EMDR was first introduced to Sri Lanka after the Tsunami of December 2004 . A whole lot of therapists with a variety of theoretical backgrounds came to Sri Lanka in order to help thousands of those who were affected. EMDR was one of them. The first team of EMDR therapists came to Sri Lanka in 2005. It so happened that EMDR contacted Srilnac (Sri Lanka National Association of Counsellors) and thus the EMDR Humanitarian Association Project (EMR-HAP) sponsored by International Relief Teams ,U.S.A came to Sri Lanka with several experienced EMDR therapists. The team led by Dr. Nancy Errebo, came several times to Sri Lanka in order to strengthen the local counsellors who were trained in EMDR therapy. Between March and December 2005, 30 Sri Lankan counselors were trained in EMDR. The invaluable service rendered to the Sri Lankan clinicians by this team was remarkable in producing a very dedicated, efficient group of EMDR therapists. Due to the magnitude of the Tsunami disaster, they were able to visit many places in Sri Lanka and help thousands of those affected. There was also an EMDR Team from Israel which came to Sri Lanka in February 2006, led by Dr. Udi Oren. They also trained a group of mental health workers which also included medical doctors in EMDR therapy.
At the end of the Two Stage Training Program after the Tsunami, a meeting of the EMDR trained Counsellors was held on 6th November2005 under the umbrella of Sri Lanka National Association of Counsellors (SRILNAC), to consider the possibility of starting an EMDR Association. A decision was taken at this meeting to start an EMDR Association separate from SRILNAC. Subsequent to the above meeting, a meeting was also held on the 13th of January, 2006 at which, a draft constitution was adopted and the EMDR Association was formally inaugurated, and it was decided to have the first Annual General Meeting on the 11th April 2006. However, it did not take place and the Association thus formed remained dormant.
Sr. Janet Nethisinghe who is a long standing Counsellor and psychotherapist in Sri Lanka was not in the country at the time the EMDR Trainers came to Sri Lanka after the Tsunami, and made it a point to get her EMDR training in U.S.A on one of her visits there.
Sr. Janet’s qualifications in the field of psychology and psychotherapy, and her professional experience both in practice and teaching at University level received due recognition when the International EMDR Association invited her to be a participant at the EMDR Asia Conference held in Bali, Indonesia in July, 2010.It was also the occasion to form the EMDR ASIA Association. Currently Sri Lanka is also a member of the EMDR Asia Association, and Sr. Janet is one of the board members representing Sri Lanka.
Energized by her experience in Bali, Sr. Janet convened a meeting inviting all those who have followed EMDR training both by the Hap and Israeli teams. On the 2nd October 2010, a small group gathered at St. Anthony’s Convent, in Colombo and she gave the members who were present a resume of events, which took place in Bali, Indonesia. It was then decided to start anew, the Sri Lanka EMDR Association, and Sr. Janet was unanimously elected to be the President of the Association.
The first Annual General Meeting was held on the 12th April 2012 at St. Anthony’s Convent, Colombo 08. The main objective of the Association became the training of existing clinicians in EMDR. With a generous grant by the Trauma Recovery/HAP and the International Relief Team, the first workshop was organized to be held from the 2nd to 5th July, 2012, conducted by the Indian trainers Prof. Sushma Mehrotra and Dr. Parul Tank.
Since then a series of training workshops have taken place, all conducted by the Indian trainers and Dr. Rosalie Thomas from the U.S.A.
The Association is also on the way to train its own trainers which is rather a long process required by the International EMDR Association.
Sri Lanka EMDR Association is also registered as a Voluntary social services/Non-governmental Organization at the Divisional Secretariat, Colombo 5.
To promote EMDR Therapy among those who are working in the field of mental health in Sri Lanka and maintain the highest standards of excellence, consistent with worldwide EMDR Associations
Creating a healthy and happy Sri Lankan and global community
Clinicians’ basic values are integrity, responsibility, confidentiality and respect, and they represent the guiding principles on how we want to conduct ourselves as members of the Association.