Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy

5 out of 5 based on 7 customer ratings
(7 customer reviews)


A totally accessible user’s guide from the creator of a scientifically proven form of psychotherapy that has successfully treated millions of people worldwide. This book is required reading for EMDR Institute Basic Training.

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A totally accessible user’s guide from the creator of a scientifically proven form of psychotherapy that has successfully treated millions of people worldwide. Whether we’ve experienced small setbacks or major traumas, we are all influenced by memories and experiences we may not remember or don’t fully understand. Getting Past Your Past offers practical procedures that demystify the human condition and empower readers looking to achieve real change. Shapiro, the creator of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), explains how our personalities develop and why we become trapped into feeling, believing and acting in ways that don’t serve us. Through detailed examples and exercises readers will learn to understand themselves, and why the people in their lives act the way they do. Most importantly, readers will also learn techniques to improve their relationships, break through emotional barriers, overcome limitations and excel in ways taught to Olympic athletes, successful executives and performers. An easy conversational style, humor and fascinating real life stories make it simple to understand the brain science, why we get stuck in various ways and what to do about it. Don’t let yourself be run by unconscious and automatic reactions. Read the reviews below from award winners, researchers, academics and best selling authors to learn how to take control of your life. This book is required reading for EMDR Institute Basic Training.

7 reviews for Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy

  1. 5 out of 5


    Getting Past Your Past shines a light on our responses while offering simple techniques for responding from “here and now” rather than “there and then.”

    As a clinical social worker providing psychotherapy for over 30 years, I often hear folks ask, “I know how I WANT to act (or feel or think,) but I find myself responding in ways that just don’t work. Why?” Dr. Shapiro’s book, “Getting Past Your Past”, provides the insights gleaned from EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) in a digestible, engaging format that will help individuals learn how to answer this question for themselves. By describing the experiences of actual clinical cases, she helps the reader understand how our problematic behaviors, feelings, thoughts, and reactions are simply a manifestation of past experiences that are physically stored in the brain in an unprocessed form. When these memories are not processed completely, we respond in ways that might have made sense in the past, but are no longer helpful. These unprocessed past experiences form memory networks that are triggered by current experiences. In this book, Dr Shapiro guides people to trace their current difficulties back to the past unprocessed memories that are the basis for their current responses. She also offers some simple ways to “de-activate” the intensity of current reactions in order to be more present in the “here and now” rather than responding from the “there and then.”

    While this book is written for the general public, EMDR therapists and therapists curious about EMDR will benefit from the range and breadth of examples of the application of EMDR, and will gain a more thorough understanding of the Adaptive Information Processing model that is the foundation of EMDR therapy practice. I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking to understand their own responses and how they are impacted by past experiences – or anyone wanting to understand “what makes people tick.”

  2. 5 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    Ana Gomez, LPC
    Dr. Francine Shapiro once again has inspired us to “get past our past” and find freedom from the memories of hardship and adversity that continue to be the lenses through which we still see and interpret the present. This is an excellent volume that will be helpful to clinicians and people seeking healing. Dr. Shapiro has done an excellent job providing self-help strategies grounded in the principles and core of EMDR therapy while making it clear that it is not intended to replace the therapeutic work done with an EMDR trained practitioner. This is definitely a book to have, and a book to give to anyone we care about!

  3. 5 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    Patti Levin, PhD
    Life is cumulative. Past experience builds upon more experience and we
    become who we are whether we’re conscious of it or not. Memories of these
    experiences are stored physically in the brain. Dr. Shapiro’s book helps
    people think about their lives and provides specific techniques to find the
    links to make sense of who we are. She provides real life examples to which
    one can relate, then suggests hands-on strategies and exercises that enable
    the reader to connect the dots, make new decisions, take different actions,
    and achieve the means to effect change and growth. However, nowhere in this
    book does she recommend or mention moving one’s eyes, nor does she suggest
    self-administered EMDR, because that would be clearly unethical and
    irresponsible. Rather, when an emotional problem is described, she offers a
    variety of self-help techniques that can be safely used. In addition, she
    offers guidelines for readers to decide if it would be useful to get
    professional help with an experienced EMDR clinician.

    Getting Past Your Past is full of accessible, empowering self-help
    resources. It’s a delight to read, difficult to put down, and has something
    beneficial and fruitful for everyone.

  4. 5 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    One of the best books I’ve ever read. Excellent examples to illustrate each point, useful tactics to employ and when to consult and clear recommendations of work with a counselor. Everyone can learn from this book. Highly Recommend.

  5. 5 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    Rolf Carriere
    For the tens of millions of people worldwide who, day in, day out, bear the unrelieved burden of being traumatized, Francine Shapiro’s book will be a source of hope and help. The practical psychological insights and practices it offers are invaluable, worth many hundred times its price. The book will set individuals on a quick path to recovery, and the world on a course to healing its wounded memories that have depressed the levels of happiness, creativity, educability and productivity. Widely read and applied, it will restore vigor, resilience and human potential. A must-read and must-do book for all who are living in or with trauma, no matter the cause.

  6. 5 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    Barbara Hensley, EdD
    In her latest book, Getting Past Your Past, Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy, Francine Shapiro, PhD, brings the remarkable contributions of EMDR to clinicians and laypeople alike. The lives of many individuals have been transformed since Dr. Shapiro’s historic walk in the park in Los Gatos, CA in the late 1980s. With compassion, caring, insight, and integrity, she presents some of their stories before and after EMDR. She generously shares self-healing techniques to assist readers in beginning their own healing journeys. This book can enlighten and strengthen individuals by encouraging them to explore past experiences in the present so they can be freer and more empowered in the future.

  7. 5 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    Susan Brown, LCSW
    The human brain is the most astonishing organ when it comes to processing billions of bits of information a day, but as remarkable as it is, it can sustain injury, ‘remember’ pain, loss, fear, shame, and guilt….often from our earliest years. These wounds can resonate deeply as we develop, etching in beliefs about ourselves that feel true, even when they aren’t really true, like “I’m not good enough”. We do our best to avoid, deny, and resist these beliefs. We try to defend against them or quiet them in any way we can, often by using or overusing alcohol, drugs, and other addictive and compulsive behaviors. Sometimes we just slip into depression or hopelessness, anxiety or fear. In “Getting Past Your Past” Dr. Shapiro clearly illuminates how negative beliefs about ourselves can be laid down at an earlier time and then, outside of our awareness, determine our behavior patterns and affect our relationships in ways we never made a connection to. She then shows us through real-life accounts and a wide variety of personal transformations, how we can connect the dots between our past and our present, offering concrete tools to calm ourselves down, change our thinking, and energize our body state to show up as our best selves. These tools can either be used on our own or with the guidance of a properly trained EMDR therapist if a person’s issues are in need of more extensive attention. A must-read for anyone who is curious about why we do what we do, even when we wish we wouldn’t do it, or feel what we feel, even though it doesn’t seem to make sense on the surface. The past does not have to continue to negatively influence your life….it is never too late to gain clarity, understanding, and relief…the brain is a miraculous organ indeed. Thank you, Dr. Shapiro, for this remarkable book.

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