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7 Things You Need to Know before Integrating EMDR into Your Practice

On May 23rd, our Tuesday Tea with Touchstone guest, Suna Clinchard, LMFT, PMH-C, shared some valuable guidance and practical tips for integrating Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) into your therapeutic practice.

Here are Suna's top seven tips:

The key to trauma healing is Adaptive Information Processing (AIP).

AIP is the cornerstone of trauma healing. Suna reminded us of the importance of explaining AIP to our clients, helping them understand that their symptoms are not flaws but clues to untangle stuck or maladaptive experiences. It provides a roadmap to guide them through therapy, unlocking hidden doors to their healing journey.

Active listening plays a pivotal role in successful therapy.

Suna highlighted active listening's power to identify recurring themes and negative beliefs in clients' narratives. By recognizing these patterns, we as therapists gain insights into the origins of these beliefs, opening the door to profound healing and self-discovery.

Look for and strengthen adaptive information.

During the initial phases of EMDR therapy, therapists become catalysts for our clients' adaptive information. Suna shared techniques for identifying coping skills, strengths, positive qualities, and examples of resilience. Additionally, she revealed the power of using slow, short sets of bilateral stimulation (BLS) to amplify and expand clients' adaptive resources.

Build a strong foundation in phases one and two.

Suna emphasized the importance of tailoring resources to meet each client's unique needs, using phase one information as a guide for our phase two work. This tailored approach sets the stage for a customized healing journey.

Consider client preferences and floatbacks when selecting a target.

Using the floatback techinque for accessing related past memories can be helpful in selecting a target. Suna encouraged therapists to consider clients' preferences and comfort levels when beginning EMDR therapy. Whether starting with a milder memory or directly addressing the presenting issue, trust your clinical intuition. Often, additional targets naturally emerge as the processing unfolds.

It's okay to reference your manual, scripts, and resources!

If you are new to EMDR, there is no need to have your script memorized. Prepare your materials in advance. Not only do you need to be ready, it is crucial that you ensure your client is ready before embarking on phase three reprocessing as well. Suna shared insights on assessing their ability to shift states, grounding techniques, and managing dissociation. Understanding their nervous system and familiarizing yourself with their resources lays the groundwork for a smoother therapeutic journey.

Your attunement with your client is the foundation of this work.

Suna emphasized the significance of the therapist-client relationship and the role of attunement in the success of EMDR therapy. Your attunement with your client allows for a deep sense of connection, safety, and trust. By offering your presence, empathy, and nonverbal cues, you can create a therapeutic space that supports healing and transformation. Remember, your presence is a powerful tool throughout all phases of EMDR therapy.

EMDR therapy holds immense potential for healing, and Suna Clinchard's insights have deepened our understanding of its principles and techniques. Armed with these key takeaways, we hope you feel empowered to embrace EMDR therapy with confidence and compassion. Remember, as a therapist, you have the potential to make a profound impact on your clients' lives.

Are you an EMDR trained therapist looking for consultation as you integrate EMDR into your practice? Learn more about Suna's consultation services!

If you missed the live event, don't worry! You can still view the recording and slides:

Looking to continue the conversation and connect with other providers? Don't miss our next Tuesday Tea on June 6, 2023 with Leslie Pertz, LMSW, PMH-C, NIC, PLLC!


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