood status.)
The effects of MEMI treatment were both immediate and long term.
For the years following the experience, I had struggled with overwhelming sadness, triggered suddenly by contact with familiar sights and smells of the health experience I would tear up and go back to that place and time, losing concentration at whatever had been going on before the trigger. After the EMI therapy my mind was able to make a quick recognition of what was familiar without losing focus at that moment. My eyes did not water, my breathing didn’t feel panicked, and I felt like I experienced a brief memory without being pulled under by it.
MEMI treatment helped me deal with the social side of the trauma. Prior to the therapy, I hated what I considered snoopy or judgmental questions from other women who had had easy pregnancies and would ask about my own family plans. I used to avoid women’s groups just because of that kind of social talk. After the treatment, I was less anxious socially, and I worked with Dr. Mike on some acceptable answers to these questions that would keep me in a social conversation without trampling my feelings of privacy and self-respect. This helped me recognize whom I could eventually choose to trust to share my story, or not.
Long term, I realized that the treatment changed my thinking patterns about the experience. Feelings of guilt diminished right away and over time I saw that the loss was a huge milestone in my life, but that I didn’t cause it.
All in all, the MEMI treatment brought me to a new way of thinking and feeling. It didn’t erase the pain but it pulled me out of the prison of pain, and gave me strength to find new ways to see how I could relate to the world and live a happier life. I realized that with effort and courage, I found people who could help me out of the trauma.
I came to Mike to discuss a traumatic experience of being preyed upon at work by my direct line manager—what explicitly became text-book sexual harassment over time. I was extremely unprepared for the triggers that ensued. The experience was too overwhelming to even think about. I remember being afraid it would consume me. Whenever I thought of them, I had a shortness of breath, heart palpitations, sweating, and an inability to think clearly.
In moments of great distress, MEMI therapy gave me a place of calm. Mike would ask me to picture an image of the aggressor and how that made me feel, while I followed his pen with my eyes as it moved from right to left and sharply down at 45-degree angles. We continued that process until the image of the aggressor became less than the enormous and overwhelming vision it had been. This automatically had a calming effect, and I began to see the initial problem with less emotion and more logic. The monster I had created after the trauma became less cunning, horrific and even more human. After getting past this, after conquering this emotional hurdle, our discussions were able to continue. Only then were we able to do the real work of healing.
After the sessions, I felt much calmer and able to move on without the emotions that had consumed me. Subsequently, when images would appear in my mind during times of stress, they were dulled and lessened.
I started working with Dr. Mike after years of unsuccessful and semi-successful tools, programs, and therapies to address what I thought were “communication issues,” and issues surrounding my family and upbringing. I suffered from extreme anxiety. I had become a workaholic to avoid being with myself and others and as a convenient excuse to avoid romantic and platonic relationships. What romantic relationships I did have always ended in similar ways, but I couldn’t understand the pattern. I had long accepted that “this is just how I am.”
It wasn’t until many sessions into our work together that I divulged to Dr. Mike that I had been a victim of a sexual assault as a pre-teen. I had never told anyone this before in my life. I thought that I had “gotten over it” and that it didn’t have a place in my life as an adult. The assault was the wound that I had carefully tended and hidden from the world, but my symptoms of “bad communication,” anger, and withdrawal were what I retreated to and presented to everyone in my life.
I was very upset as I divulged this. Dr. Mike asked me if he could try something with me that might lessen the intensity of my feelings. I agreed, as I was surprised actually, at my level of emotion when I talked about this event (as I thought I was “over it”). I didn’t have to go into the details about it. Nor did I want to. Dr. Mike started with recalling a “safe” or contented memory or thought, and then asked me to follow his pen with just my eyes. I was skeptical. My stomach was in knots and the tears were free flowing.
After a “round” of MEMI, I felt calmer. My stomach was tight, but not roiling, and there were fewer tears. After a brief break, we did another round, and my body felt lighter than it had in a long while. I didn’t have the temporary ‘release’ you sometimes feel after a ‘good cry,’ but I felt that some amount of burden was lifted from me and that it was a permanent reduction. I was still skeptical, but very intrigued! I participated in MEMI in subsequent sessions, for different but related issues. Dr. Mike even taught me that I could use some aspects of the technique by myself when confronted with a trigger.
For me, MEMI allowed me the freedom to work on some of my issues without the burden of my trauma. I view my MEMI sessions with Dr. Mike as “getting over the hump” in my path to healing. Without the albatross of my assault and childhood trauma, I made more progress in the next year of therapy than I had in the previous decade of therapists and hundreds of hours of therapy.
It’s now been about five years since that first session. I consider myself in recovery and a successful survivor of my assault. My trauma “wound” no longer festers and I remain focused on mitigating and alleviating my “symptoms.” In this time, I have had stronger, more trusting, and deeper friendships and relationships. I even recently got married! I never thought I would be able to have a deeply committed, emotionally intimate relationship that I do now with my husband. I am better able to self-regulate through the process and tools that started with MEMI. I consider MEMI therapy with Dr. Mike a lifesaver for me.
Dr. Mike was instrumental in helping me through some difficult transitions I faced over the past 10 years. Some of these transitions were related to my work, and some were related to my marriage. Dr. Mike’s style of counseling put me very much at ease right from the start, and the techniques he used in his practice were incredibly effective and very helpful.
In particular, I was carrying around a series of memories that, quite frequently, interfered with my state of being and with my overall level of functioning. These memories were from my adolescence and were rather traumatic. Before treatment, these memories would oftentimes play on a loop, and they would create overwhelming feelings of shame and of loss for me. On a good day, this memory loop would play, maybe once or twice, perhaps triggered by an interaction at work or at home, or even by a scene from a show on TV. On these good days, I would be able to quiet them and go about my day. Then there were the bad days. These were the days the memories would not stop playing – over and over. It was like they were on an IMAX screen, consuming everything in my mind’s eye. Unable to stop them, I would become overwhelmed with the shame and the fear and the loss that these memories invoked. On these bad days, I was literally debilitated by these memories and their associated feelings. My performance at work would suffer on these days, as would my ability to be present for my family. During the more difficult transition periods, it seemed like these bad days were happening more and more frequently, which is why I sought help with Dr. Mike.
I was nervous to talk to Dr. Mike about these memories and feelings. I hadn’t talked about them with anyone before. I was afraid that talking about them would automatically put me in that debilitating place again. I remember there was a tightness in my chest, and it was hard for me to speak before this particular treatment. After some grounding exercises, Dr. Mike took me through the MEMI technique. I was absolutely amazed at the results. After just a couple of sessions, the memories and their associated feelings, which, prior to treatment, had been playing on that IMAX screen, were now reduced dramatically. It was like, instead of an IMAX screen, they were now on a cell phone screen, and that cell phone was 20 feet away from me. I could still see the “picture” but it was just a vague picture out there in the distance, with thousands of other vague pictures of my memories. Along with the reduced image came the reduced emotional reaction. I no longer have those overwhelming feelings of shame or fear or loss. Occasionally, I might feel a twinge of shame. But, in comparison to the tidal wave I was feeling prior to this treatment, it’s almost not even worth mentioning, because it no longer affects me negatively.
This treatment didn’t take away my traumatic memories. I can’t say from a technical standpoint exactly what this MEMI treatment did for me. From a practical standpoint, it somehow helped to take the experiences I had from almost 40 years ago through a re-imaging process so that now, the violent emotional reactions I used to have when these memories surfaced, simply no longer occur. Having lived with the shame and fear and loss for so many years and feeling the effects of those strong emotional reactions for so long, well, it’s almost miraculous to have been helped in such an effective way. Thank you, Dr. Mike, for all you’ve done for me.