Matt Wesson inspires at EMDR East Anglia Cambridge Networking Day, Nov 17 2018

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Matt at work with Quy Mill EMDR Enthusiasts

The EMDR Association’s East Anglia Regional Group was delighted on Saturday November 17 to welcome one of our community’s newer and especially inspiring trainers, Matt Wesson, to take us through his expertise on EMDR with the military and the uniformed services.

We’re experimenting with a new website design, so this is our first post here, with a brief summary of the ideas Matt shared with us, and some photos to give you an idea of how our regional networking days work.

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Matt Wesson in full flow

Feedback on the day was largely brilliant, including…

Matt never missed a beat, taking each questions as they came and giving comprehensive answers that were informative to the rest of the group also.

Excellent day with useful information regarding working with this client group.

Matt always gives a highly informative and felixible delivery and manages a plethora of comments and questions skill fully and in a way that seems to satisfy all.

Full packed day which could have spread over two days. Material was interesting and handouts really helped

Excellent training day, it not only supported and widened my knowledge of working alongside veterans but it also gave me ideas about my general practice

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Joe Kearney, our regional group Treasurer – efficient at the badges too

Matt reminded us that in 1999 he was only the second-ever person in the Ministry of Defence to do EMDR training, and it was good to hear him talk about the importance of the therapeutic alliance, as well as the structure of Standard-Protocol-based EMDR

“Think like a therapist,” said Matt.

Collaborate, get your military clients on board, get going early and with a clear focus, letting them lead sometimes, reassuring them, that you won’t be overwhelmed – and recalling that this population needs only minor tweaks to mainstream EMDR.

It’s vital, said Matt, to identify with a client, especially when from the military, their goals for therapy, as otherwise they can easily get lost to the process, and not return after a few sessions.

Vital work is done above all in phases one and two of EMDR, getting a full sense of their trauma history and setting things up well in the preparatory phase so that the client has an early sense – ideally within a couple of weeks – that EMDR really works.

Matt stressed the importance of balancing the targeting of actual military experience on the one hand, and childhood drivers of presenting distress on the other, recognising that soldiers are often drawn from areas of deprivation, with lower social status and educational level, and therefore more prone to mental health issues.

Interestingly, Matt agreed, as a full-on basic trainer himself, that the Safe Place can be, as he put it, “overegged” in EMDR training.

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James Thomas, Chair for the coming year

With many in the room at the Quy Mill hotel meeting venue, he disagreed with the one of the core messages of old-style EMDR that one shouldn’t embark on processing if a client can’t find a safe place.

“Box clever,” said Matt, “and don’t waste your mental energy on counting sets. The less you try, the easier it is.”

With James Thomas now in the regional chair for the coming year, we look forward to two exciting new events in the new year – our old friend Jamie Marich in Ely on February 9 to take us through practical ways of working with dissociation, and the inspiring Pam Virdi on EMDR and eating disorders at Norwich Cathedral on Saturday April 27.