Relational EMDR Therapy—a Unique, Comprehensive Approach to Healing Trauma
Relational EMDR Therapy is about healing attachment trauma. It’s about helping clients who struggle with the cumulative impact of formative childhood experiences where they were hurt and neglected. As a result, navigating the world of relationships, both with oneself and with others is a challenge that frequently ends up reenacting their childhood wounds. With clients like these, staying out of the way is not enough for an EMDR therapist. We have to be proactively in relationship with them, both in and out of reprocessing, so the client can develop new ways of being in relationship with themselves as well as with others. Relational EMDR Therapy uses as its foundation the framework of the standard EMDR approach as developed by Francine Shapiro. It focuses on the client as a relational being by using the moment-to-moment unfolding of experience for therapist and client alike. It’s a comprehensive approach that integrates everything we know about healing trauma, attachment, somatic processes, parts work and interpersonal neurobiology.
Interpersonal trauma needs to be treated interpersonally. That core understanding led me to establish The Center and to make Relational EMDR Therapy the cornerstone of all our training. Deany Laliotis Founder and DirectorRelational EMDR Therapy focuses on healing the whole person and recognizes that relieving symptoms is just a first step. That’s the difference between standard EMDR and Relational EMDR. Relational EMDR therapists are skilled at recognizing and repairing emotional and developmental deficits, healing attachment injuries and resolving negative life patterns. The endpoint of Relational EMDR Therapy is helping every client experience the freedom to be themselves and to navigate the delicate waters between self and other.
Transforming the Treatment of Complex TraumaComplex trauma is deeply rooted in early childhood experiences and has life-long repercussions. Symptoms are generated from a constellation of experiences over time—not just one or two or three events. Clients who’ve experienced childhood trauma move into adult life with negative self-beliefs, low self-esteem, shame and emotional deficits. And the strategies that helped them survive as children are counterproductive in the workplace and barriers to intimate relationships. Relational EMDR Therapy is restorative. Its integrative approach fills in what clients need to be fully present to themselves and others in the present moment and to step into an authentic sense of self unencumbered by their trauma history During EMDR memory processing, clients are simultaneously in the past and, in a parallel process, in the present with the therapist. Relational EMDR therapists are skilled at making the most of that dual awareness in order to help clients heal from childhood trauma and come into the fullness of who they can be in the present. Relational EMDR Therapy training prepares therapists to:
- co-regulate the clients’ affective experiences as it unfolds during reprocessing and throughout the session
- somatically track shifts in clients’ emotional states and respond
- support clients as they experience pain and express emotions in the present
- tailor responses during reprocessing to help clients experience the sense of safety, autonomy and control that they never had in childhood
- teach clients how to relate to their own internal experience while simultaneously tracking what is happening externally
- develop alternative patterns of relating that are more flexible and adaptive
- journey with clients in the role that serves them best—witness, midwife, co-regulator, expert, emotional/spiritual guide, colleague, companion, encourager, validator or a combination
Read more about Relational EMDR Therapy at The Center