EMDR therapists can celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities by intentionally using the lens of Community Cultural Wealth to identify internal and external resources in their clients. We asked EMDRIA members for video or written responses for the following:
“Describe some internal and external resources that you strengthen/install with your clients who identify as persons with disabilities. How do you embrace Community Cultural Wealth?”
*For closed captioning, play the video and click on the ‘CC’ icon in the lower right-hand corner.
*** Jonathan Smith, LCMHC
“My vision began to decline around 2012. Eventually, I realized I would need to change careers as a result and subsequently began a master’s program in 2020. I was officially found to be “legally blind” in September 2021. I completed EMDR Basic training in January 2023, finished the MA in May, was licensed in July, began a PhD program in August, and started a private practice in September. Dis-ability? I have no time for that.
How is it possible for a person with a “disability” to do this? We find a way to do what we want to do. This is the nature of humans. Once upon a time, there were humans who wanted to fly. All humans have a “disability” – we are born with no wings, so we can’t fly. Oh wait – humans fly every day now. Resiliency is all about utilizing this feature that all humans have. In my previous career, my role was problem solver/troubleshooter, and I was good at it. So, when life presents the problem of vision impairment – it’s just one more challenge to overcome. I have learned that with challenges, there is always a way to overcome them. It’s a matter of researching, trying different things, disregarding things that don’t work, and building on things that do.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Disability impacts all of us. www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/infographic-disability-impacts-all.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Disability inclusion. www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/disability-inclusion.html
Levis, R. V. (2017). Placing Culture at the Heart of EMDR Therapy. In Nickerson, M. I. (Ed.), Cultural Competence and Healing Culturally-Based Trauma with EMDR Therapy: Innovative Strategies and Protocols (pp. 97-112). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Co.
Levis, R. V., & Siniego, L. B. (2017). An Integrative Framework for EMDR Therapy as an Anti-Oppression Endeavor. In Nickerson, M. I. (Ed.), Cultural Competence and Healing Culturally Based Trauma with EMDR Therapy: Innovative Strategies and Protocols (pp. 79-96). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Co.
National Institutes of Health. About Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/idds/conditioninfo
United Nations. International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December. https://www.un.org/en/observances/day-of-persons-with-disabilities
United Nations. Five things you need to know about living with a disability during COVID-19. www.un.org/en/desa/five-things-you-need-know-about-living-disability-during-covid-19
Yosso, T. J. (2005). Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race, Ethnicity, and Education, 8(1), 69-91. https://doi.org/10.1080/1361332052000341006
General Resources for Mental Health Therapists
If you are a therapist interested in the EMDR training, visit our EMDR Training & Education tab:
If you are EMDR trained:
- Learn more about EMDRIA membership
- Search for Continuing Education opportunities
- Check out the EMDRIA blog, Focal Point
If you are an EMDRIA Member: