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  • Louise Coughlin

EMDR conference...yes I'm a geek!

A bit delayed but I'm going to reflect on the EMDR conference that was in York on 15th and 16th March. I was in two minds whether to give up my weekend to listen to other EMDR therapists talk about how great EMDR is...no need to sell that one to me. However I'm so glad I did. Not only were the pastries, biscuits, cakes and buffet lovely but I learnt a lot too. 😀


I am a bit of a geek and I like to know about research, as a Psychologist I have to consider my practice on the evidence base, otherwise that leaves people open to vulnerability. However even if this wasn't a requirement of my code of practice I would still be keen to know how different elements of my practice are showing up in the research...OK so I may sometimes just read the abstracts or skip the statistics and look and the discussion of what they mean...but I'm still interested. It was great therefore that the conference kicked off with what has been researched in the last year...yippee it is looking good for EMDR for a wide range of issues.


Some of the topics discussed were just plain interesting, others useful to my practice. Considering the cultural variations of EMDR was really helpful since being online more I reach potential clients all around the world. As with any aspect of Psychology, adaptations need to be made, whether that is for cultural, neurodiversity, age, health conditions, online verses face to face. This tied in nicely with some training I attended on cultural diversity in Forensic Psychology and just gave me more ideas when working cross culturally.


The big learner for me was about how to adapt EMDR for individuals where the emotion and the physical sensation are what is most evident, or most blocked. Initial gasps when the length of time between check in was suggested gave way to intrigue when clips of clients showed how this can work. With trepidation (and transparency to those trying it out on) I gave this a go...it was amazing the results. People pushing forward where they were previously stuck. Happy clients, happy me.


Although I have lots of new ideas to incorporate into practice from the conference, my defining memory was two service users with a diagnosis of PTSD telling their story. Not a dry eye in the house....everything they had tried that hadn't worked only to try EMDR (along with other supporting therapies and interventions in a short duration residential unit) with huge success. These two people are heroes, both in the profession they do, and in standing up and sharing their story. Thank you.


EMDR is fab...but I knew that anyway.


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