To Write or Not to Write: Utilizing the Future Template to Manifest Our Dreams

Drawing by Emma Schott
Drawing by Emma Schott

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​​I know I’m not the only one grappling with transitioning from full time therapist to other professional pursuits, such as consultation, training, writing, etc.  I’ve had plenty of conversations with friends and colleagues about this very topic and our woes are very similar: there are too many clients to see, too many family obligations to juggle, not enough time in the day, etc.  I don’t have the answer, but I figured the more I share my intentions for this transition, the more likely it is to manifest (and please feel free to share any ideas you may have in the comments section below!).

I feel an internal drive to grow professionally by developing trainings and writing, but this conflicts with my present obligations.  As I think of all the challenges I face in making this transition, the biggest one is the overall feeling of guilt.  I have a full caseload of clients, and they need to see me.  If I schedule time out of my workday, which I have tried to do with little success, I feel like I’m not doing enough for my clients by not seeing them as often as needed or not taking on new clients.  About three months ago, I blocked off Fridays on my schedule to dedicate time to manifesting my goals; ask me how many Fridays I haven’t seen clients, and the answer would be not very many.  If I try to set aside time at home in the evenings or weekends, I wrestle with the guilt of not doing enough for my kids and family.  If I tell them to leave me alone for an hour…well, it’s just not feasible.  I get one or both of the kids looking of my shoulder, asking me what I’m doing and am I done yet – that was my night last night.  Again, it brings up the feelings of guilt and the belief “I’m not doing enough”.

We do have this amazing ability as EMDR therapists to process through blocks that keep us from realizing our greatest potential.  We can come up with every excuse in the book not to take steps forward, but at the end of the day, we have to push out of our comfort zones and address the fact that we are scared our greatest fear will be realized and reinforce the negative beliefs of “I’m not good enough”, “I’m a failure”, “I’m not doing enough”, etc.  By using the three-pronged model, we can identify and reprocess the origins of our negative beliefs, reprocess any current triggers, and install a future template to help us push through to achieve our goals.  Installing a future template is often a part of EMDR therapy that is overlooked and minimized, but it can be extremely transformative.  By being able to visualize an image of how you want to handle situations in the future, such as writing a book or conducting a training, with a positive cognition, such as “I am good enough” or “I am successful” can open us to manifesting these positive visualizations.  It allows us to have a firm grasp on what we want in our future moving forward and gives us the momentum to take the first tentative steps.

This feels like one of those leap of faith moments, and I have to remember that I’ve been here before.  I took a leap of faith when I went into private practice after working at a nonprofit with salary, benefits, vacation time, and a sense of stability.  Though working at the agency was beneficial in many different ways, I outgrew it and knew I had to let go of that old familiar sense of safety to venture out to start my own holistic private practice.  It’s the same driving feeling now as before – this is just something I have to do in order to be true to my authentic self.  When I went through that transition before, I had to trust my instincts that this is the right move and remember that new opportunities won’t present themselves if I’m still holding on to old stuff.  I have to take my own advice, let go of the old to embrace the new.  This is my promise that I make to myself, to be intentional about my goals and not waver in the face the fear, and I hope you make this same promise to yourself.  We counsel our clients to trust the process and learn to let go.  Now it’s our turn.

One Response

  1. Hello Anna,

    It’s quite interesting that you tied the Future Template as part of your transitioning into new roles. It is fascinating that therapists often neglect or overlook this part of EMDR protocol and yet it is so important in achieving the desired emotional reactions. This is what I wrote in my article about the Future Template of EMDR Therapy ( “Getting a vision for the future is an important part of actually making it happen. In fact, this is not just a fun activity, but an important way to make sure the brain’s neural networks have started creating these important new pathways. By being able to visualize an image of how you want to handle certain situations in the future can open us up to manifesting these positive visualizations. It allows us to have a firm grasp on what we want in our future and creates the needed momentum to proactively take these first steps.”
    Indeed, now is the time to apply what we tell our clients. Good luck in your journey!

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