Parnell at last officially legit in the UK…

At last, some rather good and very-long-awaited news, from the EMDR UK-and-Ireland’s annual Consultants Day in London on November 16 2019.

Laurel Parnell, her Modified Protocol, and Attachment-Focused EMDR are now, officially and publicly, accepted as legitimate, mainstream EMDR.

No need for a long exposition here. Most of those in our network know the history.

Suffice it to say that, when asked at the Consultants Day for thoughts on the position now of Laurel Parnell and Attachment-Focused EMDR and her Modified Protocol, Marian Tobin on behalf of the Association’s Accreditation Committee observed simply that Laurel does have official Association CPD points, (which I might note here that, briefly at the height of our difficulties, was not always the case…), so there’s no issue. Read more

EMDR in Romania – A Personal Story

By Morven Fyfe, AF-EMDR Therapist now based in Surbiton.

As an enthusiast for Attachment-Focused EMDR, and after a spell on the very AF-EMDR-friendly Steering Group of the EMDR Association’s East-Anglia Regional Group, I was asked by EMDR Focus to summarise some EMDR-related findings in Romania, where I’ve just spent several months.

For background, I was for a time married to a Romanian, and we have a son whose departure to University last October meant there was time for a sabbatical, and a retracing of my steps back to Romania.

Romania Fyfe

Driving across Europe, and spending first some weeks near Romania’s Transsylvanian mountains, I came to rest for several months in the lovely Sibiu in the centre of the country, where I had a chance to get to know the situation with EMDR in one of the EU’s newest members.

My last visit had been in 2007, the year of EU accession when local Romanians were convinced that joining would improve nothing.  And last November, as I prepared for my long drive out, friends and family warned how grim and dangerous it would be – dangerous roads, dreadful internet, wily tricksters and gypsies.  

How wrong they all were. Read more

​Intergenerational Trauma: Healing the Past to Heal the Present​​

Photo: Mark Brayne

Author: Mark Brayne, Parnell Institute Training Facilitator and Director of EMDR Focus.

Half-way through a demonstration session at an Attachment-Focused EMDR (AF-EMDR) workshop in London last year, it was becoming clear that my volunteer client and I were getting worryingly stuck.

We’d identified where George was being triggered in his present life – a row with his partner – and we’d bridged efficiently to him sitting alone and forlorn on the kitchen floor at the age of four or so, as his mother, her back turned, busied herself at the sink.

As she had always done.

As an EMDR therapist reading this, you’ll know how familiar this kind of story is in our work with clients.

We had identified George’s emotion – despair – and where that was felt in his body – his heart.

His opening NC had been a classic “I don’t exist” but also, interestingly, “I should have been born a girl”.

Read more

Trauma, Psychotherapy, EMDR – and being a Mum.

By Lucinda Gordon Lennox

Forget books on parenting, I get the best mummying advice in the world from my patients.

Because almost all of them are healing wounds from their mothers. 

I had my first child before I worked on myself and before I trained in this line of work. I suffered from post natal depression, felt like my world had imploded – I remember driving home from the hospital – terrified of going home with this little baby, and wanting to scream out of the window at people walking in the street “how can you be getting on with your lives like nothing has happened, can’t you see the world has changed???!”

Such a difficult time. My husband at the time was working and hardly ever home, my family lived miles away, and I felt so ashamed of the fact that I found this new baby stuff so hard, I simply felt I couldn’t reach out to any friends. I felt isolated, alone, and very, very, low.

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Tartan Patterns and Porcelain Ducks: Intuitive EMDR in action


Thanks to Rachael Ward for sharing the following touching client story, inspired by training in September with Laurel Parnell in London in the Attachment-Focused approach to EMDR. (Names and identifying details have been changed.)

I loved the AF approach and one of the reasons is that it has validated some of the things I was instinctively doing, but feeling ‘bad’ for doing them as it was against standard protocol.

One such case was a young woman I saw seven years ago as a client of a Mental Health Service.

She had a diagnosis of NEAD (non epileptic attack disorder) and was suicidal due to the impact it was having in her life.

The Neurologist had done all he could for her and she had received CBT, Psychodynamic therapy and a raft of other interventions that had been unsuccessful at helping reduce the 20+ seizures a day.

Read more

Parnell in London Sept 2018

(From r.) James, Sarah, Shawn, Laurel, Jutta, Annabel, Mark.

It’s been a bit of a journey getting here, but with three annual London (and York) events with Laurel Parnell behind us now, and the first successful outings this year of Mark Brayne’s Unleash your EMDR: Release the Magic weekend courses, we now have in place a rich supporting array of trainings to get your advanced EMDR practice truly up and running.

At the top of this post a cheerful picture of our EMDR Focus Facilitator team, with Laurel at the heart and positioned in front of the Mary Ward House Conference Centre where 45 plucky trainees enjoyed three autumn days being inspired by Laurel’s approach to Attachment-Focused EMDR, with daily live demos and a lot of learning.

IMG_20180923_123421And, the enthusiasm for this training is now particularly reassuring, with as many colleagues on the waiting list as were able to attend, highlighting how Laurel’s approach is being increasingly accepted as mainstream EMDR, entirely in accordance with the Standard Protocol as we call it, and turbo-charging work especially with more complex clients. Read more

Unleashing the Magic of EMDR – London, CCPE, April 7/8 2018

Mark Brayne and Annabel McGoldrick explaining left brains (braynes?) and right brains in EMDR.

With a small but select cohort of Attachment-Focused EMDR enthusiasts, a rich and rewarding time was had by all as on the first post-Easter weekend we launched the first of EMDR Focus’s new two-day workshops delivering intense and practical skills training in using EMDR with the most complex clients.

As far as we know, practical and supervised coaching sessions, in the UK at least, are offered only during Parts 1 to 3 of EMDR basic training.

So, drawing generously on the inspiration of Dr Laurel Parnell in the US, our workshop gave experienced EMDR therapists a unique (literally!) opportunity to try out new skills on themselves and each other – for real and with full-length sessions supervised and coached by our new EMDR Focus facilitator support team.

The feedback has been most gratifying – and here are a few quotes to illustrate.

Brilliant! I was staggered at the speed of the modified / simplified protocol.

Plenty of opportunity to practise and get your teeth into the process.

I’d like to say a big thank you for the weekend. I found it so very useful and inspiring. Your passion and enthusiasm is contagious and your knowledge incredible. I feel a lot more confident to use an attachment-focused approach.

It was a wonderful and inspiring weekend – learning on so many levels, and this approach certainly expands the possibilities for EMDR within psychotherapy.

Read more

Attachment-Focused EMDR – Research presented at London conference

It’s been some time in the making, but it was a great pleasure to present to last weekend’s (March 24, 2018) EMDR UK & Ireland annual national conference on Laurel Parnell’s approach to Attachment-Focused EMDR.

Here’s a link to the full presentation, in PDF form and slightly amended for wider public consumption, recognising that some of the slides, especially the pictures, won’t make overly much sense without the attendant explanation in person.

After some controversy over recent years within the EMDR community about the standing of Dr Parnell’s approach to our work, it was particularly rewarding to be able to bring these very positive research results to the conference in the same week that Laurel heard from the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) in the US that her EMDR training, with its Part III focus on working creatively with attachment, has been unanimously approved by the relevant accreditation committee. Read more

Seriously useful online discussion about using EMDR online

Engaging the technology: therapist and client

A number of EMDR enthusiasts held a comprehensive online discussion early in 2018 on the benefits and challenges of delivering EMDR online, and with thanks to Paul Gebka-Scuffins, we’re posting here a summary of what we explored. Note that various names crop up – their owners will know who they are, but we decided not to include surnames in this public-facing account.

We discussed the benefits of the group developing a crib sheet, a list of ‘do’s and don’ts’ to help therapist and clients engage with the technical aspects of preparing and participating in an online EMDR session.

It was highlighted by Gary that it was important not to reinvent the wheel and create guidelines that might conflict with ones developed by online governing bodies, e.g. The Association for Counselling and Therapy Online (ACTO). He said we should be cautious.

Consensus was that the crib sheet would merely provide a practical informal guide on how to use technology, to engage better in online EMDR therapy and to improve the client experience.

We agreed to email Mark with ideas for the crib sheet. Paul agreed to do some fact finding on other online therapy bodies and what they use.

Mark suggested it might be good in the future if the EMDR Association partnered with a governing body for online therapy like ACTO, to develop guidelines specific to online EMDR. He said he would mention it at the meeting of the coming week’s meeting of regional reps at the Association national conference.

It was noted that it is important that the first online session for clients to go as well as possible, and not be discouraged by technical problems.

It is the responsibility of the therapist to have an adequate level of PC/Online literacy before embarking on online EMDR. To make sure equipment is adequate, e.g.

Read moRE

James Thomas reports from a Parnell Training in New York

James Thomas is an EMDR Focus facilitator in Attachment-Focused EMDR, and recently returned from a five-day training with Laurel Parnell in New York – continuing an annual tradition begun in 2015 when Mark Brayne was the first of our team to join the January training, followed in subsequent years by Shawn Katz and Annabel McGoldrick.

This is his report.

Laurel Parnell in action, with James Thomas in the back row on the right…

It’s January 2018, and after nearly 30 years of working in the mental health field, first as a CBT therapist and latterly with EMDR, I’m in New York with 43 other therapists from the US and Canada joining Laurel Parnell for an advanced workshop on ‘Transforming Trauma with EMDR’.

Already, I’m fascinated, amazed and awed by the power of EMDR in working with, as Bessel van der Kolk puts it, Bodies that Keep the Score.

Our training is held at the Open Center in central Manhattan, more used to hosting courses in meditation teaching and with a serenity to match.

For the next five days, I will listen, observe and especially also practise Laurel’s orientation to EMDR that I have come to admire from my initial introduction to her work in 2014. Read more