EMDR UK: current initiatives and future developments

EMDR UK has prioritised improving and developing its services to members, its governance and its research.

Services to members

As we know, many people who train in EMDR do not join the Association. We want to ensure that newly trained practitioners are aware of the benefits of joining EMDR UK as well as improving these benefits. By making membership more attractive, we hope to persuade more of those who train in EMDR to join the Association. If you are not clear about the current benefits, then help is at hand! We are producing and circulating a short promotional video outlining all the benefits of being a member. This is intended for use by Regional Groups at CPD events; shown by Trainers and at webinars to promote membership of the Association. 

I hope that you will have already experienced some of the changes we have made over the past year:

  • An improved website.
  • More webinars (free or low-cost).
  • Podcasts featuring prominent figures in the EMDR community
  • Case studies
  • Media reports and articles on EMDR
  • A more streamlined CPD application process.
  • Technical and administrative support from Best City Services for webinars and other training events.
  • A digital version of EMDR Therapy Quarterly (ETQ).

Other developments underway include:

  • An online accreditation system.
  • An online ‘EMDR Hub’ providing a safer and more efficient way of communicating with and between members.
  • Identifying members whose skill set stretches beyond their therapeutic skills who can help us develop the ‘EMDR Hub’.
  • Further development of ETQ.
  • Help us create a social media presence. 

We have already identified members with the necessary experience and skills to contribute to the development of these projects.

Governance

The Governance Committee continually reviews our policies and procedures. Two key projects are underway at present:

  • An Equality, Diversity and Inclusion survey to help us understand how we can increase representation up to and including Board level.
  • Updated guidance for Regional Groups with recommendations on organising CPD events.
  • Payment of speakers and managing surplus funds arising from online training events.

Research

During the year, the Scientific and Research Committee (SRC) has recruited new members, all of whom have contributed to the refinement of the research strategy. There are two noteworthy developments: first, the SRC has submitted a proposal to the Board that the Association appoint a Research Officer. The Board has approved funding and a recruitment process will be underway shortly; secondly, the SRC has provided support with a research project initiated by East Anglia Regional Group and will continue to do so, as required.

By now, it will have occurred to you that the projects outlined so far require a combination of human and financial resources. The Association has been very fortunate to have so many dedicated and hard-working members who, in many ways, have contributed to the core work of the Association. As I have explained elsewhere, given the growth in our membership each year, we cannot continue to be so dependent on the voluntary efforts of the Board of Trustees, Committee Members; Regional Group Committees and SIGs. This is not to undervalue the efforts of all our volunteers but simply in recognition that additional resources are needed to support all the work of the Association as we grow and develop. 

If our efforts are successful, our membership will continue to grow and the recent world-wide publicity given to EMDR will surely encourage this. A larger membership will result in increased financial resources to fund research and the other projects referred to. This will take time and, until this happens, the Association needs to find additional ways to generate income.   

Income

One of the things that we have learned this year is that online CPD events have the potential to generate significant ‘surplus’ funds. This has been the experience of some Regional Groups and the Board. Going forward the Board has agreed that in addition to the Annual Conference the Association will host other CPD events during the year as a means of generating income for the designated research fund. The Board also encourages Regional Groups to consider contributing to this fund from any surplus that they make from regional events.

The Board is considering a number of other income-generation ideas. The most important one is to increase the Annual Subscription. The Board considered this in May and agreed that from 1 January 2022, the Annual Subscription will be increased to £80. This is the first increase in over a decade and is in line with inflation over that period. In hindsight, it might have been better to have made increases in smaller increments but that did not happen.  The additional income generated from the new Annual subscription, together with other income generation projects, will help the Association to pursue the research objectives agreed by the Board and help fund other initiatives to improve services to all our members.

Mike O'Connor currently works in a local authority educational psychology service providing EMDR therapy to children and young people affected by loss and trauma. He is a member of the Scientific & Research, Communications, Conference and Child & Adolescent committees. He is an EMDR Training Facilitator and Supervisor in addition to his post as President of EMDR UK