EMDR & Mindfulness and EMDR & Spirituality presented by Alexandra Dent.
Dr Alexandra Dent is an experienced Registered and Chartered Clinical Psychologist and Europe Accredited EMDR Consultant/supervisor working with children and adolescents (C & A), adults and families across the East Midlands. She is current Chair of the UK & Ireland EMDR C & A Committee and has also been an EMDR UK & Ireland Board member. Alexandra is the UK & Ireland EMDR representative at the EMDR Europe C & A Committee. She is also an EMDR Europe facilitator in training.
Alexandra worked in a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) between 2002 and 2013 and was the Lead Clinician for trauma work. This involved the provision of trauma services with particular emphasis on the use of EMDR.
Alexandra set up her own successful independent Clinical Psychology practice in March 2012. Areas of interest include trauma, attachment work, mindfulness and spirituality. She has presented both nationally and regionally on ‘Mindfulness and EMDR’ and ‘Attachment focused EMDR and resource work’ and ‘the new Heart & Soul Led Psychotherapy Model for treating psychological distress’. She has also run workshops with colleagues for the EMDR C & A committee on the use of storytelling using EMDR and a Developmental training day for C & A Consultants.
Alexandra has a book due to be published in 2019 with Routledge called ‘Introducing Spirituality in Psychotherapy’. This describes Heart & Soul Led Psychotherapy which is a spiritually informed model to working with psychological distress and can be used as a standalone model or as part of a BioPsychoSocialSpiritual approach.
Mindfulness practice is become increasingly popular as a therapy and is often associated with CBT. However, the principles of Mindfulness can be broad and far reaching. Until recently, it has not commonly been applied to EMDR therapy. However when used in the preparation stages, Mindfulness can have very beneficial and powerful effects. The main resources currently used in EMDR include the safe place, container and light stream, all of which are very effective but do not help individuals learn how to stay in the ‘present moment’. Mindfulness increases a person’s awareness in everyday life, especially when they may have previously drifted or dissociated. By learning to stay in the moment, clients do not get caught up in distressing thoughts and emotions and instead notice a sense of peace and calmness. This increases a person’s window of tolerance to processing distressing memories. Mindfulness compliments other techniques such as the Back of the Head Scale (Jim Knipe) and fits perfectly with key aspects of EMDR, especially learning how to tolerate difficult and distressing emotions, awareness of physical sensations and the body scan. By learning to be mindful, often in just a few sessions, clients build up their resources and coping strategies and feel very prepared for EMDR desensitisation.
This workshop illustrates how incorporating a spiritual approach with clients can greatly benefit processing and healing of traumas. The new spiritually informed Heart & Soul Led Psychotherapy (HASLP) Model will be introduced which can be used as a standalone model or in combination with EMDR as part of a BioPsychoSocialSpiritual approach in clinical practice.
HASLP is based on the premise that everyone is on an individual life journey to understand and experience life lessons (such as assertiveness, joy, forgiveness). When clients experience challenges, trauma or attachment difficulties, these can create blocks and restrictions, resulting in repeated themes and subsequent psychological distress. The ego maintains psychological distress because it makes client’s feel a victim, powerless and fearful and thus prevents them breaking out of the repeated patterns. HASLP teaches clients to recognise the impact of their ego, encouraging them to metaphorically step outside of their challenges and become an observer so that they can understanding the life lesson each challenge presents. Learning to recognise and honour what feels right from the ‘heart and soul’ rather than the ego enables clients to experience the lesson and make new choices in keeping with their authentic selves. Sometimes this process requires taking ‘leaps of faith’.
When HASLP is taught in the preparation stage of EMDR, the awareness gained increases clients understanding of their trauma and life journey and the role the ego has played in maintaining psychological distress. This gained wisdom can facilitate processing during the EMDR desensitisation phase and also assist with identifying or confirming life lessons. Spiritual interweaves can be applied especially if the client is stuck in ego thinking. Like EMDR, HASLP has a three pronged approach to heal past and current and assist clients to master future challenges, guiding them on their life journey.
6 CPD points applied for