A Community of Heart: Peggy Moore



Turning points in our lives often contain earth-shaking events precipitating a change in worldview sometimes over time and sometimes in a flash. Margaret, or Peggy as we know her, Vasquez Moore has had a number of these: moving to South America; the death of her father at 8 years of age; moving back to New Mexico; attending the American University of Lebanon at a volatile time; being discriminated against when she returned to a university in the States for being a woman; learning EMDR; and working on the EMDR HAP projects that went to many areas of the Arab-speaking world.

Peggy’s family came from the old, the new and the indigenous worlds. Her mother, Rossie Roycraft, was from Northern Wisconsin with family roots in Canada, Ireland and England. The Irish Protestants in her family settled in the northern area of Wisconsin and have reunions in Chippewa Falls, calling themselves the “Irish Settlement.” Her father, Daniel Vasquez, had an equally interesting history. His family came from Mexico in 1575 and may have been Conversos (Jews or Muslims who converted to Catholicism in 14th-15th century Spain) who immigrated to the new world and ended up on the Northern Mexican frontier. They remained Catholic until her grandfather converted to Protestantism. In 1933, her mother came to New Mexico as a missionary and started teaching in the mountains for a year. Her father was helping his father on their ranch while also working at the mission. He was smitten and when she returned because of her love for the area and to teach, they were married and began their life together. After her father was awarded a degree in Agriculture, the family went to South America. Peggy was in the process of becoming bilingual when in 1949, the Ambato earthquake in Ecuador occurred. In the aftermath, her father contracted tuberculosis and subsequently became very sick and then died. Her mother was 33 and Peggy was only eight years old. When they returned to the United States, her mother chose to go back to Northern New Mexico (Albuquerque) to be with her husband’s extended family, especially her aunt. Peggy’s mother got a teaching job where she taught High School English until she retired.

Peggy grew up learning to help other people. Her mother was a very consistent, steady, religious person and that helped her deal with this terrible loss. Peggy had a more difficult time, since her father was her favorite parent. She was very angry at first and had a difficult transition back coping with the loss of her father and returning to life in the United States. One of the consequences was that she never wanted to speak Spanish, and, despite some half-hearted attempts, she never did.

She was very active in her church youth group, where she learned to be an active part of a group that was concerned about social justice, helping others and the importance of community. The friends with whom she bonded in Middle School are still her friends today. She went to Cottey College in Missouri run by the international community of the PEO Sisterhood – a group dedicated to providing educational opportunities for female students worldwide. Here was another tight knit community and Peggy thrived in this atmosphere where women were seen as competent leaders. She made friendships there that have lasted throughout her life.

Even though Peggy’s journey to Ecuador ended in sorrow, it did whet her appetite for travel. She decided that she would study abroad and spent her junior year in Beirut, Lebanon at the American University of Beirut (AUB). The time away opened her eyes to the diversity of experiences that comes from meeting people from all over the world and living in a different culture. It also exposed her to politics, as her boyfriend and his father were part of the abortive coup attempt in Lebanon at that time. She became interested in Middle Eastern policy and history and even went to Egypt to study ancient history. During her research she walked through the pyramids. She was enjoying life in Lebanon so much that her mother had to come and get her. When she returned to complete her college degree at the University of New Mexico, she had to take more courses to satisfy these interests. She was surprised and angered by the discrimination of a faculty member during her orals when the male student who was being questioned at the same time received the easy questions, while she was grilled on the harder material. Around that time, she reconnected with her good friend, Jim Moore from High School. They began dating and then married.

In 1964, Virginia Satir came to Albuquerque, before she left for graduate school in Indiana. She interviewed a family with whom she had been working as a Child Welfare Worker. It was at that moment that Peggy knew what she wanted to be: a family therapist.

They moved to Indiana where Peggy told her advisors in graduate school about her dream to be a family therapist. She had a great supervisor while she was there, and she let her work with families – to the dismay of her field supervisor! She was granted her MSW from the Indiana University’s Graduate School of Social Services. She got a job working for the Social Work Department for the State of Indiana and travelled all over Southeastern Indiana for two years until her daughter Daniela was born. When Jim got a job teaching Art History at Wichita State University, they lived there for seven years and their second child, Evan, was born in this city. During that time, she worked Decatoria who had to leave for abroad. Instead of sending the clinic staff/volunteers out of the country to receive their EMDR training, she first with the Model Cities Project at Wichita State University, then as a Medical Social Worker at St. Joseph’s Medical Center and later as a School Social Worker Supervisor. While she was at the Medical Center, she worked with parents who lost a child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). She started a SIDS Support Group and received their Outstanding Service Award (1974) for her work. When Jim got a job at the Toledo Museum, they moved, and Peggy worked at the Michigan School of Social Work as a School Social Worker. After the blizzard of 1978, Peggy decided it was time to return to the warmth of their native state and their families. Jim applied to be the Director of the Albuquerque Museum and when he was hired, they happily moved back to Albuquerque and promptly found an adobe house – where they still live amongst their neighborhood friends. Peggy immediately took a job as a Family Therapist for Hogares, Inc. Following her time at Hogares, Inc. she was a clinician for the New Mexico Children’s Psychiatric Hospital, while concurrently working as a School Social Worker for the Albuquerque Public Schools for the Special Education office. She began a private practice in association with the New Mexico Family Institute specializing in Family Therapy and Adolescents (September 1982 – September 1998).

Around this time, to Peggy’s delight, David Heard, an accomplished psychologist and family therapist, came to teach at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico (UNM). She was even more pleased when Braulio Montalvo moved there from working with Salvatore Minuchin and Jay Haley in Philadelphia to be part of the Family Therapy teaching team. During this time, they worked behind the mirror and many of the luminaries of Family Therapy came to teach and she got to know them all. Then, Peggy began teaching. She became the Director of the Interpersonal Skills Program at UNM for the Department of Pediatrics (August 1985 – February 2004). By February of 1989, Peggy became the Project Director for the New Mexico Family Institute for the Alcohol Abuse Prevention Project. In 1990, she was the Acting Program Director at the UNM’s Area Health Education Center and later worked as a Social Worker for the Homebase Family Therapy Program at UNM and later in their Outpatient Services.

It was Braulio Montalvo who introduced Peggy to EMDR. In 1992, they went to Denver to be trained and she said, that “It changed my practice and my life.” They continued to use the mirror approach and watched each other and honed their skills. By 1994, Peggy was asked to be a facilitator for the EMDR Institute. As a facilitator, she travelled to assist at trainings. In 1994, she was asked to be at the meeting in Phoenix that was the precursor to the EMDR International Association. She was part of the original Board as Secretary and learned a great deal about beginning an organization.

When she realized that she did not know much about trauma, she joined Charles Figley’s listserv and soaked all of the information up. She did the same as well with the EMDR listserv. She then started to think about how to integrate Family Therapy with EMDR and presented in Denver and then in Baltimore on this subject with Peggy Nurse, Ricky Greenwald and Frankie Klaff.

In 1998, she went to assist trainings in Bangladesh and in 2000 was invited to present on “EMDR and Family Therapy” in Turkey. She was so close to Beirut that she had to go so she bought a ticket and spent a week and began a discussion about EMDR there. In 2001, she found out about the trainings scheduled in Ramallah and Gaza and was part of the training team with Roy Kiessling, Jim Knipe, Judith Daniels and Joany Spierings. During their time there, a Palestinian leader was assassinated. The rest of the team was shaken, however, she had experienced difficulties before and this was not like the Civil War that occurred in Lebanon during her time there. She explained that everyone knows everyone else’s business and so they knew why the team was there and where they were and what they were doing it. After that, she went to Beirut from Ramallah (no easy task) to assist a woman who wanted more help with EMDR. The woman’s family invited her to visit. She spoke about EMDR at St. George’s Hospital. She was watching CNN in Beirut preparing to go to Starbucks when she saw the second plane hit the second tower on 9/11. Everything was grounded and through the Vice President of Mideast Airlines, she was able to fly through Frankfurt to Paris to spend time with her daughter who had just moved there to study. This was the exciting start to her career with EMDR HAP.

By 2006, Peggy became an EMDR HAP trainer. It was not until 2007 that Peggy, with the assistance of Bridget Houry from the Lebanese Psychological Society, had her first training in Beirut. Peggy has been part of the group of trainers and facilitators who have helped our colleagues in the Arabic-speaking countries become facilitators and trainers themselves. Mona Zaghrout was one of the major forces in this and had her whole staff from the WMCA in Jerusalem trained in EMDR. Ferdooz Alyssia is in the process of completing her trainer’s training and is living in Egypt where she has a grant to train there and is completing her studies along with Suad Mitwali and Khader

Rhasas at the Center for the Treatment of Victims of Torture.

Peggy was touched as she heard story after story of people who told their accounts of hardship, such as the young man who had been in a wheelchair and wanted to use EMDR to support his walking again. The next time that Peggy met him he was walking and married. In Ramallah, she heard about people who had been tortured and then helped by their work with EMDR. It is in these moments that Peggy’s spirit links with those of her mother and father who both had devoted their lives to helping others.

In 2007, Peggy was presented with the Elizabeth Snyker Memorial Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service through EMDR HAP. Also, in that year, she contributed the chapter, “Medical Family Therapy” to Shapiro, Kaslow & Maxfield’s edited book, “Handbook of Family Processes.”

To the EMDR Community Peggy has this to say:

“Thank you for being sisters and brothers in arms. EMDR is worldwide. The other amazing thing has been psycho-tourism; working with EMDR has been a wonderful way to see the world. To have colleagues and friends all over the world has been inspirational. I want to thank you all for the incredible hospitality I have received.”

Peggy is an active woman and loves to bike, go cross country, do women’s rafting trips and tend to her grandchildren by teaching them all that she has to pass down to them like making sheepskin moccasins. Although her husband is retired, Peggy enjoys her work so much that she is not ready to stop working yet. We are delighted that she is part of our EMDR community.


“A Community of Heart: Peggy Moore,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed July 15, 2024, https://francineshapirolibrary.omeka.net/items/show/25405.

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