04 Dec

On December 3, 2022 under the auspices of the EMDR Europe Association, EMDR Croatia Association successfully hosted a very useful training on neurobiologically targeted EMDR treatment of depression. The training led by Prof. Luca Ostacoli, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, full professor of clinical psychology at the University of Turin, consultant for the EMDR psychotherapy technique, was followed by total of 69 participants from regional EMDR associations 36 from Serbia, 19 from Croatia, seven from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and seven from Slovenia. 

The whole event lasted from 9:00 a.m. until 5:45 p.m. In the introductory part of the event (9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.), on behalf of the organizers (EMDR Croatia) a short introduction to the education program was held by the President of the Association, Assoc. prof. Vesna Šendula Jengić, MD, PhD, psychiatrist, group therapist, EMDR level 2 therapist. Then the introductory speech on behalf of EMDR Europe was taken by Prof. Vesna Bogdanović, MD, PhD, psychiatrist and analytical psychotherapist, accredited trainer of EMDR Europe, supervisor of EMDR Europe, EMDR Practitioner, representative for the countries of Southeast Europe at EMDR Europe Board. Finally, an introductory plenary lecture on EMDR treatment of depression was given by Prof. Luca Ostacoli, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, full professor of clinical psychology at the University of Turin, Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, president of the Piedmont Section of the Italian Society for Medical Psychotherapy, consultant for the EMDR psychotherapy technique. After the introductory part, the education in neurobiologically targeted EMDR treatment of depression took place. 

Depression is a world leading cause of disability, with huge human and social costs. Psychotherapy is recognized as the most important tool to treat it, combined with drugs or alone, but it is tricky for therapists because patients’ functioning is structured on harsh vicious circles. 

These conditions can be the cause of deep psychotrauma, personal and social crises and require work to mitigate and/or eliminate their consequences. Monitoring and encouraging self-healing of people with severe psychotrauma is as delicate and complex as are the neurobiological underpinnings of psychotrauma, which, despite numerous knowledge of neuroscience, are still insufficiently researched processes. 

Research in “affective neuroscience” opens to new promising developments, offering the possibility to “tailor” psychotherapeutic treatments on individual neurobiological profiles, based on the close connection between Central and Autonomic Nervous System in affective processing and in relational engagement. 

The workshop focused on the Deprend model for EMDR treatment of depression, defined by the EDEN (European Depression EMDR network) and on integrative tools for a comprehensive neurobiologically based EMDR treatment of depression, choosing the techniques with the best ratio between simplicity and effectiveness, with abundant audio visual clinical material.

This excellent education offered a number of high quality examples from the practice of an experienced EMDR therapist who works with complex cases. First part of the training focused on brief description of the classification of depression according to DSM V and its limits, the role of neurobiology to define subtypes of depression with specific clinical features, with special reference to Porges and Davidson models, and the description of the role of life styles in depression and how the EMDR approach can contribute to their development. In the second part of the training the focus was on the EDEN (European depression EMDR Network) project and the DEPREND protocol by A. Hoffman. The last two parts of the training integrated descriptions of specific EMDR techniques tailored on the neurobiologically based Emotional Styles by R. Davidson, together with presentation of videos for each technique.

The organizers of the course, EMDR Croatia Association, greets and thanks all participants for their participation, which was organized free of charge for members of national EMDR associations in the region, at the expense of EMDR Croatia and with significant financial assistance from EMDR Europe, to which we would like to thank. 

We hope that this platform will attract new people interested in work and further education. We would like to announce EMDR level 2 education in March 2022, EMDR level 2 education at the beginning of June 2022, and another expert workshop with Roger Solomon, PhD, on treatment of trauma related dissociation with EMDR therapy in July 2022. 

Last but not the least, we owe a special thank you to our first mentor and lecturer, without whose help and effort the first education and the founding of the EMDR Croatia Association would not have been possible - Prof. Vesna Bogdanović from Milan, who taught us and motivated us for intensive further work.