​​ClearPath Training Center

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EMDR in the Treatment of Clients with an Intellectual Disability (1 or 2 day format)



For the past three decades clinical experience as well as research has supported the validity of counseling and psychotherapy in the treatment of dually diagnosed (MH/MR) clients. At first behavioral therapies and later various forms of process-oriented therapy (Gestalt, creative arts, body-centered, play) have been effectively employed with this population.  Particularly through the use of process therapies it has become clear that traditional insight and cognitive therapy must be adapted in favor of experience, action, body-centeredness and "right-brain" functioning to be impactful with this population.?

EMDR, given its primarily non-verbal mode of functioning, holds great promise as an effective and efficient therapy for trauma treatment with dually diagnosed clients, a population inherently vulnerable to traumatic impact.  This presentation will emphasize the "phase model" aspects of trauma treatment and will demonstrate where EMDR is effective within this model. Attention will also be given to ways in which the basic EMDR protocol would need to be adapted to meet the needs of these clients.?
A report on the progress of a series of single case studies with clients with mental disabilities in Pennsylvania as well as anecdotal reports will be utilized to demonstrate EMDR effectiveness with this population (cf. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, Vol 4, No. 4, pp 156-169). A review of recent studies supporting the use of EMDR with this population will also be presented.
Video clips of sessions involving clients with varying levels of functioning will give the audience a concrete experience of the adaptive use of EMDR. Depending on whether a one- or two-day format is being employed, there will be time for practicing new skills as well as case consultation.

Participants will:


  • learn characteristics and subsequent issues of this population?

  • name and describe the phases of a trauma treatment model

  • describe aspects of the preparation phase unique to this population

  • identify adaptations to the EMDR protocol?

  • describe the adaptations in one case presented in the video clips and/or apply these adaptations to cases of their own.

The view might seem barren but there is always hope...

The Heart with a Door