Kesgrave Community Centre, Ipswich, Saturday Nov 11, 2017
Morning Presentation by Mark Brayne, EMDR Consultant, with clients MJ and GV.
Mark began his presentation – to a capacity audience of some 70 colleagues – by reiterating the basic tenets and structure of EMDR Therapy (the eight phases, BLS, Dual Attention and Past-Present-Future) and answering the question, “What is the Transpersonal?”
He described how a transpersonal approach goes deeper than the conditioned ego to a discovery of a more enduring and essential self, and this expands our understanding of the magic of EMDR by helping clients to “break the energetic spells” that have trapped them, like Sleeping Beauty, in the emotional dysfunctions of their past.
This, and other recent developments, such as Laurel Parnell’s Attachment-Focused EMDR, are contributing to the development and expansion of EMDR.
Transpersonal EMDR emphasises the development, with the client, of a “resource team” of archetypes and qualities which can play an important part in the processing itself, either spontaneously, or when called upon by the client, using active imagination.
Other techniques include target selection via bridging from present to past; the use of creative interweaves; the transfer of consciousness (e.g from Adult State to an apparently malevolent Ego State in order to discover its benevolent intention); dreamwork; an understanding of alchemy; and the impact and processing of trans-generational trauma.
Two of Mark’s clients attending as guests, MJ and GV, described their own experience of transpersonal EMDR, and their deep healing.
Their descriptions were interwoven with clarifications from Mark on how the work expanded and “petalled”, like a flower, but always within the container of the eight-phase process, so that he and the client return to all the targets that have emerged from the work, usually enabling an appropriate completion of each session, even when the target itself needs (sometimes much) further work in future sessions.
This presentation was enthusiastically received, and MJ and GV were applauded for their courage and openness.
Following questions, and lunch, the East Anglia Group held its AGM at which, with some 30 colleagues joining in, it was agreed that the Regional Steering Group would be reconstituted, with a Chair, a Chair Elect, and the Past Chair each holding that post for one year, serving therefore for three years in all in a specific role.
A new role is also envisaged, of Web Manager and Media Secretary, with responsibility both for the website and the Google group.
Specific roles will be voted on every two years – non-specific roles will be considered annually.
The Steering Committee will consist of no more than 10 members, and for the coming year is made up of the following colleagues:
Chair – Mark Brayne; Chair-Elect – James Thomas; Past Chair & Trauma Aid rep – Sonya Farrell; Secretary – Shirley Young; Treasurer – Joe Kearney; Richard Holborn; Morven Fyfe (new); Lauli Moschini (new – TA volunteer).
Janet Harvey and Balbindar Mann volunteered to be standby members for the committee.
Afternoon: Sonya Farrell gave a short talk about Trauma Aid, outlining its developing role in training EMDR therapists in troubled areas of Europe and the Middle East. Sonya encouraged us to join Trauma Aid (fee is only £15 a year).
She also referred to a sister organisation, the Trauma Response Network(TRN) recently set up to provide EMDR therapy following events in the UK such as the Manchester bombing and the Grenfell Tower disaster.
For more information about how to join Trauma Aid, or to volunteer for TRN, go to www.traumaaiduk.org (for TRN, click on “For Clinicians” then on “Volunteer for EMDR Trauma Response”.)
We then divided into six groups, to discuss issues such as mapping complex cases, working with disabilities, online therapy etc. A consultant or consultant-in-training, was present for each group.
This was followed by a very successful raffle for Trauma Aid, which raised £165, with prizes of a comprehensive library of EMDR books most generously donated by outgoing/retiring steering group member and co-founded of the regional group, Maeve Allison.
The day finished with our ever-popular consultants’ forum, which addressed details of consultants’ training; how EMDR could become more widely known; and Francine Shapiro’s latest book, due out in Feb 2018.
Dates and venues for Networking Days in 2018 were discussed, with Saturday April 28 earmarked for, it is hoped, a day with Derek Farrell on the Blind to Therapist Protocol, possibly in Ely (or Cambridge), with Saturday Nov 10 noted down for a meeting possibly in Chelmsford looking at EMDR and the military.
This was a well-attended and inspiring networking day and, without the usual focus on Powerpoint presentations, a relationally engaging experience!
Jamie started the day experientially by bringing us into presence in the way she starts her client sessions, guiding us to pay attention to the sensory experiencing of the room we were in: the sights, sounds, smells, physical sensations of touch and physical connection to chair and floor, and then our breathing, and finally encouraging us to move and stretch so we were bodily connected before she began engaging with us.
Jamie began by sketching out her personal journey of how she came to work with EMDR, both personally and professionally.
She highlighted the difference between having knowledge and understanding from participating in personal therapy and the 12-steps programme, and the effects of experiencing EMDR, allowing her to move into “becoming” as a result of a therapy that addressed bodily experiencing.
Jamie worked as an English teacher in post-war Bosnia-Hercegovina in the early 2000s, and was supported by a trauma-informed influential mentor who helped her ask “what role is trauma playing in this”.
Focusing her attention on noticing students’ difficulties with learning and her own triggering from seeing how the system interacted unhelpfully with the children in their care, Jamie found herself engaged with the treatment of trauma (her own and others’), moving away from the understanding that trauma only affects military veterans.
Jamie noted that the English word ‘trauma’ is a direct translation of the Greek word for wound – and that all wounds need care.
Life’s knocks may be more bruising for some than others, and different levels of care are needed depending on the individual. But recognition and treatment of wounds at whatever level needs attending to rather than being dismissed as “just life”.
Jamie then explored her EMDR training and her motivation for writing EMDR Made Simple.
She noticed, as many of us probably have too, that many therapists trained in EMDR do not go on to practice because they feel bogged down in complexity and paralysed by the fear of damaging a client by not doing things correctly. She also highlighted how EMDR in its original research was for clients with a single trauma – as if this was the norm.
In clinical practice, however, complex trauma is more often the rule, and Jamie emphasised how Francine Shapiro allowed in her writings for modifications to the Standard Protocol when working with difficult presentations.
She also noted that EMDR was developed through trial and error, posing the question whether anyone had considered how walking (also a bilateral activity after all) as well as eye movements might have been part of Francine’s reprocessing insight during her famous walk in the park.
Setting out how she came to the concept of the Four Faces of EMDR in her first book EMDR Made Simple, Jamie recalled St Augustine’s definition of the four voices of God – a concept familiar to her from her own Catholic upbringing, adding how tempting it is for individuals to believe that their own personal relationship to God is an absolute rather than an experience that matches their own personality, and to feel therefore threatened by other styles of worship.
These Augustinian styles can be classified under four headings:
God as Truth – Seeking after theological truth and its right expression, and the importance of using the right words in the right way and being grounded in Biblical knowledge.
God As Good and Action-Centred – doing good works to bring about real change in the world.
God as Beauty – symbol-based and via artistic expression, with the experience of the transcendent beauty and pleasure in the world around us.
God as One – emotionally- and relationally-based
Taking this idea, Jamie suggested that within the EMDR community there are different style preferences (reflecting also cultural influences) and to be aware of the potential for gospel-based EMDR – as in, only my way is the right way.
She described her Four Faces of EMDR as being:
Those who are most comfortable sticking to the protocols.
Those whose approach to EMDR is flexible – the eight phases are largely adhered to, but not necessarily in order, and used flexibly and responsively, often employing a rich variety of resources in Phase 2 preparation.
EMDR as a technique used as an adjunct to other things. (This was in fact Shapiro’s original idea, although no longer the current view). A Gestalt therapist may thus continue to see themselves primarily as a Gestalt Therapist, but one who also uses EMDR within the context of their own modality
EMDR-inspired interventions. These in Jamie’s overview would be the breakaway therapies that have developed from EMDR, in the grand tradition of psychotherapy modalities birthing new developments. She suggested Brainspotting was a current example.
Jamie noted Janet’s original 19th century understanding of the phases of trauma treatment being Stabilisation, Reprocessing, and Integration. This had the downside of sometimes holding clinicians back from work with a client because they might feel that sufficient stabilisation is impossible.
EMDR’s description of a preparation phase rather than a stabilisation phase was, she felt, a more helpful way of viewing what is helpful for a client, providing the tools to ride one’s instability in order to reprocess and then move towards stability and new growth.
Jamie also encouraged us to discuss issues with ‘Safe Place’ – the need to be aware of how this can be used as to avoid necessary work rather than a containment strategy, allowing also for the choice of Safe Place to actually lead to triggers that the client had been unaware of, with difficulties with visualisation making the creation of a safe place problematic for some.
Jamie highlighted the need to recognise that all resources can lead to complications, and how important it is to have one’s own resources and possibilities in order to respond with a change of plan.
Jamie posed the question, is it necessary to sit still in order to process, introducing the idea that one might as therapist encourage the client to amplify a movement as an interweave – going with that – if they were already doing this during processing. In cultures that are more movement-based, such as Brazil, movement interventions could be culturally appropriate.
Some helpful reminders and ideas about what could be used in the preparation phase were considered, such as Mindfulness-based skills to learn to tolerate emotions/body sensations etc.
Jamie even suggested listening to pieces of music in styles that you hadn’t heard before and that might cause discomfort, learning to stay with your response. She encouraged us to create playlists associated with helpful emotions, for use when the clients need help with emotional management.
DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) for example supports the idea of teaching surfing the waves of emotions rather than drowning in them.
Jamie noted that in some settings, Phase 2 may be all that is possible, and that these tools can be effective even if reprocessing is unable to be achieved. This is also EMDR.
She went on to describe the four factors essential for any therapeutic method to work, factors initially noted by Carl Rogers.
A client present in the room (with their psychological baggage);
Methods and strategies that “engage and inspire” the participants. If what you are offering is not engaging the client, then it’s not going to work. (This, Jamie noted, goes back to individual styles and the need for there to be a match between modality and the style of therapist, and their ability to adapt to the client’s presentation);
The relationship: trusting, cooperative, unconditional positive regard etc
The Therapist (and our psychological baggage) and our ability to manage our own triggering while dealing with a client (and seeking our own treatment if necessary).
Jamie then took us through a guided meditation based on a client we had identified.
What did they look like, how did they present etc in their first session? How were they referred? What transport did they use to get to therapy?
She then asked us to do the same exercise but as if we were the client. How did they experience us and communicating with us? Were they able to say no to a question? What did they need at the end of the session?
When the meditation was finished, we were asked to reflect on what we had learnt. This can be a helpful exercise when working with clients we feel stuck with.
We ended with an exercise of rubbing our hands together and then using the generated heat applied to our temples, repeated and applied to the back of the neck, repeated and placed on our breast bone, repeated and then placed on one of the places we liked the best. We were asked to notice whether there was a difference. Jamie uses this as a technique for grounding and support.
We then stopped for lunch and also had time to network, buy books and support Trauma Aid by buying raffle tickets and EMDR-related material.
When we resumed in the afternoon we split into five networking groups focusing on
Yoga, Spirituality and Mindfulness
NHS & Complex Clients
Following these groups and the drawing of the raffle on behalf of Trauma Aid, we had our usual Question-and-Answer session.
Jamie joined us in her Consultant capacity supporting our resident Consultants Mark Brayne, Valerie Halbinger and Sonya Farrell, and two of our consultants in training.
Questions explored were:
The Future of EMDR – emphasis on the need for research, and reference to the outcome of a small trial in the Middle East comparing Blind to Therapist Protocol and Standard Protocol;
Intensive EMDR (as in, many hours over a shorter period of days);
Use of smartphone apps and bilateral music (there is, noted Jamie, some useful bilateral music for EMDR on Spotify) and managing BLS online.
Jamie showed us a way of clients doing bilateral stimulation themselves when they are adverse to the feeling of tapping by putting the thumbs and first fingers together, creating the O-shape seen when you hold your hands in a meditation pose, and then rubbing the thumb tip across the first fingertip.
All in all, it was a very satisfying and enriching day, helping us look forward to November 11th for our next regional networking day which we hope will be in Ipswich.
With upwards of 70 colleagues attending from across the South-East, we had a fabulous local EMDR East Anglian regional networking day on May 7, with the renowned US-based EMDR guru Jim Knipe presenting and answering questions on Skype for a good hour and a half, focusing especially on working with complex trauma.
Credit and thanks to Sonya Farrell and the regional steering group for getting the day together, at Chelmsford Cathedral’s Chapter House.
Click the various links in this note to access PDFs of the presentations, and a minuted summary of the day and its concluding AGM, at which Sonya and Mark Brayne were confirmed as regional group co-chairs for the coming period, with Joe Kearney taking over as Treasurer and Shirley Young our new Secretary.
Warm thanks to Kerry Hebdon for getting the group’s finances up and running in the two years since we were formed, and to Annabel Hare and Maeve Allison for their sturdy minute-taking over the months.
Christine Habermehl from our Bedfordshire sub-group has also stepped back from the Steering Group, and will be replaced in due course with another local rep. James Thomas joins the committee as a member.
Read on for the feedback on the day, for the minuted summary, and note also for your diary that our next regional networking day will be in Cambridge, on Saturday November 26.
Details will be posted closer to the day, and click here to register.
Minutes and Summary
Mark Brayne welcomed everyone to the event and introduced the East Anglia Region Committee members. He encouraged participants to stay for the AGM at the end of the day and advised that the Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and some member positions were becoming vacant.
Sonya Farrell explained the format for the day and welcomed the first speaker, James Thomas, EMDR Therapist.
James has 25 years experience working with mental health issues in the NHS. He is a CBT and EMDR Therapist now working mainly with OCD and trauma in tier 4. James explained the different approaches that he utilises to promote engagement with EMDR, recovery and change.
These include 3rd wave CBT, ACT (acceptance commitment therapy) and mindfulness along with thorough EMDR resource installations. James provided examples by talking through two client cases and showed short videos on ‘Making a choice’ and ‘Values v Goals’.
Mark thanked James for his presentation and invited questions from the audience.
Sonya welcomed the next presenter, Ulf Jarisch, Managing Director of EMDR Equipment Europe. Ulf Jarisch introduced himself and provided the history behind the formation of his business. He explained how the EMDR light bars, audio and tactile sensors work and their adaptability to suit each individual client (different colours, brightness levels, speed, volume and add on toy characters for working with children etc…).
Ulf talked through the Pros and Cons of using EMDR equipment and noted that equipment was not essential for effective EMDR and in certain situations it may be better to use physical hand movements/taps. Ulf explained that he is in the process of developing a combined EMDR/ bio feedback machine that will give a print out reading and he talked about how this may be used in the future.
Ulf finished his talk by sharing details of his humanitarian aid work with refugees.
Mark thanked Ulf for his presentation and invited questions from the audience.
Participants were then invited to split into specialist groups for a networking and sharing session. These groups were Children & Adolescent, IAPT, PTSD, OCD, Military, Psychosis, Attachment and Pain.
Roger Kingerlee gave us a presentation on “EMDR Through the Qualitative Lens”. There is a respected tradition of qualitative research leading to quantitative investigation. Qualitative research is a method of “capturing the invisible” e.g. the known effects of meditation.
EMDR research, because it began soon after the discovery of EMDR, promoted its swift growth, and proved beyond doubt that EMDR qualitative research i.e. an exploration of what people actually experience during EMDR (rather than what the clinician is doing) has been overlooked. It could open doors to an expanded understanding of how EMDR works. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the therapeutic effects of EMDR are curious and probably unique to this form of treatment.
Roger plans to do this research over the next few years, using semi-structured interviews with about 10 people who have had EMDR. The aim is to create a model of what happens in EMDR.
Open Forum with Consultants Mark Brayne, Walid Abdul-Hamid and Roger Kingerlee
There was a lively and informative discussion between the consultants and the audience on a range of topics.
We were very fortunate to have a video link to Jim Knipe in the States, who gave a presentation on working with the client who says, “I don’t want to think about it”. The comprehensive handout gives details. Jim generously allowed extra time afterwards for questions.
The next Networking Day will be on Saturday 26th November 2016 in Cambridge (venue to be arranged).
The AGM was attended by 19 people. The 9 committee members present were introduced at the beginning of the meeting, and the Minutes of the last AGM (Ely) were approved. There were three officers resigning from their posts – Kerry Hebdon as Treasurer, and Annabel Hare and Maeve Allison as joint Secretaries. Sonya Farrell has been acting temporarily as Acting Chair.
Mark gave the Chair’s Report, and Kerry presented the Treasurer’s Report – both approved.
Elections for Officers:
Treasurer – Joe Kearney, Secretary – Shirley Young, Co-Chairs – Mark Brayne, Sonya Farrell
James Thomas joined the committee as a new member. It was agreed that the number of committee members would be limited to 10, with volunteers being co-opted when necessary.
AOB Walid said that there is a need for supervision for English-speaking Turkish therapists, and suggested that our members who are training to be consultants might consider providing this.