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EMDR Training for Portage Counselors

17 counselors in Portage County received training in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) this spring compliments of the Mental Health & Recovery Board. EMDR is a mental health therapy method that is best known for treating post-traumatic stress disorders, but is expanding to treat other conditions.  Therapists from Children’s Advantage, Coleman Health Services, Family & Community Services, Townhall II, and Portage County Juvenile Detention received the training.

EMDR was developed in the late 1980’s by psychologist Francine Shapiro, PhD. This method involves moving the patient’s eyes a specific way while so they can process traumatic memories. EMDR’s goal is to help them heal from trauma or other distressing life experiences. This type of therapy doesn’t require a lot of talking about a distressing issue. Instead it focuses on changing the emotions, thoughts or behaviors that result from a distressing experience or trauma. This allows a person’s brain to resume a natural healing process.

“We know that trauma is pervasive, and it is important for the residents of Portage County to have access to counselors who can utilize this evidence base techniques,” said John Garrity, PhD, executive director of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County.

Thomas Zimmerman, from the Institute for Creative Minds, led the 6-day intensive training.


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