Multichannel Eye Movement Intergration
MULTICHANNEL EYE MOVEMENT INTEGRATION (MEMI)
A “BOTTOM-UP” THERAPY APPROACH TO TREAT PTSD BY REGULATING THE LIMBIC STRUCTURE
For people suffering from PTSD, everyday can be fearful and for some, they might even be subjected to dysfunctional living. For years, much effort has been put into research for effective therapeutic methods to manage traumatic responses and to minimize the sufferings of individuals. The birth of various methods such as cognitive and cognitive behavioral approaches, somatic techniques, narrative procedures, neuro-linguistic strategies and eye movement therapies, to name a few, have helped individuals to manage their symptoms at different intensity of their traumatic experiences.
History of MEMI and its therapeutic benefits
Multi-Channel Eye Movement Integration Therapy (MEMI) is an approach descended directly from original Eye Movement Integration (EMI) methodology developed by Connirae and Steve Andreas (1993) and a later adaptation by Ron Klein (2015). It is a bottom-up method effective in helping individuals to manage their traumatic experiences at their source in the limbic brain.
MEMI is built on the presuppositions that our human experiences are organized and systematic and all of our experiences have structures associated with context, thoughts, sensory information and feelings that provide dimensions to our state of beings. According to the NLP model, eye movements to particular locations in a person’s visual fields are associated with the processing of cognitive, kinesthetic and sensory information. During a session using MEMI, the client will be guided by the therapist to move their eyes to all locations by following 4 intricate sets of eye movements. During the process of moving the eyes, the client will be asked to think about their traumatic event simultaneously, to allow the reorganization of their traumatic experiences in beneficial ways. As soon as these structures are reorganized, the limbic system and other parts of the brain in association with our stress responses, will experience changes. Amygdala, the part of the brain whose major role is to detect presence of dangers and prepare our body for fight, flight or freeze responses, might experience a decrease in its baseline activity too. This will allow the individual to stay calm and safe and not react in hyperactive states when recalling a traumatic experience.
What is the difference between MEMI and EMDR?
EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an extensively researched, effective psychotherapy method proven to help people recover from trauma and PTSD symptoms. Many clients are curious of the differences between MEMI and EMDR when deciding which method might be more suitable for their situation. One key difference between the 2 approaches, is the type of eye movements being used. EMDR uses two back and forth eye movements- one horizontal and one slightly diagonal. MEMI on the other hand, uses multiple eye movements that spread across the entire field of vision, touching the various strategic points to stimulate the processing of information in the brain.
In addition to managing traumatic experiences, MEMI is also useful for treating anxiety, substance abuse, addiction, insomnia, phobias as well as resolving an individual’s sense of personal failures or disappointments that continue to cause distress in the person’s life. Usually, an average of 1-3 sessions of MEMI therapy are reported to be sufficient for an individual to experience positive changes in their physiological responses to their traumas, whereas, EMDR might take more sessions -- average 6-12 sessions for significant positive changes to take place.
Is there anyone who is not suitable for MEMI?
Just like other psychological approaches out there in the market, the effectiveness of the therapy is a direct effect of the willingness and readiness of the clients in wanting a change in their life. Even though MEMI has been reported to be an effective method in managing various psychological situations, it is often important for anyone who is keen to receive MEMI, to come forward with an open heart and clarity in wanting to affect positive changes to their current situations.
Are there any side-effects to MEMI?
In addition to experiencing positive changes to their psychological states after the MEMI sessions, some clients are reported to recall episodes of happenings that might have been repressed over the years. With the resurfacing of these past experiences and the inflow of associated emotions, some clients might be caught off-guard by this sudden visit of memories and find it a challenge to manage them. It is of this time, that the clients go through additional supporting sessions to learn how to release and manage the emotions. It might be an uncomfortable experience for some, but it is inevitably, a process where one has to go through, for an in-depth and thorough healing of the issues at its core.
I am honored to be trained by Joachim Lee, a senior psychotherapist in the field of trauma, emotional distress and addictions, and went through direct supervision with the founder of MEMI, Dr. Mike Deninger. I have witnessed how my client appeared calmer within one session. All of them reported feeling less distressed when recalling the traumatic experience. MEMI has strengthened my abilities as a therapist to offer a simple and gentle therapeutic approach to helping clients manage their traumas at their core. I look forward to offering this wonderful approach to more people, and to enable them to return to a state of emotional safety and comfort.
Mike Deninger, PhD (2021). Multichannel Eye Movement Integration The Brain Science Path to Easy and Effective PTSD Treatment. Gracie Publications