How to Best Train Clinicians in EMDR

emdr training Aug 14, 2023

By Rachel Harrison, LCPC

EMDRIA Approved Basic Trainer and Consultant

I am often asked the questions about how to train therapists by group practice owners or supervisors who recognize that there is a lot to learn after graduate school.  Graduate school is a foundation, but then the real development happens as clinicians learn to provide therapy that is beneficial to all different kinds of clients. 

Enter Trauma.  Being a trauma specialist as I am and my staff are, is an added layer of training.  And given that I spend a good deal of my time training therapists and training leaders, the question of how to best train in EMDR comes up frequently.

Now, I hear that not all EMDR trainings are created equal.  I know first hand that is true because my very first training and the way I teach in my trainings are vastly different.  Some of that is content, but a lot of that is style.

For my Training Institute, our belief is that training happens best in a...

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Bipolar Disorder vs. Borderline Personality Disorder: What are the Differences

By  Jamie N. Sedgwick, LCPC, NCC

EMDRIA Consultant & Basic Trainer

“What is the difference between Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder?” I have had many clients and clinicians pose this question when exploring possible diagnoses and treatment planning. It has taken over 10 years of experience as a clinician specializing in trauma and working in several different treatment settings for me to feel confident in answering this question.

 Let’s start by taking a look at the technical, “on paper” diagnostic criteria for each.

Let’s Take a Look at Diagnostic Criteria

The Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) indicates that there are different categories of Bipolar Disorder including Bipolar Disorder I, Bipolar Disorder II, and Cyclothymic Disorder (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Fifth Edition. 2013. Pg 123). To understand the diagnostic differences between Bipolar Disorder...

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How to Manage Your Anxiety

anxiety Jul 17, 2023

By April Lehman, LPC

EMDRIA Consultant in Training

What is anxiety? These days it seems like the norm to hear people say they have “anxiety.”  Especially over the past few years in the wake of Covid, political turmoil, and racial injustice, I think all therapists can agree we have seen an uptick in clients seeking therapy due to anxiety.  And not just adults, kids are feeling the effects as well. But what is anxiety? Anxiety can be described as worry and fear regarding everyday situations. However, when these symptoms are persistent and begin to interrupt your daily functioning they can meet criteria for an anxiety disorder. 

So, how do we manage anxiety and prevent it from interfering in our lives? There are some things we must understand first. It is normal to have some anxiety. Having some anxiety helps us stay out of harm's way and helps us prepare for important tasks. It’s completely normal to feel nervous about a first date or have anxiety...

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Tips to Release Stuck Emotions from a Therapist and Trauma Specialist

stuck emotions Jun 08, 2023

By Katie Honeywell, LPCMH, NCC

Consultant In Training

Have you ever had one of those moments? One instance triggers an uncomfortable emotion that seeps into the whole day, the week, or longer. You aren’t alone. Many of my clients have experienced this, and so have I. It's an icky sensation of feeling emotionally stuck. These stuck emotions can significantly disrupt our lives if they linger, affecting our relationships, work, sleep, and other critical aspects of life. 

Let’s first look into our nervous system and answer why this emotional stuckness happens. Then I will give a few suggestions showing you how to release stuck emotions from within your own body. 

I lean into Polyvagal Theory to understand our nervous system. Simply put, this theory hypothesizes that the goal of our nervous system is to feel safe, connected, curious, present, and grounded. When our nervous system perceives a threat, it will remain in a fight, flight, or freeze response until it...

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What is Alpha-Stim and How Does It Work?

alpha stim May 03, 2023

By Sarah Martin, LCPC, NCC
EMDRIA Approved Consultant

Alpha-Stim is a powerful tool to help people with emotion regulation and widening their window of tolerance. According to the website, “The Alpha-Stim cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) device delivers a natural level of microcurrent, via small clips worn on your earlobes, through the brain to stimulate and modulate specific groups of nerve cells.” The microcurrent the device produces helps stimulate alpha-wave production in the brain and it is cleared by the FDA to treat anxiety, depression, insomnia, and chronic pain.

Types of Alpha-Stim devices  

There are two types of Alpha-Stim devices: the AID and the M. The AID device is for anxiety, depression, and insomnia utilizing ear clips to deliver the microcurrent.  Licensed mental health providers are authorized to prescribe the AID. The M device is specific for treating localized pain and comes with probes for delivering the...

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How Can Sandtray Therapy Help?

sandtray therapy Mar 31, 2023

By Marlee Bardenett, LCPC, NCC

EMDRIA Consultant in Training

When I was trained in EMDR, I was so excited to have such a powerful approach for treating trauma. As a bonus, I was thrilled to hear that EMDR and Sandtray could be used together. EMDR is so adaptable and allows clinicians to bring their creative interventions to the trauma processing space. I was trained in Sandtray Therapy while I was in graduate school. Being trained in Sandtray and EMDR has allowed me to combine two passions. Sandtray and EMDR are well-suited to be used together to support clients. I have noticed that Sandtray is especially helpful for clients who need support with visualizing and grounding.

Homeyer and Sweeney define Sandtray Therapy as “an expressive and projective mode of psychotherapy involving the unfolding and processing of intra- and interpersonal issues through the use of specific sandtray materials as a nonverbal medium of communication, led by the client(s) and facilitated by a...

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Can EMDR Treat Racial and Cultural Trauma?

racial trauma Mar 12, 2023

By Jamie Sedgwick, LCPC, NCC 

EMDRIA Approved Consultant

2020 was a year of challenges and changes. For many of us, our lives have been forever changed. One necessary challenge and change was an openness regarding the impact of systemic racism on our country. Understanding the impacts of systemic racism led me to consider how it has impacted the field of psychology, what changes need to be made and how EMDR can potentially be utilized to treat cultural and racial trauma. 

Systemic Racism and Psychotherapy

I have often felt that my Master’s program’s one course requirement in cultural competency did not do anything to make me culturally or racially competent as a therapist. If anything, I remember walking away from that course with an unsettled feeling. It was a textbook full of “facts” and “statistics” about races and cultures that did nothing to make me feel more prepared to be a culturally competent therapist. In reflection, that...

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How to Become a Trauma Specialist

trauma specialists Mar 03, 2023

By Jamie Sedgwick, LCPC, NCC 

EMDRIA Approved Consultant

An increase in information about trauma, PTSD and C-PTSD has led to an increase in the demand for Trauma Therapists. However, there are no clear guidelines on what is actually required to be a Trauma Therapist. There are plenty of training programs that promise a “Certification” once completed and all these programs and trainings contain different information and different levels of engagement. Ultimately, pretty much anyone can call themselves a “Trauma Therapist” meaning that Trauma Therapists and their skill sets vary greatly. 

So how do you become a Trauma Therapist that is truly equipped to help clients heal from trauma? 

Take Time to Become Trauma-Informed 

Trauma-Informed treatment approaches consist of three elements: realizing the prevalence of trauma, recognizing the impact of trauma and responding in a way that puts this knowledge into action.1In layman’s terms,...

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PTSD Signs, Symptoms, and When to Seek Help

ptsd Feb 08, 2023

By Sarah C. Smith-Trawick, LCSW-C 

EMDRIA Approved Consultant

Have you noticed how trauma seems to be everywhere these days?

By now, most clinicians are familiar with “Big T” traumas such as a car accident, an assault, a natural disaster, or even the death of a significant person in your life.

Are you familiar with “Small t” traumas which could include the loss of a job, a divorce, or infidelity in a romantic relationship?

Traumatic events can also include other persistent adverse experiences including poverty, neglect, community or household violence, and growing up in a home where a caregiver suffers from mental health challenges or substance abuse. We each have our own unique ways of responding to events that overwhelm our system. These events (or series of events) can sometimes alter our worldview and our view of ourselves. What is traumatic to one person may not be considered traumatic to another person. Additionally, while we all might experience...

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Borderline Personality Disorder and Trauma

By Jamie Sedgwick, LCPC, NCC
EMDRIA Approved Consultant

Increased access to social media in recent years has meant more access to information about mental health and various diagnoses. There are pros and cons to the increased exposure, with one of the biggest drawbacks being no quality control to verify the accuracy of the information being shared. Individuals hoping to better understand themselves or a loved one may receive inaccurate or biased information.

One mental health diagnosis that has garnered a lot of social media attention is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This is a diagnosis that has carried a negative connotation even among medical professionals. Some even believe this diagnosis cannot be cured. As a result, many clinicians will refuse to treat BPD and attempt to refer those who have it to other clinicians.

As a clinician specializing in this disorder, I have seen a significant increase in the amount of individuals self-diagnosing and seeking treatment. Due to...

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