On January 22, 2022 under the auspices of the EMDR Europe Association and in coopration with the EMDR Italia Association, EMDR Croatia Association successfully hosted an amazing training on EMDR group therapy, which aroused great regional interest. The training led by Giada Maslovaric, psychotherapist, EMDR supervisor and facilitator of the EMDR Italia Association, was followed by total of 95 participants - 33 from Croatia, 33 from Serbia, 22 from Bosnia and Herzegovina, five from Slovenia, and two from Macedonia. The training was held in Italian language, while Masha Romagnoli, EMDR practitioner, offering high quality simultaneous translation into Croatian language.
The whole event lasted from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 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 group therapy was given by Giada Maslovaric, psychotherapist, EMDR supervisor and facilitator of EMDR Italia.
After the introductory part, the education in EMDR group therapy took place. In recent years we have witnessed numerous events (pandemics, natural disasters, climate change and disasters, social unrests, wars, economic and other migrations), which have a very significant impact on individuals and groups and can lead to a significant destabilization of emotional health and changes in overall psychosocial functioning.
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.
Psychotherapeutic knowledge with the application of desensitization and re-elaboration techniques with the help of eye movements (EMDR) has improved and integrated the clinical practice of a large number of psychotherapists. How can the benefits of therapy be extended to as many people as possible who need professional help? How to offer therapy on a highly professional level for many who cannot afford it? This was especially evident in times of major disasters such as this pandemic where psychotherapeutic help was needed and took place on multiple levels. How to improve and enhance group processes and cohesion? These are just some of the questions that this education offered answers to.
Within EMDR Europe exists experience as well as certified therapists who have conducted a series of group EMDR therapies in situations such as natural disasters (e.g. earthquakes), in restricted freedom systems, after sudden and dramatic traumatic events, but also during restructuring in large companies when they need a significant change of perspective, installation of resources and the like. Each group gives the therapist an opportunity to further improve the methodology of work, keeping in mind the trend of group work, but without losing focus on the individual.
In recent years, many EMDR psychotherapists in Italy have contributed to the improvement of group work protocols in different contexts, with groups coming from different spectrums of disorders and conditions (eating disorders, childhood spectrum autism, oncology, etc.).
This outstanding training offered a number of high quality examples from the practice of experienced EMDR therapists. In the first part of the training, the basis of the protocol for groups was presented, which follows the eight phases of the standard EMDR protocol. Along with excellent examples from practice, guidelines are clearly given for all those who want to implement EMDR group therapy.
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 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. By the same token, we would like to announce EMDR level 2 education in April 2022, and EMDR level 1 education at the beginning of June 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.