20 Years of Rising to the Challenges of EMDR and ASC

Thursday 10th November 2022: 6.30pm – 9.30pm



20 Years of Rising to the Challenges of EMDR and ASC
Joanne Morris-Smith

Brief Biography

Joanne Morris-Smith is a Consultant Chartered Psychologist who has been working in Clinical Child Psychology for over 35 years and has worked in a number of large teaching hospitals in the UK. She is an EMDR Europe Accredited Child & Adolescent Trainer and also as an EMDR Institute Facilitator.  She founded and the EMDR Europe Child & Adolescent Section Committee and has been incorporating EMDR into her clinical practise for the last 19 years. Joanne founded and runs a Child Trauma Clinic for Surrey & Borders NHS Foundation Trust, which has been running since 1995. She also works in private practise specialising in work as an Expert Witness with traumatised children who have been exposed to physical, emotional, sexual abuse, domestic violence and murder. She is the Editor of an Occasional Paper of the Association of Child Psychology and Psychiatry entitled EMDR: Clinical Applications with Children. No.19. January 2002. She is also co-author of the book EMDR for the Next Generation: Healing Children & Families.2013 available from ACPI  www.academic-bookshop.com or from AMAZON.


25 Years of Rising to the Challenges of EMDR and ASC

This presentation will focus on the many changes that have occurred over the last quarter of the century. Joanne will reflect on the rise in diagnosis and the diagnostic changes from the focus on a disorder to a spectrum of intellectual difference and neuro-diversity.

The ASC child lives in a traumatising world where everyday life can be the source of their trauma. The difficulties in social communication only serving to increase their distress and social support reducing the opportunity to experience post-traumatic growth. The workshop will consider the prevalence and frequency of co-morbidity of ASC diagnosis with trauma, trans-gender identity and the risk of suicide.

Joanne will discuss the role of hallucinations and imaginary friends and the possibilities of these as resources and protective factors. Consideration will be given to the use of resources in the preparation phase and how to enable the ASC child to engage fully in the reprocessing. She will also explore how as therapists we can adopt the one-step-down approach building collaborative formulations and effective targeting.


The aims are to:

  1. Recognise and tune-in to the unique individual experience of trauma for each client
  2. Joanne will offer a qualitative insight into the mind of the child with ASC, acknowledging the developmental fears they may experience and traumatic blocks to overcoming them.


  1. Raise awareness of the experiences of trauma for C&A with ASC diagnosis
  2. Explore the healing potential of EMDR to build a scaffold to access the language associated with disturbing pictures and sensations.

Learning Outcomes:

Participants will:

  • Be introduced to developments in understanding of the experience of trauma for CYP with ASC.
  • Learn how to tune-in to the client’s unique experience to prepare for reprocessing.
  • Learn how to adapt our approach to processing to help regulate and contain the distressing emotional experience for children with ASC.

3 CPD points have been approved for this event.