Tartan Patterns and Porcelain Ducks: Intuitive EMDR in action

Ward

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.

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Parnell in London Sept 2018

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(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

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

Survey Monkey Audit of Attachment-Focused EMDR in Action

-NB – this survey is now closed, but we’ve left it posted here for background info.

Welcome if you’ve landed here as a UK- or Ireland-based EMDR therapist responding to an invitation on JISCmail to take part in a new research project/reflective practice audit of Attachment-Focused EMDR (AF-EMDR) as developed and trained by Dr Laurel Parnell (USA).

To take part in the survey as an EMDR therapist, whether or not you are personally trained in the use of AF-EMDR, please click this link.

Contributions are anonymous and cannot be traced back to any individual respondent or computer.

Results will be collated by Mark Brayne as lead researcher, for preliminary presentation at the forthcoming London Conference of the EMDR Association UK and Ireland (Friday March 24, 1330-1445). A summary will be posted here after the conference.

For background, please find included below the original proposal for a presentation at the conference, adjusted in Feb 2018 to allow for new developments on the research design. Read more

First Annual Conference of the Parnell Institute: Laurel inspires in the Californian Redwoods

Mark Brayne with Laurel Parnell in the glorious Redwoods of Scotts Valley.

More than 100 delegates from across the US met for the recently established Parnell Institute’s first Annual Conference held at the 1440 Multiversity Conference Centre deep in the majestic redwoods of California’s Scotts Valley, just south of San Francisco. Mark Brayne, an EMDR Europe Consultant and Parnell Institute Facilitator, reports on the proceedings

The choice of venue could not have been more appropriate. Named for the 1440 precious minutes that make up each day, the 1440 Multiversity enabled us to use our time well, with plenaries and workshops facilitated by Dr Laurel Parnell, my now-fellow PI trainers and facilitators, and also Somatic Experiencing luminary Maggie Phillips.

Themes explored ranged from the body and spirituality in EMDR and the challenges of working with gender identity, and from how with EMDR we can rewire how dysfunctional early attachment experiences are stored in the brain to processing the primal wound of adoption and strategies for when an EMDR session “goes south” as the Americans say, or off the rails. Read more

Parnell on the way, and new focus for Focus

After 18 months of silence on this blog, it’s time to update briefly with the exciting news that Laurel Parnell’s workshops in September this year are already filling fast, with York generously over-subscribed (sorry to those who are missing out) and London heading over the half-way mark towards our max of 150 delegates.

The enthusiasm among our EMDR colleagues in the UK to learn Laurel’s attachment-focused way of using EMDR is most gratifying, given also the reservations some in our community have about whether her modified protocol is kosher, with its simplification of Phase Three assessment and special emphasis on resourcing, interweaves and structure.

It’s good to see the future of the Standard Protocol high on the agenda of this week’s annual EMDR UK and Ireland conference in London, since without flexibility and innovation, all models of therapy risk atrophy and marginalisation. Read more

Unleashing EMDR, London, Round One

IMG_20150905_102234Dr Parnell’s first two long-weekend Unleash your EMDR trainings in London on working at depth with complex clients were a resounding success, with enthusiastic feedback from the total of 72 participants.

Working with rich imaginary figures of protection, nurture and wisdom, with a highly effective bridging technique to identify key past experiences still affecting a client’s present life, and with proactive interweaves, trainees quickly found that targets, as they’re called in EMDR, can be resolved completely and effectively in a sometimes astonishingly short time.

As one participant emailed after the course was over:

I attended on the first weekend and from the Monday morning started working differently with my clients. Even in one week the benefits I am seeing are amazing.

Using the nurturing, protector and wise figures really helps the clients and they are reporting spontaneous ‘appearances’ of the figures when needed in their lives.

I’ve also felt at ease with myself to interact with the clients differently and use their imaginations more to great effect.

I understanding bridging much more and using it again to great effect, along with a diagram now to keep track of the memories that come up, ensuring they are all cleared and then future template.

I had times before when I was lost in the memory chaining. Going back to target more frequently is also really working, something I didn’t do as much before. I feel as if I have had an ‘advanced’ EMDR course that has improved my knowledge.

This is the only course I have been on and started using my learning straight away, so thank you once again. I look forward to her coming back.

Read more

Unleashing our EMDR

We’ve been having an exciting time with Laurel Parnell this long weekend at the CCPE in London, as she introduces 36 enthusiastic and experienced EMDR therapists to ways of unleashing their work-in-depth with a new understanding of attachment and deep processing.

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Dr Laurel Parnell at work in London

EMDR is increasingly evidence-based as a therapy of choice in addressing and clearing the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – but as we’ve been hearing this weekend, when used in a client-focused and undogmatic way, it is also brilliant at drilling into the deepest roots of childhood distress, and releasing trauma that can have been locked into the system for a lifetime.

There are those in the international EMDR community who challenge Dr Parnell’s way of working as somehow “not authentic EMDR.”

We can only recommend that sceptics experience her training and this way of working themselves to clear misunderstandings about how powerful and appropriate this work can be for the widest range of clients. Read more