Have you registered for the annual EMDRIA Conference yet? Connect co-founder Reg Morrow Robinson will be delivering two presentations at this year’s virtual Conference: The Nuts & Bolts of Organizing and Sustaining a Disaster Response Team, and From 1:1 to More than One (Group EMDR).

In addition to being a world-class EMDRIA-Approved Trainer, Reg steadily contributes to the development of EMDR through her publications, research, and presentations. This year, her conference presentations will merge all three areas of scholarship.

I’m excited to attend EMDRIA and couldn’t resist asking Reg for a preview of what she’ll be sharing in September. Fortunately, she agreed to answer my questions! You can “listen in” on our conversation below…

C: The Group EMDR presentation for EMDRIA grew out of a book about Group EMDR that you are editing …tell me more about that book.

Reg: It is time for Group EMDR to spread her wings. The book is intended not only for EMDR therapists comfortable with 1:1 EMDR, but also for Group therapists who are not yet trained in EMDR. We also hope it will be read by program designers, policy makers and researchers – people who can really help shape the future of how and when interventions are delivered.

We plan to cover 9 different protocols and 10 different specific populations and situations (children, adolescents and families, culturally based trauma and adversity, displaced people and refugees, sexual assault survivors, schools, students, teachers, addictions, disaster response, First Responders, health/medical issues and grief, and Low Intensity EMDR). For each of these areas, we’ll highlight how Group EMDR fits into the overall course of treatment. 

Our contributing authors are experts from around the world: Mexico, Israel, Turkey, the US, the UK, Spain, New Zealand, Iraq, and Brazil, to list a few. My co-editor is Dr. Safa Kaptan, who completed his Ph.D. thesis on the use of G-TEP with refugees, parents, and children. He also wrote the first systematic review of EMDR group protocols. 

C: It sounds like the world could use this book right now! How much longer before it’s available?

Reg: We are aiming to launch the book at EMDRIA 2023. Springer publishing approached me to write the book last summer. Elan Shapiro introduced me to Safa, and we have been hard at work ever since that time.

C: What’s one of the most interesting or surprising things you have learned about Group EMDR in researching the book and preparing for the EMDRIA presentation on Group EMDR? 

Reg: I believe the most surprising thing I have learned about group EMDR is how adaptable and flexible it really is, from setting, to culture, to age, and even to presenting issues.

C: What do you hope conference-goers who attend this presentation will come away with if they attend this group-focused presentation?

Reg; Excitement to implement it into their practices! We discuss such a wide variety of protocols and techniques…I suspect that each attendee will discover more than one protocol that could be useful and applicable to their needs and clinical setting.

C: In addition to the Group EMDR presentation, you’re also participating in a panel session on Nuts & Bolts of a Disaster Response. What kind of information will you be sharing in that panel?

Reg: There are many things a response team can do outside of an active response to strengthen their capacity to be ready when needed. Of course, the panel will explore the clinical applications for disaster response, but we will also focus on how to develop and maintain a team in a way that’s caring and sustainable.

C: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your work with disaster response teams/networks? 

Reg: Join the local city or county disaster response efforts already in place. Knowing EMDR is not enough! Effective Disaster management requires coordination with many resources beyond the therapists. An organized team of EMDR therapists who present as a professional team earns respect and can also pool resources such as marketing, funding, a location in which to set up to deliver care, and more.

C: You have presented at EMDRIA before — what were those presentations about? 

Reg: In past years I have focused on helping approved Consultants and prospective Consultants develop their knowledge and skills. I also presented at the EEI Summit in 2018. That Summit was focused on building emergency response networks for mental health care.

C: Your previous EMDRIA presentations have been solo enterprises. What’s different about a working with a co-presenter?

Reg: It is a delight to work with another invested co-presenter. It’s fun! We inspire each other, push each other, and laugh along the way. Plus – there is someone to share the jitters with.

C: What are you most looking forward to about presenting this year? 

Reg: Since COVID hit, the virtual conference committee has worked to develop stronger tracks, networking opportunities for attendees, and more interactive experiences. I am looking forward to the new days focused on Trainers and Consultation.

Mostly, I hope to hear new ideas and possibilities from those who attend my presentations. I would love to see these two topics expand far more.