Rapid Eye Technology (RET) was developed in Salem, Oregon at the Rapid Eye Institute by Dr. Ranae Johnson outside the psychological milieu; however, it is now being recognized by professionals the world over as a profound asset to psychotherapy.
Therapists have long struggled with the dilemma of breaking down the patient’s repression of deeply-stored trauma in the time allotted to each session; in many cases, trauma has occurred so early as to be undetectable even to the best attempts cognitive psychotherapy can make to unearth it. Rapid Eye processing seems to take the patient neurologically to the sites where neural distortions were created during trauma and causes shifts in the neuronal connections, basically undoing the original results of trauma. For example, as an infant, one of our patients was virtually cast aside at birth as the doctor fought to save the mother. She formed a long-standing but forgotten belief that “I am insignificant”. In an RET session, the patient reported first an intensification of her feelings of grief and aloneness as she flashed on impressions of that birth trauma and then, by the end of the session, reported that the ‘charge’ seemed to be gone from that and subsequent re-creations of this belief and its attendant emotions. Patients invariably report palpable positive changes in their feelings and thoughts with each session.
How does RET work? The technician puts the patient into a relaxed or alpha brainwave state, which gives access to both conscious and unconscious information. Utilizing an eye-catching device, he or she induces patterns in the peripheral vision of the patient that further refine the search for the traumatic source material in visual, auditory and kinesthetic areas of the brain. The patient is then told to blink the eyes, which effectively creates an on/off electrical stimulus, intensifying and apparently zooming in on the target neurons, alternately focusing on and discharging the material laid down there. It is often during the blinking segment that he or she experiences surfacing emotions as the electro-chemical debris is released from its long storage. There are often sudden insights experienced during this segment or in the subsequent rest periods, when the conscious and unconscious minds effectively agree that “Ah, that wasn’t really about me after all.” A sort of objectivity occurs, as if the patient can now see from a higher perspective.
Why does RET work? Studies postulate various theories, but agree that the eyes are connected intricately with the limbic system and various storage areas of the brain, the entire neurological pathway system. When we look up, we’re accessing visual memory or re-creation, when we look to the side we are accessing auditory data, and when we look down we are accessing feelings. Since few clients know the original source of most controlling beliefs or emotions, it is profound
that Rapid Eye seems to process both the original trauma and every successive experience on the same neuropathway, whether or not the client has been consciously aware of them! For example, the afore-mentioned patient noticed flashes not only of her birth trauma, but also of being berated by her father, battered by a husband, and misused by her grown children, all links on the chain of ‘I am insignificant, my needs are unimportant.”
Regardless of the theories behind its effectiveness, the psychological benefit of eyelid blinking during therapy is dramatic and demonstrable. When blinking is coupled with movements to access various parts of the brain and patterns to assist the release of the trapped energy, the
effect is extraordinary.
E. Lynn Waldrip, Ph.D., Clinical Psychology
San Francisco, CA
License # PSY19924