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Plumas County mental health practitioners offered valuable training opportunity

Presenters Judy Cabeceiras, left, and Merrill Powers deliver the EMDR training at Plumas County Behavioral Health, Nov. 4-6. Photo submitted

Plumas Rural Services (PRS) and Plumas County Behavioral Health (PCBH) partnered to bring an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) training to Plumas County over the first weekend in November.

Eighteen area clinicians participated in the three-day training, which was the first of two training events they must complete in order to become fully trained in this specialized, evidence-based therapy.

Additionally, clinicians must complete 10 hours of consultation.

The training was delivered by Trauma Recovery/EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Programs, a nonprofit organization committed to relieving human suffering and breaking the cycle of violence by providing low-cost training to mental health professionals serving traumatized communities worldwide.

Trainees were primarily from Plumas County, although clinicians from Sacramento, Susanville and Chico also took advantage of this unique opportunity.

Initially used as a therapy for PTSD, the defining protocols of EMDR are now routinely applied to many other conditions, such as depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues, eating disorders, panic attacks, complicated grief, stress reduction, dissociative disorders, disturbing memories, addictions, phobias, pain disorders, sexual and/or physical abuse and body dysmorphic disorders.

According to Trauma Recovery/EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Programs, EMDR addresses experiences that have overwhelmed the brain’s natural resilience or coping capacity which have created traumatic symptoms and/or harmful coping strategies. Through EMDR therapy, patients are able to reprocess traumatic information until it is no longer psychologically disruptive.

Heather Caiazzo, LMFT, PRS Clinical Manager, and Aimee Heaney, Mental Health Services Act coordinator with PCBH, worked together to bring the EMDR training to Plumas County, as it is expensive to send practitioners out of county for training events.

Highly specialized training content such as EMDR is not typically available locally. “Bringing this training opportunity to Plumas County was important to me,” said Heather Caiazzo. “I want everyone to have access to EMDR, not just those who can afford it.”

Aimee Heaney added, “PCBH values and supports its highly-skilled workforce and the expansion of evidence-based therapies across its service locations by bringing these types of high-quality training opportunities to the county through MHSA Workforce Education and Training programs.”

Clinicians who participated in the training will complete EMDR Part II in March of 2020.

For more information about EMDR or other mental health concerns, contact PRS Counseling & Psychological Services at 283-3960 ext. 860, or go to www.plumasruralservices.org/caps.

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