Travel into the Past, the Present, and the Future with EMDR

Imagine someone whispers in your ear: You can travel through time, and I will go with you. Let’s see, five, ten, fifteen years into the future. Which would you choose? The 1985 movie Back to the Future was wildly successful where technology allowed Marty McFly to zip 30 years into the past with his scientist friend, Doc Brown. To this day, the idea of time travel is very appealing because we imagine manipulating time to change specific outcomes. I’ve watched numerous sci-fi adventure movies and they all share in common the idea of control over one’s destiny in an attempt to escape the clutches of pain and sorrow. Would be nice to change past events, but maybe it’s more empowering if we can change the way we think and feel about the past. EMDR holds the key to that.

Let’s take a look at how EMDR can take us into the past, stay rooted in the present, and fast forward to the future.


Let’s face it. The past can be filled with memories of joy and love, but it can also be daunting and haunting for some who have gone through horror. The past defines who we are in the present and the future. While some people handle difficult memories by shoving them down the chute of forgetland, others find themselves haunted by these memories whenever they are reminded of them. EMDR is a little like this where you and your therapist take a peek at difficult memories and attempt to recreate the way we think and see these memories. However, this does not happen without first DESENSITIZING these memories. It’s like how your dentist gives an anesthetic injection (Note: The desensitization with EMDR is more permanent than the temporary injection at your dentist’s office) before filling up your cavity (In EMDR, we fill up your cavity with good things, like good thoughts about the difficult event), if you’ve ever had a tooth filling done.


Thankfully, with the powers vested in dual awareness, unlike Marty Mcfly and his scientist companion who were almost always in the past or future, you (the pilot) are always going to have one foot rooted in the present when you and your EMDR therapist (your co-pilot) decide to take off into an unpleasant or difficult memory. Don’t worry, before you even take this step to zip back into the past, you and your therapist would already have determined you have the skills to cope and manage the distress experienced. If either you or your therapist realizes you need more to cope with the distress, you can always press pause, return to the loading bay, and load up on more coping tools before visiting the past later.


After you walk with your therapist through past horror events, you will now see the memories somewhat differently. You’ll make new meaning out of it, and maybe, maybe you can imagine being ready to face the future when that was not previously possible. For some people, there could be things in their future that may be anxiety-provoking and stressful. You might decide to visit some travel destinations in future that are stressful and you can go wherever you want! And I mean, you can absolutely decide where your next travel destination will be. Examples of travel destinations include standing in front of an audience of 100 people, dating again, or if you haven’t had a good dental experience like I did recently, being at your dentist’s office and getting yet another filling! As you go back into the future, you may find yourself feeling lighter and better able to handle these future travel destinations.

If you haven’t watched Back into the Future, I encourage you to watch it. And if you haven’t tried EMDR, I encourage you to try it too!

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Try EMDR now with a certified EMDR-certified therapist @AHeapfulofHope! 

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