Today’s Dear Gabby is a Big Talk with my EMDR therapist Tammy Valicenti — and it’s probably one of the most important podcasts I’ll ever do.
I’m so glad you’re here! I believe that my spirit guides led me to Tammy … and that your spirit guides led you to this Dear Gabby. This conversation could truly change your life, because it’s about a healing modality that had a MAJOR impact on mine!
In my new book Happy Days: The Guided Path from Trauma to Profound Freedom and Inner Peace, I write this:
My Experience With EMDR
The relief I experienced from this profound psychiatric healing approach made me want more of it. What I love most about EMDR is how spiritual it is. As the Universe would have it, I was guided to an EMDR specialist who helped me go even further in the process. Her ability to intuitively guide me to explore unresolved memories and emotions was a spiritual process.
It was as if she was attuning with my energy to allow Spirit to work through her to guide me. I have always believed that Spirit works through people (particularly therapists, doctors, and healers). And in this case, I felt truly guided by a force of love working effortlessly through this woman. Often I would see sparks of light flash behind her chair. This was a common experience for me in therapy sessions. Those sparks of light are angels and Spirit guides peeking through to let me know that I’m in the presence of a healer. Whenever I’d see a spark light up, I’d know Spirit was working through my therapist to help me heal. —Happy Days, Chapter 6, Page 125
Meet My EMDR Therapist!
Well, my friend, the healer that I wrote about was Tammy Valicenti… and she’s here on Dear Gabby to break EMDR down for you in the most soulful way!
Have you ever been curious about this type of psychotherapy?
Or, do you just want to learn about one of THE most powerful tools for feeling relief fast?
You’re in the right place! Just press play to learn:
- The roots of EMDR (someone channeled it on a walk!) and exactly what to expect from your first session
- The difference between trauma with a big T and trauma with a little T … and the big T trauma that we often overlook
- How to expand your ability to process big feelings the moment they’re triggered (Tammy calls this “returning to the place of big love”)
- How unprocessed trauma stays trapped in the body…and how EMDR can help you release it
- Why EMDR therapy is a powerful tool for manifesting (this is so cool)
Use EMDR to Bust Through Limiting Beliefs
There’s a really important concept called “upper-limiting” that Tammy and I cover in this podcast. If you feel that you might be sabotaging your own success in any way—either consciously or subconsciously—I really want you to hear this.
“Upper-limiting” is a tendency that trauma survivors have to play small. We might hold ourselves back in relationships, or in our finances, or in our careers. And the reason we do it is so profound. Press play to hear Tammy explain why we might keep ourselves small to avoid being retriggered … and how we can break through those blocks to meet our full potential.
If you’ve been through trauma of any kind, please know that you’re not alone in “upper-limiting” yourself. This is a very common side effect of feeling ashamed or afraid… but everything can change once you learn to recognize it.
You Are Resilient
Tammy read Happy Days cover-to-cover, and in this episode she shares her tips for how to use the book! Tammy advises being gentle with yourself as you work through the exercises. Go slow, and (if you can) find a therapist or a friend to work through the book with you. But in the meantime, I want you to know that I’m there with you on your Happy Days journey, too.
As I wrote this book, I used it as an opportunity to extend my own calm, resourced energy to you. Through the way I wrote to you—and through the guidance, compassion, and vulnerability that I shared on each page—I wanted to show you my resilience. And I wanted you to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that resilience is possible for YOU.
You’re already on the right path. Whether this episode of the Dear Gabby podcast opens you up to EMDR therapy, or whether you’re inspired to read Happy Days and try a different healing modality, that is something to celebrate!
I’m proud of you. Just by pressing play, you’re taking serious steps to heal old wounds, bring relief to your entire system and bust through blocks and limitations!
Get More Gabby
The following are helpful resources and books I mention within the episode:
About Tammy Valicenti: Tammy is a psychotherapist and the founder of Transformation Solution. And since I’m lucky enough to call her my EMDR therapist, I’ve experienced her profound healing power firsthand! If you’d like to learn more about Tammy, please visit her website.
In my book Happy Days: The Guided Path from Trauma to Profound Freedom and Inner Peace, I share more about my journey with EMDR therapy. I also provide candid details on the other tools—both spiritual and therapeutic—that helped me recover from trauma. Today, my life is a happy dream. And if I can reach this place, so can you. I’d be honored to guide you down the path to profound freedom and inner peace. And if you’ve already read the book, please leave a review! I’d love to hear your honest thoughts.
If you feel that you need more support, please refer to this list of mental health resources. It includes a link to the EMDR International Association Page, so you can find an EMDR therapist near you.
Want even more support? I created the Miracle Membership to help you design a spiritual practice you can stick to—so you can feel connected, supported and inspired every day. Each week I deliver brand new workshops, guided meditations, community connection, and so much more. Plus, it’s easy to access on your phone, computer or tablet. Click here to join.
Want to hear my EMDR playlist? Cue it up here! You can use this music to help you meditate and to help you manifest.
This podcast is intended to educate, inspire and support you on your personal journey towards inner peace. I am not a psychologist or a medical doctor and do not offer any professional health or medical advice. If you are suffering from any psychological or medical conditions, please seek help from a qualified health professional.
The following podcast is a Dear Media production.
Hi there, Gabby here. This podcast is intended to educate, inspire, and support you on your personal journey towards inner peace. I’m not a psychologist or a medical doctor ...
The following podcast is a Dear Media production.
Hi there, Gabby here. This podcast is intended to educate, inspire, and support you on your personal journey towards inner peace. I’m not a psychologist or a medical doctor and do not offer any professional health or medical advice. If you are suffering from a psychological or medical condition, please seek help from a qualified health professional.
Ever since I started this show, I’ve been getting a lot of messages from people saying, Hey, does Gabby do coaching? Can I work privately with her? I have something in my world that is the next best thing to having me as your personal coach. It is my Miracle Membership. Every week, I show up to you with real-time coaching inside your inbox and inside a member’s portal.
You get a brand new lesson every week, a brand new meditation. You get guidance on how to stay committed. You get affirmations. And I break it down for you really simply with audio lessons, guided meditations, affirmations, and weekend wind-downs to focus on the week ahead. But here’s the deal. Something really new and special is happening inside my Miracle Membership. I’m doing a members-only challenge called the Body Love Challenge.
The Body Love Challenge is about reclaiming your connection to your body, releasing any negative patterns that are holding you back and really getting to a place where you feel safe—inside your body, in your skin.
This new members-only challenge offers 21 days of powerful exercises, meditations, and guidance to help you develop a deeper spiritual relationship with your body. Go to deargabby.com/miraclemembership. And July 1st is when the Body Love Challenge starts and it’s only available to Miracle Members.
So head over to deargabby.com/miraclemembership.
GABBY: Hey there. Welcome to Dear Gabby. I’m your host Gabby Bernstein. And if you landed here, it is absolutely no accident. It means that you’re ready to feel good and manifest a life beyond your wildest dreams. Let’s get started.
Welcome back to Dear Gabby. Today is a very, very, very special episode. It’s an interview I did a little while back with my EMDR therapist. Her name is Tammy Valicenti. She’s a very important person in my life. When I was in the early days of my trauma recovery, I was introduced to Tammy through two mutual friends.
It was almost like all roads led to Tammy and everyone just said she is magic. She is going to help you transform. Within the first session, everything began to change for me. EMDR is eye movement, desensitization and reprocessing. It’s trauma therapy that’s great for all kinds of issues like phobias or minor disturbances, but particularly for big T or small t trauma.
And Tammy is such an extraordinary guide in this model. She really, really, really has been brought here to this world at this time to do this work. And I believe that spirit led me to Tammy to help change my life. Be sure to listen all the way through. I know that you’re going to learn a lot about EMDR.
Tammy will demystify the process and she’ll also teach you how you can use EMDR as a tool for manifesting. It’s actually something I didn’t even realize until we had this conversation. And here’s the kicker, please excuse my voice. This episode was recorded when I had laryngitis, but it was so timely that I had to get it out.
And so my voice is a little rusty and not so clear, but Tammy does most of the talking and you can really feel my passion and my gratitude for her coming through, even with my raspy voice. So enjoy this show. Share it with your friends. If you’re interested in EMDR, I go deeper into the modality inside Happy Days.
And Tammy was a huge part of my Happy Days journey to get to the place of profound freedom and inner peace. Enjoy the show.
GABBY: So here we are, we are with my beloved Tammy. Tammy, you are someone who has been so transformational in my healing journey. And I love you so deeply. And I see you rolling your eyes because you can’t take the compliment. Take it, baby. I love that.
TAMMY: I’m trying to, I’m trying not to cry Gabby. I tore through your book in two days and I laughed and cried through all of it.
GABBY: Honestly, you’re making me cry right out. It just means so much to me to hear that from someone who really held my hand throughout this journey. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for your guidance. And I just, I love you so much. I really do. Thank you.
TAMMY: It was a profound honor.
GABBY: God, we’re crying already. I’m gonna sniffle, I’m going to cry. I’m going to lose my voice. Here we are. So what we’re talking about in today’s episode is the healing, therapeutic modality of EMDR. And I want you to open and take my voice away for a moment and give us the origins of EMDR. What it means, what it stands for, what it means to you. And let’s just hear it.
TAMMY: So EMDR was founded by Dr. Francine Shapiro about 30 years ago. And she discovered that I think she was on a walk and she was a graduate student at the time. And she discovered that when she moved her eyes back and forth and thought about something disturbing that it became less disturbing.
So she got really curious about it. And it wasn’t that simple actually. Later on, you really had to pair some cognitive, you know, some cognitions with it and whatnot. It became a little more complicated as she delved further in, but out of that curiosity came EMDR, eye movement, desensitization and reprocessing.
And when it first sort of came to be, it was just a technique used for processing and resolving trauma. And it was super effective. But of course, there were no studies and again, it was just a technique. It wasn’t a therapy, but through the years, there’s countless studies backing it up as a transformational tool, not only for trauma but also for enhancing, you know, enhancement for athletes and for actors, for working through and processing panic disorder and other issues.
EMDR is a, it’s brilliant in that it’s a top-down and bottom-up process. In other words, it works not only from your body up to your cognitions but from your cognitions down to your body. It does both at the same time. Few techniques, few therapies do that. So it’s super powerful and super effective.
GABBY: Take us through what a session would look like.
TAMMY: So an initial session would be like any kind of typical psychotherapy session. You really want to get some background information, you know, history and really establish trust and rapport. And then after that, what a typical EMDR session would look like once that’s been established, once the person we’re sure is very resourced and able to go through the process of EMDR, a target is established.
So let’s say someone came to me and they had experienced a pretty horrific car accident. So my question is always, you know, if that car accident was a movie, what moment of that movie represents the most disturbing moment to you? And that’s our target there. And we pair that with the emotions that go with that and the sensations in your body and the negative belief about yourself.
And then using, and this is also something that was discovered, it’s kind of early on the bilateral stimulation, isn’t only eye movements back and forth. It could be tapping back and forth on your arms or your legs. It could be tones in your ears back and forth with EMDR music or other tones.
So using that bilateral stimulation, pairing that with the target sensations, emotions, the processing is super effective can take it depends really on, on the person’s history and the extent of the trauma, but if it’s a one-off trauma, meaning there’s no history of trauma and there’s no complex PTSD, you could resolve something like a car accident in one to three sessions. Um, when there’s a history of other traumas, it could be more complicated and take longer than that.
Now a word from our sponsor, Better Help. Life can be really overwhelming. And I notice right now, so many people are burned out without even realizing it. People just have these symptoms of lacking motivation or feeling helpless or trapped or detached. So many people really complain about sleep issues or fatigue.
There’s so much that’s coming up for us and we’re not even aware of why. And I am so cautious of feeling burnt out because my work is very creative. And if I burn my flame, I can’t allow the source of energy to move through me. So whenever I feel less creative or out of the flow, I know I’m starting to feel that burnout and we associate burnout with work, but it’s not the only cause. Any of our roles in life can actually lead us to feel burnt out.
Parenting… even creative projects can lead to burnout. And Better Help Online Therapy wants to remind you to prioritize yourself. Talking with someone can help you figure out what’s causing that stress in your life. And I’ve said this a thousand times over on this podcast that I believe everyone should have a therapist.
Every human deserves that connection and that support from someone that they trust. And therapy has saved my life many, many times over. Even in this episode, I talk with my therapist, Tammy, you’ll hear my gratitude pouring through, and I really wouldn’t be where I am today without her and the other therapists that have come through my life.
And it’s also a very big non-negotiable hour- that I spend every single week focusing on me. Better Help is customized online therapy that offers video, phone and even live chat sessions with your therapist. So you don’t have to see anyone on camera if that’s too vulnerable for you. It’s much more affordable than in-person therapy and you can be matched with a therapist in under 48 hours.
And our listeners right now get 10% off their first month at betterhelp.com/deargabby. That’s B E T T E R H E L P.com/deargabby.
GABBY: How would you define a big T trauma versus a small t trauma?
TAMMY: Ah, good question. And I think this is, you know, I, like I said, I tore through your book. It’s all over your book, which is great too. Big T traumas are kind of more the obvious that what most people consider traumas rape, uh, major car accidents, childhood abuse, and neglect—those sorts of things.
Little T traumas might be bullying or, you know, standing in line and someone, you know, called me a name at the supermarket or whatever, those kinds of little t traumas.
I think one of the things that the, you know, the concepts or the ideas of big T trauma and little t trauma doesn’t take necessarily into effect is, you know, a big T trauma can be, you know, growing up in a home with an alcoholic parent. Although there may not be a specific instance of abuse or neglect, just the uncertainty of living with the alcoholic day in and day out is also a big T trauma.
GABBY: And the insecurity that insecure attachment. Yup. You don’t know who they’re going to be. What day and what, when you wake up in the morning. Yeah. It just doesn’t feel safe. It doesn’t feel safe. Yes, exactly. So when we practice EMDR, when we practice it, or when you work with any client, would you say that there is something subconscious occurring? Like you walk out of a session and you feel new, you feel different. And you know, you’ve talked to me about what happens in the brain and the window of tolerance expanding so that we can really reprocess things. Just speak a little bit to that. Like, what is happening?
TAMMY: Right. So a lot we don’t know about, because we don’t know enough about the brain, but I can tell you a little bit about what we do know.
So what, once something has been processed or as we’re processing something, and you said you walked out, you feeling different, you feeling new. Oftentimes, um, the first few sessions, people are exhausted. Because, you know, emotions are energy, it’s energy moving through the body. And even when we get to a positive place with EMDR, it’s exhausting moving all of that energy through.
So, you know, someone may walk in and have, like you said, window of tolerance may be very small. You know, we really want to expand it. So someone who… let’s say grew up with an alcoholic. Their window of tolerance may be very small because they’re dealing with hypervigilance and fear. And they’re really in, in operating from a sense of, or a place of in their sympathetic nervous system. Right? Super activated.
And that can be exhausting. So they don’t have access to all of their resources that they need in order to, you know, react appropriately to stimuli, you know, coming at them or a demand from a boss or something. So they may fly off the handle really easily.
GABBY: So is that what window of tolerance means? Like your ability to resource or what does it mean exactly?
TAMMY: Right, so the more you’re resourced, the larger your window of tolerance is. Right? So above the window of tolerance is sort of a super activation. The bottom part of the window of tolerance underneath that is really kind of apathy and no reaction, kind of like the freeze response if you will.
So we really want to get people, you know, expanding their window of tolerance and through processing the trauma, that window opens up because you’re starting to move from your sympathetic into your parasympathetic nervous system. Does that make sense?
GABBY: Totally. And it’s more of your intuitive ability to work something out in the moment or not even necessarily intuitive, but like your natural ability to process.
TAMMY: Yeah, really. I mean, you say so beautifully in your book over and over. It’s coming to that place of big love that we were born with, you know, I think through fear and trauma and all those things that were put on top of us, that we lose touch of that kind of, that big love or that spirit inside of us and through the processing, we’re allowed more access to that.
GABBY: That’s beautiful. Um, why is it so helpful for trauma? Because it’s just so helpful. I have to kind of get a sense of what it is. It’s so, I mean, I guess it’s the window of tolerance. Just expanding that window to be a human.
TAMMY: Well, I think that’s a big, I think that’s a big piece of it, but you know, I’ll also say that this is something I really wanted to talk about today because it’s become so much more obvious to me, the more I do this. I mean, I’ve been doing it for so long and I understood it, but I don’t know, for some reason it’s really clicking at this moment.
Not only are we processing trauma and moving it through the body and it’s, you know, as we know, it’s all stored in the body, it’s a neurobiological phenomenon. It’s not a psychiatric issue; that I want to make really clear.
And I think we see PTSD and panic and anxiety and, oh, you know, you have a psychiatric disorder. No, it’s a neurobiological disorder and it’s actually a normal reaction to trauma. So I want to make that, I want to make that really clear, but one of the things that’s so amazing about EMDR is let’s take, for example, I’m working with someone let’s say who was sexually assaulted. And she froze during the sexual assault appropriately. And, you know, congratulations to her because it’s what kept her safe.
But because she froze that and you know, this Gabby through all of your research and writing your book because she froze, that trauma wasn’t allowed to kind of finish the stress cycle, right?
So with EMDR, we allow the body to finish a stress cycle. Meaning it’ll shake, she’ll feel emotions. She may feel really hot, nauseous, want to throw up—all those things can happen. By the way, no one’s ever thrown up, even though they felt it. So we kind of move all of those emotions and the sensations through the body out. No longer exists now, when she thinks of that incident, let’s say, but if EMDR goes even further, this is what’s wild and so bright about it.
So maybe through the processing, she has this sensation, this feeling that she wants to yell at him and she wants to push him off or kick him off. So I encourage her body. Absolutely. Yes. Do that. Move through it, make that happen.
So she yells, she screams, she’s pushing him off. And through that process with EMDR, she may go back and know that that memory was the way it was, but the way that it’s been resolved in her body, it’s as if she pushed him off. It’s as if she screamed and she ran out of the room, we changed that memory with neuro-plasticity because our brain can, can change and develop new pathways.
That’s happening through that process. And then with reconsolidation that whole memory processes. When we go back, we can actually change the memory each time and retrieve it. It looks different. We not only retrieved it and it looks different. We changed it. Now, the body believes that I pushed him off. I yelled and screamed and I got out of there—whole new resolution.
GABBY: It really does work. And when your body is able to fully process, it’s no longer truncated in your nervous system. It’s just, it’s fully released and resolved and it changes you. It changes you.
I’m interrupting this episode to talk about the one thing we all need to be taking care of our gut. God, I talk about this so much with you guys. Our gut impacts literally everything. It impacts your weight, your mood, your skin, your digestion, because your gut houses up to 80% of your immune system. I don’t think anyone realizes this, your gut houses up to 80% of your immune system.
That’s why a healthy gut is truly the gateway to feeling your best. But unfortunately, our bodies are being attacked every single day and wreaking havoc on our gut health. Stress, toxins, even just one day of eating the Western style diet. Thankfully with Just Thrive probiotic, it’s now easier than ever to give your gut what you need to thrive.
Just Thrive’s breakthrough award-winning probiotic is the only product on the market that’s proven to turn your gut into an antioxidant factory. Yes. This is a probiotic that actually produces antioxidants right in the gut. Meaning you get maximum immune, digestive and total body health support. It’s vegan-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free, histamine-free and non-GMO, and the best part is that you can open the capsules and just sprinkle it on top of your food, or just throw it into your smoothie.
I’ve been using this product for months and I feel so good. I take my gut health so seriously. And the other thing I love is that Just Thrive has been loudly endorsed by some of the biggest health luminaries on the planet. This company is changing the game in the supplement industry. So if you’re looking for the best in gut health and immune support, choose the clinically proven, award-winning power of Just Thrive probiotic.
For a limited time, get 15% off site-wide when you go to justthrivehealth.com and use code Gabby at checkout.
GABBY: Then you go into a positive target when someone’s done some really big work with the sort of reprocessing and moving through, you could have moved me into what do I want it to be like now. That has been profound. So can you explain what that is like for the client?
TAMMY: Yes, absolutely. So I think what you’re talking about is resourcing and that’s what the EMDR language is. I really call it manifesting so, right? Because well, it works. It’s the concept of, of bringing something towards you, imagining it and bringing it towards you in all of its glory, knowing what it looks like feels like in your body and the emotions that go with it.
So oftentimes we’ll process and work through a trauma, but then. Really kind of grounded using a positive target. So positive target may be, let’s see, let’s say I’m working with that same person that was sexually assaulted and that has held her back in so many ways. She’s really upper limited herself in all kinds of ways, maybe professionally as well.
So a positive target may be that I asked for a raise. This is how much it is. This is what it feels like when I get it, this is what it looks like in my bank account. This is what it looks like day to day. This is what it feels like in my body. This is, these are the emotions that go with it and…
GABBY: It’s manifesting.
TAMMY: So cool. So then we pair it with the bilateral stimulation and then, you know, here’s the target for you to take with you. You know, use it in between sessions, pair it with the EMDR music and voila.
GABBY: You just gave me such a good idea for my manifesting challenge. I should do a meditation with EMDR music, visualizing what they want. Yeah. Fab. Awesome. Okay. It works. It works.
Can you just explain upper limiting for everybody?
TAMMY: Upper limiting, so I think it’s interesting. Upper limiting is when we stop ourselves from reaching our absolute potential, whether it be within relationships or financially, in our career, any aspects of our lives.
And we oftentimes do it, not out of fear of failure, but actually fear of success.
TAMMY: Right, right. Exactly. It’s a really common, you know, effect of trauma and the fear of becoming big, being seen, being heard, because, you know, oftentimes in whatever traumas we’ve experienced, we’ve made ourselves small. And that was an incredible and beautiful survival skill.
But those parts of ourselves are terrified of being big. And oftentimes we have to kind of work past the terror to get what’s behind the terror, which was those smaller parts of ourselves, give them what they need.
GABBY: And why would you say that they’re terrified of being big? I know for myself, I have the answer, but I want to hear what you’d say.
TAMMY: They’re terrified of being big because being big means being seen and heard. And if we were seen and heard in the times that we were traumatized, that meant hurt even more.
Annihilated really, maybe die, you know, and in some ways, those parts have been kind of, kind of shut off and we don’t understand why. You know, we have all of these resources and why aren’t we hitting these, you know, these big sales or why aren’t I, you know, in this amazing relationship? Really afraid to show up.
GABBY: Right, right. We’re afraid to be seen. And that’s the exiled parts of us, the child parts that have been shut behind lock and key. And they’re so scared to be seen. And we do the upper limiting as a form of protection. It’s a protector part.
TAMMY: Yeah. Yeah. They don’t know that they’re safe right now. Right. They’ve worked so hard to protect us. They’ve worked so hard doing the right thing for us and they don’t know yet that it’s safe because they’re still living in that traumatized past.
GABBY: And so we do the upper limiting to avoid being seen for, to avoid exposing that child part that’s so scared. Yeah. Protecting. Yeah. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. Major stuff here.
So if somebody wanted to do some EMDR, we’re going to put some EMDR music in the show notes. Somebody wanted to just use EMDR. Just right now. Is that something that’s safe or is it safe? Is it always best to seek counsel first?
TAMMY: It’s always best to seek counsel first. I wouldn’t work on anything traumatic with EMDR without having some professional advice first, but if you wanted to do some manifesting or meditating, using the bilateral stimulation, go for it. I think it could be really helpful.
You know, one of the things I will mention though, that even though you’re manifesting your you’re working with a positive target, one of the ways that EMDR always works really well is that it’s not, don’t expect that positive target or that manifesting or that resourcing target to stay positive the whole time.
The work oftentimes is really in the processing. You’re going to not always. Bump up against roadblocks that are stopping you from manifesting. So EMDR works great to clear those out. So I might be bumping up against the negative belief that I’m not good enough. So I would have to process and work through that.
And that may be connected to some earlier things. So doing that kind of work, don’t do that on your own. Oftentimes, a trauma happened in a vacuum in a place where you were alone. And so you don’t want to recreate that.
GABBY: Let’s talk a little bit about neuroplasticity and reconsolidation.
TAMMY: Reconsolidation, right?
GABBY: We have memories and the reconsolidation of a memory.
TAMMY: Right. So each time we retrieve a memory, it gets reconsolidated. We used to think that and research has changed that thinking, but we used to think that we’d go back, retrieve a memory, and it was exactly like it happened, but each time we go back to retrieve the memory, things do change and that’s reconsolidation.
GABBY: And it’s neuro-plasticity at the same time because it’s reprogramming the neural pathways, is that correct?
TAMMY: Exactly. Yeah. So those two things work brilliantly together as we relearn and rewire the brain and also replace it with a more positive memory. Again, kicking him off of me kind of thing, running out of the room instead of feeling like I’m still stuck there in that place.
GABBY: But what I loved so much when I started working with you was that I had a recalled memory, but it was only a memory that really was living in my body in a few fragmented images.
And I was really afraid of actually just revisiting the full memory. And you just reminded me over and over. You don’t have to, you don’t have to remember the whole thing. We can work through the body. We can work through the somatic experience and through the physical sensations, it was so empowering and freeing, and it really helped me feel fearless in the process because I didn’t have to fear the memory.
TAMMY: Right. That’s a brilliant noticing. And that’s something I think for listeners to really understand as well that it may be a feeling of felt sense. It could be sensations in your body, but not a visual memory, or even if you do have the visual memory and you don’t want to bring it up. Like I said, in all of its glory, but you have the sensations, we can just work with the sensations and the emotions.
It doesn’t have to be any visual attached to that at all. And you know, it doesn’t have to be. Well, one of the things we’ve learned in the last few years too, is that, you know, working with trauma, you can really go in and clear it out in oftentimes a few days or a few weeks. It doesn’t have to be, let’s meet once a week for 50 minutes, although that may be overwhelming for people as well, to bear down and get it done within a few days, you know, for many hours at a time.
So it really depends on where you’re at, what you’re comfortable with. We can dip our toe in for ten minutes. We can come back out. We can go to a safe place, which is something that was, you know, resourced before we began our work. So maybe, you know, we’ll take you to the beach. You can feel that, notice what that feels like in your body, emotions that go with it. Or we can dive in for three hours and really get it done depending on where you’re at.
GABBY: The safe place is beautiful. In IFS we call it retrieval. So it’s self energy, your adult resourced self bringing that child part back to safety and establishing a safe place. Like for me, it was always like in my bed. I was like under the covers, like hiding, but I would bring my young part back to my home, my adult home, and man does that work. It’s so gorgeous.
Lately, I’ve been so busy that I don’t have time to do the typical Gaby cooking show and grocery shopping is been kind of an afterthought for me because I’ve been launching my book and just out in the world in a big way. So maybe you resonate, maybe you’re really busy. Maybe you got your kids going and just things are too chaotic that getting to the grocery store and preparing a meal feels like a big chore actually. And so I’ve been really grateful to have Hungry Root. Hungry Root is the easiest way to get fresh high-quality food delivered to your door. They’ve got healthy groceries and simple recipes, all in one place. A fun short quiz is all Hungry Root needs to get to know you, your goals and how you like to eat.
Are you gluten-free? Noted. Do you like sweets? They’ll keep it top of mind and get to work. Hungry Root will recommend groceries they think that you will love. They take their suggestions or choose what you want from their fresh produce, high-quality meat and seafood, pantry staples and all the healthy snacks and sweets you need.
You’re not going to just get a weekly grocery haul. You can also shop thousands of simple recipes that actually put your food to use. Everything Hungry Root offers follows a simple standard. And it’s really delicious and just quick to prepare and made from whole, trusted ingredients. You can spend a lot less time shopping and cooking and more time enjoying healthy food that you actually want to eat.
So right now, Hungry Root is offering Dear Gabby listeners 30% off your first delivery and a free gift with every delivery. Just go to hungryroot.com/gabby to get 30% off your first delivery and choose your free gift.
That’s hungryroot.com/gabby. Don’t forget to use our link so they know we sent you.
GABBY: It’s beautiful to see how these modalities work so well together. Like Internal Family Systems, everyone can go back and listen to my interview with Dick Schwartz and see how that blends and works so beautifully with EMDR because the more you open and expand your window of tolerance, the more self-energy ou begin to develop. And self-energy is that safe, calm, compassionate, and curious part of you.
It’s so beautiful. So for anyone that’s reading Happy Days, now that you’ve been so, so eager to read the whole thing so fast. Thank you. For anyone that’s reading it now, what would you as a therapist recommend to them? If it’s bringing things up or if they’re feeling what would be your suggestion to how to use it in your words.
TAMMY: I think also, you know, throughout the book, you so beautifully say, you know, and, you know, be gentle with yourself and, you know, take a break and keep plowing forward. It’s, it’s scary, but it’s worth it. I think all of those are really good suggestions. I think as things are coming up for people as they’re going through your book, if they have a trusted friend.
If they have a therapist to reach out to those resources, to not do it alone. Now, before I think, you know, so much of our trauma happens alone, where we feel, and that that’s a big component of trauma. That through connection is real freedom. That’s true with addiction as well, right? Through connection, there’s freedom.
So if they’re going through the book alone, not with a therapist and not sharing with a friend, perhaps make sure it’s someone that’s really trusted to let into that sacred space that you reach out and, and talk about what you’re going through as well and be gentle with yourself. I mean, yeah, you’ve been through a lot, right?
GABBY: We’ve been through so much. We’ve been through so much. And that actually brings me to this question about COVID and what we’ve lived through. No one can say I’m not traumatized because we’ve lived through a collective trauma. Would you call that a big T? I guess it affects everybody differently. If you had a loss because of it, it’s a big T trauma.
If you were in the hospital, it’s a big T trauma. If you’ve just been sending your kid to school, like holding your breath, that’s a small t trauma, but it’s affecting your nervous system.
TAMMY: I agree. Yeah, there is not one person that this hasn’t affected on the planet, certainly. And you know, I do tend to have a sweeping broad definition of trauma, and I do believe we’ve all been traumatized to a certain extent, you know, maybe not big T traumas in your life, but we’ve all had things happen to us that have changed how we operate in the world.
And COVID. Definitely has changed how we all operate in the world to some degree, how we interact with one another, how we feel about ourselves, if we feel safe or not, you know, all of that. So yeah, we don’t know all of the effects quite yet, do we? Um, and we’re still in it.
GABBY: We’re still in it. Yeah. We’re still in and something that you said, you know, it’s funny.
It’s like I tried, I wasn’t trying to be co-dependent with my reader, but I really wanted my reader to borrow the benefits of my self-energy. And co-regulate even though I’m not sitting next to them, but my energy’s infused in every page of this book. So the opportunity there was to really extend my own self-energy towards them. Through the way I spoke to them and through the guidance and through the compassion and the understanding and the relate-ability and the vulnerability.
And to show resilience and see that that’s a possibility for them too. So you mentioned like do this with a therapist, do this with a friend. And also know that you’re doing it with me.
TAMMY: Yes. That came through so beautifully in your book. I felt that you were with me every step of the way in that book on every page and every word, it was so clear, so vulnerable and loving. And I mean, you were just, your energy is all there with me. I mean, it was so beautiful Gabby.
GABBY: I’m so emotional, so emotional because of you, you know, it’s like. Just hearing you speak about it makes me so emotional. Thank you. I love you.
TAMMY: I love you too. And that’s what therapists do, you know? Like we lend our ego so that, you know, whatever you’re struggling with or feel like you can’t get through or not say that no matter what that is, that’s through my energy, through this container, sacred base that we’ve created that you have now the courage and the compassion for yourself to do that, even though it may not. It may not feel like that’s inside of you yet.
GABBY: Right. And that’s, I guess, like a beautiful place to close because this isn’t just a conversation about EMDR, but it’s a conversation about the gift of therapy and what type of bond that can establish and how your therapist can really become—whether they like it or not—they become another form of self-energy that you learned to rely on. And that’s a sign of good therapy, you know, it’s that you feel so safe with that person. And so seen.
TAMMY: Yes. Right. And like a mother, you carry that with you wherever you go. Yeah.
GABBY: Yeah. So if someone’s looking for an EMDR therapist, where would you recommend they go?
GABBY: And you could always try somebody out. You know, you don’t have to stay with someone. If it’s not there, you can be very picky about your therapist.
TAMMY: You have to be very picky. The first session you feel safe and the energy feels right for you, otherwise move on to the next.
GABBY: Correct because EMDR is it’s even more so than talk therapy. You need to feel that sense of safety because you’re being led really.
And I believe that the EMDR therapists I’ve come across in my life, like particularly you are spiritual guides. And they’re working with such an intuitive force. And there’s so many instances where I was in the room with you. And I would just see sparks of light just right behind your chair. And it was just such a sign that there’s angels working through you.
And I just want to publicly say how deeply I love you and what you’ve meant to me as a teacher, as a healer, as a friend, as a guide. I’ve been begging myself to get to full completion so we can just hang out really totally, totally, uh, non, uh, not so kosher in the therapy language, but it is. It sometimes happens and we will be friends.
We are friends, but you know, when I’m done with you. When I’m done with you. So, Tammy, thank you so deeply. And I think we just have to do more follow-ups to this one.
TAMMY: I would love to, you know, I’m sad that this interview and this conversation’s over, there’s so much more, you know, I’d love to talk more about it.
I love you dearly. I bring my love and my spirituality to my practice, and I’m glad that it was. It was everything that you needed.
GABBY: And continues to be, continues to be. Oh God bless you. Thank you.
If you made it to the end of this episode, that means you’re truly committed to miracles. I’m really proud of you. If you want to get more Gabby tune in every Monday for a new episode. Make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any of the guidance or special bonus episodes. Your experience at this show means a lot to me.
So I really want to welcome you to leave an honest review and you can follow me on social media @GabbyBernstein. And if you want to get in on the action, sign up for a chance to be Dear Gabby’d live at deargabby.com. See you next week.