The Child & Family Services program at Family & Children’s Place sponsored training in level one EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), in May at the agency’s Old Louisville headquarters.
Training was through the EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program, an international organization that uses dedicated volunteers to train nonprofit clinicians in EMDR. Judith Daniels, a former Family & Children’s Place employee and local professional co-facilitated.
Participants included four of the agency’s clinical staff – Jamie Sanchez, Marian Ahmed, Glennisha Mudd and Stephanie Barnett – as well as 27 therapists from around the country, including Philadelphia, Indianapolis, and Washington, D.C.
EMDR enables people who have experienced trauma to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Successful treatment with EMDR therapy relieves affective distress, reformulates negative beliefs and reduces physiological arousal.
Studies show that with EMDR therapy, people often experience benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference, counter the widespread assumption that severe emotional pain can require a long time to heal. EMDR therapy demonstrates the mind can, in fact, heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.
When one cuts a hand, the body works to close and heal the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. But once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates a similar sequence of events occurs within mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health.
Agency CFS therapists have creatively used EMDR, including using bilateral music stimulation with children to reduce negative symptoms and instill positive thoughts. With this, children can actually have fun while healing and listening to their favorite music!
A level two EMDR workshop is scheduled in September.