For the last two months, Connect Training & Consulting has been offering a free, bi-weekly Basic-Level Consultation Group to provide support to our therapist community during Covid-related social distancing. Connect Consultants Cherilyn Rowland Petrie and Mary Jo McHaney have donated their time to lead these groups, and are excited share their experiences:

Cherilyn Rowland Petrie: In March, I was running a Basic Consultation group for Connect trainees who had just completed Weekend 1 of their EMDR Basic Training.  As the 5 hours were concluding, trainees asked about the future:  When will the second weekend be held?  Can we go on to the next 5 hours of consultation?  There were no easy answers as the pandemic was causing cancellations, closures, and a move to telehealth.  

Being a novice to EMDR is difficult; clinicians may be filled with uncertainty about what steps to take and how to proceed with changing your clinical practice.  Changing a practice from in-person services to telehealth is also challenging.  Our recent trainees were faced with doing both tasks during a pandemic. To respond to these challenges, I suggested we create a free consultation series to help our recent trainees who were trying to establish an EMDR practice and establish an online practice simultaneously.  These free consultation groups, available to anyone who has received EMDR Basic Training from Connect, have been meeting regularly since early May.  Members ask questions about providing bilateral stimulation through telehealth, how to select clients who are appropriate for their level of skill & experience, and how to keep their established clients moving forward with their work.  

It is my hope that new clinicians who feel more secure in their practice will continue in their EMDR practice, thereby bringing the healing of EMDR therapy to more clients.  So many individuals are being negatively impacted by the pandemic, exacerbating pre-existing symptoms and unresolved past trauma, that it feels imperative to support new clinicians in the development of these skills, an evidenced-based practice that can be trusted to improve their clients’ mental health.  I am happy to do my part to bring health and healing to the world.

Mary Jo McHaney: This past Saturday I had the privilege of consulting with eleven amazing EMDR therapists as they navigated their new normal with the global pandemic.  We had a wide range of experience levels, from newly trained to completely certified therapists. The common goal was “How can we do our best work during the most challenging of circumstances?”  These folks shared their own experiences with telehealth: what worked best for them and why.  (ex: clients with wide screen monitors don’t do as well with remotemdr; tapping can be done in a pinch) They presented fascinating cases.  Together, we affirmed that while the complexity of our cases doesn’t change as a result of shifting to teletherapy, our creativity and use of extra resourcing can really be a game changer.  The best takeaway for all of them, I hope, is that they are not alone to navigate this new terrain.  We are all in this together.  We can all continue to connect and make a difference!

A few spaces remain for our final Consultation in this series this Saturday, June 13, with Consultant Claire Mauer. Learn more and register  here.