by Carol Miles, President | EMDRIA
EMDRIA wants to develop our next generation of leaders. As we have talked about that, my thoughts turned to my own circuitous path to my current leadership role. I didn’t have a grand strategy, but I now find myself in the role of president of our organization.
Over time, I have been plain lucky. I became a social worker, having never met one but influenced by a friend who was getting her MSW at the time. Like many other neophytes, I little understood the long-term effects of the early choices that shaped my career. Fortunately, I was led in a direction toward volunteering and community involvement.
Early influences included an employer who required professional staff, as a marketing strategy, to be involved in their communities, joining local associations, speaking publicly, and joining community-based and/or professional boards. Those “good works” developed my skills in relationship building, enhanced my reputation in the community, and led me to see the benefits of volunteering. I learned that I liked being involved.
Once I became an EMDR therapist, it seemed natural to me to volunteer with EMDRIA. I worked on the conference committee for many years. As a volunteer, I met people who encouraged me to keep learning. I learned which clients I could help best and networked with other EMDR therapists to develop my practice.
In my community, we decided to form a local regional network to provide support and expansion of EMDR therapists in our region. Mentors/ trainers/therapists all over the US helped us after Katrina hit the New Orleans area.
Inspired by this support, we created a local regional network to help newly trained therapists have an easier way to connect locally. We are now creating a leadership track in our region to develop skills from to assist the development of these newer EMDR therapists.
Speaking to mental health professionals in our community as part of our outreach both develops the awareness of EMDR therapy among local mental health professionals and helps us stay true to the message of the power of EMDR therapy. Through local involvement, I can serve as someone to turn to with questions about EMDR therapy.
As president and as a board member, I have been able work with a team of professionals to support EMDRIA in the long-term growth of EMDR therapy. My volunteer activities have given me opportunities to serve something bigger than myself. I now work to encourage others to develop their leadership skills. Volunteering has rewarded me with great opportunities in professional growth. Looking back, I can see I arrived at a successful and happy practice as an EMDR Therapist.
My advice to those developing their EMDR therapy practices: find your passion. Learn how to use it. Share it freely with others by volunteering. Meet people. Connect with your community locally, globally, and professionally. Enjoy your successes, learn from your mistakes. Nurture others to pay it forward. Looking forward to this chapter of my long career, I am excited to see how all of you create your futures. Jump in. The “water” is beautiful and exciting. We can all benefit from the process of giving of ourselves and receiving as we give. -CM