2016 Fall Meeting Report

The 2016 Fall Meeting Highlights Culture, Diversity & Inclusion

Community Conversation About Diversity & Inclusion Highlights 2016 Fall Meeting

A thoughtful and respectful dialogue about community inclusion highlighted the annual Western Mass EMDRIA Fall Meeting October 25 in Northampton, MA. Attendees received copies of the new EMDRIA Board Statement Regarding Diversity and Cultural Competence and previewed the recently released public service announcement introducing the new EMDRIA branding, logo, and message. Local therapist, EMDRIA Board member, EMDR trainer, consultant and author Mark Nickerson, LICSW talked about his newest book Cultural Competence and Healing Culturally Based Trauma with EMDR Therapy. Mark described the journey of investigation and innovation that led to this collaborative project and to his expansion of the AIP Model to include focus on social information processing. He gave some background on research in social psychology that has supported his development of EMDR Therapy interventions in cases of traumatization or adversity involving stigma, oppression, disruptions of social attachment, negative appraisals of self and others based on socio-cultural identities, and the fundamental human need to belong. Following a brief exercise on personal identity experiences and negative beliefs, the evening turned to a heartfelt and self-reflective community dialogue about culture, identity, difference and inclusion. Personal sharing of experiences and perspectives led to collective brainstorming about obstacles to and strategies for making our regional EMDR community more connected with and inclusive of communities and clinicians of color, particularly in the Hamden County area.

Key themes of the dialogue identified for follow-up work included the high cost of EMDR Basic Training; the need for collaborative relationships of mutual interest with communities and clinicians of color among whom EMDR Therapy is less well established; the need for additional individual and community opportunities to work through issues of stigma, privilege, implicit bias, oppression and maladaptive social information processing that create or sustain barriers to meaningful engagement across lines of difference; and the need for additional professional development to become more familiar with and fluent in the language of social psychology and social information processing.

Jason-Rose Langston, LICSW, Steering Committee member, EMDR presenter and consultant, is heading up a subcommittee of the newly reconstituted Western Mass EMDRIA Board of Directors charged with strategic planning and action on issues of culture, diversity and inclusion. Those seeking more information or interested in participating in this effort are encouraged to contact Jason directly at the following email address: jasonroselangston@hotmail.com