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Clinical Strategies for EMDR Therapy: Creative Protocols

altCourse: Clinical Strategies for EMDR Therapy: Creative ProtocolsEsly Carvalho

altInstructor: Esly Carvalho, Ph.D.

alt Approved for 6 Hours of CE Credit

altFulfills License and EMDR Requirements

alt High Resolution Video

Program Description:

This course comprises a collection of creative protocols and clinical strategies developed from the author’s practice that will enable the EMDR therapist to expand their horizons with their clients. Practical and easy to implement, the author taps into her Psychodrama experience and integrates it into the traditional EMDR protocols.

1. Pillars of Life: Resource Installation 

This presentation will highlight the Pillars of Life, a resourcing technique, adapted from the work of Dr. Carlos Raimundo, an Argentine-Australian psychiatrist and psychodramatist. Its purpose is to illustrate an additional resourcing instrument for the ever-needed growth of our therapeutic toolkit.

Utilized in the preparation phase, its structure targets resources, through the use of the positive cognitions and the VoC scale, celebrating what has been good and gone right in a person’s life. Very simple in its application, the Pillars of Life can be used at the beginning of the therapy process as a diagnostic tool to assess the patient’s inner resources as well as an instrument to augment and underline the necessary resources to move on to deeper therapeutic work. Oftentimes it can be utilized as an interweave, in cases of complex PTSD, when resource pendulation is required during phase 4.

A short, taped session will be presented, illustrating the use of the Pillars of Life with a client. Its use as a group intervention is also presented and a short video that can be illustrates the step-by-step usage with a group.
2. Dream Protocol 

This protocol is an adaptation of the Recent Events Protocol taught in Basic Training and applied to dream work. Cognitive Interweaves are taught as closure techniques for dreams as well as future templates. 
3. Healing the Folks Who Live Inside: EMDR as Role Therapy

The integration of EMDR with Role Therapy will be presented as a comprehensive approach to the treatment of a wide spectrum of clients. Role therapy is presented as a “normalizing” approach to trauma and dissociation, treating clients’ inner roles as EMDR targets. Role therapy will be presented as an alternative understanding to Ego State.

Most clients can benefit from role therapy since this is an approach that encompasses almost all diagnoses. Participants will be taught to identify clients’ roles and how they interact within the client, so that EMDR can be used to treat and heal inner roles. Instead of working with difficult dissociative diagnoses, role therapy with EMDR allows most clinicians to treat their usual caseload. 

This presentation proposes that the symptoms clients present are different roles that are formed and whose development over time is sometimes blocked by traumatic events. We will examine the applications of role therapy and techniques to all phases of the EMDR protocol in order to facilitate the treatment of these clients. Central to this approach is the conceptualization of self and one’s inner roles and counter-roles.  Discussion will include how to use a developmental approach to assessment, and will review the identification, mapping and accessing of roles as well as how to promote the use role-specific EMDR targets, facilitating the enhancement of EMDR processing 
4. Adult Drawing Protocol

This presentation uses the traditional 8-phase EMDR treatment approach with drawings, pictures and metaphorical language; for adults. The eight phases will be described in detail, and presentations from client cases will illustrate its use. Pictures will be shown from the beginning and end of the same session as a means of demonstrating the efficacy of EMDR and its power for change. 
5. Heal Your Brain, Heal Your Body
This presentation details creative clinical strategies used in the application of EMDR therapy to physical pain, surgeries, and medical interventions. It includes suggestions for “antidotes” as resource measures to help deal with disease, its consequences, treatment and prevention. 
A short presentation of the ACE study will help make the connection between adverse childhood experiences and adult illnesses, underlining the importance of healing trauma, especially in childhood, when possible a prevention strategy, and in adulthood as a remedial solution.  
The Adult Drawing Protocol (Carvalho, 2009) will show how pictures can be drawn in order to create the pain image/target for desensitization and reprocessing.

The Symptom Role-Reversal Protocol (Carvalho, 2015) borrows techniques from Psychodrama, more specifically, from J. L. Moreno’s Role Theory. Cognitive Interweaves are used as clinical strategies to elicit further information from the Information Neuro-Networks in role-reversal. Symptoms are “interviewed” by the therapist while the client is in role-reversal as the symptom, a traditional Psychodrama technique, while the traditional phases of EMDR therapy are used to heal the maladaptive information stored in the brain so that healthy responses can emerge for that role. Physical pain is often released and resolved using EMDR applied to symptoms in role-reversal. Role-reversal also allows for the touchstone event to be identified and healed with EMDR therapy.

Finally, the importance of the development of “antidotes” and “medicine” will be presented, as a means of healing as well as preventing the worsening of symptoms.  
6. Museum Protocol

This protocol is useful for multiple experiences of the same kind, such as experiences that have been repeated in a person’s life: multiple experiences of physical abuse, muggings or assaults. The “paintings” in the Museum are the difficult scenes in the client’s life.


Goals & Objectives:

I.  The Pillars of Life:  Celebrating what works 
At the end of this presentation the participants will be able to:

  1. Name and describe the procedure of the Pillars of Life.
  2. Identify how the Pillars of Life can help develop new resources for the client.

II. Dream Protocol: 
Participants will be able to:

  1. Use the Dream Protocol in their practice.
  2. Use Cognitive Interweaves for appropriate closure to dreams. 

III. Healing the Folks Who Live Inside 
Participants will be able to:

  1. Discuss basic elements of Role Theory concepts and technique and how they relate to EMDR therapy protocol in order to facilitate the treatment of clients.
  2. Discuss and describe how to developmentally assess, identify, map and access client roles and how to treat roles with the traditional EMDR 8 Phases.

IV. Adult Drawing Protocol 
Participants will be able to:

  1. Identify the need for adaptation of the traditional protocol with clients who sometimes have trouble identifying a specific scene for targeted processing.
  2. Review the protocol adaptation with the drawings from the beginning and end of processing in one session.

V.  Heal Your Brain, Heal Your Body 
Participants will be able to:

  1. Implement into their practice creative clinical strategies using EMDR therapy applied to physical pain, medical interventions, illness, etc.
  2. Make the connection between childhood traumas and adult ailments, using the ACE Study.

VI.  Museum Protocol 

  1. Participants will be able to identify in what circumstances this protocol would be helpful.
  2. Participants will be able to implement its usage. 


Registration Information

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Online Video Version


CE Approval Information

  • This course fulfills 6.0 hours of Advanced EMDR Training. The Steve Frankel Group is an approved EMDRIA Credit Provider (EC Provider Number:15002).
  • EMDRIA Program Approval Number: #15002-DL10
  • The Steve Frankel Group, LLC (SFG) is approved as a CE provider by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for Psychologists. SFG maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • This course meets the qualifications for 6.0 hours of continuing education credit for psychologists and licensees of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.
    Reciprocity for Master Degree clinicians may vary by state. Please check with your state licensing agency or board.