How Community Mental Health and EMDR Training Prepared Me for Private Practice

December 3rd, 2021

In the midst of the pandemic, I took the leap into private practice. A leap I was unsure I would ever take! I am so grateful I did. I always admired the recent graduates who stepped right into their own therapy business, yet I never identified myself that way. While challenging at times, I owe a lot of my professional and personal growth to my beginning years in community mental health.

It was during these years that I trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. The agency I worked for at the time had the opportunity for therapists to complete Basic Training. I remember really weighing the cost to determine if the training would be beneficial, as I was on a shoestring budget. At the time, I worked with a more acute client population and was not sure if I would even be able to utilize EMDR to process trauma with my caseload. What I learned was a whole lot more than I initially sought out. I learned that EMDR is more than purely a modality and that it really is a whole orientation and way of client conceptualization. Beyond eye movements, it is about trusting our adaptive nervous systems to process difficult stuff that may have been maladaptively stored when our resources were low or overwhelmed.

Post-basic training, I consulted with a few members of the Rebecca Kase & CO team. What I love most about this faculty is their specialized experience in working with complex clinical presentations as well. We share the lens in viewing symptoms as strategies of survival and regulation. This allows us as therapists to honor the humanness in our most “challenging” clients.

 I am constantly reminded that our resources and nervous systems are not in a fixed state. These are constantly adapting based on what is happening internally and in our environment. Intentionally resourcing can increase a sense of safety for our client, creating a trusting relationship with their own nervous systems, feelings, and thoughts. It can build the scaffolding for effective trauma reprocessing, or perhaps support our clients in functioning during times of heightened stress.  It is in this phase of EMDR that I find the flexibility to work with a wide-range of clients and clinical presentations. During the various phases of this pandemic, for example, resources for everyone ebbed and flowed. Coping strategies that people had down-pat perhaps were inaccessible at times. This allowed for an opportunity to revisit resourcing phases with all of my clients.

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