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Connect’s Cherilyn Rowland Petrie to Present at EMDRIA’s 2021 Annual Conference

Cherilyn Rowland Petrie is passionate about her work. For much of her career, that work has focused on bringing hope and resilience to traumatized children and families with the help of EMDR Therapy. Over the years, Petrie has developed a framework for understanding and treating the complex interplay of intergenerational trauma with this evidence-based model.

Based on her extensive experience as a clinician, clinical supervisor, EMDRIA-Approved EMDR Consultant and training Facilitator, Cherilyn has developed two advanced-EMDR courses that show fellow clinicians how to navigate the complexities of working with both traumatized children and their caregivers. This year, the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) has invited Cherilyn to present an abbreviated version of her training on working with caregivers:  Legacy of Love: EMDR Therapy for (Wounded) Parents of Wounded Kids.

According to Cherilyn, this workshop focuses on “bringing healing to parent-child relationships from the parent side of it” by treating any unprocessed trauma that the parent or caregiver might have in order to break the cycle of intergenerational trauma and facilitate bonding between the parent and the child.

Here’s the official EMDRIA Conference presentation description:

The transmission of trauma from one generation to the next is an issue that motivates many clinicians to address trauma in their adult clients. Few approaches directly address the impact of childhood maltreatment on current parenting. This work­ shop guides clinicians to apply the Standard EMDR Protocol to work with parents of traumatized children to improve parenting skills and reduce barriers to parenting. A review of recent research on the intergenerational transmission of trauma will be presented to substantiate the importance of addressing the critical issue of how past trauma underlies parenting responses. Clinicians will hone their case conceptualization skills, learn how to develop resources to improve parenting, and identify targets to reduce past trauma impacting current parenting and attachment. By focusing directly on the client’s maltreat­ment that impacts their parenting, clinicians will support the creations of a healing home environment.

Cherilyn’s conference presentation is Session W2 and takes place on Thursday, November 11th from 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. It is eligible for 3 CEs. If you haven’t already registered for the EMDRIA Conference, you can do it here: Register now

The training on working with caregivers was created as a follow-up to Cherilyn’s original training: EMDR & Complex Trauma in Children. This EMDR therapy course discusses how attachment injury, abuse, and neglect can affect children on a neurological level, and how clinicians can treat these issues using a modified version of the eight phases of EMDR, combined with elements of play therapy.

Working with children in general requires specialized knowledge and flexibility. Layering that with additional factors, including attachment traumas and behavioral issues, can create situations that are challenging to navigate. The standard EMDR protocol does not perfectly apply to every population of patients; in order to adapt EMDR to children with complex trauma, Cherilyn emphasizes an understanding of a child’s neurobiology – she believes that recognizing why the child is reacting will allow professionals to better understand how to respond.

The big message of both trainings is “that EMDR therapy is something that can be used even with complex trauma and challenging populations or presentations.” Cherilyn hopes to teach trainees and consultees “how to apply the tools in their toolbox” to be able to effectively perform EMDR therapy with a variety of client presentations and within complicated systems. If you missed either of these trainings in 2021 or 2021, stay tuned because Cherilyn will be offering then again next year through Connect!

Evolution of Expertise:

Though she is now in private practice, Cherilyn served as a clinician and clinical Supervisor within the Florida Network of Child Advocacy Centers for two decades, with most of her tenure at Kids House of Seminole, which works with law enforcement, medical personnel, social workers, and mental health counselors to provide comprehensive help to child abuse victims and their families. The mission of the Florida Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers is to protect and provide services, including therapy, for children who have suffered trauma and abuse. Cherilyn was trained in EMDR Therapy as part of a grant awarded to Kids House, and she immediately fell in love with the way EMDR’s Adaptive Information Processing model integrates the healing process throughout the brain and body.

 Cherilyn acknowledges that it can be tough to witness the pain of children who have suffered serious abuse and neglect but says that “seeing the progress and healing of others” sustains her in this line of work. She knows that resolving trauma within children and their caregivers has the powerful potential to affect family and community systems, and to prevent the intergenerational transmission of trauma.

As with her clinical role, Cherilyn’s interactions as a Qualified Supervisor, EMDRIA-Approved EMDR Consultant and Training Facilitator have had a profound ripple effect. She leverages her extensive background in child trauma and family systems to teach colleagues how to adapt EMDR Therapy to meet the needs of these specific populations.

At the end of the day, Cherilyn Rowland Petrie believes that treating the complex trauma that arises from developmental neglect and abuse is a matter of adapting the standard protocol to the patient. She works tirelessly to ensure that EMDR is available to everyone and that the people who are certified to practice EMDR have the appropriate skill sets to best meet the needs of their clients. In this sense, EMDR is a therapy of empowerment and hope. No one is beyond help. No one is beyond healing.

Written in collaboration with Lara Boerth Dryden