Our History

Although EMDR Lebanon Association was officially born on April 25, 2013, it was growing in small steps way before that date. Each of these steps was like a step in a journey of a thousand miles.

It all started in March 2007, when a team of 3 specialists from EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Programs (HAP) USA and France volunteered and came to Beirut to train a group of experienced psychologists who were members in the Lebanese Psychological Association. They trained these psychologists on how to use a psychotherapy approach called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) developed by Francine Shapiro in 1987.

The need to train our Lebanese psychologists with EMDR Therapy arose after the devastating war inflicted by Israel against Lebanon in July 2006 which traumatized, directly and indirectly, at varying degrees, millions of Lebanese people.

The 3 EMDR specialists, who came to Beirut in March 2007, were the trainer Mrs. Margaret Moore from HAP-USA and the facilitators Ms. Pauline Guillard & Ms. Anne Dewailly from HAP-France. They taught Part 1 of the Basic EMDR Training Course. Later, the new 22 trainees were instructed to practice using EMDR Therapy on a small scale. After several months, two accredited EMDR consultants, Ms. Martine Blanco from France and Mr. Emre Konuk from Turkey came and did Group Supervision 1 for the trainees.   

Unfortunately, many psychologists discontinued their training. In October 2008, the original team of EMDR specialists came back and gave Part 2 of the Basic EMDR Training Course for those who were more excited to continue their training. Finally, only 8 psychologists finished their basic EMDR training course and received their “certificate of completion” after doing the 2nd group supervision with the approved EMDR consultant, Mrs. Mona Zaghrout from Palestine.

However, this was not the end of the story. This group of 8 psychologists, who were joined by two other Lebanese EMDR trained psychologists, decided to continue working on to become “Certified EMDR Therapists”. Therefore, they had to form an organized body to do the work.

EMDR Lebanon was first formed as a committee within the Lebanese Psychological Association in April 2010. Being the only formal EMDR committee in the Arab world at that time, with no mother organization in the region to attach to or connect, they had to start from scratch. It was not easy. They had to send many emails asking many questions to all those who trained them and to EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) to know the next steps to implement. They read research articles, books, and internet materials. They did small case-study groups among themselves to discuss how they are applying EMDR Therapy on their clients, and they even did a 2-days EMDR retreat. They did Skype consultation sessions with approved EMDR consultants. They traveled to EMDR conferences and invited Mr. Emre Konuk (from Turkey) to conduct individual and group consultations and workshops in Beirut.

Advanced Group Supervision - May 2012 NEIGB SaidaWhen, finally, members of EMDR Lebanon Committee got their “Certification in EMDR” from EMDRIA and became “Certified EMDR Therapists”, they started planning to establish EMDR Lebanon Association.

The constitution of the EMDR Lebanon association was developed with the direct guidance of Mr. Emre Konuk, president of EMDR Turkey Association. He translated his association’s constitution to English and worked with the founding members step-by-step on the constitution’s details. Furthermore, care has been taken to follow the main guidelines of EMDRIA and EMDR Europe.

After the official registration of EMDR Lebanon Association on April 25, 2013, the founding members set to apply the mission of the association. The journey of a thousand miles has set its sails.