Joyful practice: EMDR and the therapist


This workshop will focus on the benefits of EMDR to the therapist, rather than to the client (for whom they are already well established!). It will examine the therapeutic relationship that is made necessary by the AIP, where in the therapist now takes the stance of privileged expert witness to the client's own healing, rather than being the agent or supplier of that healing. The history of the therapeutic relationship will be briefly tracked, with adescription of the paradigm shift that began with family systems pioneers such as Carl Whitaker, who challenged therapists to take a more client-centered, respectfull view of the therapeutic relationship. EMDR therapists can now shift from being “ helpers ” or “ healers ” to being informed and privileged witnesses. Norcross (2005) has demonstrated that EMDR is an "evidence-based therapy" largely due to the therapeutic attunement that it requires. The neurobiological & hormonal benefits of attunement (Schore, Gray) are coming to be better understood. This attunement will be examined from the point of view of the benefit to the therapist, as well as to the client. This attunement greatly enhances ourability to work joyfully and abundantly (and hence, more effectively). These benefits, accompanied by the optimism and hope that is fed by therepeated witnessing of our clients ’ transformations precludes any possibility of compassion fatigue — indeed the work is exhilarating. This workshop will be largely didactic, but case examples and space for sharing & discussion will be incorporated into the 90-minutes framework.

Learning Objectives: 1.Participants will compare the traditional medical-model therapeutic relationship with EMDR’s more client-respectful / responsible model. 2. Participants will expand their understanding of how the AIP dictates & requires this changed therapeutic relationship and its impact on us as therapists. 3. Participants will identify and examine the EMDR therapist ’ s freedom from responsibility for our clients and appreciate the impact on us of our routinely excellent treatment outcomes 4. Participants will identify and acknowledge the benefits of therapeutic attunement to the therapist. 5. Participants will show awareness of their own experiences, from the point of view of the therapist-benefit aspects of EMDR.






Barbara Horne

Original Work Citation

Horne, B. (2012, April). Joyful practice: EMDR and the therapist. Presentation at the EMDR Canada Annual Conference, Montreal, QC



“Joyful practice: EMDR and the therapist,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed December 2, 2020,

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