The EMDRAC Decade: a somewhat personal history.

Santa Monica in June, 1995 was especially warm and exotic for this fugitive from Newfoundland. Despite the beach attractions, the excitement focus was the International EMDR Conference. Avid for clinical skills and insight and thoroughly enjoying collegial stimulation, a dedicated group invited international members to discuss a new creation: the founding of the EMDR International Association. Two Canadians were present: the other chap offered some comments and I followed later to convey my belief that Canadian clinicians would be keen participants.

Later during the conference Marilyn Luber asked me to initiate a Canadian branch of EMDRIA. With Marilyn’s brilliant smile etched in my memory when I returned to St. John’s plus the list of Canadian EMDR clinicians provided by the EMDR Institute, I wrote to all Level II’s inviting expressions of interest in membership. From the 27 who responded I selected one from each province having anyone qualified. The result: an Executive consisting of Bill de Bosch Kemper (BC), Maria Eriksen, (Alberta), Dennis Coates (Saskatchewan), Jim Lichti (Ontario), and Maurice Boulay (New Brunswick). Bill agreed to be Treasurer, Dennis the Secretary, and Maria undertook to get a lawyer friend to arrange our incorporation.

Denver in 1996 was the first EMDRIA conference. Following the part of the Board meeting which I attended, I composed a set of articles of affiliation which were subsequently approved (only to be lost when EMDRIA’s incorporation had to be reconstituted). The following year in San Francisco, our first face-to-face Executive meeting, Maria, Jim and I agonized over the lawyer’s draft of EMDRAC bylaws within the articles of incorporation, most of which subsequently dissolved in legalize but fortunately left us with adequate room to maneuver. Maria shepherded completion of our legal status: official on 29 January, 1998. Our bylaws have since been graced with several revisions and additions to provide for wide membership participation and asserting the necessary standard of professional status for admission.

The initial EMDRIA Board was exceptionally committed and warm to international as well as national development. Two of them risked the future of the association by nominating me for the position of Treasurer, but I served more suitably as a member of the International Committee.

Our EMDRAC/EMDRIA newsletter appeared as Volume 1 No. 1 in 1997, actually circulating simultaneously as the first EMDRIA did. In subsequently years we produced four numbers annually – “we” consisted of me until Jan Taylor brought her fine talent to the task in 2000. Our first Directory was completed in that year and continued until my efforts were overtaken by the advantages of our web site. The fortunate steady growth of our association has led to greater sophistication so that you will be unlikely to again have one editor of all three media. Membership was 57 when we incorporated.

Vancouver 1998 initiated our EMDRAC conferences. We simultaneously hosted the Pacific North West Regional EMDR event and enjoyed our first AGM. Toronto in 2000 saw us sharing our AGM with the EMDRIA Conference. Wonderful early years!

– David Hart, June 2006