All too often Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy is carried out in a technical vacuum without complementing the process with other clinical resources, and with a sole focus on the outcome without consideration of the process.
When I first began my clinical training, the importance of the therapeutic relationship had been highlighted even insofar as the philosophical foundation of my training was based on the ethos of humanistic psychology where the therapeutic relationship was not only necessary but sufficient (providing certain conditions were met).
Several years of clinical experience afterward informed me of the perspective that the therapeutic relationship is necessary, but it is not solely sufficient. After clinical training in EMDR I realized that the importance of the therapeutic relationship depends on the mechanism of change and objective in the particular therapy for the particular presentation. Some therapies aim to solely reduce symptoms, while others target implicit memory reconsolidation. EMDR focuses on changing the root of the issue as opposed to solely reducing symptoms.
The developer of EMDR (Dr. Francine Shapiro) actually emphasized the importance of the therapeutic relationship and utilizing all of the clinical resources possible to complement the EMDR model because the journey is as important as achieving the outcome. In fact, these are inseparable.
If you choose to embark on the psychotherapeutic journey of EMDR, ensure that you choose the best therapist for you who fosters a positive experience during the process in the therapeutic relationship, and also is fluid and adaptive to your needs by utilizing many different clinical resources to support your process and experience in EMDR.
Until next time, best wishes in your journey.
-Alistair Gordon, MA, RCC, CCC
Wellspring Counselling Inc.