Sonya is both a founder member of the EMDR Association UK’s regional group in East Anglia, and has worked closely with Jim for many years now, preparing with time to step out as a trainer herself in his Toolbox approach as the Master himself settles slowly into his US retirement.
For the first half of the morning, Sonya took us through some of the essential pillars of the Knipean approach to EMDR, including:
LOUA Level of Urge to Avoid
CIPOS Constant Installation of Present Orientation and Safety
BHS Back of the Head Scale
In the afternoon, our colleague Gary McFarlane brought us an overview of EMDR with clients presenting with sexual addictions and compulsions.
Gary is a Relate-trained relationship counsellor and mediator, and has created a comprehensive Sex/Porn/Love addiction recovery programme online being used by clients internationally.
Gary explored the difference between compulsion and addiction, relating this especially to Attachment theory and AI-EMDR, how best to case conceptualise in EMDR’s Phase One Trauma History taking and then how best to work with what emerges in Phase Four processing.
Our East Anglia Regional Group is focusing more in the next period, online only for the time being, on networking and personal connections between our members, with space as our events unfold for colleagues to present on their own areas of particular passion.
On a sunny and chilly Saturday, our April 2022 East Anglia Regional Networking day – continuing a tradition going back now a full eight years – was certainly popular, with over 200 colleagues signing up and 120 attendees joining in online in real time from East Anglia, the UK and as far away as Bosnia and South Africa.
Sonya Farrell, co-founder of our EMDR Association regional group and long-time supervisee of the legendary Jim Knipe of EMDR Toolbox fame, started the morning with a case study of client ‘Christine’, presenting with multiple obvious traumas as well as Emetophobia, Trichotillomania and Addictions.
Mapping Christine’s trauma with Jim Knipe’s trademark ovals to demonstrate the various parts, Sonya explained how the overwhelm of the human nervous system’s natural processing system can lead to parts remaining unintegrated into an individual’s sense of self.
Sonya outlined three particular ways difficult life experiences can negatively influence the development of the personality and the blocking of adaptive resolution for, in the shape of (1) the dysfunctionally stored trauma memories themselves, then (2) the psychological defences that arise to protect and manage the client from those stories, then (3) the resultant self-states that remain separated from the individual’s conscious awareness.
Sonya walked us through the four pillars of Knipe’s EMDR Toolbox:
LOUA: the Level of Urge to Avoid, which can be targeted in EMDR as an avoidance defence preventing access to a troubling memory or an unwanted ambivalence;
Loving Eyes; an alternative to EMDR phase three for emotionally vulnerable clients, enabling a safe connection between awareness of present safety and an internal part that is reliving a trauma;
BHS: Back of the Head Scale, for measuring dissociation, moment to moment, and the degree to which a client is able to maintain an orientation to safe reality in the present while accessing traumatic material;
CIPOS: Constant Installation of Present Orientation and Safety, coaching the client how to self-soothe, move in and out of the trauma-reducing dissociation, and a technique that can be used between sessions.
We then split in to breakout rooms, with the opportunity to discuss and role play vignettes for LOUA, Loving Eyes and BHS/CIPOS – a useful and valuable exercise.
Returning to Zoom plenary, Sonya brilliantly demonstrated the Back of the Head Scale and the CIPOS method in a live role-play, clearly and simply, leaving us feeling more confident to take this learning into clinical practice.
We’re grateful to Sonya for a well-presented and informative morning, with opportunities to practise Knipe’s Toolbox in a clear structured format.
After lunch, our Weston-super-Mare-based colleague Gary McFarlane presented an overview of EMDR with clients presenting with sexual, love and pornography addictions and compulsions. Gary is a Relate-trained relationship counsellor and mediator, and has created a comprehensive Sex/Porn/Love addiction recovery programme.
Gary set the tone wonderfully for the afternoon starting with a poem for everyone: inclusive and non-judgmental for everyone’s parts of oneself and the sacredness of one’s being.
Gary tacked us through definitions of sex, love and porn addiction and the difference with a compulsion. Using a spirit level as a prop Gary demonstrated the need for homeostasis and equilibrium whilst highlighting particularly the intensity, the feeling state and the behaviour of addiction – fascinating!
We watched a video created by Gary on sex addiction explaining the exponential growth due to the internet. It was sobering to see how this is affecting both men and women, and how what initially starts as a coping strategy can lead to an addiction with negative impacts of self-soothing behaviour. https://youtu.be/4aNzP5il4tw
Another brilliant video explained love addiction and how its underpinned by attachment where there is a void to be filled by either love or sex. https://youtu.be/bLZy7he0qjg
Gary then spent some time exploring our understanding of an equation, Shame + Narcissism = Sex addiction.
Interestingly, sex and porn addiction is not recognised in the DSM5 – food for thought considering some of the statistics presented to us: for example, 70% of men aged 18-24 years visit a porn site at least once per month; one third of all internet porn users are female; average age of first exposure to internet porn is 11 years.
Gary talked us through the importance of case conceptualisation in Phase 1 of history taking in EMDR as well as what values, emotions and parts may emerge in Phase 4 of EMDR processing.
A key learning from the afternoon was that sex, love, porn addiction is not about sex, but the chase. The chase is the high point, the likely height of arousal, the equivalent of the drug taker’s needle. It is the conduit to get the dopamine, oxytocin etc into the brain.
The event was recorded so those who couldn’t attend live with us but who paid and signed up in advance have access to the recorded highlights for a further month
NB THIS IS FOR APRIL 2023, NOT 2022! BEING POSTED HERE WELL IN ADVANCE.
Flagging this up very well in advance (more than a year ahead, in fact), we look forward to welcoming the redoutable and hugely experienced Gus Murray to our April 2024 regional networking day to take us through using EMDR with every client.
President of the still relatively newly-formed All-Ireland EMDR Association, Gus is an EMDR Europe Accredited Trainer and Consultant, and Programme Director at the Cork Institute of Technology for the past 25 years.
As Gus explains it, the full potential of the clinical application of EMDR therapy is still compromised in its application to a full range of clinical conditions, with many clinicians struggling or reluctant to use it with more complex and disordered clients.
Many, he adds, stop short of embracing EMDR as a comprehensive system of psychotherapy, seeing it rather as an element within their existing approach.
His workshop with us in East Anglia (online as usual these days) aims to address this, offering a range of knowledge and skills to guide the effective integration of EMDR into your clinical practice.
Participants will learn:
A comprehensive approach to case formulation, treatment planning and target identification .
How to address the challenge of maintaining client regulation while accessing and processing traumatic memories.
An expanded appreciation of the role of positive resource networks and their use.
To explore the use of EMDR therapy along a continuum from low-, moderate- to high functioning clients.
To explore the use of EMDR therapy in the treatment of a range of clinical conditions and populations.
The day drew 90 attendees from East Anglia, which on this occasion extended as far as Ireland and Scotland.
Justin Havens, EMDR consultant and trainer, made time on his birthday (!) to take us through his passions, the Dream Completion Technique and the Flash Technique and the iterations they have been through to make them potent tools within the 8-Phase framework of EMDR.
As Justin says: start with sorting out nightmares, use flash to take off worst distress…. clean up with EMDR processing! All within the EMDR framework.
After all, dreaming is EMDR! When clients fix their nightmares, they get 2 hours free EMDR every night.
The EMDR Association’s East Anglia Regional Group were delighted on Saturday 24th April 2021 to welcome internationally renowned and legendary EMDR Consultant and Trainer Ana Gomez to take us on a journey on parts and inner systems to explore complex trauma.
Ana is a psychotherapist, author of several books, chapters and articles, and a lecturer internationally known for her innovative work with children and adolescents.
She is an EMDRIA approved consultant, an EMDRIA advanced training provider, an EMDR Institute and EMDR-IBA trainer and a trainer of trainers. Ana has worked with children, adolescents, adults and families affected by trauma and adversity for over 25 years, presenting in more than 40 cities in the USA as well as 30 cities in four continents.
Over 600 delegates signed up to Ana’s workshop, with many attending on the day online and others chossing to watch the recording at a later date. Every delegate received the handouts, recording and certificate for six EMDR UK Association CPD points.
Ana presented to us from across the pond in Phoenix, Arizona, meaning a very early start for her and an afternoon 2pm start for us.
The plan for the day was to explore her theoretical framework along with specific, practical and creative tools and strategies to work with entrenched maladaptive forms of self-protection using parts work.
Justin will join us for the first half of the morning, after which will have the opportunity to break into smaller groups to consider how to apply the learning to our individual practice.
After lunch, when we’ll hold our annual AGM, Mike Rivers will present a case study where he used attachment-informed EMDR to work with a client presenting with decades of debilitating multiple-chemical sensitivity.
This case study provides a foundation for discussion and learning around working with the raft of symptoms that often come under the heading of medically unexplained symptoms (MUS).
Mark Brayne will then present the findings of our research project with Sheffield University exploring therapist and client experiences of online EMDR, after which we want to offer you the opportunity to network and learn in small groups on the following specialist topics:
Q&A with Mike Rivers on the learning from his case study
Q&A with Mark Brayne on what we can take away from the research findings
Delving into Jim Knipe’s toolbox
EMDR and somatic experiences
Working with police and emergency service personnel
Working with dissociation
A space simply to catch up with colleagues
The event will take place on Zoom but with plenty of opportunity to catch up with colleagues we very much hope to have an ‘in-person’ feel to the day.
Indeed, as an afterthought here, our East Anglia Regional Group is going to be focusing more in the next period, definitely online and perhaps once again in-person, on networking and personal connections between our members, with space as our events unfold for colleagues to present on their own areas of particular passion.
Presented by Dr Jamie Marich and reported by Ushma Patel
Saturday 26th June 2021 saw many of us (50 delegates) attend online (from near and far) in an interactive, retreat style workshop for an afternoon of soothing techniques to learn how to keep ourselves safe, sane and healthy in this new world as COVID continues to unfold.
The EMDR Association’s East Anglia Regional Group were delighted to welcome back Dr Jamie Marich, an EMDR therapist and EMDRIA-approved trainer specialising in the treatment of trauma and addictions, and founder of the Institute for Creative Mindfulness, shared with us the importance of mindfulness and meditation in modern living.
The main focus of the afternoon was Mindfulness and Meditation, and on how best we can maintain emotional and physical equilibrium as we work remotely with our clients’ deepest traumas.
Jamie talked us through some practical ideas and strategies for practicing mindfulness as a path for enhancing resilience, with special focus given to issues of workplace wellness. It was interesting to also understand the applicability of these techniques to our EMDR practice particularly the preparation and closure phases.
The online retreat started with a mini mindfulness exercise including ‘palming the face’ which enabled us to focus in further on the heat and energy resting on our face particularly around our eyes and temples incorporating bi-lateral stimulation.
A great technique to use when you have been in front of your computer all day writing up client notes!
After a stretching exercise which can aid in reducing back pain – a common complaint in our occupation – we were invited to sit or lie down to practice Yoga Nidra an exercise that encourages access to a powerful state of consciousness; to connect with ourselves, embrace ease and comfort and let go of effort.
Then, we were given the opportunity to ask questions about Yoga Nidra and its principles. It was fascinating to gain insight in to how Yoga Nidra and EMDR, with their correspondence between intention and Positive Cognitions, complement each other.
We spent some time talking in small groups to develop a basic care plan for staying well and resilient during the coming year of inevitably further transitions.
Through wider group discussion Jamie guided us through first-hand experience of care planning, with a take-home message to use such plans with our EMDR clients.
There was opportunity too to really explore what our body fuses to, whether that be music, sounds or art and colours. The active participation brought a sense of freedom alongside nourishment.
It was a brilliant, exploratory afternoon with opportunity to practise several mindfulness/meditative exercises, with a view to formally or informally apply them to our daily life as an approach for building resilience and cultivating a more balanced life.
We are truly grateful to Jamie for walking us through the relevance of mindfulness to one’s own personal care and burnout prevention, as well as how to translate these skills from our own personal life and practice into our EMDR therapy practice with clients.
The event was recorded so those who couldn’t attend live with us but who have paid and signed up in advance will have full access to the event for a further month.
The EMDR Association UK’s regional East Anglia group are thrilled to have secured the internationally renowned, indeed legendary EMDR Consultant and Trainer Ana Gomez for our next networking day online in April 2021, to take us through how, as EMDR therapists, to work with complex trauma, parts and our client’s inner systems.
Where: Online, on Zoom.
When: 1400-2100 UK time Saturday April 24 2021 (note the afternoon and evening times, as Ana will be presenting from the US).
STOP PRESS – Ana has generously agreed that we can record the day, so even if you can’t be with us live, if you’re paid and signed up you’ll have access to full workshop video, audio and recorded chat for a further month, also qualifying for the CPD points.
How to book and cost: via Eventbrite here. £55 for Association members, £60 for non-members
Ana M Gomez, MC, LPC born in Colombia (South America) is a psychotherapist in private practice, author of several books, chapters and articles, and a lecturer internationally known for her innovative work with children and adolescents.
She’s an EMDRIA approved consultant, an EMDRIA advanced training provider, an EMDR Institute and EMDR-IBA trainer and a trainer of trainers.
As Ana describes it, clients with complex and developmental trauma present with layers of trauma, adversity, attachment injuries and unmet needs.
The EMDR Association UK’s regional East Anglia group were thrilled to welcome Consultant and Trainer colleague Caroline van Diest to take us through how, as EMDR therapists, to recognise and work with clients on the Autistic Spectrum and with ADHD.
Caroline is an EMDR Europe Approved Trainer/Consultant A BABCP Cognitive Behaviour Therapist A Registered Learning Disabilities Nurse (RNLD) MSc in Applied Social Learning Theory & Counselling
‘EMDR with Autism Spectrum and ADHD’ 28.11.2020
Presented by Caroline van Diest, and reported by Ushma Patel
On Saturday 28th November, 232 delegates came together online for another extravaganza of stimulating information and enjoyable learning about ASD and ADHD and Aspergers from the comfort of our homes. Caroline had already sent us a plethora of handouts and information: with pen and paper ready and a hot cuppa we started the event at 930am.
For those who couldn’t attend on the day, the event was recorded and shared with everyone who signed up for the event, alongside handouts, slides and certificates with six EMDR UK Association CPD points.
Caroline is an EMDR Europe-Approved Trainer/Consultant, a BABCP Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, and a Registered Learning Disabilities Nurse (RNLD. She has an MSc in Applied Social Learning Theory & Counselling and is one of EMDR UK’s leading specialists on ASD.
Aims for the day were to introduce us to the history of clinical and social understandings around ASD and ADHD and considerations of the overlaps between them, as well as to outline how appropriate adaptations can be made in EMDR, working on the traumatic impact on relationships with self and the world using case examples and powerful personal stories.
Caroline also invited us to develop an understanding of what we need identify and tackle when working with clients incorporating functioning, diagnosis and insight.
At the outset, we learned about the challenges of language around this experience. The DSM has moved what used to be called Aspergers into the diagnosis of Autism, on the high-functioning end of what’s now widely understood as The Spectrum. And as Caroline emphasised, not everyone is happy with that switch, so she like many others in this field was happy to continue to use the term Aspergers as well as Autism.
Caroline shared thought-provoking videos to demonstrate what it’s like living with Autism and how communication is perceived by others.
Many myths were busted like: you can still process if a client doesn’t like eye contact, or if all these myths were true how do therapists who have Autism do their job?
The answer? A brilliant opportunity to hear from our own Mark Brayne who courageously spoke about his own experience with Aspergers, with a diagnosis confirmed very much later in life.
Listening to Mark’s account gave us a moving insight in to how, as he put it, “lying is very hard, almost impossible”, and with that the impact this has on a life informed by the often urgent desire to “whistle-blow” or speak out with frank honesty.
The struggle and loneliness of Mark’s journey with Aspergers resonated with everyone listening, including what he termed Grelief, as the bittersweet mixture of grief and relief upon having the diagnosis confirmed.
Mark discussed the upsides and the downsides of being Aspergers, which can bring a marked ability to learn different languages (with their reassuring grammar and rules), but also the challenge of emotional responses to different cultures.
It was with a touch of affectionate envy that we heard how well EMDR’s framework of protocols and focus meshes with Mark’s internal experience and appreciation of structure, supporting a sometimes surprisingly effective and rewarding implementation of EDMR in practice.
Mark also shared his experience of using an online self-assessment questionnaire, initially for himself and now with clients. The Autism-Spectrum Quotient Test was developed by Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues at the Cambridge Autism Research Centre, and is a 50-item questionnaire which helps identify if ASD might be part of a client’s story.
With a powerful and thought-provoking Guardian newspaper video called ‘The Party: a Virtual Experience of Autism’ e were then transported into the mind of a young teenager called Layla experiencing autism-typical overwhelm at a birthday party thrown for her by her parents, as yet unaware of how intensely distressing and confusing these events can be for someone on the spectrum.
After the break, we were fortunate again to be offered incredible insight to what it’s like living with Autism, through listening to the experiences of two more guest speakers: young Olivia and her mum Alexandra.
Olivia courageously articulated how her ‘mind works a lot faster than her mouth’, the impact on her mood and social interaction.
As well as stressors like tactile triggers or environmental triggers, she explained how others ‘don’t get me and then tell me I’m wrong’, further impairing her functioning and with the lack of validation and understanding leaving her feeling rejected.
Olivia spoke about how EMDR has been really helpful with her sensory issues, relationships and emotions, although not yet on trauma, given how being Autistic can leave people feeling intensely vulnerable.
Olivia stressed the importance of slowly working towards the trauma, and the need for a foundation of strong therapeutic alliance between the therapist and the client, working first on everyday stressors first.
Reiterating how validation and trust are key to helping a client feel safe, where ADHD is in the mix (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), quite often a client can’t hold an image in their head for long time, because the mind is so busy with other distractions. It can at these times be helpful if the therapist checks in to see if the mind has wandered, so that focus can be brought back on to the target image.
We were so grateful for the opportunity to hear about Olivia’s experience and the difficulties she has to manage – inspiring to see such a passionate, bright and bubbly personality gain five million views on TikTok, raising awareness of ASD and ADHD.
Her mum Alexandra talked about the lack of support from core mental health providers and the impact on the family as well as on Olivia. The small things we take for granted, such as shopping in supermarkets, can become traumas in themselves, requiring parents to learn on the job, as it were, in supporting their child through these experiences.
It was clear to us that as a parent it’s not an easy situation to manage when you don’t have all the information, experience and support at your disposal. Naivety from schools and medical professionals can be hard and challenging, and Alexandra offered us words of wisdom when working with families, to “make sure your family members are doing lots of self-care, so they can cope with all the varied roles they have from parent to professional’.
Self-care is of course critical for all these varying stressors and crisis situations. We gained enormous insight from Alexandra, as she opened a window into the world of an ASD or ADHD child’s parent. Her patience and strength were most moving.
After lunch we discussed in smaller groups how our practice in EMDR’s eight- phase protocol would be influenced by what we had learned in the morning. Delegates were passionate and collaborative, sharing pdfs and links to information. It was inspiring to see us all come together and share our knowledge and experiences as well as resources on using EMDR with this client group.
In the afternoon we saw a video of a supervision session between Caroline and a therapist who discussed the assessment and formulation phases of working with an ASD client, as well as a video of a client who discussed her lived experience and EMDR therapy.
The latter gave us an understanding of not only the client’s account of living with ASD but also being able to see their body language, tone of voice and facial expressions while they described some highly emotive content. We could see the client’s window of tolerance (WoT) in response to a variety of open-ended questions that Caroline was asking, and the client’s perspective on the various phases of the protocol.
Caroline summarised the day by bringing us back to EMDR’s essential eight phases.
She reminded us that in history taking, the client might not get implicit memories, so a floatback might not help. It was therefore important to ask more direct questions.
In phase two, the safe place could be too abstract for some, so it could be helpful to focus on special interests instead.
Caroline emphasised the importance of identifying a client’s WoT, and their repertoire of resources, especially given that with this client group there may not be the verbal and nonverbal cues a therapist is used to noticing.
Caroline talked us through the complexities of identifying positive cognitions and of assessing SUDS with ASD and ADHD clients, who might be reluctant to choose the number ‘Zero’, preferring instead to use ‘Neutral’.
In phase five, installation of the PC, it could be useful to use visual descriptions instead of the VoC Likert scale.
Caroline stressed the importance in phase eight, re-evaluation, to be very clear with the client, what when we say image, we mean memory, so the therapist can check whether the whole memory has been processed.
Caroline’s overall message was to ‘test and tweak’ the aspects of the eight-phase protocol to suit the client’s needs, based on an awareness and understanding of ASD and ADHD.
Caroline’s hope for the day was that we leave with a fire in our belly to work with this client group, often get neglected and misunderstood.
I can honestly say that after a thought-provoking and inspiring day…we certainly did!
With the Corona Virus shutting things down across the world, this event was held online, exploring not just EMDR for intergenerational trauma, but also the basic principles of delivering EMDR online rather than face-to-face.