I think that I was born to be a clinical social worker, or at least trained from a very early age by my mother who taught me the values of activism and caring for others. As a child of the 60′s I participated in the Civil Rights movement and the protests against the war in Viet Nam. I have also been influenced by the Human Potential Movement, though I do not think the movement “self actualized.”
After graduating from Boston University in January of 1973 I did what any hippy of the time would do. I moved to San Francisco. There I got my first job in the field of mental health working at the Peninsula Hospital in Burlingame, 17 miles to the south of San Francisco, as a “mental health aide.” I worked the swing shift from 3pm – 11pm on a psychiatric ward, and as a crisis worker in the emergency room. It was a good start.
After a year I felt that it was time to come home (I’ve always been a Bronx boy at heart).
I was hired in 1975 by the Bronx VA Medical Center where I first received training in early methods of cognitive behavioral therapy. I also started my lifelong pursuit of understanding the brain and how it functions. My teachers were Thomas Horvath MD, Ken Davis MD, Richard Mohs Ph.D, and many other fine psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers. It was a fertile period of my life and I appreciate the experiences each mental health professional gave me.
I began working with traumatized veterans, suffering from anxiety disorders, depression, trauma, and substance abuse as a result of the war in Viet Nam, which was just ending. The best models for working with traumatized people at the time was CBT, (the diagnosis of PTSD did not appear until 1980). I experienced my clients having flashbacks firsthand, especially because the VA was building a new medical center and was blasting through the granite rocks that were 30 feet below the surface, 100 yards away. Imagine how a combat veteran reacted. No amount of reassurance that they were safe was adequate. However I was able to teach them strategies of dealing with their reactions. It was quite an education.
During my 12 years working there I was influenced to apply and attend Columbia University School of Social Work. I completed my M.S. in Social Work in 1980, and continued working for the VA until 1987. The VA was an affiliate of the Mt Sinai School of Medicine and I was admitted to the faculty in 1983. I’ve had an interesting career. I held the title of Director of Mental Health Consultation Services at the VA, and I taught Consultation Psychiatry to medical students and psychiatric residents from 1983-90. I lectured to social work interns on many areas of psychotherapy.
I’ve been blessed with great teachers. I studied Gestalt therapy with Laura Perls, and Rational Emotive Therapy with Albert Ellis, and my teachers at the Bronx VA Medical Center were “neurobehaviorists” and I have been a student of the brain and of cognitive behavioral therapy for over 20 years. (Actually in order to practice EMDR competently one must study “CBT” because there are many important parts of EMDR that are cognitive behavioral). I completed training at the Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis in 1987. On completing analytic training I decided that my path led me to full time private practice, and have been doing so since that time. I did advanced training with respected members of the clinical social work society in Nassau County; Carl Bagnini LCSW in family therapy, and Bill Ballen LCSW in Ericksonian Hypnotherapy. I consider myself a lifelong student of what works best with which clinical populations.
My life was forever changed in 1991 when fellow society member Uri Bergmann Ph.D, LCSW gave me two papers to read by a psychologist named Francine Shapiro Ph.D. That same night a stock broker I had been treating analytically came in to session traumatized from witnessing a man jump to his death in front of a subway train. She told me that the thought of closing her eyes at bedtime terrified her, as she could not get the image or the traumatic sensations out of her mind and body. Knowing nothing more than what I had read in these two papers that afternoon I followed the procedure for detraumatizing someone. I got lucky on two counts. First I had no idea of what could have come up, and second she left my office greatly relieved after 90 minutes of “EMDR” (I have come to realize that this is a complex methodology and not just a ” technique” to release pain). I began formal training in 1993; I became an EMDR teacher in 1995, and have been an EMDR trainer since 2000. I am an Approved Consultant in EMDR and consult with many EMDR consultees.
I have been teaching EMDR for 10 years and lecture and give workshops internationally. Two years ago I trained 9 clinicians in a University model through the Society at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center.
This is a time in my career for me to give back to social workers what I have learned. It’s the concept of “paying forward.” I believe that as we mature in our profession we have an obligation to “pass the torch”, though I still maintain and will continue to maintain a full time practice in East Meadow.
I have recently completed my first book, EMDR and the Relational Imperative; The Therapeutic Relationship in EMDR. This is an area that has not been written about. Thanks to my Interpersonal Psychoanalytic training I realized early on that the way EMDR has been traditionally taught has left out relational aspects. Dr. Shapiro assumed that anyone who is a licensed mental health professional would know about this already. There are still many clinicians who view EMDR as a “technology” with little need to focus on relational issues. My chief argument is that there can be no dance without the dancers. And that changes how EMDR is practiced in everyday life. I give many case illustrations from the analytic, the relational and the neurobiological literature to make these points. I then suggest strategies for clinicians of restoring the state of “Mental State Resonance” both when either client or clinician, or both, go “off the tracks.
B.A. Boston University: Major, Psychology; 1973
M.S. Columbia University School of Social Work; 1980
EMDR Institute Facilitator Training 1995
EMDR Levels 1 & 2 1993
Ericksonian Hypnosis Training 1992; 1 year of private training
Family Therapy Training 1991; 1 year of private training
Certificate of Psychoanalysis: 1987; Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis
Gestalt Therapy Training 1982-1983; Laura Perls Ph.D, and Isadore From
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Training 1981; Rational Emotive Institute
Group Therapy Training 1975-1980; Bronx VA Medical Center
Psychotherapist in Private Practice 1981-present
EMDR Institute Facilitator 1995- 2010
EMDR International Association (EMDRIA); 2000- present; Approved Consultant and 2001 Trainer in Basic EMDR Training
Wright/Dworkin EMDR Seminars (Approved by EMDRIA) 1998-present
Executive Director, Behavioral Counseling Associates Inc. 1992-1995
Faculty, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine; 1983-1990
Director, Mental Health Consultation Services; Bronx VA Medical Center 1986-1987
Director, Illness Adjustment Program Bronx VA Medical Center 1980-1986
Psychotherapist, Bronx VA Medical Center, 1975-1980
Diplomate in Clinical Social Work, NASW 1987-present
Diplomate, NYS Society for Clinical Social Work, and Past President, Nassau Chapter
EMDR Institute Faculty 1995 – 2010
EMDRIA Approved Consultant 1999 and
EMDR International Association Approved Trainer 2001
EMDRIA Board of Directors – 2001-2004
Dworkin, M. & Errebo,N., “Rupture and Repair in the EMDR Client/Clinician Relationship: Now Moments and Moments of Meeting.” Journal of EMDR Practice and Research. V. 4 (3) p 113-123
Farrell. F.,Dworkin, M., Keenan, P., and Spierings, J., “Using EMDR With Survivors of Sexual Abuse Perpetrated by Roman Catholic Priests. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research. V. 4 (3) p. 124-133
Dworkin, M., (2009) “The Clinician Awareness Questionnaire in EMDR” in Luber, M., (ed) Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: EMDR Scripted Protocols, Basics and Special Situations, NY Springer
Dworkin, M. (2005) EMDR and the Relational Imperative: The Therapeutic Relationship in EMDR Treatment, NY, Routledge
Dworkin, M. “Integrative Approaches To EMDR: Empathy, The Intersubjective, and The Cognitive Interweave” Journal for Psychotherapy Integration, Vol.13, (2) June 2003
Dworkin, M. “EMDR’s Coming of Age” Employee Assistance, Vol. 9, (1) Jan-Feb 1997
Dworkin, M. and Hirsch, G. “Responding To Managed Care: A Roadmap for the Therapist”, Psychotherapy and Private Practice, Vol. 13, (1) 1996
Visocan, B., Dworkin, M., and Klein, L., “Effect of Long Term Group Support on Weight Loss Management, Journal of Nutritional Management, Vol. 17, (1) 1985
Workshops on similar subjects:
The EMDR Clinician and the Challenging Client: how to improve relational responsiveness – 9/06 EMDRIA
Clinician Strategies for Dealing With Challenging Clients – 9/05 EMDRIA Conference
Relational Strategies for Dealing With Difficult Clients in EMDR Treatment – 5/05 EMDR Europe 6th Annual Conference; Brussels, Belgium
The Therapeutic Relationship in Information Processing Terms – Specialty Presentation – Part Two EMDR Institute Training September 2004
EMDR from the Heart: A Relational View of Healing – 2003 EMDRIA Conference
Relational Strategies in EMDR – 2002 EMDRIA Conference
Countertransference and the Intersubjective: Directions for Treating Traumatized Clients with EMDR – 2001 EMDRIA Conference