“Once you start working in trauma, you see it everywhere,” says Tracey Musarra Marchese, MSW, LCSW-R, social work professor of practice in Syracuse University’s Falk College and a practitioner in the community working with individuals and families. “Because of the amount of trauma out there, we need to have more people trained in treating it.”

And Marchese is doing just that.

Students in her classes on trauma treatment for children, adolescents and adults are learning from her first-hand training experiences in the practical application and benefits of an integrative psychotherapy approach proven effective for trauma treatment. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR Therapy, helps people of all ages relieve many types of psychological distress, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other psychiatric disorders, mental health problems, and somatic symptoms. From September – December 2014, Marchese, along with Sandra Kaplan, LCSW, a clinical professor at Upstate Medical University, provided a 14-week EMDR Therapy Basic Training (40 hours of training and 10 hours of case consultation) for psychiatry residents, community practitioners, and interested Syracuse University MSW students.

“Because EMDR is an integrative therapy, it appeals to many clinicians who are trained in other types of therapies,” says Marchese. “Additionally, it offers students and clinicians the opportunity to develop more advanced skills that are specific to treating trauma.”

EMDR targets past experience, current triggers, and future potential challenges. This therapy helps clients decrease or eliminate the distress from a disturbing memory while improving the client’s view of the self and creating coping mechanisms to resolve present and future anticipated triggers. EMDR is designated as an effective treatment by the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and many other international health agencies. According to the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA), this powerful psychotherapy approach has helped over an estimated two million people of all ages relieve many types of psychological distress.

Marchese was exposed to EMDR Therapy early during her career working as a psychotherapist/clinical social worker helping clients with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. “The person I worked for mentioned EMDR as a therapy technique that was having very positive results for her clients.” Marchese completed her EMDR training in 1998 and has been using it ever since in private practice and is now educating students about it in her classroom. She is currently an EMDRIA-certified therapist and an EMDRIA-approved consultant, which means she has completed EMDR training, engaged in over 300 EMDR clinical sessions and 20 hours of consultation with an EMDRIA-approved consultant, and attended numerous continuing education workshops on advanced applications of EMDR Therapy. She has recently become an EMDRIA-approved EMDR Basic Trainer, which is currently a role held by approximately only 100 clinicians worldwide.

“EMDR is one of the most amazing therapy techniques I’ve ever used,” notes Marchese. “It can—and does—produce very successful results. From my students, I hear repeatedly that EMDR Therapy reinforces for them that people who have experienced even the worst traumas can get better.” Marchese currently serves as a co-coordinator of a regional network of EMDR professionals by providing events and regular training sessions. Her long-term goal was to become an EMDR trainer. “I am pleased to have achieved a high level of practice and expertise in using this therapy. More importantly, I now have the skills to help other clinicians learn how to help their clients achieve goals that they may not have thought possible,” she says.

“It is so rewarding to help people relieve emotional pain,” notes Marchese. “I love to see people transform their lives because they transform the way they think and feel thanks to EMDR.”

Attend a course on EMDR Therapy:

Understanding EMDR Therapy and Its Applications: Treatment for Trauma
Date: Thursday, May 28th
Time: 3:00-4:30pm
Location: Peck Hall, 601 East Genesee St.
Register to attend