Update from the EMDR and Pain SIG 

In 2022, a long dormant EMDR and Pain SIG was re-ignited, and I’m pleased to say we now have over 160 EMDR therapists on the mailing list for our group. We have a mixture of experiences in the group, from those new to using EMDR with pain, to group members who have been working in this way for many years. All are welcome! As with all EMDR UK Association groups, membership of the EMDR UK Association is required. 

With encouragement from my EMDR supervisor, I started to consider restarting this SIG because, as a clinical psychologist working in the field of persistent pain for many years, I can see how useful EMDR has been for many of my clients. I had discussed many cases in supervision, sought some specialist supervision, and (as always) still felt there was such a lot to learn.  

We have been meeting four times a year, on Zoom, to explore how EMDR can be useful for people who also experience pain. To date, we have discussed the use of Mark Grant’s pain protocol and enjoyed a discussion of the evidence base for using EMDR and pain. 

We have also had some wonderful guest speakers with Marie Clare de Echevarria presenting on her experiences of using EMDR with clients with different pain presentations including migraines, and Rex Brangwyn presenting on phantom limb pain. Some learning points for me were returning to the basics, the importance of the standard protocol, addressing trauma related to pain, finding the negative cognition and how that relates to a pain presentation and floating back when necessary to find a useful target. I continue to find it helpful to see how the use of EMDR for pain overlaps beautifully with contemporary pain science and seeing pain as more than ‘issues in the tissues’.  It has also been interesting to hear how our group members use their other professional models and skills to combine EMDR with other modalities, such as internal family systems, somatic work, and attachment focused EMDR. 

We try to have a bring and share style of meeting where we can share knowledge and experiences and learn from one another. When one of our group members has presented on a topic, it has been a fantastic opportunity to deepen our understanding and discussions. We hope to have many more group guest speakers to come, with some members already volunteering to speak on EMDR and vaginismus, EMDR and parts work with headaches, and more. There is no need to do lots of preparation and we keep the presentation style informal. Groups only keep going by people contributing and taking part, so thank you very much to those who have already presented, and to our committee members.  

If you would like to become a member of the SIG, please sign up here.