We have found that Attachment-Focused EMDR can be used successfully to help heal the trauma and developmental wounds our LGBTQIA+ clients have experienced. Over the years LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) clients have sought Attachment-Focused EMDR treatment because they were suffering from anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and PTSD because of discrimination and stigmatization and trauma experienced in their families and by society.
Research has found that attempted suicide rates and suicidal ideation among LGBTQIA+ youth and adults is significantly higher than the general population. LGBTQIA+ adults experience more mood and anxiety disorders are at an elevated risk for suicidal ideation and attempts compared with heterosexual adults.
LGBTQIA+ individuals often internalize the homophobia of their families and society which causes them to feel like who they are is wrong, they don’t belong, they are essentially bad and should not even exist.
Discrimination (social, religious, employment and healthcare) and violence that many experience, adversely impacts mental health making them more vulnerable to mental healthcare problems than heterosexual–cisgender people.
The rejection by parents also adversely impacts healthy development, creating insecure attachment and unhealthy relationships to self and others in their adult life. As a result of the trauma and pain these individuals experience, many turn to substances to alleviate their suffering.
The experience around sexuality and gender is meditated by family culture, religion, larger culture, geography, age, individual expression and a thousand other factors. As such we are not experts on LGBTQIA+ clients but rather are presenting some Attachment-Focused EMDR techniques that we have found helpful to those with whom we have worked.
In this workshop we will provide:
- an overview of Attachment-Focused EMDR and developmental repair as described in Attachment-Focused EMDR: Healing Relational Trauma (Parnell, 2013).
- research and information about the types of traumas LGBTQIA+ clients present with including developmental trauma, as well as mental health issues they have because of these experiences.
- an outline of how we have worked with these clients using Attachment-Focused EMDR, including EMDR targeting of traumas and how developmental repair was used in creative, collaborative, client-centered ways.
- clinical cases and thoughts about what we have learned and recommend in treatment.
- a video of a client session demonstrating Attachment-Focused EMDR developmental repair with a gay orthodox Jewish man with religious trauma.
Learning Objectives *
Participants will be able to:
- Describe at least three examples of traumas LGBTQIA+ individuals experience.
- Describe problems and symptoms LGBTQIA+ clients present with in treatment.
- List the five basic principles of Attachment-Focused EMDR
- Describe at least 4 targets for Attachment-Focused EMDR trauma processing with LGBTQIA+ clients
- Describe how to do Attachment-Focused EMDR developmental repair with LGBTQIA+ clients.