EICC Case Study Revolutionising the road to recovery Marie-Anne James, Managing Director of Eyas Limited, tells us more about the recent EMDR Conference and how this therapy has provided a revolutionary way for people affected by trauma

Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing (EMDR) Conference 26 – 29 June 2014 • 800 Delegates


Can you tell us more about EMDR therapy?

Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) was developed by Dr Francine Shapiro and is a form of psychotherapy which helps people to deal with traumatic experiences by reducing the distress that memories of the event can cause them. Dr Shapiro delivered a keynote speech at the conference and it was really exciting for all of the delegates to hear this from the originator of the therapy.

How has Scotland played a role in the development of EMDR?

After the Dunblane tragedy in 1996 experts in EMDR from the United States came to Scotland to help train clinicians in EMDR so that they could then administer the therapy to children who had been affected by the tragedy. As Scottish clinicians developed their use of EMDR they saw the value in also using this treatment with the parents of the Dunblane tragedy. Scottish clinicians therefore developed the approach they had used on children to use on adults.


I understand this was the 15th EMDR European conference. How have these events developed and changed over the years?

They are growing every year and there are now 27 countries worldwide that are members of the organisation, with Bosnia and Poland being the latest to join. Since the merits of EMDR are now widely acknowledged, there’s a great deal more research taking place in the field, which is all based on empirical evidence. There's a lot of multi-core research taking place across Europe, with countries researching similar areas and then coming together to analyse their findings. This is a big change from previous years and helps to give much better insight. All of this research invariably has a positive effect on their practice and results in greater levels of recognition for the therapy.

The theme of the conference this year was looking to the future. How does the event help with the future development of EMDR?

There is so much research that goes into each of our conferences and all of this is geared towards how EMDR can continue to help people manage trauma and how innovations in the therapy can help people on an even greater level. With that in mind, recent discoveries have revealed that EMDR can be used to treat more than just trauma and this will be a big focus point for the future.


This conference marked the 25th anniversary of EMDR. How did the EICC facilitate this landmark event?

One aspect that really impressed our delegates was the space. We had a number of parallel sessions and the space that we had was really conducive to a large flow of people. Additionally the conference was very well organised, it ran smoothly and there was a lot of networking space. And on top of that the EICC staff were welcoming and helpful and the venue in general gave off a really good impression. All in all it was a fantastic space to celebrate this milestone.

What did the delegates enjoy most about the conference?

They enjoyed all of it. The feedback we have had indicates that the organisation of the event was exceptional, the environment was very comfortable and the programme was really engaging. To top it all off, a number of our delegates had never visited Edinburgh before. They loved it… Edinburgh is a city that never fails to impress!

Clanadonia performed at the opening ceremony.