RET-EMDR Comparison

Energy Medicine that Uses Eye Movements to Heal
By Gaea Yudron

Many new forms of energy medicine are beginning to make their way into the mainstream. Rapid Eye Technology (RET) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) are among them. RET and EMDR have things in common. Both EMDR and RET use rapid eye movements to facilitate rapid healing. Both methods have received recognition for the profound and surprisingly rapid healing they usually effect. There are also significant differences in the two systems.

EMDR is a form of clinical therapy used only by psychotherapists within the conventional psychological model. Over 1 million people have been treated with EMDR, which has gained considerable acclaim for its success in reversing trauma from combat, sexual abuse, natural disasters, and crime, as well as addictions, self esteem and phobias. EMDR “is a complex method of psychotherapy that integrates many of the successful elements of a range of therapeutic approaches in combination with eye movements or other forms of rhythmical stimulation in ways that stimulate the brain’s information processing system,” according to the EMDR Institute.

EMDR was developed by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist and senior research fellow at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, California. She is the Executive Director of the EMDR Institute, which trains clinicians in the EMDR method.

RET (Rapid Eye Technology) is based on the inspiration and work of another woman, Ranae Johnson, one of those wonderful people who teaches through unconditional love. Ranae’s journey into the world of energy medicine began years ago as she contemplated how to help her young autistic son. Choosing to raise him at home rather than institutionalize him led Ranae through years of experimentation and learning. Working with her son, and others, Ranae activated her healing gifts which found their expression in Rapid Eye Technology. In 1990, Ranae and several colleagues began training and certifying rapid eye technicians at The Rapid Eye Institute in Salem, Oregon. Now groups of health care practitioners, therapists, ministers, teachers, social workers and businesspeople gather several times a year from all over the country to learn the skills that comprise the RET model.

Rapid Eye Technology is both a form of holistic healing and a community of healers who support local/global transformation. According to the RET vision statement, Rapid Eye Technology is “dedicated to the enhancement of the worth, dignity, potential and uniqueness of each individual and thus, to the service of all: embodying unconditional love through awakening: creating gratitude, honor and universal community.” That sense of the sacred, the awareness that each person is in essence a perfect spiritual being, is at the heart of Rapid Eye Technology.

RET utilizes blinking, eye movements, wand movements and sequences, breathing, imagery, stress reduction techniques and energy work to facilitate release of stressful emotional, mental and physical patterns. Neurologically RET replicates the deep processing, ordering and discharging that we do naturally each night during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of dreaming. Researchers have determined that the integrative eye movements of the REM stage of dreaming are vital to psychological health.

RET also utilizes the natural blinking reflex. Recent research has found that blinking creates a momentary increase in alpha brain waves, which are associated with relaxation. Some eye movement researchers theorize that blinking provides a moment in which the brain stops taking in information in order to reflect upon or process what it has just perceived or experienced. Neuropsychologist Joseph Teece of Boston College points out, “The more uncomfortable or unpleasant the situation, the more often we blink.” RET provides an opportunity to “blink it out.”

RET sessions usually take place with the client reclining in a chair or resting on a treatment table as the technician moves a wand or eye-directing device rapidly in front of the client’s eyes. RET’s basic wand sequence covers the modalities of seeing, hearing, remembering, recreating, and feeling and the eye movements associated with them. The association of eye movements with various sensory modalities was charted by the developers of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), a system of cognitive retraining through language and perception.

Nineteen wand movements are used in the RET model. Wand sequences help make connections between the right and left hemispheres of the brain, focus energetic gathering and release, and assist in rebalancing and anchoring new energetic experiences and perceptions. Breaking up patterns by “breaking state” is an integral part of RET. Rapid eye movements, blinking, various breathing patterns, and rapid wand movements create frequent breaks or changes in mental/emotional states, providing simultaneous releases.

Much of the RET work bypasses ordinary cognitive structures and defenses, allowing one to access and transform material from deeper areas of the psyche. The first RET sessions focus on pre-birth, birth, infancy and the influence of parents. In later sessions, work focuses on disowned aspects of the self, childhood wounds, later traumatic life events, and chronic limiting habits and behaviors. For most people, the 12 session RET healing program accomplishes tremendous change. The RET addictions program is based upon 6 sessions. Single issues can often be resolved in one or two sessions. RET can be used with children over 5 who are troubled with fears, nightmares, learning or other behavioral disorders. It is also used effectively in addictions, abuse, depression, grief, post traumatic stress, anger and panic disorders, chronic fatigue, attention deficit, and situations which can best be described as energetic or spiritual imbalances or obstacles.

Both RET and EMDR provide effective tools for rapidly healing trauma and chronic limiting patterns within a relatively brief number of sessions. A recent study financed by Kaiser Permanente revealed that EMDR was twice as effective in half the amount of time compared to standard psychological care.

Gaea Yudron is a rapid eye technician and intuitive healer and counselor who lives and works in Ashland, OR. She has been involved in holistic health and spiritual healing for 25 years, co-founding both a healing center and a clinic, and is the author of two books, Growing and Using the Healing Herbs and Words Themselves are Medicine. Gaea has also written many articles for New Age, Yoga Journal, and others. Gaea can be reached at (541)482-3762.