Update from the Dissociation SIG

hand drawn graphic showing dissociation continuum from everyday dissociation to dissociative disorders

The idea for setting up the special interest group (SIG) for dissociation came to fruition when I spoke with Dr Louise Mackinney at the EMDR UK conference in Cardiff in March 2022. We have a shared interest in this area, and this started the ball rolling. A group of 10 people showed an initial interest, and that number has now grown to 168. Our first meeting was held on 4 October 2022, and since that time we have had successful CPD events, with more lined up for the year ahead. 

In February 2023, Dr Mackinney presented a full-day CPD event on “Working with Dissociative Process with EMDR Therapy,” and in June 2023, Dr Darren James, one of our committee members, presented a half-day CPD event on “EMDR for Schizophrenia and Other Psychoses,” which was based on the work of Professor Paul Miller. The CPD events were well attended showing that there is broad interest in this topic. The events were recorded, and the recordings were available for a month after the event. 

In line with the Association’s guidelines, SIGs are a vital communication link with the Board on matters of interest to members and ensure they have a voice by being proactive in seeking members’ feedback and informing the Board of members’ opinions and needs. SIGs disseminate information and provide CPD about EMDR by organising small-scale conferences, workshops and other appropriate activities. (See SIG handbook.) If there are no CPD events in a year, we hold four general meetings. Future general meetings will be on the first Tuesdays of February, June, September and November.  Information about the meetings and CPD events will be posted on the EMDR Association UK forum.

Most clients who present for treatment have multiple traumas and present with complex trauma with or without dissociation. The Dissociation SIG is an opportunity to discuss ways of working with complex trauma and dissociation and to think about the evidence, ongoing research and research ideas for the future. This is evidence-based practice. There is an abundance of literature on complex trauma and dissociation, and this can be overwhelming. Practice-based evidence, supervision and learning from colleagues provide an additional way of sharing best practices. The Dissociation SIG provides a forum for this. It was evident from the responses of individuals who completed the Dissociation SIG application form that there is a vast range of questions about how to work with this presentation. The Dissociation SIG provides a space for whatever questions clinicians may have in terms of clinical problems, passing on knowledge, or just talking about a topic that members are enthusiastic about.

At our last two general meetings, members submitted questions for discussion. This enabled some important information to be prepared in PowerPoint form to create the learning space and open up discussions. Notes about the discussion and learning points from these general meetings were then sent out to all members SIG. These meetings were a success, and the positive feedback from members was much appreciated. The Dissociation SIG is for EMDR therapists who have completed their standard EMDR training and who have an interest in working with complex cases of dissociation. We strongly recommend that members have an EMDR consultant supervisor to support their work with complex cases. EMDR-trained therapists are encouraged to join the us, and if they have not previously been members of the EMDR UK Association, they will receive one year’s membership free. If you wish to join the Dissociation SIG, please email Sharon Croskin and request a form. Once you have completed your form and sent it to me, I will add you to the email group.

Committee members

Chair: Sharon Croskin

Treasurer: Andre Bolster

Secretary: Vacant

Ordinary members: Darren James, Emma Bradshaw, Louise Mackinney, Eirini Visilaki, Lauren Coles, Cate Campbell, Bethany Sharpe. 

If you wish to join the SIG Committee, you would be most welcome.

We also have a dedicated forum on the EMDR UK forum page. Please do sign up so that we can generate discussions. Please email Sharon with ideas for CPD. Events and discussions at the general meetings are welcome. If you haven’t joined this SIG yet, please do!  The next general meeting of the Dissociation SIG will be on 6th February at 6.30pm. Please email Sharon to be included.

Dr Sharon Croskin is Chair of the Dissociation SIG.