Thursday, November 17, 2016

EMDR Training - Becky Andrews, LCMHC

This past weekend I attended Part One of EMDR Training -- (emdr.com) Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing with my colleagues, Lisa Bradford and Nicole Wall.  We were thrilled to see our good friend and former colleague Shanna Gwilliam there as well.  We are now EMDR Therapy Providers with further training ahead.  Super excited!!  

I wanted to post a few additional thoughts on my experience as a therapist who is blind.  I had called a few years ago about this additional training and had been told that it would be really hard to do as a blind therapist -- you need to be able to observe the client's eye movement I was told.  Okay I thought.   I was plenty busy in my therapy practice so didn't pursue further.  

Then, more recently I kept thinking again about this and had a dear friend who recommended it highly.   Our office had several calls requesting it and two of my colleagues were interested.  I called again and explained my situation.  This time, I was greeted with - no problem you can totally do it! What format would you like the information in?  I signed up!

As the instructor described the process and put her hand out to the side it took me back to being diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa and the doctor putting his hands out to the side .. how many fingers am I holding up?  I did not know!  I could not see his fingers.  In this training I shared this experience and even surprisingly shed some tears!  I learned that in the process as a client I could experience it through tapping rather than with the eye movement.  I experienced amazing supportive facilitators and fellow therapists in the training as I navigated the adaptive way for me to experience it.  I explained to the facilitator that I couldn't follow the eye movements of my clients.  Feeling a little nervous and for a moment reflecting back to the conversation when applying for grad school and the professor questioning my ability to do this work with a visual impairment.  I went up to the facilitator during the break and explained my situation.  I will always remember her response of reassurance and you can do this!  She asked me how I knew in my session what the client was experiencing and what was needed to process.  My amazing colleague who was by my side said -- she just knows - she has that intuition.  The facilitator said -- yes, you will have that in this process as well.  Simple reassurance that doing the process a little different would be just fine.  The past few days I have been incorporating this new process into my work with clients.  It is amazing and so grateful for starting on this journey on this additional training. 

As my colleague and I left the training, me still feeling a bit overwhelmed with the whole process, she said; I can't believe a few years ago they told you that you wouldn't be able to do this. You've totally got this!

Feeling not only grateful for this remarkable added training but for the incredible supportive people that surrounded me this weekend.  Excited for March and our next part in the journey.      

One day during lunch at this training we went to Pizza Rev - yummy pizza!  The manager told me I would need to sit in the outside seating because of my guide dog.  It was an interesting conversation as I explained the Americans with Disabilities Act and my right to be inside the restaurant.  She told me she had never heard of this law and would need to call their corporate office.  As she called corporate I sat down with my friends.  Somewhat unnerved that this experience was happening AGAIN.  No one was in at corporate on a Saturday and so she told me "I could stay there and she would call on Monday."   I tried again to explain to her it wasn't a corporate decision it was a law that my guide dog could enter any public place that I entered.  I came home and followed up with a letter and post to their facebook page.  Sometimes it is surprising where you get 'the chance' to educate.

Look up, move forward!

Friday, November 11, 2016