Tomorrow I will give an important presentation at the AMHCA annual conference here in Orlando, Florida. I’ve been an AMHCA member ever since I earned my graduate degree in counseling from Gallaudet University in 1997. AMHCA is the professional organization representing more than 6,000 licensed professional counselors and clinical mental health therapists from all parts of the country who work in various capacities in the national mental health effort. This presentation is important for a few reasons.
First, it is my own professional organization. I will be speaking to my peers, my compatriots. Second, it has taken me a long time to get to the point where I have convinced organizations like AMHCA that it’s important to look at EMI(tm) as a viable therapy for treating acute and post traumatic stress, as well as phobias and negative or self-limiting thoughts. Third, the presentation will be videotaped and I hope to retrieve enough good footage to be able to stream parts of the presentation and how the technique works when I do a live demonstration with a volunteer. or those of you who would like to know more about EMI you will find a description of the therapy and even a detailed case study of my work with a client at www.deninger.com under “More About EMI.”
I did a demo of EMI in 2010 at the Anxiety Disorders Association of America Annual Conference. I worked with an elderly psychiatrist who was rear-ended in a serious car accident from three years before. My assessment told me that he suffered from PTSD from that single event. He volunteered to work with me and we did an EMI session focusing on the accident. His PTSD symptoms were reduced to a point where he was no longer having the reaction he had had for three years to the trauma. I phoned him six months later to find that he did not think about the accident much anymore and, when he did, he was not as bothered by his thoughts or reactions.
While at the conference I also talked to a woman who was leading PTSD research efforts at a large northeast university system. I asked if I could share my work with EMI with her or one of her colleagues. Her response was, “Do you know how many people tell me everyday that they have a cure for PTSD?” When I persisted and pointed out that her response was not what a practitioner who deals with PTSD all the time would want to hear, she relented and told me to use the PTSD checklist developed by the Veterans Administration and to film a video of the technique; then maybe she would take a look at it. Well, begrudgingly, I did just that.
Today I have that woman’s rebuke to thank for promting me to do a pilot study of the use of EMI with five of my PTSD clients. I will be reporting the results at my presentation tomorrow here in Orlando. We will also be videotaping both the presentation and the EMI demonstration so there will be a record of the work to show to any researcher who might be willing to view the therapy in action!
Wish me luck . . .