The Big Why?

In the opening scene of the movie Collateral Beauty, the Will Smith character asked his employees “What is your Why?” Not just why did you come to work, but “The Big Why?” He went on to talk about the three abstractions–love, time and death that connect every person. The abstractions are the thing we most want to covert (love), what we wish we had more of (time), and what most people fear (death). For whatever reason, this question struck me intensely at the moment and made me pause. My thoughts and considerations went immediately to “The Big Why?” about the EMDR Foundation.

It made me consider why I (and likely most Board Members) have been committed to the EMDR Foundation all these years. I believe it is our ‘love’ and commitment to EMDR therapy, which we know will make our client’s world a much better place. However, our ‘love’ and commitment goes much further than that. The Foundation’s work is to raise funds to enhance our understanding of how and why EMDR therapy works as well as client factors and clinical situations in which EMDR therapy is effective and beneficial. Our three research priorities address areas that need scientific attention to advance what we already know, improve the understanding of how EMDR can be effective in clinical areas not yet studied, as well as address the global burden of trauma. Given the EMDR Foundation is the only funding source solely dedicated to EMDR therapy research, it is a hefty responsibility to shoulder. However, we service our mission with great pride, ‘love’ and commitment.

The next abstraction I considered about the EMDR Foundation is ‘death.’ I don’t worry about the death of EMDR therapy in it’s ending, but without leading edge, high quality, random controlled trials (RCT), EMDR therapy struggles to stay relevant in the scientific community. This is unbelievable given the amount of research since Shapiro’s first published study in 1989. However, we are all aware of the known challenges EMDR therapy has and continues to face. The most recent and unfortunate example is the decision by APA to downgrade EMDR therapy’s rating in the Clinical Guidelines for PTSD Treatment while strongly recommending CBT, CPT, CT and EXP for adult patients with PTSD. As I wrote in a previous article, the unfortunate take-away is that high-quality research trials are lacking to support EMDR’s previous ranking of “strong” support. The stark reality is that these APA Clinical Guidelines for PTSD Treatment can have far-reaching effects on every EMDR therapy clinician’s practice. This type of ‘death’ can certainly be avoided by an increase in donations to enable the Foundation to fund the much need research trials that are lacking.

The last abstraction is ‘time’–which is something I never, ever have enough of–like most people I know. However, when I consider ‘time’ about the Foundation, there are many contexts to consider. First rather than hoping for more time, I believe this IS the Time we need to make big things happen. Whether that is significantly increasing our donor base, significantly increasing our yearly donations or finding big money partners to help us fund those RCTs to put EMDR therapy on the map again.

You can do your part in increasing our funding budget by informing your clients who have benefited from EMDR therapy about the important work of Foundation. This is an extremely important sector of potential donors we have been unable to tap. For obvious reasons, there are ethical constraints on clinicians talking with their clients about supporting EMDR therapy research. However, there is a way you can help out and now IS the ‘time.’ We have two beautifully crafted waiting room posters, in two sizes, available here. At the EMDRIA conference in August, the posters received rave reviews by attendees. Another way to passively support EMDR therapy research is through the Amazon Smile program by choosing the EMDR Foundation as the charitable organization you support. This costs you nothing, excepting signing into your Amazon Smile account before placing your order. Please use the link to our website where you can find out more information and to set up your account. Or perhaps, now IS the ‘Time’ for you to consider your planned giving arrangements. There are many options to choose from such as an Endowment Gift, where the funds are used annually in perpetuity, or you can name the EMDR Foundation as a beneficiary in your Will or Trust.

It is also ‘time’ to remind researchers about the July 1st deadline for grant applications. For the research grants, the award will be up to $25000, and the dissertation award is up to $5000. The Foundation also offers Consultation and Dissemination Travel Awards, which are available year round. Please see our website for more information about the grants and awards we offer.

Lastly, it is hard to believe that it is ‘time’ to start planning our annual fund raising event held in conjunction with the EMDRIA conference in Bellevue, WA this August. Like years past, the Foundation will have a booth in the Exhibit Hall. This is always the best ‘time’ of the year for the Board, as it is our only chance to see and talk with our generous donors and personally say “thank you” for your support. We will distribute badge ribbons for our donors, and a separate one for the Visionary Alliance members, to wear with pride and satisfaction throughout the conference. I hope you visit our booth to meet us, find your way to participate and add to the success of funding EMDR therapy research. We look forward to seeing all of you in Bellevue.

In closing, I don’t have an answer to The Big Why? question for my own life yet. However, about the EMDR Foundation, the how behind The Big Why? is the ‘love’ and commitment through sustained and increasing donations which will empower and vitalize EMDR therapy’s position in the scientific community and there is no better ‘time’ then NOW.

“He who has a why can endure any how.”

~Friedrich Nietzsche