AI-EMDR with Intergenerational Trauma

Working with formative experiences and stories, including trauma, that are handed down the generations is an increasingly important part of the approach we offer at EMDR Focus to using EMDR in an attachment-informed way.

Intergenerational trauma as we call it – the right-most arrow on the right of the image – very often sits at the heart of what clients bring. (And note that another term is transgenerational, though the term trans of course also has other meanings these days.)

These can be understood as disturbances that aren’t primarily “theirs” as it were, but inherited from parents and family/cultural systems, from personal to observed experience, and also, as is now much better understood, epigenetically.

And as such, they can be targeted and resolved, sometimes with astonishing power, with the standard tools of attachment-informed EMDR.

Working with intergenerational stories is at the heart of our three-day/15-hour Unleash your EMDR Part 2 workshop, but here we’re offering a five-hour one-off introduction with appropriate CPD points from both EMDR UK and EMDRIA, with presentation, live demonstration, discussion and a bit of space to practise in pairs/triads. (And yes, the essential content will be the same as day one of Unleash Part 2, so consider this either an introduction or revision.)

With a US-focused workshop behind us in October, we’ve now got one more in the timetable, pitched at an Australia-friendly time in February 2024.

Cost £95 (approx USD120 or AUD180 ).

Just as we ask ourselves how our individual clients got to be the way they are, and what therefore are the developmental EMDR targets that need processing, when we’re working with intergenerational stories we bring a radical curiosity to what inherited stories might be bringing.

(NB before going any further that all of our EMDR Focus workshops and events are now exclusively online.)

Using our classic bridging technique, we invite the client first to find the formative experiences of childhood that might be being triggered in the present, and then to explore how much of that narrative is their own, and how much inherited.

The brilliance of this approach is that we then invite the client to be as it were an interpreter, and intermediary, through whom we identify and work with the intergenerational introject, usually mother but often also father, asking ourselves how they too got to be the way they were at that time in the client’s past.

What we then do is a kind of a session within a session, and often extremely powerful, emotional – and freeing.

As a key part of our time together, early in the piece we invite a volunteer to bring their own intergenerational story for a live – and very real – demonstration of how well EMDR can support this necessary work of healing.

We open with a (relatively) short presentation on why and how an understanding of intergenerational narratives can transform the work of EMDR.

We then demonstrate how this can work with a live session with a volunteer, taking time afterwards to unpack what happened and why.

Participants then have time in smaller groups – whether dyads or triads is decided closer to the time, depending on numbers – to familiarise themselves with the IG-EMDR protocol and give it a go themselves.

We then reconvene in plenary to ask and answer questions, in the now time-honoured EMDR Focus way.

As ever, we aim to include where possible full, in-depth, live demonstrations of EMDR, which can be a powerful experience both for the group and for those willing to share perhaps their own stories.

While we find that participants value this opportunity, both as therapist and client, the experience can be triggering. For our part, we commit to doing our best to keep the training safe and contained.

We correspondingly ask participants to take responsibility for their own responses, and to remain at all times open and respectful towards the processes and learnings that will unfold as the workshops proceed.

You will of course have the opportunity to decline to bring personal issues to the practicum, but for your own sake and that of others on the workshop, please do allow space for a willingness to be vulnerable, as well as to be bold.

By registering for an EMDR Focus workshop, and recognising that participation can involve both observation and personal experience of sometimes profound trauma processing, participants agree to take appropriate responsibility for their own emotional wellbeing.

They will furthermore ensure they have access to any necessary therapeutic and/or supervisory support following the workshop.

We try to be as generous and kind as we can, and appreciate prompt payment for our workshops and webinars. If you find yourself needing to postpone or even cancel, we will be happy to hold your payment against a future event, or, if within two weeks of our meeting, refund minus a 10% handling charge. Closer to the time, refunds will be at the discretion of EMDR Focus.